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Cross-Functional Teamwork (CFT)

Collaborating Across Organizational Boundaries

Get your people Working Together Better across organizational boundaries and increase your performance in key areas such as planning, decision-making, problem solving and conflict resolution. More importantly, increase your ability to do the right things for the business. In making tradeoffs between cost, quality and cycle time, for example, cross-functional teamwork gets people to go beyond what is right for their function and do what is right for the business.

Our CFT training teaches a highly participative process for maximizing collaboration across organizational boundaries. Participants learn, for example, how to minimize personality and politics and maximize information and analysis to create an information rich environment that fosters innovation and creativity.

A key strength of our CFT training is its ability to create positive attitudes towards cross-functional teamwork. Participants learn the organizational dynamics that create turf wars and inhibit collaboration across organizational boundaries. They learn why cross-functional teamwork is essential to the success of their company and to their own job security.

The basic principles taught in this workshop were developed and refined over 20 years of applied research in excellent companies including 3M, Kodak, McNeil Consumer, Drackett, Onvoy, Hutchinson Technology Inc. and S.C. Johnson Wax.

Why You Need Cross-Functional Teamwork!

Organizations differentiate people, process and structure to maximize their efficiency. They specialize their people to develop experts; they institutionalize rules so they do not re-invent the wheel; they tighten the structure to minimize redundancy and to hold people accountable for doing their jobs and following the rules. Establishing these “organizational boundaries” creates the focus, accountability, and control necessary to maximize efficiency — it defines the “way we do things around here.”

But differentiation also creates boundaries to people working together. People know what their job is, so they hesitate to spend time on things that are not their job. People are complaint to the rules, so they do not look for innovative and creative ways of doing things. People are loyal to their functions, so they protect they turf. People are focused on their specific tasks and seldom ask why they are doing those tasks. As a result, they often end up doing the wrong things, right the first time.

Organizations must create boundaries (infrastructure) to maximize their efficiency and do things “right the first time.” People must work across those organizational boundaries to maximize effectiveness and do the “right things.”

Our Cross-Functional teamwork training gets people working together better to do the right things, right the first time.

Sample Client Applications

Management Development

CFT was originally developed as a follow-up to 3M's Management Development Program (MDP). Its goal was to increase a manager's ability to work across organizational boundaries to achieve goals and objectives beyond their level of authority and control.

Product Development

Cross-Functional teamwork is critical to new product development. 3M's Technical Training organization made CFT a part of its training curriculum for professional/technical employees involved in new product development. McNeil Consumer and Drackett used CFT to improve collaboration between R&D, Marketing and Manufacturing. CFT was re-designed for Hutchinson Technology to create “Working in a Matrix Organization” to support its efforts in reducing cycle time for bringing new products to customers.

Staff Groups

CFT is very effective in increasing collaboration within staff groups and between staff groups and line functions. Staff groups often operate in a highly political environment where battles over control and resources can dramatically reduce performance. Kodak and 3M, for example, both used CFT to increase collaboration within their Facilities Management Functions.

Continuous Improvement Efforts

CFT is an excellent resource for maximizing collaboration on continuous improvement efforts. Tools like Lean Manufacturing, Six Sigma, and Statistical Process Control provide organizations with the tools they need to increase productivity and performance. CFT provides a highly collaborative process for applying these tools — a process that increases ownership and commitment and maximizes the results of continuous improvement efforts.

Workshop Specifications
Cross-Functional Teamwork

Target Audience

Professional, Technical, Supervisors, Managers and Executives


Classroom. A four-module workshop that can be delivered as a one day overview or two day skill building workshop.


1 — Day Overview Workshop
2 — Day Skill Building Workshop

Class Size

20 Participants




Participant Binder


Content, design and delivery are customizable for different populations.



Volume discounts for multiple deliveries

Training Content

Our CFT training is built around four modules. In the one-day overview participants learn the basic concepts in each model. In the two-day workshop participants learn specific techniques for implementing these basic concepts.

Organizational Boundary Crossing

In this module participants learn the organizational dynamics that create turf wars and inhibit collaboration across organizational boundaries. They learn why cross-functional teamwork is essential to organizational competitiveness and their own job security. Participants learn “there are no villains, only heroes and champions caught up in a system and process that they do not yet understand!”

This module creates ownership and commitment to cross-functional teamwork by answering two specific questions: Why are we doing this? What's in it for me? Finding logical and rationale answers to these questions - answers anchored in organizational reality and not in some academic book - creates a positive attitude toward cross-functional teamwork. This understanding dramatically increases participant motivation and willingness to work across organizational boundaries to increase performance and do the right things for the business.

Stages of Collaboration

In this module participants learn the Stages of Collaboration. They learn exactly "what" tasks they must do to create collaboration, and how they must do those tasks to gain cooperation from others. They learn specific tools and processes that increase both their effectiveness (do the right things) and efficiency (do them right the first time) when working across organizational boundaries. This learning allows participants to aggressively approach cross-functional issues, confident in their ability to achieve success.

This module also addresses the personal, interpersonal and group dynamics participants will experience when working across organizational boundaries. These are summarized in the 9 key success factors that create positive team dynamics.

Power & Empowerment

In this module participants learn the “rules of engagement.” Accountabilities and responsibilities for individuals and functional management are presented along with a process for escalating issues to management. This is a hard hitting and very pragmatic look at power in organizations and the history of empowerment over the last 15 years. Participants learn how to empower themselves and how to avoid the “organizational landmines” that can lead to “career limiting” experiences.

Culture Change

By their very nature, organizational cultures and infrastructures inhibit cross-functional teamwork in one way or another. Participants learn how to identify cultural roadblocks to cross-functional teamwork and strategies for working around them. They also learn how high levels of cross-functional teamwork create a high performance loop that will drive changes in their culture and infrastructure over time.

The design, content and delivery of CFT can be customized to meet your specific needs and applications.