Creating Cross-Divisional Innovation Cohesion

R&D, Marketing, Sales, Finance, IT – you’re familiar with the most common departments within a standard company, and have likely been involved with one or more. You know it can be a real challenge for unalike minds to understand where each other is coming from regarding any number of topics within a project. As an owner, you have to be the champion – the true driver of the process in order to create cross-divisional cohesion removing the silos.

First and foremost, never underestimate the importance of selecting associates who are passionate about your product (or service) and effort. Hiring employees who truly believe in your product and company possess an innate form of motivation, and are far less likely to derail your efforts if they aren’t being rewarded or recognized on a constant basis. Passionate associates always strive to give their top effort towards the cause. Choosing all employees this way will ensure that you’ve got a team that is ready and willing to cooperate.

1.       Assign specific tasks to a dedicated “owner.” Your associates will perform best when they feel as though they are essential members of the team. Not only is delegating crucial for organizational purposes, it has the welcome side effect of making each and every employee feel “special,” an invaluable reward all its own. This will also increase overall understanding and alignment by having defined innovation and mutual understanding of customer needs and wants, not just departmental needs. If you make each employee responsible for a specific task, each will feel like an equally vital part of the process, helping to create cohesion.

2.       Set specific goals: As the leader, it is up to you to create commonality and a common goal like “at least one new product per year.”

3.       Create common incentives: Create a common bond by having like objectives and incentive payouts for good results, like offering a new product sales bonus as a percentage of turnover.

Creating cohesion across all departments within your company is a challenge every business owner faces. But if you follow the aforementioned innovation rules, you are guaranteed to encourage mutual respect and cohesion among members from all divisions. For more additional tips on how to create the best possible team for your company, look for Robert’s Rules of Innovation.

Brands is the founder of, and the author of “Robert’s Rules of Innovation“: A 10-Step Program for Corporate Survival, with Martin Kleinman published by Wiley.