by Wayne Bennett, CEO of TeamWorx Team Building
If you are not investing time, energy, and money to overcome silos, you have them.
If you’re reading these words then you probably have silos in your business and you want to get rid of them; you want to have different departments and work groups interacting better. Improved customer service, better solutions, better marketing, lower costs and better overall performance are all outcomes from better interaction between the different parts of your business. Why don’t we do it “naturally?”
Billions of dollars are being invested in buildings that promote informal human interaction. Companies like Apple, Google, and many others were built from interactions just like these, and now they fully realize the commercial value of having them as an ongoing and inherent part of their culture. But how do you do it in your business. You’re not Google; you’re not Apple; your companies DNA was not born of collaboration and interaction. Yes you can build a building or negotiate your next office TI’s to reflect this trend, but even that may not be enough. Why you ask? Two reasons: (1) humans do not naturally collaborate and (2) information is power, wealth, and security.
The solution to the second reason above; information is power, wealth, and security; is to fully value this statement; meaning, people will not collaborate if it is not in their best interest; period. If you say to your people, “We need to collaborate more between departments and work groups” and your reward, promotion, and/or recognition systems do not reward collaboration, or worse yet punish collaboration; you will observe token collaboration and get no actual results.
People are shrewd when it comes to their own survival and promotion. You can’t just say “we need more collaboration” without taking the thought, foresight and planning, and most of all, the actual commitment, to make sure all of your incentive systems are in alignment with your goals. Secondly, and equally as important, senior leadership must demonstrate on a regular basis that this matters. Emphasis on the word “demonstrate”; meaning not posters, signs, emails, speeches, meeting themes, promotions, or slogans, but rather, actual behavior, policy, actions, money, time, energy, training, and long term commitment.
People are truly inspired by real action and real leadership because there is so little of it today. As I suggested in a previous blog (The Two Edged Sword of Religion) “to be a powerful leader in any organization we need to let our actions follow our explanations and not the other way around.” People see through “promotions” and “themes;” they want to see their leaders “walk the talk.” They want to know this is for real.
Once you have true alignment, you can move on to solving reason (1) from above; humans do not naturally collaborate. This is where you need to educate your people on what current research says about how our brains work and what our natural tendencies are in social situations. Once we understand these concepts, we can begin to understand how to overcome them. Realizing that there are legitimate and good reasons why we don’t “just” collaborate, and seeing the incredible upside and actual payoff in terms of immediate benefit back at the office, is a powerful combination for change in the direction you want.
Next you need to introduce the skills required for advanced communication and collaboration, and then let your people practice these skills. This is precisely what our Dynamic Discourse™ teamwork training course accomplishes.
We introduce your people to how the human brain actually works, and how this influences our behavior in visible and significant non-visible ways. We then introduce the skills required to reach the state of advanced communication we have termed Dynamic Discourse™ – the ability to share ideas and reach solutions greater than the sum of the individuals in the conversation. Further, we leverage 60 years of research on adult learning tendencies to provide interactive and engaging courses that include 90% interaction and about 10% lecture.
Unlike many problems we face in life that have only nebulous and fleeting possible solutions, the problem of Silos has a very definite and straight forward route to a solution. Most companies that experience problems solving Silos underestimate or mistake what it takes to get the results they want. With the appropriate commitment from leadership, and a detailed training like our Dynamic Discourse™ teamwork training courses, success is 100% obtainable.
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