Issue No. 282 | January 8, 2020

Don’t Knock Down Silos; Connect Them

Although I did not grow up on a farm, I did spend 10 years in Nebraska and saw my share of silos. They are built to withstand all kinds of natural and man-made disasters and are not easy to topple. Most people think, that in the corporate setting, they should knock these down.

Think again. 

Both on the prairie and in the office, silos are strong and resilient. The primary reason for this, at work at least, is because they protect the tribes of the organization. Marketing people like to hang with other marketers; finance people talk only numbers and dollar signs among their brethren and operation folks just want everyone else to stay away and let them do their job!

I was talking with a CEO this week and she shared that she’s put into play a strategy that we discussed last year regarding the silos that existed in her organization. Instead of trying to blow them up, she took the action to bring them together through a series of designed business projects where her diverse teams had to work together to achieve the desired outcomes.

Team leaders served as co-chairs and team members had to work with folks from other departments to get the work done. She was pleased to report that she was able to maintain the integrity of her business units, the silos, which her teams appreciated, but also got people to work across purposes which wound up supporting their individual and the organization’s mission.

Your Challenge This Week: Reach out to another tribe member in your organization and build a linkage for 2020 that will help connect your silos

® Richard Citrin 2020

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