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.

Make Top Team Meetings Effective

Developing a highly-functioning top team is not easy. It takes the right combination of people, agreement on a clear direction, the ability to interact effectively, and a number of other factors.

One difficulty I’ve noticed in many top teams is that their meetings run way too long and just don’t seem to be a good, productive use of time. The problem usually isn’t a time issue, but rather a content issue –they focus on content that is beneath them. Top teams need to focus on strategy, resource allocation and finding ways to effectively coordinate value-added processes across functions (such as the sales-operations process, or customer delivery and responsiveness.) These are the topics that only the top team can effectively address.

Stop addressing things that individuals or functions should handle. And don’t use meetings for informational presentations – they can be distributed for review.

What topics does your top team focus on?