One of the worst things you can have in your company is what I call “silo thinking”. This is where your people are concerned about what’s going on in their department and don’t really care what’s going on in other parts of the company.
What causes silo thinking?
If your company has more than three people you have jobs with separate responsibilities. We often let the people we work with set a tone for their own work areas. I like when you do that. What you don’t want to do is to allow people to ignore other parts of the company, no matter how big or small your company is.
Silo thinking is caused when people don’t understand how different areas of the company connect with each other. I know that when I first started in business I did a really poor job of helping everyone in the company understand how everyone was dependent on each other to deliver great service.
If you find that people in your company like to blame other sections for their problems you have silo thinking. One way to get rid of this thinking is by not allowing blaming. Instead ask your people what they can do to solve any problem they present.
Your silos hurt your profits.
When you have people in your company who believe “it’s not their job” you have a problem. I’ve seen companies where the not my job syndrome is so bad that people in one section actually take pleasure when another section screws up.
If you find that people aren’t willing to jump in and help other sections I can promise you one thing, your profits are being hurt. When one section of your company won’t help another you have waste.
All companies have work that ebbs and flows. If your people aren’t willing to help each other you either are giving bad service when it gets busy or you have people sitting around waiting for something to happen. Both are a problem and both are caused by silo thinking.
Silos keep your company from being innovative.
Innovation doesn’t come from one part of your company. True innovation will require people from different parts of your company working together. If you find that your company is stuck and you’re not seeing new ideas, products, and methods of operation appearing you have a silo problem.
Innovation is hard work. When a company is innovative things don’t always work well. This is especially true if one part of your company is not willing to help with another. If you find that people in your company like to throw rocks at ideas that come from different people or jobs you just won’t be able to get a good innovation program off the ground. You’re going to have to fix this if you don’t want to fall behind your competition.
Silos keep your company from providing great service.
I’ve always found that everyone has to be in the customer service business if you’re going to delight customers. You can’t just have the customer service people involved. You’re going to need customer service to work with operations, manufacturing, sales, and billing to get everyone on the same page.
When a customer service problem appears everyone has to want to make it better. This is part of the innovation process that no one talks about. Innovation isn’t just new products it’s also about better systems.
Tear down your silos.
Do yourself a favor and tear down your silos. If you find yourself blaming or justifying when other parts of the company are blamed, you have to stop that behavior. You have to have your people understand that without cooperation there is no chance your company can be world class.
It’s part of the deal. Without cooperation there can be no trust. Without trust people are naturally going to protect their turf. Find ways to build trust and build cooperation in your company. You’ll be glad you did.
Hiring the right people is a major part of building a company that has respect and cooperation between different parts of the company. We’ve put together a survey that looks at how good your hiring systems are. This eleven question survey will help you think about areas you might want to improve when it comes to hiring people who want to cooperate with each other. To take this survey, click on the button below.