By David Rogers
The fire marshal came into our shop one day out of the blue and told us we had a problem. The back of the shop was too wide open, he said, and if a fire started, it would quickly spread across the entire building. And just like that, they made us put up a wall right through the middle of the shop.
Almost instantly, the techs started calling each other “Eastsiders” and “Westsiders.” They were joking at first, but it quickly went from guys just fooling around to something more serious. Pretty soon, the two groups were actively hostile toward each other.
If a tech had to cross the shop to get a tool, the techs from the “other side” would give him such a hard time that it usually wound up ruining his day. And that was not even the end of it. Before anybody noticed, the techs on one side would no longer want to interact at all with the techs on the other side. They stopped helping each other push cars, solve problems or answer questions.
It’s hard to believe, but something as simple as a wall had destroyed the culture we thought we had built.
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