Untangle and grow

A blog by Alison Maxwell

Monday, 1 August 2011

Team to Team coaching – breaking down ‘us and them’

Strange how the same issue hits you from different directions. I was talking this week with leaders from two very different organisations – one a large corporate and the other a medium sized IT company. Both were bemoaning the ‘us and them’ syndrome going on in their organisation... sales hating operations, marketing hating supply chain etc. You know the sort of thing I’m on about, and you’ll also know how much energy this can consume.

What was interesting was how both these leaders saw this as an issue of personality clash rather than of organisational alignment. “I’ve tried for 10 years to build a relationship with those guys but I’ve just come to the conclusion they are odd” said one.

I’ve learnt that one of the simplest and most effective things I can do to help teams function is to get the ‘us and them’ into a room and get to walk in each others shoes – at least for awhile. People just seem to get a whole new appreciation for each other and remind themselves that the real enemy is outside not in.  I heartily recommend it.

So.. who is ‘us’ and who is ‘them’ in your organisation. How could you find out what it’s like in their world?

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