Soft Skills Silence Silos

We’re often so focused on doing the work that we miss doing the work that matters.

We prioritize selling, creating schedules, developing programs, designing products, manufacturing, and installing.

We head off to our respective departments and focus on our respective objectives and the work we believe needs to be done.

We focus on our bubble and stay in our silo, generally only coming out when there is a problem.

Our relationships with other departments often feel adversarial or, at a minimum, unimportant. They tell us we’re on the same team, but it doesn’t feel that way. We only really talk when there’s a problem.

In most organizations, however, the success of a product or service, the success of meeting the customer’s or client’s needs, relies on many or all the departments. When they work together, when they prevent problems and find ways to be more efficient and effective, everyone wins.

Creating this greater sense of teamwork requires “breaking down silos,” first realizing that this IS the work and essential work at that. 

In my experience, helping departments work better together isn’t all that difficult. Even a few conversations focusing less on problem-solving (or problem-blaming) and more on community building can make a huge impact.

If you’re looking to break down silos and enhance the effectiveness of your organization, facilitate conversations that :

🙂 Highlight similarities and common goals, both individual and department.

🙂 Allow people to get to know each other as people, not the job they do. Spend time building relationships, safety, trust, and empathy.

🙂 Help people feel like they are on the same team.