Join Eddie Davila for an in-depth discussion in this video Designing with cross-functional teams, part of Business Foundations.
- What are the products you love to buy? The ones you love to shop for, the ones your research, electronics, cars, furniture, or maybe it's clothes. For people that love clothing, what makes for a great purchase? What would make for a great shirt or dress? Perhaps it's the design of the clothing. What do you like, classic, modern, outrageous? But to be truly great, it needs high-quality fabrics. This is something you'll want to wear again and again, and it'll need to survive getting washed.
Perhaps you value excellent workmanship, solid stitching, consistent sizing; not all of us have an unlimited clothes budget, though. So the price will also be important to the customer. And the company needs to make a profit so they'll be concerned with their costs. For some of us, we want something from a brand we trust, or perhaps a brand that others will admire, so marketing and branding will be important. We can't visit every store or online retailer.
We don't visit every fashion blog, so the clothing company has to get their clothing so that we can see it. So many things need to go right for us to find this one special article of clothing, and if they want us to buy from them again and again, they'll need to consistently satisfy us in all of these categories over and over again. It's no wonder that the most successful and progressive global companies value cross-functional teams. So while you may expect luxury brands like Coach, Chanel, Gucci, and Prada to be filled with dozens of great designers, a real businessperson understands that a successful company in an industry where creativity and innovation are required, a successful company needs cross-functional teams.
Small, well-managed teams made up of very different people with very different skills, so not only does a company like Chanel have great designers, but they also have people skilled in marketing, purchasing, manufacturing, finance, engineering, strategy, and probably a number of other areas. Each of those functional experts brings different skills, different problem-solving techniques; each is creative in their own way, each judges success in a different way.
This is why companies like Apple, Nike, and Lexus have such a long track record of success. Each of these companies values people that understand the importance of product quality, innovation, design, marketing, and of course, profit. As you consider your company, its strengths, its weaknesses, consider the respect and attention paid to all the different functions in your company. Be sure your company gives a voice to a varied group of leaders, they can see mistakes you wouldn't consider.
They can also expose you to opportunities you would've never known about. Long-term success takes a true commitment to cross-functional teams.
He also reviews the basics of the people side of business: managing employees and developing customer relationships. Last, he covers the financial and information management aspects of business and provides a basic explanation of economics, so that you can understand the relationship of your business to the bigger picture.
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- Understanding business goals, stakeholders, and resources
- Developing a product or service
- Selling a product or service
- Raising capital
- Managing employees
- Managing customer data
- Understanding finances
- Managing resources
- Understanding economics