Smash the SILOS and Lead!

Ever wonder why you can’t easily get anything done, much less done smoothly?

silo collapse3

If where you find yourself is like many other places around the globe, you have likely been frustrated with silos.  Not actual silos like the one above, but rather the way large organizations, and even smaller ones, build infrastructure to act as if departments are not interrelated.  In the name of efficiency, we have inefficiently siloed ourselves to death.

Higher education has often gotten things wrong as it relates to the real world, but one thing most business schools get right is the structure of the final class.  It is often a capstone or policy class structured into groups.  In my case, we have a representative from each major field.  This is confirmation that everything is related within a business and the input from everyone effects the overall outcome.

When was the last time another department came to you to see how a possible change would effect your responsibilities?  If it happened, you might need to be resuscitated.  This is not a reflection on any one person/organization.  This is a reflection on the trend of everyone needs to be focused on self, and as long as you are managing your little piece of the world well…Congratulations.  This is done no matter what carnage is left around you.

Could each team members’ expectations reflect the performance of all departments?

Do yourself and your team a favor, be the one to start the trend.

Have you experienced this?  What have you seen that was effective to lower the silos between departments?

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  1. I’ve primary worked for non-profit (Hands on with youth) so have not personally seen this issue. Though I know it’s present in many organizations.

    Have you read Patrick Lencioni book: Silos, Politics and Turf Wars: A Leadership Fable About Destroying the Barriers That Turn Colleagues Into Competitors? I’ve heard great things about the book and plan on reading it at some point.

    • Thanks for your feedback Dan. What have you seen as communications challenges within you organization? As someone who also works and consults within the nonprofit industry, silos seem to come from different locations. The are not necessarily found across different departments but from the attitude of “That is somebody else’s job. We often put our blinders on and forget what we do affects others. I have heard of Patrick’s book but haven’t read it yet. Thanks for the reminder.

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