We hear it all the time… Our organization is filled with silos! Why is this? How do we get the silos to come down? How do we rebuild relationships from the top down that facilitate cooperation throughout the organization?
Companies have mission statements, engagement strategies, in overall philosophies that upper-level management want their leaders and employees to follow. Then why do we still hear the word Silos? Why do we still hear about people's fear of conflict? Why do we still hear about disagreement within our organizational ranks? The answer is simple! We demand teamwork but we don't facilitate teamwork in a proper way!
Issue # 1: We challenge people to work together and usually the thing that facilitates that challenge is a problem. People become too busy to just arbitrarily get to know one another. Companies who grow are at great risk for this and we tend to throw people within and across departments together to solve problems when at times we have no foundation to even communicate with one another.
Issue # 2: Many internal relationships start off in the wrong foot. Much like issue number one we tend to get thrown together in the same room only when there's an initiative and a challenge. Wherever we go as a coaching organization we hear the same thing from every single client and every single leader: just so you know Tim we are really really busy and our industry is extremely different and we don't have a lot of time. When I hear this I sometimes cringe only for the reason it teaches me that organizationally they are probably not just arbitrarily getting to know one another. What this means is that when there is a challenge or a problem in an initiative employees are forced to be teammates when in fact we haven't even started off as good teammates.
Issue #3: We have very little perspective in corporate America of how our work can affect another person's level of work. One of the best examples of this years ago was at one of our client site where a salesperson got angry in one of her team building coaching sessions. I asked the salesperson what was wrong and he shared in front of the group that he was angry with himself because he had no idea of his lack of thoroughness as it relates to his paperwork had created so many late evenings for the finance department. The woman at the table who was from the finance department supported him by saying that she thought everybody understood this. That moment of clarity and perspective developed a very worthwhile and productive relationship going forward. We need to provide ample time to learn not just about one another but one another's jobs.
Issue # 4: Our ability to give and receive feedback is vital. All too often people will provide feedback when their frustration or emotional level get so high they feel they must provide that feedback. On the other hand we don't teach people how to receive feedback. So often you will hear employees focus on how something was said and not what was said. This wicked combination comes at the expense often a very good positive as well as constructive feedback.
Issue #5: Our ability to handle conflict is usually at the forefront of most silos. We tend to go into meetings to win a battle versus gain cooperation. We tend to think that when someone confronts an issue is personal versus business. Confronting an issue is nothing more than building awareness of an opportunity to improve but the reason we struggle so much with conflict is our relationship with the very issue of conflict. We tend to think conflict is vulgarity or violence or yelling and screaming; when in fact, conflict is a very healthy apparatus that can make an organization and its internal relationships become stronger. We need to teach people to not only how to confront issues thoughtfully and professionally but also how to receive conflict in a very professional sensitive manner without feeling defensive. Certainly this is easier said than done but without the proper training and education we simply leave it to chance and that's where most issues seem to reside when it comes to our corporate silos.
Want to Build a Strong Team That Helps Bring Silos Crashing Down?: http://www.salesprogress.com/progress-coaching-team-development