Corporate jargon trends. In the 90’s it was all about “World Class” this or that. In the early days of the new millennium, everyone was using “Cutting Edge” technology to drive “process improvements”. Today, organizations are striving towards “breaking down silos”.
I am going to stand against the Corporate Universe and say “KEEP YOUR SILOS! “ Assuming you were moderately successful in the 90’s and 00’s creating a World Class team/Business Unit/Company and improving your processes by erecting a departmental silo, why would you un-do all of that now by tearing down those silos and expect it to be the magic potion to fix your problems?
Instead ask yourself, what problem are the silos creating and what is another way of correcting that problem? Modify- don’t disregard!
I use the example of the Obama’s Affordable Care Act. The implementation of the service was done poorly but that doesn’t mean the program does not have worth. . In project management terms, they should be in continuous process improvement stage where they evaluate what is working and what is not. Then steps should be made to modify the program accordingly. No one gets it right the first time!
So you have silos. I would bet that the issue with these silos is more about the information to and from the silo. That leads up to the buzzword for the ‘10’s, “Transparency”. It’s all about letting others know what is going on within your silo and what that means for them. So, what is your solution?
Just Add Windows!
If all of your Organizational silos had windows, other silos could peek in when they wanted to see what you whatever you decide to place in front of the window.
My recommendation it to create an overarching network of liaisons. These people act like press secretaries for what goes on inside the silo. They are there to communicate the roadmaps and operational impacts of what is going on in their silo to the other liaisons. This way coordination exists from a central point of contact. It is then each business unit’s responsibility to disseminate that information to their teams as they see fit without disrupting Business As Usual or going through the bucket loads of Change Management associated with tearing down a functioning department because something thinks the silos aren’t functioning well enough.
Don’t hire that expensive consultant (unless it's me!) to come in and re-vamp your organization. Create visibility and transparency by just adding windows into your work.