Don’t go it alone: How cross-team collaboration helps 4 Chicago companies solve problems

by Alton Zenon III
February 27, 2019

Everyone has their own expertise. If you’re building something complex, that means working with experts across teams. And sometimes, that blending of perspectives shines lights on entirely new sides of the problem you’re solving.

We spoke to leaders at four companies about why they feel team-to-team collaboration is important, and how it has led them to success. It’s nice having friends.

 

BenchPrep staff chatting

BenchPrep provides education companies and professional organizations with software and tools to create custom learning and training materials based on their needs. Director of Customer Success Emily Leary said working with outside team members helped her downsize a problem she expected to be much larger. 

 

Can you tell me about a time when working with a member of a different team helped you see a problem in a new or different way?

I’m constantly impressed by the different perspectives each BenchPrep team member brings to the table. Most recently, I was working with our product manager and an engineer on a pain point a couple of our customers were having. I originally thought the problem was large and would require a lot of effort, but after working together, they were able to identify the root cause, which was much smaller and an easier fix than we expected.

Cross-team collaboration is particularly critical when it comes to implementations of new customers.”

 

Share a specific example of when cross-team collaboration led to a big win.

Cross-team collaboration is particularly critical when it comes to implementations of new customers. A few months ago, we launched the MCAT Official Prep Hub for The Association of American Medical Colleges which would not have been possible without close collaboration between team members on the sales, customer success, instructional design, product and engineering side.

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CSG team working at computer

CSG provides revenue management, customer experience and digital monetization tools to companies industries that include communications, financial services, media and entertainment, and more. Talent Acquisition Manager Tara Hanacek said collaboration helps her team hire the best people possible for whichever team she’s working with.

 

Can you tell me about a time when working with a member of a different team helped you see a problem in a new or different way? 

In recruiting, collaboration is especially beneficial for us when we partner with technical teams to more thoroughly understand the role we are hiring for. This collaboration often includes sitting in on meetings, getting to know team members and observing their business needs. In my experience, when that extra effort is taken, the needs of the hiring manager are clearer and the recruiting process becomes much more efficient. I also believe this has resulted in a better hire as well as a trusted partnership between recruiter and hiring manager.

In recruiting, collaboration is especially beneficial for us when we partner with technical teams to more thoroughly understand the role we are hiring for.”

 

Share a specific example of when cross-team collaboration led to a big win.

Inside recruiting, we support all of the businesses functions. To better understand our sales organization, I partnered with a colleague in one of our sales business units and she explained the sales components of CSG and how they interact with other departments. This helped me to understand how the technical teams I support drive one another and support the company. Because of this, I am able to more thoroughly explain to our potential hires how we conduct business and how we earn business from both sales and technology spaces. 

 

Nexgen Packaging team outdoors

For companies in the retail, apparel and footwear industry, Nexgen Packaging offers a suite of branding, data and packaging solutions they can apply to their products. Project Manager Ann Kale said the entire company worked together to help new customers have the best onboarding experience possible.

 

Can you tell me about a time when working with a member of a different team helped you see a problem in a new or different way?

Our company focuses on collaboration utilizing all teams’ experience and knowledge. By engaging multiple teams, we are able to use different viewpoints in driving problem-solving solutions for our customers. This allows us as a team to look at our company processes and examine different ways to make them more efficient and more effective. 

By engaging multiple teams, we are able to use different viewpoints into driving problem-solving solutions for our customers.”

 

Share a specific example of when cross-team collaboration led to a big win.

We recently updated our process for onboarding new development for our customers. All teams worked together to create a cohesive process that enables time saving, while maintaining the highest level of integrity for our customers’ information. 

 

HomeAdvisor team taking group photo

HomeAdvisor provides homeowners with the online tools and insights they need to hire qualified, local professionals to assist them with their repair, improvement and maintenance projects. Vice President of National Sales Kelly O’Donnell said her team finds value in working with other crews because it helps them grow internally. 

 

Can you tell me about one time that working with a member of a different team helped you see a problem in a new or different way?

Collaboration is my favorite part of business, and the reason I like it so much is twofold. First, because if done right, it makes the difference between a good company and great company. Second, it can be the most challenging part of our day. I try to push myself and my team past what we thought was our limit, to make sure we are continuing to grow. We usually find growth by paying attention to what other teams are doing right, and what they are doing differently.

We usually find growth by paying attention to what other teams are doing right and what they are doing differently.”

 

Share a specific example of when cross-team collaboration led to a big win. 

One of the teams we recently hired here in Chicago was part of a new strategy for both HomeAdvisor and Angie’s List, and was put into place to aid our business development and national sales teams for both brands. 

This took tons of collaboration, and although it was not always easy, by sharing common purposes and goals, it has worked. It started with a shared vision and the collaborative attachment to the many gains that could be achieved by both brands if we worked together to make them successful. After that, we committed to open communication. Even though it sounds simple, this is the secret sauce for this team. They hit the ground running and beat our expectations just three months into their tenure.

 

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