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Us and Them: Dealing with People in the "Other Branch"

In this installment, I want to talk about multiple locations.

Specifically, how people who work for a company that has multiple branches relate to people in other branches. When you think of those at other branches, do you think “Fred in our Timbuktu branch” rather than just “Fred”? To me this creates a bit of a divide between branches.

We think of people in the branch we work in as “Fred”, but add a caveat when we think of someone we don’t see every day. It creates a bit of distance between people. If you work for a company where you never see any of the people that you correspond with internally, this attitude can be a totally expected . But I’m not sure it’s one we want to have.

In the case of Kotyck Bros. Limited, we have two branches and we interact with each other all the time. Sometimes we do more work with people in our other branch than with the one we are physically in. So some days, I can work with someone a fair distance away more than someone in the same building. And in a lot of these cases it is on the phone not just via e-mail, so there is a voice to attach to the name.

So does thinking of them as “Fred in Brampton”, cause me to treat them differently than “Fred out in the warehouse”? Does it mean there is a sense of competition rather than co-operation? I’m not sure.

In a case like ours, I think we should be thinking of our other branch more as if it was just another part of the building we work in and not something physically separate. And I think adding that little phrase on the end when we talk about or think about them reinforces that feeling of detachment. Especially when there are people you only see face to face at company functions.

So I’m going to try to stop adding anything on to my conversations and thoughts when it comes to people in our other branch. I encourage you to do the same in your organization.


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