Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

People are often a company’s most expensive resource. So, optimizing people’s productivity often means keeping everyone busy on their functional duties, increasing the likelihood that every employee, of every skill type, will be fully utilized.  

The downside? No department’s workers know how their labor affects other departments in the operation of the business. One department’s productivity may be high, but the company as a whole may not be moving faster or with more flexibility. 

In this age of agility, in which businesses need to respond faster, leaders are discovering how to boost cross-functional productivity which improves their flexibility and responsiveness, enabling customers to accelerate their own progress and value creation

Rather than striving to maximize departmental productivity, these leaders are expanding the awareness and capabilities of their people to improve cross-departmental workflow. This more strategic perspective produces many benefits including higher throughput, faster reactions, quicker order fulfillment, accelerated cash flow and increased capacity. All of which improve agility and create value for their customers. 

And having gained momentum in productivity, leaders expand their pursuit of agility by asking questions like these: 

  • How can we accelerate decision-making to help our business move faster?
  • How can we better motivate innovation when our established procedures are dedicated to preserving efficiency and risk aversion?
  • How can we encourage creativity and cross-functional collaboration when our current operating structure is departmentally oriented with managers who do more telling than asking? 
  • How can we build trust and increase transparency when our current culture inherently fosters bureaucracy and interdependence?

How are you improving your company?