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Breaking down silos In your organisation to improve performance

As a change consultancy, naturally we meet with many different organisations and assess their current pain points and barriers to success.

The main issue that we tend to uncover is that their teams are working in silos. By silos, we mean that each team operates as though it is its very own entity, with its own timeline, goals, and often unaware of the many other moving parts within the business. Siloed teams tend not to communicate with other departments, putting a complete halt on any hopes of collaboration.

We all know that collaboration and communication is key to effective operations. Therefore, a business full of siloed teams may as well wave goodbye to their performance and revenue potential.

If this sounds like your business, don’t worry. All hope is not lost. In this blog, we‘ll discuss the ways in which you can break down silos in your organisation, helping you to achieve a far more optimised workflow that will help you unlock never before seen results.

1. Create and communicate your unified vision and common purpose

Team silos may seem like a problem that stems from the team itself, but in fact, the silo phenomenon actually begins with upper management. Individual teams will often set goals and develop processes that work extremely well for their department, but may not necessarily integrate that well with other teams or the organisation as a whole.

Teams can become very individually focused, without looking at the bigger picture and sharing information across teams. This, however, is not entirely the teams’ fault. In order to break down silos everyone in that organisation must have a good understanding of the company’s shared vision or goal.

If an organisation is transparent about its vision and works hard to communicate that down the line, teams will be more likely to create a free flow of information to help every department work towards the shared goal. It’s no longer about the individual teams anymore, after all, what is success for a team if it means failure for the rest of the organisation?

But how do you do this? Well, first you must obtain executive and leadership buy-in. Dedicated time needs to be spent brainstorming and iterating the company’s primary vision. Once this has been finalised, executives and team leads alike can become ambassadors for the vision, encouraging and enabling adoption by their team members. The company will go from a group of individuals operating in isolation, thinking about their own goals, to thinking about what they can do to help the company achieve its collective goal.

2. Utilise a suite of tools that encourage collaboration and communication

One of the main reasons teams work in silos comes down to the lack of, and inefficient use of software and project management tools. When a team or individual has limited visibility of a particular project or goal, they’re likely to act in ways that are best for the department and not necessarily for the entire organisation. To break down silos, you want to make communication and empathising with other teams as easy as possible.

By implementing tools that encourage collaboration, communication and project transparency, teams are far more likely to see and understand the bigger picture and pitch in where possible to move the project forward. This will not only enable high performing teams but a high performing, silo-free organisation as well.

The best place to start will be to integrate a robust suite of software and tools into your organisations’ workflow that encourages collaboration and enables transparency.

Every organisation is different, but the staple tools include a CRM system, a form of project management software and a daily communication platform such as Slack.

3. Normalise and encourage cross-team interactions

An extremely effective way to break down silos in your organisation is to encourage cross-team interactions. This could include training, sitting next to different people on a day to day basis or even socialising.

Training

Considering training has already been factored into the budget, organisations can kill two birds with one stone and conduct team training while breaking down silos at the same time. Teams can get together to participate in organisational-wide training, or they can upskill each other on the ins and outs of their team requirements. This will build empathy and understanding, fostering a united organisational culture.

Work together

Although hot-desking may have been a pre-pandemic fad, there are still some benefits to switching up the seating position every now and then. By getting to know people from different teams and passively absorbing information about their day-to-day operations, individuals will start to build a thorough understanding. They will begin to think less about what’s best for their team and more about what’s best for the organisation as a whole.
When problems arise, team members will be able to draw from more resources than just their immediate team members too. This allows information to flow freely and encourages diversity of thought – all great things for demolishing silos.

Social activities

If organisations encourage teams to spend time with one another outside of work, employees will be able to get to know one another on a more personal level and build empathy for one another. This is basically the silver bullet for silos. There are several different team building activities to break down silos, including social lunches, Friday drinks organised by the company or a day out where teams need to mingle and solve problems together.

You can get as creative as you like with this. Think escape rooms, rock climbing, canoeing or anything else that requires employees to get away from the desk and enjoy collaborative time together.

Make team silos a thing of the past

By implementing all of the points mentioned above, you’ll soon see a shift in the mindset of your workforce, ultimately cultivating a culture that’s far more conducive to your business goals. So let’s put these points into practice and make team silos a thing of the past.

If you need a little additional support in getting these changes underway, get in touch with the Performance By Design team. Our experts can provide personalised solutions that will help your organisation boost its performance and reach brand new heights in terms of your results.