The organisational silo has singularly become the biggest constraint on competitive and innovative growth
– McMahon; 2011
Lower your weapons, leaders. It's time to collaborate.
The business landscape is changing. Markets are increasing their complexity, the rate of innovation is accelerating rapidly, and the level of competition is not only multiplying, but becoming ever more fierce. Leaders must continuously find new ways for their organisation to remain profitable, by improving and growing operations with better people, better processes, and better systems. A difficult balance must be struck between anticipating and addressing customer needs, and achieving scale and efficiency.
Whether your organisations objectives centre around increasing it’s ability to adapt to surrounding forces, collaborating more effectively, fostering innovation, serving customers better, operating more efficiently or aligning activities; if you operate within silos; you are likely to find this increasingly challenging. As more organisations become reliant on knowledge and agility to remain competitive, it is becoming vital that they harness the collective understanding of the customer that lies on all levels inside their organisation and use it to their best ability in order to make decisions that create the most value.
Collaboration creates value
McKinsey suggests that collaborating effectively will enable organisations to achieve superior financial performance by a number of means; including improved customer experience, more effective execution, greater innovation and bolder strategic moves. For the people inside the organisation, effective collaboration can enable better development and retention of talent, and higher motivation and morale.
Adversely, organisations that do not collaborate effectively, and instead foster a silo mentality, where so often functions are not willing to share information with others in their company, will reduce efficiency in the overall operation, reduce morale, and may contribute to the demise of a productive company culture.
Breaking down organisational silos takes time and should not be underestimated. Realistic solutions must be formed around both the workspace itself and the people inside it. Leaders must facilitate the change by enabling cross-functional practices that reflect the organisations vision and inspire its people. Furthermore, these solutions must create business value.