Did you ever have cats?
We've got a couple of them, and they're forever fighting over territory. They'll share the same food dish just fine, but fight like...well, like cats...over who gets the perch of honor on top of the living room bookshelf.
The cats came to mind as a friend of mine told me about a frustrating meeting he'd just suffered through. Two managers at his company wasted most of a morning publicly hissing and scratching over who should be the gatekeeper for a particular kind of customer contact.
"My team needs to talk to them first," the sales manager insisted. "Some of them could be sales opportunities, and if he gets them before we do," (I could almost hear the hiss here) "he'll just foul them up."
"But I need to be able to get my staff working on resolving service issues," wailed the customer service manager. "Once the sales reps get the calls it'll be weeks before they pass the information on to me."
The VP presiding over the meeting dithered, not wanting to offend either side, and ultimately the issue remained unresolved.
My friend was particularly bemused by the fact that even as this argument went on, his company's IT department was working to implement a costly CRM installation designed to--you guessed it--foster communication within the company and improve customer relationships. Maybe, he said hopefully, the CRM system will solve this problem.
Sure, I told him. You keep believing that. But keep your resume up to date. I know a dot com that's hiring.
The fundamental nature of cats hasn't changed now that they live in houses and eat Friskies, instead of living in trees and eating rodents. Nor is the fundamental nature of business going to be changed by CRM technology and the Internet. Business success requires teamwork and trust--and visionary leadership doesn't hurt.
Anything less, you're just coughing up hairballs.