Crossbeams: working with people from different functions and level
At $Company we realize that people can spend a lot of time in their own teams, and/or with people of the same level.
This can lead to a sense of alienation from other teams (silo formation) or from other levels (non-responsiveness, tone-deafness).
Intentionally designing crossbeams
That is why we intentionally design “crossbeams:” ways of working that bring us in contact with people from outside our own teams and often also from a higher or lower level than we work at.
The “crossbeam” analogy comes from the standard Ikea shelf with pillars and planks. If you have ever tried to set one up, you know it collapses when you just have pillars (the functions) and planks (the levels). In addition, you need the diagnonal crossbeams to keep everything in one place.
Kinds of crossbeams
At $Company we have four different kinds of crossbeams, to give many people a chance at getting to know different people throughout the organization.
- Cross-functional project teams
- Cross-functional value teams
- Quarterly Theme theme
- Ad hoc teams eg for organizing a party
What makes for a good crossbeam team
- 5-8 members
- each member is from a different function
- at least two, ideally three different levels of people represented
- no two people that report to each other
- the team reports to an executive sponsor who acts as a mentor but does not participate in team meetings and work.