This phenomenon has plagued the corporate world from time immemorial. We become hostages to our own insecurities and create principalities within the organization. Our domain. Our responsibilities. Our team. Thinking big, or for the organization as a whole, is out the window. Our competitiveness takes over. Our ego’s abandon reason. We are slaves to our inability to see the bigger picture.
Short term, this silo mentality may provide a more seemingly manageable, perceived safer and a more supposedly inclusive environment to many. In reality, it fragments the cohesiveness and strengths of an organization, creates fissures and barriers where there really aren’t any and may hamper the progress of the organization if left unbridled. This mentality is not only detrimental for the organization but also drives behaviors that are not conducive for personal growth as it dabbles in & suffers from politics, territorial conflicts, lower morale and limited vision.
We are all in the same boat. Fighting for the same results and pushing towards the same goals. We must wake up to that fact.
Many factors can aid in diluting this effect like SLA’s (Service Level Agreements between departments), Inter departmental objectives, Cross functional teams and targets, Celebrating collaboration etc. etc. But, a culture has to be inculcated within the organization to foster inter departmental collaboration, thinking of the other departments before committing to steps being taken etc.
Creating a competition between departments or between sales teams etc. does not constitute a silo. What we are highlighting here is avoidance of responsibility, the absence of teamwork amongst different teams, the inability to see the bigger picture. Not working in unison, not providing support to inter-department initiatives, not coordinating and working together on projects. Unhealthy competition, working towards the detriment of the organization in pursuit of your own objectives etc. These are clear signs of silo mentality being alive & well in the company culture.
It forms an invisible barrier and is a container of sorts. It contains the potential, the growth opportunity. It stymies an open mind and restricts and emboldens divides.
Line managers must keep a watch on their subordinates to ensure these practices are not being observed by them and push for collaboration, team spirit and camaraderie amongst the different departments in the organization. They should lead by example and coordinate efforts with other functions / departments and ensure their teams are made part of these efforts.
HR must pitch in to ensure such ritualistic practices are not tolerated as it plays against the organizations objectives and growth plans. Cross functional objectives must be evidenced in their performance management structure as well as in their goal setting and performance reviews. Cross functional objectives must be made part of their KPI’s & KRA’s.
Prioritization of efforts to rid ourselves of this all-pervasive malaise is critical.
In the end, people, working together, towards a common goal, is the only solution. There is no better feeling when a well-oiled machine skims towards its destination with no friction and nothing impeding its progress.
Silos are passe. Let’s make them obsolete.
Opinion Piece: Uzair Hassan, CEO, 3H Solutions Group firstname.lastname@example.org / 0506228126