Gentle Bamboo Solutions

One team, opposing goals


My friend’s sister is an Excise Inspector. Her department has one job: To increase the sales of alcohol to improve government revenue.

Her husband works for the Health Department. His department has one of its goals which is diametrically opposed to his wife’s: Reduce the consumption of alcohol, to improve the nation’s health.

They both work for the Government – presumably the same team. A team is expected to have a common goal. Yet, these two sub-teams have exact opposite goal.

How do you reconcile differences when a common goal is lacking? How do you collaborate when the big picture for you and me are totally opposite?

This was an hour long discussion that I recently facilitated for a bunch of very smart managers. Lots of interesting ideas were thrown around and some very practical suggestions came forth too.

The exact outcome of our discussion isn’t pertinent. What is important is to have these conversations. Frequently.

Team building "activities" don’t have to be just superficial discussions and feel good motivational stories. We can and should dig deeper and have uncomfortable conversations. Real insights arise only when difficult topics are discussed.

Digging deeper,