“Silo-itis,” or the presence of walls that separate and isolate different teams within a company, seems to be a dysfunction widely spread across corporations.
They may exist because the respective leaders do not get along and would rather minimize the contact between them. Or because there isn’t a strong enough reason for the leaders and their teams to work together. They may lack a common goal that makes their teams interdependent.
One potential solution to this last issue is to identify a corporate priority that requires the engagement of all the leadership team members. In his book Silos, Politics and Turf Wars, Patrick Lencioni calls this joint priority a thematic goal. Here are a few of its elements:
- It has a single area of focus.
- It is time-bound, usually set in months, vs. a long-term, multiyear goal.
- It is shared by the entire leadership team and, through them, by the entire organization.
Beyond this thematic goal, there are other components of this model, such as objectives and metrics. However, I wanted to highlight the former, as I have seen it as a key opportunity in the teams I have been part of and coached.
Count on me if you want help in removing silos from your company.
Percy M. Cannon