Working in and Disbanding Organizational ‘Silos’



Like so many before me, I too have experienced the frustration of working in an organization where silos were prominent. Therefore, I feel confident in my personal knowledge about this structure. If you were to look up Information Silo in Wikipedia, you would find the following excerpt from its definition: 

… is a management system incapable of reciprocal operation with other, related management systems. With departmental specialization came a ‘silo operational culture’ for many large organizations. The silo effect is characterized by a lack of communication or common goals between departments in an organization.

I imagine that you are also curious as to why a company would use such a system in the first place; since it seems a logical conclusion that this method of operation is ineffective, and can only bring negative end-results.

If you review employment ads, you will be sure to find quotes such as ‘join our ‘team’, ‘share your expertise’ your input matters, be a part of our ‘successes, and so on. Naturally, these ads are specifically designed to lead the reader to believe that their participation, education, and tenure in their chosen field actually ‘contribute’, when indeed under the silo scenario, their efforts will most likely be stifled.

This is what appears to have become our blueprint of a company worthy of our efforts in terms of career growth and opportunity. A company’s success could look like a listing on various stock exchanges, and/ or the benefit of several ‘stakeholders’ with vested interests in place.

These stakeholders would, of course, take part in, and analyze the development and growth of the ‘brand’ of their firm. This level of success permits a company to have an absolute requirement of employing only the best in talent, to join their respective ‘teams’.

To my way of thinking, this is a monumental mistake, as well as a waste of talent, and stifles not only the employees caught in this predicament but also the firm’s overall success ratios. Why?

Well, in terms of career growth, this type of atmosphere is not conducive to a true ‘team spirit’, nor does it support growth, or knowledge-based intelligence across all lines of service, which in my view, is the fertile, and ideal scenario.

With the added ‘team’ cooperation comes not only camaraderie within multiple divisions but also growth across and within all of the lines of service.

For me, an organization’s true measure of success is evident by its people, not its size, region, or financials. I believe that all organizations are only as successful as their dedicated, proud and professional employees.