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What Does Silo Mentality Mean in Business Terms: The Silo Mentality How To Break Down the Barriers

What Does Silo Mentality Mean in Business Terms: The Silo Mentality How To Break Down the Barriers
What Does Silo Mentality Mean in Business Terms: The Silo Mentality How To Break Down the Barriers
Effective communication and feedback is the key to breaking down the silo mentality. But what does silo mentality mean in business terms.
Posted in: Culture
What Does Silo Mentality Mean in Business Terms: The Silo Mentality How To Break Down the Barriers
What Does Silo Mentality Mean in Business Terms: The Silo Mentality How To Break Down the Barriers

What does silo mentality mean in business terms?

What does silo mentality mean in business terms

According to the Business Dictionary, the Silo Mentality is a mindset in which certain departments or sectors of a corporation refuse to share information with others in the same company. This approach will reduce overall efficiency, lower morale, and maybe contribute to the collapse of a productive organisational culture.

Over the last 30 years, the term "silo" has been bandied about and debated at many boardroom tables. Unlike many other trendy management buzzwords, this is one issue that hasn't gone away. For most firms of all sizes, departmental silos are perceived as an increasing nuisance. Executive leaders and management have a responsibility to prepare and equip their people with the correct mindset in order to break down this harmful organisational barrier.

Examples of silo mentality in business

Examples of silo mentality in business
  • Teams duplicate effort: After spending weeks working on a new project, one of your team leaders finds out that another team has delivered on exactly the same brief as them. Facepalm.
  • Managers aren't aware of new initiatives: Two weeks before launch, your customer support team learns about a product update they could have given a ton of user feedback for.
  • Things are hard to find: After searching for days for some vital piece of equipment or information, your employee finally discovers that what they need has been squirreled away by another team.
  • Power struggles: Members of different teams find it hard to play nice.
  • Dangerous consensus: No one seems to disagree about anything—either because disagreement is frowned upon or because employees have no incentive to shake things up.

Where does the problem of silo mentality in business begin?

The silo mentality does not emerge by chance, and most organisations suffer with interdepartmental turf fights. When we dig deeper into the fundamental causes of these problems, we discover that silos are frequently the product of a conflicted leadership team.

Many executives may dismiss department inefficiencies and a lack of cross-functional solutions with immature personnel, a lack of fundamental training, or just the inability of some employees to get along with one another when looking at their business. Unfortunately, while the silo mentality may be the source of these behaviours, it is not the root reason. These assumptions will actually harm the organisation in the long run by causing animosity and skepticism among the teams. When employees recognise problems but are unable to address them, they feel frustrated with their department and the organisation as a whole. It is the leadership team's obligation to realise this and rise to the challenge of developing effective, long-term solutions that are scalable, actionable, and realistic.

Here are five suggestions for promoting a unified front.

The silo mentality how to break down the barriers

The silo mentality how to break down the barriers

1. Create a unified vison for your business

​ "Silos — and the turf conflicts they enable - damage organisations," writes Patrick Lencioni in his book Silos, Politics, and Turf Wars. They waste resources, reduce productivity, and threaten goal attainment." He continues by advising leaders to break through barriers by pushing past behavioural concerns and addressing the contextual issues at the heart of the organisation. For many businesses, this means that not only must all employees row in the same direction, but the executive teams must also be actively involved in guiding the boat. It is critical that the organization's leadership team agree on a single and cohesive vision. Prior to sending it down to the teams, there must be widespread executive buy-in and a deep awareness of the company's long-term goals, department objectives, and major activities. A cohesive leadership team will foster trust, empower employees, and move managers away from the "my department" mindset and toward the "our organisation" one.    An Intranet Software For Small Businesses can facilitate multi-directional communication by allow employees and managers the ability to post announcement to the team this is a great way to encourage communication and allow employees to feel that their voices are being heard.

2. Contribute to the achievement of a common goal

After the leadership team has agreed on the organization's overarching unified vision, it is critical that they identify underlying root problems that may be producing the ripple effect of silos. Many tactical goals and objectives are determined, but it is up to the Leadership team to stay on track and define the single, qualitative emphasis that they all share as the top priority. Once the "elephant in the room" has been discovered, it is critical that all executives and management members work together to achieve a unified goal. It's also critical that all employees are aware of the goal and know how they may contribute individually.

Systems thinking is defined as a comprehensive and big-picture view of the whole by Virginia Anderson and Lauren Johnson in their book Systems Thinking Basics. Recognizing the relationships between system pieces and synthesizing them into a cohesive vision is what it is all about. This way of thinking, combined with a single objective, should be utilised across teams to foster collaboration, teamwork, and, eventually, achievement of the common goal.  AgilityPortal allows teams and employees the ability to create goals and broadcast the goals to other teams so each team can focus on a common goal.

3. Motivate and incentivize your employees

Executives and management teams who are able to build a clear, shared aim and grasp how the numerous elements of a whole interact deserve praise. The first half of the war has been won. Execution and implementation are the final phases in breaking down silos. Motivation differs between teams and, more crucially, between individuals. What truly distinguishes a good manager is the ability to recognise the important factors that motivate each of their employees and the ability to successfully communicate this information to a variety of audiences. Each member of the management team must reward their personnel in accordance with the common aim after it has been determined.

If one of your common goals is to improve your company's reputation, one of your targets may be to increase the quality of your product. If the goal is to improve the quality of the product, your employee incentives should be designed to achieve that goal. For example, a product developer might be rewarded for meeting a deadline by reducing bugs, while a customer care professional might be rewarded for boosting customer pleasure. Incentives will go a long way toward motivating staff, but they are not sufficient.

Motivation comprises a wide range of approaches, including shared interests, individual investment in progress, shared voice, and positive words of encouragement, which managers must keep in mind. All of the strategies outlined in Motivation are intended to counteract the "it's not my job" mentality by encouraging collaboration, teamwork, and, most importantly, productivity.

4. Execute and track your progress 

​ It is critical that this goal, like any other established goal, be adequately measured once it has been defined. The leadership team must set a deadline for completing the common goal, set success criteria, and assign particular responsibilities and objectives to other members of the management team. Meetings should be held on a regular basis with the goal of holding each employee accountable for their allocated duty. It is not uncommon for a significant quantity of inertia to be required to maintain velocity. Let's not forget that routine and constant reinforcement are essential for teams to succeed. For the aforementioned three processes to work correctly, teamwork and ongoing cooperation are required.

5. Collaborate and come up with new ideas

In today's businesses, Francis Bacon's famous adage "knowledge is power" plays a critical role. Knowledge, collaboration, creativity, and confidence are all important components of a successful and productive team. Any team that lacks these four fundamental elements is doomed to fail. Management should allow and cultivate cross-departmental engagement to encourage your teams to display all four of these attributes. The information exchange and collaboration that will surely occur across teams is incredibly invaluable. Management should work to reduce unnecessary long and frequent meetings, develop out accessible and small meeting rooms, implement a cross-departmental training/education system, and encourage constructive feedback from outside departments to maximize collaboration, knowledge, creativity, and confidence.

Breaking down silos is a difficult endeavour for any organisation; yet, avoiding these challenges would be more harmful to personnel and, eventually, the firm's overall health. The five phases outlined in this article are intended to aid in the formation of a united vision and the establishment of practical actions for giving team members with a clear purpose and means of achieving the final common goal. Nothing in any organisation is more powerful than having all employees rowing in the same direction.

Ready to start using our intranet as an effective tool for internal communications, and break down silo in the workplace? 

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