How do you break down silos and make collaboration happen?

You’ll probably need help, feedback or services from another department of your organization at some point. Or, for information, assistance or approval, other teams will approach you. But it isn’t always as simple as it sounds to collaborate with other agencies. Their goals and procedures might conflict with yours. They may seem hesitant to share their experience or information. Or they may not even know your department exists, particularly in large organizations! This can lead to both sides becoming confused and irritated.

Organizational silos aren’t hard to find if you know what to look for. The silo mentality is the cardinal warning sign of organizational silos: an attitude in which a given entity “owned” or protects knowledge or other business tools that would help the company more generally. Here are just some of them:

Mid-to-senior level stakeholders are unaware that other agencies or organizations are conducting significant initiatives. It sometimes makes sense for programs to have restricted dissemination, but the silo mindset can take hold if participants are unaware of significant activities. For hand-offs, departments feel underprepared. Imagine that the marketing department receives an application with a tight deadline to create content for a new product, even though the product has been in production for some time. This may be a consequence of a knowledge disparity that arises from organization silos. Top-down communication is flowing freely, but bottom-up communication is limited or nonexistent. If few actionable suggestions are filtering up from levels below management, this is a warning that silos have taken root.

The above examples of the silo mindset all have the same root cause: instead of sharing and communicating, departments or individual managers take advantage of resources competitively. From power struggles to launch delays to product recalls, this can lead to something.

So if you encounter this, try the following out:

  1. Having a shared goal.

Once the management team has committed to the organization’s over-arching unified vision, it is crucial that this team identify the underlying root problems that can cause the silos’ ripple effect. There are many tactical priorities and goals defined several times, but it is up to the leadership team to stay on the job and identify the single, qualitative emphasis that is shared as the top priority among them. If the “elephant in the room” has been established, it is crucial that all managers and all management representatives work together to accomplish the shared objective. It is also important that all workers are conscious of this aim and understand how they can individually make an impact.

2. Build a shared vision.

Tear down silos by getting beyond behavioral concerns and solving the contextual problems at the center of the company. For many companies, this ensures that not only do all the company’s workers need to row in the same direction, but the management teams need to be involved and the boat must be steered at the forefront. It is important that a shared and cohesive vision for the company is accepted by the management team. Before handing it down to the teams, there must be a large degree of executive buy-in and core understanding of the company’s long-term objectives, department goals, and main initiatives within the leadership team. A cohesive leadership team would inspire trust, build empowerment, and break managers out of the mindset of “my department” and into the mentality of “our organization.

3. Inspire and incentivise.

Kudos to executives and management teams who are able to create a single, shared purpose effectively and understand how the different pieces of a whole intertwine. Half of the battle is won. The final measures in the removal of silos cover execution and execution. Motivation can differ between teams and, most importantly, between people. What really distinguishes a good manager is one who can recognize what main components inspire and of their staff and how to convey this to a wide variety of audiences effectively. Each member of the management team must inspire their workers appropriately once the common purpose has been established.

Employee motivation can go a long way with incentives; however, it is not all that is required. Managers must note that motivation requires a wide range of strategies, including mutual interests, individual development investment, a shared voice, and encouraging words of encouragement. All of the strategies mentioned in Motivation are intended to avoid the mentality of “it’s not my job” and foster feedback, team work, and, most importantly, productivity.

4. Get rid of office politics.

One of the key reasons for the occurrence of organizational silos is that teams can feel a little at risk from each other. Office policies are being embedded, and people are railing against other teams’ cooperation. To put an end to negative office politics, great leaders will step up. You can define problems based on metrics and hard numbers with the use of data. This would make it easier to find workers who are not only able to work together, but also more successful at achieving goals.

5. Utilise office spaces, meetings and tools that facilitate collaboration.

The typical office is one that groups the department’s businesses with teams physically cut off from each other by cubicle clusters, partitions, and numerous building floors. This sets a tone that makes it unavoidable for silos. The modern-day start-up, by contrast, would have a more relaxed culture with open floors and many areas that promote cross-department ties. You should think how you can restructure your office to make sharing, collaboration, and collaboration easier if you want to break down silos in business.

Both workers will have the ability to mingle with those from other teams with occasional joint meetings and focus groups. Outside of working hours, you can also run company activities, such as a fun monthly excursion like bowling, hiking, or paintballing. You will soon boost teamwork in the workplace by giving various teams opportunities to communicate and work together outside of work.

More businesses are recruiting remote workers as the freelance revolution continues to expand. Rarely, if ever, would any of these individuals be in the same workplace as each other. In person, they will never meet. You can unite remote teams with digital collaboration tools and promote seamless connectivity and workflows, even though the workers are scattered around the globe. All teams may work together, even if they are in separate rooms, houses, or nations, by using collaboration resources that promote daily information sharing and communication.

Check out my related post: How to deal with jerks?


Interesting reads:

https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/Breaking-Down-Silos.htm

https://www.eaglesflight.com/blog/how-to-break-down-organizational-silos-and-make-collaboration-happen

https://www.igloosoftware.com/blog/breaking-down-work-silos/

https://www.engagebay.com/blog/break-silo-mentality-business/

https://www.salesforce.com/products/sales-cloud/resources/breaking-the-silo-mentality/

https://zapier.com/blog/organizational-silos/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/brentgleeson/2013/10/02/the-silo-mentality-how-to-break-down-the-barriers/

https://hbr.org/2019/05/cross-silo-leadership

https://smallbusiness.chron.com/break-down-silos-make-collaboration-happen-71704.html

https://www.eaglesflight.com/blog/how-to-break-down-organizational-silos-and-make-collaboration-happen

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