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POPin Blog

Tearing Down Corporate Silos

It’s time to tear down the silos. No, we don’t mean those nuclear thingys (but that’s probably not a bad idea either) or Brad and Angelina’s daughter. We are talking about the inevitable big-company disease called the Silo Mentality. It’s defined by the Business Dictionary is a “mindset present when certain departments or sectors do not wish to share information with others in the same company. This type of mentality will reduce efficiency in the overall operation, reduce morale, and may contribute to the demise of a productive company culture.” And that friends, is a not-so-pretty disease. And no doubt you’ve seen it in action, or are currently struggling with it now. Make no mistake; the silo mentality becomes synonymous with power struggles, lack of cooperation, and loss of productivity. And always, the customer/client is the ultimate loser. We’ve seen firsthand what silos can do to an enterprise: The organization dissolves into various groups of isolated camps, with little incentive to collaborate, share information, or team up to achieve any large corporate initiative. Leaders will focus on serving their individual agendas and companies will witness the inevitable internal battles over authority, finances and resources. Sadly, the result is poor productivity and missed opportunities. What can be done to tear down silos, reduce conflicts, and increase collaboration? Here are a few ideas: Reward collaboration. Too many companies talk about collaboration yet reward individual achievement. Therefore, the first obvious solution is to change the reward system. Define and make collaborative performance objectives part of the employee review process. Recognize and promote people who work across organizational boundaries – and tell their stories to the whole organization. Focus on innovation. Innovation is triggered by an interactive mingling of ideas, such as when the “right people” happen to meet at the right time and discover that each can offer something in the mix. It is in the combination and collaboration of ideas that creative breakthroughs happen. So anytime an organization can put serious focus on innovation, the natural result is bringing people together with different perspectives and skill-sets. And this will absolutely help in breaking down barriers and silos in the process. Communicate transparently. You know by now how we feel about open communication. It’s what has driven us to develop PoPin. Company-wide communication is a key in breaking up silos or even avoiding their development in general. You need to make sure that every employee has access to the same candid information about how the company runs its business. Encourage networking. We are big believers in networking within a company. It goes a long way in facilitating collaboration. Workplace relationships and communities can then happen organically in a very positive and supportive manner and you’re well on your way in developing a very shared environment.