Project Management

Team vs. Team

Louellen Essex and Mitchell Kusy

Here are nine signs that unproductive or dysfunctional behavior between teams is likely. If you see some of them, act quickly to reduce their intensity or frequency, and begin collaboration building.

It's an age-old dilemma in business: Two cohesive teams working in different departments or on different aspects of the same initiative fail to cooperate. When collaboration fails, it means that business objectives are not being met and management needs to take decisive action to align the two work units. Here are nine signs of unproductive and dysfunctional behavior patterns that signal it's time to engage in proactive collaboration building:
 
1.       Minimal communication occurs between teams, which results in hoarding of information.
2.       Members of one team do not trust the leader or members of the other team.
3.       Team members make excessive negative assumptions about the intent behind the behavior of the other team's members.
4.       The teams define themselves in polarized terms, emphasizing differences and strengthening the tribal, or cliquey, culture of each team.
5.       Interpersonal conflict between the two teams' members remains unresolved and/or exaggerated.

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"In Italy for thirty years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, bloodshed - but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love, 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock."

- Orson Welles, The Third Man