Break down the silos

Businesses thrive on many things, and two of them are being well managed and having solid structured processes in place to grow the business. If your company has more than 15 people in it, chances are you have a few different departments which have specialists in the traditional business disciplines such as operations, marketing, sales, customer service and accounting.

Depending on the size of your company, you could in fact have dozens of different departments, and each of them will function interdependently if they are running smoothly and are well managed. When the departments start to operate as independent units, or in what I refer to as silos, this is when challenges within your business will typically start to emerge.

Due to the fact the silo effect tends to move at a slower pace, it may in fact not be something you notice having happened. At least not until the negative aspect of a silo appears. Some examples of this could be finger pointing, lack or reduced communication, reduced efficiency and potentially a reduction in trust between the business departments. So, who owns or should recognize the silo effect occurring?

Typically, someone on the Operations team will begin to recognize the signs of the departments taking on the characteristics of becoming siloed. However, the marketing and sales teams are often the first ones to feel the effects of this. When this happens, the heads of marketing and sales should take steps to begin figuring out what caused the silo effect to occur, and then commit to coming up with a solution to start removing the reasons the silos have been developed.

Here are some tips on how to tackle breaking down the silos.

  1. Recognize and admit you have created silos.
  2. Silos are often a source of management power for certain types of individuals, but what they do not realize is that they will be stronger and more powerful when they collaborate with others.
  3. Mutually determine and agree upon the fact the silos created are not actively supporting the growth of the business, and could be harmful to its growth.
  4. Appoint someone from a neutral team to help with identifying how to begin taking down the silo barriers.
  5. Keep the initial meetings to discuss the silo problem small (e.g., 3-4) people, and typically the heads of the departments.
  6. Come up with a list of tasks, people, processes or systems which have contributed to the silo effect.
  7. Assemble a silo dismantling team, and partner people from the opposing teams to work on this project together.
  8. Determine a time line and milestones to accomplish breaking down the silos. The goal of doing this will be to focus the teams on ultimately contributing to eliminating the silos.
  9. Once the silos have been dismantled, celebrate the fact they have been, and leverage the experience to help other departments or teams which have become siloed.
  10. Similar to weight gain, the silo effect can creep back into the business. So, have your teams be aware of this, and commit to being disciplined about not allowing silo creep to occur.

Once the silos have been officially dismantled, you will see a noticeable lightness and higher levels of collaboration amongst the formerly siloed teams. The team members from the various departments will also be much less stressed, and potentially even enjoy doing their job more. I’ve seen the positive impact results from taking down silos happen, so you can take my word on this, or give the process of dismantling your silos a chance to experience this on your own.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. She is also the author of a newly published business book called Wisdom Whisperer which is available via Amazon.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis, which produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results.

If you want better results, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at or (339) 987-0195.


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