Intro: Silos can affect change detrimentally. In this article, we look at the damage they can do and how to overcome this.

Many people will have heard of Silos in terms of agriculture. A silo, in agricultural terms, is a piece of farm equipment used to prevent different grains from mixing with one another, which is a good thing because that is what the farmer intends them to be used for. In terms of change management however; Silos refers to different company departments or branches not mixing or sharing relevant information which can of course have a detrimental effect when a business is trying to implement overall change for the better.

Limiting interactions in a company reduces productivity as well as trust. A business needs to run like a well-oiled machine with each department and branch depending on the other as conduits for information to flow back and forth. It can be a natural tendency for separate teams to be somewhat of a clique and develop their own mentality, but in order for any change management process to be implemented effectively; the culture of the company needs to be one of overcoming Silos and promoting collaboration. Change management consultants employ several strategies to help you do just that. We take a look at some of these here.

A shared vision is key

In order to unify every employee – it is imperative to put across the need to work towards the overall objectives and vision of the business they are working for rather than just that of their own department. Everyone is part of the puzzle and as well as holding their key role to make it fit together.

Accountability

Sharing in company failures as well as successes inspires different departments and branches to pull together so one way of moving forward is to align different departments together and get them working on a task force to be presented to senior management – it will certainly help to keep them on their toes!

Communication

It will be different forms of interaction that form cohesive glue to encourage employees to stick together rather than the Silo mentality! Meetings and chat sessions will help to break down any barriers so employees can get to know each other as people, an idea of their roles within the company and how all are interdependent. Putting directly linked departments next to each other such as sales and marketing for instance can also encourage not only physical proximity but mental too.

Take me to your leader

Leaders lead by example so if managers follow collaborative working strategies; their staff are much more likely to follow suit. Collaboration can be encouraged by different managers assigning their own team members to keep each department “in the loop” and encourage cross-functional teamwork.

Tools and training

Digital collaboration tools are the way forward especially for remote workers and a CRM that interacts with company dashboards can be used simultaneously by employees from various teams. A great way to shift the Silo mindset is to also take advantage of change management courses that encourage increased teamwork and collaboration because it is this unification that will ultimately get the job done.