I was a new leader on the team and was doing a ninety-day assessment. The business trends clearly showed there were problems but I needed to identify the specifics to see if we could turn the organization around. My first week in, I knew we had a major silo problem. Every area was blaming the other areas for the lack of results. Product development blamed sales, sales blamed marketing, and marketing was spinning their wheels trying to please everyone and getting nowhere. The production team was disengaged, frustrated, and felt they had no voice at all. The finance team just reported the results and stayed in their offices. The silo fighting was focusing all the organizational energy inward with little left for market or customer insight.
Whatever organization you lead, you must watch out for silo thinking. It can reduce your effectiveness, undermine your culture, and ultimately cost you in lost profits and lost market share. Your team is wasting energy fighting each other rather than serving the market and customers successfully.Whatever organization you lead, you must watch out for silo thinking. Click To Tweet
Business.Dictionary.com describes silo mentality as “a mind set in some companies when certain departments or sectors do not wish to share information with others in the same company.”
Whether you lead a large organization or you lead a functional area within your organization, here are 3 things you can do to bust up silos and create a collaborative culture where everyone wins.
3 Ways to Bust Silo Thinking on Your Team
- Team Diversity.
Form teams made up of individuals from each functional area to work together to present a 2-3 year growth plan for your company or for a specific line of products/services within your company. This planning phase requires shared knowledge, insight, and trends on the customer and the market you serve. Competitor analysis and financial analysis will round out this robust planning and learning engagement. Have the team present as a team showcasing the diversity of knowledge with one focus – growth. After the planning phase, keep a team approach in place (monthly meetings work well) to ensure collaboration on successful execution of plans.
- Development Culture.Create a development culture where learning other disciplines is expected and rewarded. The best leaders are those that understand all disciplines and how they work together to meet customer needs and to achieve sustainable growth. Any leadership development plan will require cross learning and cross training. Begin to make this a part of the development plans for all members of your team.
- Customer Engagement.Have teams across every discipline engage together with customer and key partners. Our customers began to give us positive feedback when we sent teams of leaders across multiple disciples to listen, learn, and plan with customers. Our sales channel partners began to notice when we sent in teams representing multiple disciples to present our plans. This team approach began to set us apart in the market.
Unity with Diversity
Functions of business require the diversity of different disciplines but great organizations learn how to focus the diversity on a unified outcome. Bust up any silo thinking on your team and enjoy the results.Functions of business require the diversity of different disciplines but great organizations learn how to focus the diversity on a unified outcome. Click To Tweet
What are some of the challenges you have experienced working on a silo thinking team? How were they overcome?
“Now I urge you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree in what you say, that there be no divisions among you, and that you be united with the same understanding and the same conviction.” 1 Corinthians 1:10 HCSB