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Us vs. Them

“We work weekends and more hours than home office employees. They’re gone by 5 pm.”
 “There’s no discipline in the field. Those guys get away with everything.”
Headquarters vs. the Field. Manufacturing vs. Sales. Buyers vs. Stores.  In every industry in which I’ve been a part, there has been at least some of an “Us vs. Them” culture that exists between those in the main office and other employees who don’t. That lack of trust and resulting unproductive behavior, in my opinion, comes from a perception of favoritism–unfair treatment–by one group or the other. 
Organizations need to work hard not to favor “one kid over the other.” And while it’s great to teach Home Office personnel that the “field is your customer, ” and that salespeople should thank support staff back home, it’s not enough. The employees truly have to understand the roles each has in the ultimate success of the organization: how all the pieces fit. Actions are required that improve communication long-term, foster transparency between departments and inspire teamwork. Overall strategies can include such ideas as mixed task forces with goals based on overall company success; a communication vehicle/newsletter in which articles are submitted by both groups; and an exchange program, in which employees take turns working for a day or two on “the other side.”
When the silos are broken down, the communication is clearer and the organization runs better. It’s worth the effort, because it’s hard enough to run one organization–much less two