We are collaboration addicts.
And taking that one step further, we’ve become—over the course of our careers—collaboration evangelists.
Almost anyone in management will tell you that teams that collaborate are the most successful. And while most managers work hard to encourage an environment where teamwork is encouraged and fostered, we sometimes find ourselves in a bigger silo that makes it difficult to collaborate with groups outside our area.
A silo is essentially a barrier around work groups or business units. How many times have you been working on a project only to learn that another group is doing the same work?
Sometimes groups function autonomously, which is ok for some situations. But silos can stifle productivity, kill morale, create frustration, and impede innovation when working across groups.
Overlap is a common symptom of work silos and is costly to the organization. It directly affects the bottom line. Employees who discover this duplicity often disengage which adds further to the dysfunction and expense.
Needless to say, silos suck.
Silos exist for many different reasons and are one of the primary roadblocks to collaborationHere are the most common reasons silos are created.
The ugly truth about silos
Here’s the tough thing about silos—they are typically caused by people.
Usually the person at the top of the silo is the reason it exists in the first place because:
How to break down barriers if you are stuck in a silo
So, this is a tough one, right? Because your boss, or the big boss, is often the cause. You don’t want to aggravate him or her, but you don’t particularly want to spend your days on the hamster wheel, exhausted and going nowhere because you are too timid to act.
Here are some of our suggestions for breaking down the barriers caused by silos.
Taking these steps, where ever you are in the org chart, can turn breakdowns into breakthroughs.
Taking ownership of the situation, even if you didn’t create it, can make a difference.
Effectively collaborating with your co-workers to make things happen is incredibly rewarding – go for it!