Stop Organization Silos

Organization silos occur when employees identify more with their group than with the company. When employees operate in silos they tend to keep information within their work group, distrust other groups, and make decisions without regard for other groups. Silos negatively affect efficiencies, collaboration, communication and they can create strong sub-cultures that work against company goals by hampering the cross-functional processes that drive value.

When a company has silos, it is usually a sign of weak teamwork, trust, and collaboration at the top. So the best way to avoid silos from forming, and to eliminate them when they do form is to focus on two priorities:

First, you have to build a strong team at the top. It’s not enough for an executive to build strong relationships with individuals, they must be organized into a productive team.

Second, make sure that all employees understand the overall strategic context of the organization including the future vision, current challenge, and leadership goals. All employees must understand AND buy-in to the leader’s objectives.

Executives: Don’t Operate Beneath Your Level

Many executives have the opportunity to increase quality and productivity in their organizations, and at the same time reduce demands on their time, simply by operating at their own level. To do this, stop giving orders, doing project reviews, and inserting oneself into operations.

Here’s what will happen:

  1. Direct report managers will become empowered to do their jobs
  2. Individual performers will stop bypassing their managers as they search for fast approvals
  3. You won’t be needed at so many operational meetings, and
  4. The majority of people problems and operational decisions will get handled where they should be handled — close to people and operations.

This can be difficult, especially for new executives who were promoted because they have shown great ability in these areas. But it is a very important transition to make.