Instead of utilizing an outside contractor for the administrative office renovation, a local organization opted to deploy the services of their company’s in-house facility crew. The decision was made primarily to save money, but it yielded unexpected benefits that are even more enduring than the new walls and furniture.

Members of the facilities staff, who normally do their work outside of the headquarters area, were suddenly face-to-face with the organization’s leadership for an extended period of time. Administrators interacted with facility staff – and gained an appreciation for the quality of work being accomplished. More than that, the interaction led to humanizing of both teams – it was no longer “THE Administration” or “Facilities”, and instead became Joe, Tammy, George and Ann.

The renovation project provided an opportunity for two groups to collaborate in ways they had not previously done and resulted in cost savings, connections and a source of pride in the new space.

Think about how you can utilize in-house groups to work together in ways that do not normally overlap. Can the front-line staff work together with the senior leadership on a process re-design? Is there a way for middle managers to attend an interactive workshop with the board and humanize the other team? Can community members or neighbors be invited to serve on a task force that impacts how they interface with your organization?

Having an annual meeting or holiday social is better than doing nothing to cultivate camaraderie, but it is in the extended interactions that the real magic occurs. Try to overlap your disparate groups in ways that allow them to get to know each other instead of just meet each other. Even if it results in expenditures instead of savings, it’ll be worth it.

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