Tear Down the Silos? Really?

WHY I wrote Outbound Air

Everything about the organization has been internally focused, first on survival, then on efficiency. This internal focus creates the next organizational problem. Roles grew into departments, departments grew into silos. Some companies try to tear down the silos, but that’s not the point (nor the solution).

We still need the dedicated function inside the company. The solution is NOT to tear down silos, it is to integrate them together. It requires an integrator, someone in the organization who can see the internal workings AND the external necessity of integration. It requires someone with the capability to look outside each system and define the connection points.

We imagine managerial relationships in a vertical way, even if we put the customer on top and the org chart upside down, we see managerial relationships vertically. But that is not the way work goes through the organization. Work goes sideways –

Marketing => Sales => Contract => Ops => QA/QC => Warranty => R&D

It is in this prime stage that we see the emergence of cross-functional horizontal working relationships. If the organization can successfully integrate their systems together, acceleration occurs, to the next wall.

____________Prime – multiple systems/sub-systems integration
_________Adolescence – internal focus on system creation
______Go-Go – define and document methods and processes
___Infancy – focus on sales, production, find a (any) customer

This model is adapted from a comparative study of two models, Corporate Lifecycles, Ichak Adizes and Requisite Organization, Dr. Elliott Jaques.

One thought on “Tear Down the Silos? Really?

  1. Anonymous


    I could not agree more with the management blog on integration across departments. The organization I came from did this beautifully and I know how well it can work. How do you overcome the obstacles of silos when the silos are the organizational culture and come from the top?


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