Yesterday, I had a conversation with a banking executive (the bank will remain nameless) on the topic of social media engagement across functional areas. He noted how the bank, was missing opportunities to engage with its customers. That it was ignoring many close, warm and personal opportunities to build social customer relationships, as people, dealing with people. I got excited when he said that the bank was not only in the money business, but was in the business of helping people achieve dreams, helping and welcoming families, engagements, marriages, weddings, new babies, potential homeowners, new restaurant/business owners or new college students.
No doubt, he was frustrated because there were problems and issues with building a team across functional areas. He noted that the departments were like strangers, with hidden agendas and it was like they were running from each other and the team could not find a common ground.
He then asked me how to deal with it? What do you do? Have you ever experienced this? I suggested a few steps to help him and the team get there. Maybe you could offer a few more? I said:
- Make it Personal – with team dynamics and icebreakers – we all have friends, families, loved ones or people that we admire (a hero, sports idol, saint), make it fun, engaging and energizing, get pizza, snacks and laugh.
- Listen & Illustrate – Illustrate where the moments of truth, or touch points are for the team to build relationships. Outline the wins, the what’s in it for me (WIIFM) opportunities for departments, to build and connect in meaningful and measurable ways.
- Focus on the 4C’s, - Content, Communication, Connection and Community. Engage with content that is meaningful, fun or both. Generate dashboards that the whole team can share to measure performance, across the organization. Identify connection points, where you need to weed out missed communications or misunderstandings with customers. Build community and identify key individuals throughout the organization that can focus on the essentials. Use the measures as a way to build the team and engage.
- Encourage humanity - focusing on the emotional value of relationships (like a new baby, or marriage, what’s important to them?), helps humanize how we look at business. Remember we are in the business, but it’s incredibly important with customers as people dealing with people. We are a part of a larger community, connected, looking to be heard and recognized.
So, at the end of the day, cross-functional team engagement is not a walk in the park. And, while it can be mandated, there are always hidden agendas and blow ups that can cause upheaval, especially if we are not all on the same team, or hiding, running or blaming others. Remember, at the heart of a teamwork is our own humanity calling to us to laugh at ourselves and admit that none of us are perfect. So have fun and engage!
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