The Sharpening Stone – Silo Busting

If you work in an organization large enough to have identifiable departments or functional units, you know what can happen when tensions arise between groups.

Maybe your sales reps think that your operations people don’t do enough to keep customers happy.  On the flip side, the operations folks are frustrated with sales for making unrealistic promises to customers that they get stuck having to fulfill.

Maybe your night shift workers feel the day shift dumps on them.

Or your administrative staff feel disrespected and patronized by the doctors and nurses in your medical practice.

Or your facilities people think your office staff are a bunch of pigs who can’t clean up after themselves

Small issues like these can grow quickly, and create big problems that impact your workplace culture and productivity.

So, let’s suppose there is some tension between your group/team, and another.  What can you do to improve that working relationship?

Here’s something very simple

Approach your counterpart on that other team.  Acknowledge the tension between your areas, and ask for a brief meeting so you can gain a clear understanding of their perspective, and figure out what you and your team can do to make their jobs easier.

Most people will take that meeting.  These are truly magic words: “What can I do to make your job easier?”  Start with that question. And then your job is simply to listen, not get defensive, and find ways to be helpful.  A simple meeting like this can begin to change the tone of interaction between teams, and build cooperation.

Maybe you’ll even get lucky enough to have your counterpart turn things around and ask you the same question.

About the Author: Rob Skacel, Ph.D.

Rob is a licensed psychologist with senior executive experience. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from Franklin & Marshall College, and Master’s and Doctoral degrees from Purdue University. Rob began his career in the field of clinical psychology, splitting his time between patient care and management responsibilities. Within a few years, he began the transition to business psychology specialization. He has since held senior leadership positions in sizeable for-profit and non-profit organizations, where his responsibilities focused on performance improvement and organizational development.

Rob founded True Edge Performance Solutions in 2000, and maintained it as a part-time venture for a number of years as he continued to accrue executive experience. By 2006, True Edge had grown to the point where it required Rob’s full-time attention. Over the years, Rob has provided services to dozens of leaders and their organizations, in a variety of industry sectors such as manufacturing, professional services, health care, agribusiness, construction, education, non-profit, and trade associations.

The Sharpening Stone

The Sharpening Stone is a series of short videos from True Edge designed to sharpen leaders and their organizations.

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