The ‘silo mentality’ is where departments within an organisation don’t share information or knowledge with other individuals/departments in the same company. Whatever the reason for this, be it an active decision or a simple omission, the results can be damaging and numerous. These can include reducing efficiency and morale, and can also contribute to a failing corporate culture.
Once the mentality starts to take over, it can be difficult to break the cycle.
So, here are five top tips to help you break the barriers down:
“The miracle is this: the more we share the more we have.” - Leonard Nimoy
Learning new things can be scary, but it’s also very beneficial. You do not need to know how it all works, but you should have some basic knowledge of how the teams in your organisation operate. People in our industry are continually trying to keep up as they experiment with new technologies, new ideas and new ways of working. Share books, share website articles, have presentations, write your own in-house lexicon, start study groups, attend industry-related events or meet-ups together. Doing these things will allow you to start to understand each other’s working language and bring your team closer to other teams.
“Unity is strength… When there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.” - Mattie Stepanek
Avoid conflict between teams by getting them involved early on in the project. After all, we’re all working towards the same goal. This will lead to teams working collaboratively – with, instead of against, each other. We should have the client’s best interest at the heart of all the work we do. They have invested trust in the agency to provide a solution, so it’s important to work with the client and keep them informed throughout the process.
“I like to encourage people to realise that any action is a good action if it’s proactive and there is positive intent behind it.” - Michael J. Fox
Be proactive and start the conversation between teams; don’t wait for them to come to you. Make sure you don’t talk down to them; no one likes to be belittled in an area in which they’re the expert. Remember that you’re not alone in trying to solve a client’s problem; they’re also there to help. Sometimes breaking the ice can be quite intimidating, but if you can get past that you’re on the path to making a good working relationship.
“He who does not trust enough, will not be trusted” - Lao Tzu
Listen to the experts by trusting their opinions and views. Every person in your agency has been employed for a reason. They are specialists in their field of expertise because they’ve been trained to do it. They have leapt over hurdles to get to where they are, in the same way that you have. Telling someone how to do their job has always been frowned upon. Listening to their concerns at the beginning of a project will prevent awkward disappointments at the end of a project.
“More the knowledge lesser the ego, lesser the knowledge more the ego.” - Albert Einstein
Be humble but be firm and you’ll earn the respect. Give credit where credit is due because it takes team effort to make the wonderful things happen. Failing to recognise people for a job well done does nothing to build up confidence, nor does it make people feel valued. Doing so will only reinforce the silo walls when the success is not shared. So, put the ego away and work with your team and not against it.
By Jade Leong, Designer, digital agency Tangent
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