Why Silos are Good

For the last decade or so, silo-mentality has been lambasted as the cause of all organisational dysfunction. But silos are good, and here’s why…

  • they group people with similar skills
  • they permit and encourage professional development in a specialised field
  • they deepen specialisation and expertise
  • they encourage specialisation
  • they give focus

So why don’t they work?

Well, they do, in fact. Perhaps too well. But old grain silos have a building that spans them. That’s where everything that was common to a silo was kept. Yep, that’s management.

If there’s a problem with silo-mentality in your organisation, it has nothing to do with the silos themselves. You need them to build specialisation, capacity and expertise.

All the silos we love to attack reside in Corporate Services (Finance, HR, ICT, Facilities and Procurement) and they all need to nurture their expertise for the good of the host organisation.

Optimising those silos to work together means stepping back from the silos and looking at what you’re trying to achieve. It’s a bit like making multi-grain bread, you need the individual grains but you also need to mix them in the right quantities…

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