Spring 2006

Patrick Lencioni Talks Turf Wars

Ending Turf Wars

Tribalism at Work

Silos, Politics and Turf Wars: Book Review

Workplace Wars & How to End Them: Book Review

Newsletter Archives


THE EMISSARY PROCESS: Breaking down organizational silos. 

Departments or workgroups spend time thinking about their relationships with other departments. Each workgroup spends time discussing and taking notes during this self-assessment and feedback exercise. As solutions become apparent through the process, participants gain confidence in their ability to replicate them back in the office.

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Tribal Warfare Goes Corporate

Humans need to belong. According to Maslow's Hierarchy, one of our primary needs is affiliation and belonging. So it's only natural that we have a drive to socialize and join... our hunter-gatherer ancestors needed it to survive each day, and we (and perhaps they as well) depend on the psychological benefits of being a member of a clan. Forming tribes is what we do...sometimes to our benefit and sometimes to our detriment. The tribe to which we belong provides us with power and support. However, when other tribes are vying for the same resources, turf warfare ensues.

The Iroquois League of Nations is an example of what can happen when warring tribes cease infighting. Those who joined in the League were the Seneca, Onondaga, Oneida, Cayuga and Mohawks and they rapidly became one of the strongest forces in North America during the 17th and 18th centuries. However, it took outside threats and pressures (from the Algonquin tribes and European settlers) to galvanize the tribes to join forces and to keep them united.

Interestingly, many of the organizations we work with could tell a similar story. "It wasn't until the competition came out with this cutting-edge product that our development and marketing departments really started working together."

Often the structure of organizations, separate locations, different work tracks, varying work hours, can make it hard to work together effectively. Cross-functional teams have more than just physical barriers separating them. While the individuals within might share the same goal, each attacks in different ways, from different perspectives, with different agendas and at different points along the timeline.

In this issue, we'll be examining tribalism, turf wars and silos and what some organizations are doing to "keep the peace."

Remember, work is an adventure...be prepared!

Ed Tilley
Adventure Associates, Inc.

© 2006 Adventure Associates, Inc.