As an organizational business tool, “departments” are pretty much unavoidable. They’re a semi-logical way to categorize people by functionality and focus. But an unintended consequence of departments is that they tend to isolate people from the rest of the business. Categorization puts metaphorical blinders on people that, while helping them focus on their primary tasks and objectives, also prevents people from knowing what else is going on in other areas and needlessly limits their potential contributions.
Take Human Resources, as an example. Typically, HR people play three critical roles, that of administrative expert, employee advocate, and change agent. Yet, in recent Harvard Business Review blog post, “It’s Time to Split HR,” a business advisor/author argues that Human Resource’s skills and knowledge should benefit other areas of the business, too. (continued…)