At a recent business dinner, the conversation was lively, the atmosphere cozy, and the mood light, as someone rose with glass in hand. “I’d like to offer a toast to Patty, for the terrific way that she has supported us this past year.” Looking over the clinking of glasses and the round of warm congratulations sat an embarrassed but clearly gratified Patty. This simple scene represented the culmination of a years-long journey to rebuild tattered relations between the groups present — and therein lies our story.
The Back Story
For more than a decade, relations between marketing and one of the lines of business had been frayed, sometimes to the breaking point—reflecting in large part the contentious relationship between the heads of both groups. Words like toxic, angry, skeptical, uncommunicative, antagonistic, and the like could be used to describe the tone between the groups at various points. How did things move from this paralyzed state of affairs to the happy dinner scene above? In a word, hard work—a series of steady, persistent actions over the course of years.
Several steps — some intentional, some happenstance — served to break the logjam and help move the relationship between the groups forward.
- Change in Players—The first key event was the departure of the marketing head (for reasons unrelated to this situation). The hard feelings between the two heads had become so entrenched that no Continue reading