Solution Saturday: 7 Ways to Deal with Us/Them

Dear Dan,

How do you help the people out in the field feel and believe they are part of the “Team?” Currently the tech people feel not as important as those who work in the office – “us/them” thinking.


the purpose of an organization is to reach higher together.png

Dear Us:

Thanks for your question. Here are a few ideas for working toward a highly connected organization.

#1. Define the noble quest:

Don’t work to overcome us/them thinking. That’s problem-centric. Expend energy on positive outcomes. Work to build strong connections. 

Frustration only tells you what’s wrong.

Concern over an us/them organization reflects the positive desire to feel respected and connected. It takes courage and vulnerability to declare positive desires.

Solve problems by working toward positive outcomes.

It’s safer to run around fixing things than to declare what you want.

#2. Describe behaviors:

Once you define the quest, describe a few simple behaviors that move you closer to winning. Describe what you will do, not what you want others to do. For example:

  1. Tech people attend meetings of other departments. (Prepare the tech team to be advocates not adversaries.)
  2. Strengthen communication. Send a short technology newsletter to the organization once a week.
  3. Extend to others what you want from them. If feeling connected means feeling included, how might you include others in your world? Be specific.

#3. Choose a “respect and connect” champion:

Initiatives require champions. If you can’t find a person to champion your “feel connected and respected” initiative, give it up. Put your head down and keep doing what you’re doing.

#4. Expect a long-haul:

Changing attitudes within an organization takes time and determination, a lot of it.

#5. Encourage each other:

If a tech person attends or conferences into another department’s meeting, go crazy with excitement, for example.

#6. Evaluate and adapt frequently:

Hold quarterly “respect and connect” meetings.

  1. What’s working?
  2. What are we learning?
  3. What could be better?
  4. What will we do next quarter?

#7. Shift perspective:

Choose an “us for them” approach as you work toward an us/we organization.

What suggestions do you have for overcoming Us/Them thinking?