Breaking Down Silos

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Here are the biggest issues in your growth company:

  1. Communication
  2. Systems (of all kinds)
  3. Finding right people for right seats
  4. Breaking down silos

Rome wasn’t built in a day, so let’s shoot to just fix #4 today.  If you feel that there is hostility between departments, or maybe just a lack of communication, it’s up to you to fix it.  You can’t control the whole company, but you can control you.

Here are some tips to breaking down those walls that you can implement today:

  • Never, ever badmouth another department. Never say, “Those dirty rotten accounting people!”  Not at home, not in your car, and certainly not in front of your team.
  • Don’t take your phone to meetings. Just chat with other people before the meeting begins.  Get to know them.  Ask about their families.  Imagine you lived in 1919, not 2019. In 1919, people were forced to chat.
  • Model friendship with other people at your level. If you’re a department head, be friends with other department heads; if you’re in a support role, be friends with other support people.  Friendship trickles down and around to others.  Introduce yourself and ask them about their life, at work and at home.  Make friends.If you’re one of the top leaders in the company, being friends with your role-equals is critical.  As goes the senior leadership team, so goes the rest of the organization.  Make good relationships at the top your TOP priority.
  • Eat your lunch with someone from another department ONCE EVERY WEEK! Go sit with them.  Ask their opinion and input.  Tell them that you’re determined to help every department work together better.  Forget about the impassioned implementers of high tech solutions to your communication problems.  Fix it at lunch!  Pretend you’re both humans!  You’ll quickly discover that they feel the same way you do.

You have to eat anyway!  A lunch/week means 52 opportunities per year to build new relationships, enhance old ones, fix tenuous ones, and enlarge your circle of influence.

Rome took 700 years to reach its peak under the emperors, and lasted another 1400 (ish) after that (in the Byzantine east).  As empires go, it was pretty successful.  And it was built slowly, brick by brick, day after day.

Silos come down when individuals make positive choices day after day.

So, close the browser and schedule your first lunch.  DO IT NOW!

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Written by Trevor Throness
Trevor is a veteran coach, keynote speaker, and the author of the book “The Power of People Skills” released by Career Press NY in 2017. He’s also written for or been featured in places like Forbes, Inc, The NY Post, The Globe and Mail, Entrepreneur, CEO Magazine, and numerous podcasts and interviews.


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