POPin Blog

Silos – Anything worth Saving?

We’ve been on a crusade. We’re on a mission and it’s been about boosting employee engagement, encouraging innovation and evangelizing the power of collaboration. And lately, we’ve talked a lot about the need to tear down silos – of how no matter the size, silos can be detrimental to an organization’s ability to succeed. Yet, for every ying, there’s a yang. For every heads, there’s a tails. The devil’s advocate (remember the DA from last week?) tells us that there are two sides to every story. So in that case, we’re drinking our own Kool-Aid and asking ourselves, “Silos…is there anything worth saving?” We don’t necessarily think ‘saving’ is the right word exactly. Perhaps it’s more about asking if there are any benefits to silos that are important to consider. Think of this way. Silos are not bad per se, are often required, and can in fact be very effective and useful. The “silo problem” lies not with the silo concept at all, but rather with the lack of communications between silos, and lack of control over silos.
  1. Collaboration

Think about what’s inherent in a “silo’d” operation. A common set of individuals working on common goals. Their unity of thinking means that chances are good that these walled groups are a tight knit bunch that will collaborate well.   So silos are great for teamwork. What won’t work well at all is CROSS collaboration to the OTHER silo operations.

  1. Employee Engagement

Again, we’re talking about within the silo. This group “belongs” to their own community. Within organizations, silos reflect a tribe that is an important part of belonging. In corporate speak we’d celebrate this as “employee engagement”. What won’t work well at all is engagement ACROSS the other silo operations.

  1. Direction

When a silo has a clear and definitive set of objectives, then the path is set and to some degree, some roadblocks are removed. In effect, clear boundaries mark the edge of where a group can act without further consultation and progress happens (or at least, movement).

Even playing the DA, we’re still believers in tearing down silos. We believe that it’s important for companies to help facilitate a unified vision and establish realistic steps to providing team members with a clear purpose and means to accomplishing the ultimate common goal. There is nothing more powerful in any company than having all employees working towards one unified goal.