It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Silos, Wherever You Go

“In most situations, silos rise up not because of what executives are doing purposefully…but rather because of what they are failing to do: provide themselves and their employees with a compelling context for working together.”- Patrick Lencioni

In continuing our holiday series on what employees want in organizations and sometimes what they don’t want, we thought we would talk about one of the biggest things we hear leaders complain about and that’s silo mentality. There is an inability to get work done in organizations where silos live and thrive. Cultures of silos tends to demonstrate:

  • A lack of ability to solve problems- mostly because of functional supremacy and no appreciation for what other areas contribute to the organization. 
  • Backstabbing and finger pointing- people are always jockeying for power and blaming others when things go wrong.
  • A lack of peer to peer accountability- this also affects relationships and builds mistrust.
  • Hording of resources- best practices are not shared and efficiencies are not created because of a desire to compete, win at all costs, beat the inner competition. 

Employees want to work for leaders and companies where silos can be avoided and in environments where leaders will call out that negative behavior. They want to work for companies where the context of why working together matters is clearly conveyed.

If you are the leader of your organization, what have you done to let others know about the how and why each function matters and contributes to the bottom line of the company? Have you made it obvious? Do each of your employees understand their role and the role of other functions?

So if you work in a company where silos are prevalent, what can you do? Have you tried working with your leader to create a clearer picture of the interdependencies between other departments? Are you the first one to try and solve problems across functions without finger pointing or defensiveness?

Tearing down silos takes courage and creativity. It takes a willingness to address the bad behavior and replace it with new ways to create a compelling purpose where all people feel part of the company’s mission, vision, values and bottom line.