Multi-Functional Teams is one of the hardest principles to implement and follow. For many years we were taught that specialization and grouping specialists to dedicated groups are the best approach to run a business. Department (specialists dedicated groups) is the most common way to group people in organizations. But, we all know that those departments are silos (or independent groups) with their own purpose that most of the time conflicts with the organization purpose.

Departments create silos for two main reasons. Foremost once you establish a group with a different identity, by design you created “we” (the group) and “them” (everyone else) behavior. Second, the communication channels are within the specialized group (where people have a lot in common) and not between groups.

In today’s organizations, silos are one of the leading reasons for the difficulties they experience. In a world of uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity, silos are a significant obstacle for the business future. Replacing silo, single-function teams, with multi-function teams is the only way to create organizations that can always deal with the future.

Specializations and silos are good principles for building machines, but organizations are not machines. Organizations are a living organism that can be described by complex adaptive systems (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complex_adaptive_system). Our body is a complex adaptive system that proved to be working for a long time. 

If we want organizations to be successful in a complex, changing and unexpected world, we need to implement functions and expertise in the same way that our bodies work. Instead of dedicated departments, we need to define functions that are needed to reach the organization’s purpose. Instead of creating groups of experts, we need to develop hybrid groups with all the expertise to achieve the defined goal.

Make sure your structure is based on groups with a clear purpose that supports your business purpose. That groups are a combination of all experts needed to reach a target. 


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