One of the most common challenges that I’ve discovered through working with organisations all over world is that most have silos. What I mean by that is there is internal separation between departments and misunderstandings in their communication.
The impact of silos is miscommunication, missed deadlines and misunderstanding. From working with organisations, I believe that silos are one of the biggest problems organisations face. The challenge comes with dismantling a silo. I think that sometimes we make it a bit too complex, where when it really comes down to it, silos are caused when people dehumanise others by giving them labels, i.e. the ‘sales guys,’ the ‘bean counters,’ the ‘HR staff.’
Dismantling silos is simple. It starts with the act of using people’s names respectfully and thinking about their individual concerns, fears and needs. For example, rather than saying ‘the sales guys,’ use the person’s name: “Mike from the sales team needs this report by Friday the 25th.”
To deconstruct a silo, start with humanising the people in the department, rather than putting labels on them.
Other thoughts to dismantle silos include:
Staff lunch; getting a group of people together to actually meet each other, rather than just sending emails
Using people’s names
Having a one-on-one meeting with people without a political or work agenda
Whom can you connect with (on a human level) this week to break down silos?
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