When you hear the word silo, you might picture the tall round buildings filled with grain. But silos have another meaning in the business world. Virtual silos exist when information is not openly and consistently shared between people or among departments. They are a huge and costly hurdle for any organization that needs to be nimble and competitive on a global scale.
While you may have software tools (like Synergis Adept engineering information management) to manage and organize your information in a centralized repository, your organization may still be lacking the cultural and social skills to make a bridge across disparate teams and global sites.
At last year’s Adept Experience, keynote speaker Brian Cristiano, founder & CEO of BOLD Worldwide, a fast-growing media and marketing company headquartered in NYC, brought a fresh and inspiring perspective to crushing silos in the workplace.
Cristiano recently announced a bold goal over the last year: To grow his marketing agency to revenues over $100 million. During this journey, he’s encountered many virtual silos that have hampered growth and collaboration. In his keynote, he shared his real-life tactics on how to crush these silos. Here are his key tips:
Share information openly as if it will disappear if you don’t
Silos are often the result of poor access to information. When information is hard to reach or hidden by external departments and groups, it becomes more difficult and sometimes even socially awkward to acquire it. His secret to overcoming this issue is to communicate often; so often that if you don’t share the information, it’s equivalent to it disappearing entirely.
Act as if someone else has the solution to your problem
Another common problem of the silo mentality is that people only understand things from their own perspective. To combat this insular thinking, you have to step outside your comfort zone. Start talking to the people in other departments; begin networking with industry peers outside your organization. They might just have the solution you’re looking for if you’re willing to start the conversation.
Frame your decisions by the question, “Will this help my customer?”
In an organization ruled by silos, decisions are often made with influence on how it will affect the department, product, or overall message. Shifting your focus instead to a common goal such as customer success encourages departments to work with one another. Cristiano recommends asking yourself, “Will this help my customer?” when making important decisions.
Breaking down the silos is not an easy task for any organization. However, taking the time to eliminate the root causes of the silo mentality is the best way to help people start sharing information and collaborating more openly. Want to learn more? Watch Brian Cristiano’s Adept Experience 2018 keynote and register for Adept Experience 2019.