You know that satisfying feeling of crossing off a big task on your to-do list?
- Clean out inbox: check
- Draft that proposal: pat on your back
- Integrate my work among that of my colleagues: um, what?
It seems that all kinds of organizations are so quick to throw on the integrated label. And who wouldn’t want to? Having different practices aligned with each other is something to be proud of. But to earn that title, employees at every level must actively work toward it. It’s not something that one can cross off the list and be done with.
“Actively” doesn’t necessarily mean having elaborate conferences every month. Aside from formal employee training, actively working toward integration can also be…
- Wearing a different thinking cap: In an organization composed of silos, the caps worn by its employees are pretty boring: “I’m in the XYZ group, and that’s all I do.” In a place that is working toward integration, the caps are dynamic: “I work in XYZ, and I’m thinking about how team ABC can help me better deliver results.” Adjusting to this mindset can be difficult. But it is part of a solid foundation for building true integration.
- Presenting projects internally: Before something goes to the client, why not share it with counterparts in another practice? Involving different perspectives and utilizing in-house resources fosters healthy discussion, which often results in a well-rounded deliverable.
- Using an internal social network: Similar to how people check Facebook every day to see what their friends are up to, enterprise networks give employees a place online to interact and see what their colleagues are doing. It’s a company’s own news feed. I’ve seen many connections happen in our network: interest groups and small task forces are formed, live brainstorms with colleagues from five offices, and all-hands-on-deck requests for tight turnaround projects.
At WCG, one of the ways we strive for integration is through ongoing education for our team – at every level in every discipline. How do you integrate?