If I Could Change Just One Thing

I get it. Working with another team can suck at times. I’ve had my fair share of cases where I wasn’t exactly thrilled about the idea of working with a team of people who I didn’t believe were in the right position to be of assistance. While that’s certainly my opinion, it’s not my place to tell them they’re idiots. It’s also not appropriate. That’s not the only thing that bothers me about inter-team dynamics that seems all too common today.

What really grinds me gears is the lack of open communication between multiple teams and parties that exists, today. Most companies have several teams and aren’t on the scrappy startup level. Some companies have multiple teams doing one type of task, although that number is significantly less. I am in the second boat. More times than I can witness, no matter what management has described, open communication didn’t exist and to even suggest it did was nothing short of heresy.

There’s a comfort zone or bubble that builds up when a team has been around a while and has had the opportunity to essentially do things the way they want to do them for some time. That bubble becomes something the team wants to protect at all costs because its safe and it feels nice. To have that taken away for what would at first seem like no good reason because now there’s team B coming in and helping with the same type of tasks, it can feel threatening.

This situation is amplified when team A tries to take the dominant position in the relationship and doesn’t even try to hide the fact that they’re trying to put team B into a lower, less useful-feeling place to perhaps push them back out. Think of it as a “good ol’ boys club” of sorts or even a country club. If you’re not a member of the special club or organization, then you’re nothing to them. You might as well golf in your backyard because you’ll never be doing it on their lush green grass.

I would fix that, if I could. This is 2015, in case nobody noticed, not 1986. These scrappy startups and small companies are thriving because they’re kicking ass at being one cohesive unit. If anyone expects to continue to be successful or even succeed once, this relationship can’t exist.

At this point, however, if it already exists, it won’t ever go away. This kind of dynamic comes from above. Subordinates tend to conform to how the rest of the team is moving. Changing something like this is hard if not impossible. In this scenario, someone will always be the redheaded step child. It’s about time we accept that and fire everyone who creates that type of environment. It’s not going to do anyone any good in the long run. It hurts morale and low morale hurts quality.