Individual and Company Success, Come Discover the
Silos are pockets of people within a company that are loosely connected with each other. The people become bound by the area in which they work, preoccupied with doing their own things and overly protective of their separate interests. Lacking controls which tie all functions tightly together, these groups operate in an uncoordinated manner hurting the overall performance of the company. How to bust these silos and how to build teamwork are the objectives of this paper.
Creation of Silos
Silos seldom exist in small companies as face-to-face communications work well without integrated systems. People in different departments are aware of what's happening in other areas and can keep track of what's required to help each other. As small companies grow larger, however, volume and variety eventually overwhelm these informal procedures. Then the absence of high quality information becomes a handicap.
If the planning systems developed to help various functions are designed independently, silos will be created. People using parochial systems become self-centered. Their inability to see common company plans cause them to work at cross-purposes.
Teamwork can only occur when everyone knows the company's goals and knows what to do to support them. To successfully manage increasing volume and variety, an integrated planning system is mandatory, one that crosses all functional areas. Such an effective system can help establish a company game plan, communicate it to all users, and be the benchmark for judging performance. By synchronizing the actions among all departments, silos are destroyed and teamwork is enhanced.
Silos are easily spotted. Fingerpointing becomes glaringly obvious. "Not my fault" replaces accountability and "who-shot-John" memos attempt to shift the blame to others. Both are inevitable. Whenever people work harder and produce less, they are convinced that it "can't possibly be me, look at the extra effort I'm making. It's got to be those other guys!" Of course, these "other" people are equally confident that it's not them, and will point their fingers at you.
Other examples include end-of-the-month-crunch, weekly overtime debates, and daily shortage meetings. All are justified as problem solving activities, but, in reality, they are covering-over problems caused by silos. In each case, one or several departments are not doing their jobs properly. These symptoms are worth analyzing:
Since the causes are spread throughout the company, individual events seem unrelated; sometimes this supplier, this tool, this machine, this operator, this specification, this customer, and every once in a while, it's the same event. But each case is related and each has a solution; none are beyond good controls. Uncovering what went wrong and figuring out how to correct it in a manner that reduces reoccurrences would be a far more productive meeting for these key people.
To be Continued
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