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Pick a side

Tom Wall Published on 20 November 2013

I’ve always liked politics – but I’m not so sure anymore. Every time I turn on the news, it appears that our country’s political differences run deeper and deeper every year.

I know, times aren’t really all that different from the past. But from where I sit, it seems like our country is divided over almost every issue.

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Now I’m not a researcher, so I don’t have any data for why that is. But I’m pretty sure there’s a study that explains why humans feel a need to “choose sides.”

Regardless of the reason, we live in a society where people choose sides for everything … health care, marriage, antibiotics, immigration, constitutional rights, taxes, climate change, public-sector unions, and the list goes on.

Whether the argument deals with politics, religion, sports or food production, a lot of people like to take a stand and choose one side over the other. Whatever the topic, most of us tend to be either for it or against it. And as you probably already know, the workplace isn’t any different.

Management versus labor … Sound familiar?

So where do you think this division in the workplace comes from? Ironically, it seems both “sides” like to blame the “other.”

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A lot of “management people” tend to think “labor” is lazy and trying to avoid doing their work every day. And a lot of “labor people” tend to think “management” is greedy and trying to squeeze more work out of them every day.

So what do you think? When it comes to the business world, do you side with “management” or with “labor”?

I’ll admit it, I lean pretty heavy to the side of management. But over the past 13 years, I’ve been accused of being on both “sides.”

Workers have said that I side too much with the owner, and owners have claimed that I side too much with their employees. And you know what? That’s exactly where I want to be.

You see, when somebody asks me “Whose side are you on?” – that’s when I know I’m doing my job. My job is to work for the dairy, not one side or the other.

The truth is that all of us are working for the benefit of the dairy. We should all have the dairy’s best interest in mind in both the short term and the long term. Sure, what’s in the best interest of the company in the long term might not be very favorable for “one side” today.

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But we’re not working toward one-sided, short-sighted solutions. Ultimately, everyone on your team should be working for the long-term well-being of the company.

Whether you classify someone as labor, management, vendor, customer or investor, every one of us depends on your dairy’s success.

Sure, it’s easy to get caught up in defending your position and “picking a side.” But the reality is this: In every relationship, whether at work or at home, there’s really just one thing we have to ask each other, and not just figuratively but literally.

We literally have to stop talking before the conversation and relationship veer off-course, and ask the following question: “Are we on the same side?” If the answer is “yes,” it’s time to find something everyone can agree upon and start working toward your common goals. PD

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Tom Wall
Dairy Coach
Dairy Interactive, LLC

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