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1. Understand Why It’s Important
Interdepartmental communication is vital for several reasons. Most importantly, it’s essential to ensure that everybody in a company is in agreement about goals, projects, and ongoing events. If different departments are not on the same page, it causes confusion and ultimately results in wasted resources.
2. Pinpoint the Obstacles
Despite the importance of interdepartmental communication, it’s often a difficult task to accomplish. Some of the most common obstacles include distance—especially if teams are working remotely—and a lack of effective communication tools. If there’s no simple way to facilitate interdepartmental conversation, communication will quickly drop off.
3. Focus on Shared Strengths
Many professionals say that a lack of communication and collaboration is the primary cause of failure at work. One of the best ways to remedy this is to focus on shared strengths between departments. The marketing department can collaborate with the accounting department, for example, by leveraging a shared appreciation for data. These commonalities will form the foundation of effective workplace collaboration.
4. Distribute Workload Evenly
Once a collaborative relationship has been established, it’s important to evenly distribute work between departments. This is especially true when the task in question is a presentation or a report. When important data will be shared with company investors or leadership, each contributing department should have a clear portion of the report that it’s responsible for.
5. Use the Right Tools
The collaborative tools that you have at your disposal are imperative for facilitating interdepartmental communication. Tools such as Google Docs offer in-document collaborative features, for example, and Trello allows departments to manage tasks and collaborate in real-time.
6. Implement Business Process Management
Business process management can create massive time efficiencies in the form of improved interdepartmental communication. By having well-defined and highly automated processes, employees can rely on a concrete framework to efficiently collaborate with each other. This allows departments to plan, adjust and align their activities even faster than before. Moreover, it also helps to minimize manual errors that would normally impede collaboration. All this contributes to pinpoint more accurate decisions related to budgeting, resource allocation and strategic planning.
7. Give and Accept Feedback
Different departments do things differently, so it’s natural that there may be tension in some collaborations. Rather than give into this tension, it’s important to simply give and accept feedback professionally. This will help your team make meaningful progress and learn from other departments.
8. Give Credit Where Credit’s Due
Collaboration is all about sharing a workload and drawing on another department’s strengths. Sometimes it’s important to give credit where credit is due, though, and acknowledge the contributions that another department has made to a project. This may take the form of a verbal acknowledgment or a footnote documenting the specific elements that another department contributed to a project.
Collaborate With Confidence When You Have the Right Tools
Interdepartmental communication can be a challenge if you don’t have tools that eliminate barriers. By focusing on taking steps like pinpointing obstacles and implementing business process management, you can improve interdepartmental communication and achieve more.