EP16: Two of My Departments are constantly at odds. What can I do?

DTD Episode 16 Show Notes

Defeat YOUR Drama:
Two of My Departments are constantly at odds.
What can I do?

Click to download the show notes for the Defeat the Drama Podcast Episode 16

Rick from Kansas

DefeatYourDramaIf you’d like me to share customized strategies for your drama situation go to my website http://podcast.defeatthedrama.com/defeat-your-dramaYou can type or record your message.  Use your real name or an alias for anonymity.  Note that recorded or written messages may be used on the podcast.

Rick from Kansas wrote in:

I’m having problems between my Call Center and the Fulfillment Department.  There’s constant bickering.  They don’t want to take calls from each other.  They don’t want to help each other.  I keep telling them that there aren’t evil people working in either spot. Get along!  Nothing I’ve tried works.  I don’t know what else to do.  It’s impacting our customer service!  Help!

Rick, so sorry to hear about your struggles.  Let’s get you some customized solutions.

As always, In the Defeat Your Drama segments, I will provide solutions based on the information provided.  I will obviously not have full details so will provide customized strategies based on what you share.  Always consider your own specific circumstances before taking any action.  These are suggestions not guarantees.

#1 Shift the Focus:

Right now your employees are focusing on the relationship they have with their team members more than they are focusing on providing great customer service.  Help each member of your team understand that they must focus on customer service.  Each person is playing an important role.  Help them see that role.  Even if that other department is the worst team on the planet they need to provide great service.  Figure out a way to take great care of the customers.  No more focus on worrying about who said what or did what.  Shift the focus.  In a previous episode, #5, I shared a strategy for having each team member write a mission centered job statement.  I would have every employee in both departments do that.  Go back and listen to that podcast if you haven’t to get full details or for a refresher.

#2 Engage in Simple Process Improvement: 

I’m going to assume that you haven’t been bringing these two teams together.  It sounds like they don’t know one another.  I will also assume that you have some processes falling apart between the two.  I don’t know your specific circumstance but I’ve seen it over and over and over with my clients.

Humans have a tendency to assign negative assumptions about others in the absence of fact.  In this situation, I believe they have an absence of fact about who their co-workers really are and an absence of fact about how the processes and procedures from one department flow to the other.  They have created a belief that all of the snafus are a result of poor performance and a lack of caring from the other departments.  Or the often assumed, they don’t do anything over there.  Instead, bring them together to they can experience many aha moments as they learn the truth about the workflow between the two departments.

Engaging in some simple process improvement activities will do the following:

  1. It will give you a reason to bring the teams together.  They will get to know one another on a personal level and will learn that they all care about doing a good job.
  2. They will learn about all that is involved in doing what they do in the other departments.  If they are like any of the other teams I’ve worked with there will be many aha moments as they exclaim, “oh, I didn’t know you had to do all of that to get that done!”
  3. You will gain improved processes and more efficiency.  There will be less snafus.

In Episode # 13 I outlined a simple process improvement protocol.  Listen to that if you haven’t already.   I don’t want to restate everything I said there.

#3 Implement a Gripe and Grumble Form:

I love this form.  You can find a sample in the Show Notes for this episode.   Many of my clients have implemented this super simple form as a way to communicate that, as an organization, we are done with whining!

It’s easy to complain.   Identifying an issue is the first and easiest step in the solving an issue process.  This form requires an employee to write out their gripe and then recommend a solution.  If it’s not important enough to ponder a solution than it’s probably not that important period.  Sometimes we give too much weight to our employee’s complaints and try to fix too much for them.  It can create a culture of whiners who are really just interested in getting some attention from their boss.

Rick, I don’t know whether you’re giving lots of attention to employees for their complaining but I have seen it and know it is a possibility.   If this is one of the root causes of your high drama this strategy will help.

So there are three simple strategies that I hope will help you defeat the drama and get your team back on track and focused where they need to be.

If you would like additional help from me please contact me through my website at defeat the drama.com.

Turn a Gripe or a Grumble into a Request or a Solution

It’s easy to complain, gripe or grumble.  But it takes energy without getting you anywhere.  And, you end up sucking energy from those around you.

If your gripe or grumble is worth spending any energy on then it’s worth a bit of time and energy to fix it.  If it’s not worth your energy to fix it then it’s not worth your energy to gripe about.

If you have a gripe or grumble that is worthy, fill out the form, come up with a solution or request and give it to the Office Manager.  Either way, get it off your chest!



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