Silos are a Normal Phenomenon

From the Ask Tom mailbag –

How do you overcome the obstacles of silos when the silos are the organizational culture and come from the top?

I originally posted this last week and then left you hanging as I went underground, buried in travel.

Silos, in an organization, occur as a normal phenomenon. It is counter-productive to growth and profitability, but it is perfectly normal and predictable. It happens.

Silos emerge as a natural by-product of stage three growth. To reduce the noise in Go-Go, there begins an internal focus to create systems. Systems are good. Systems create internal efficiency, internal predictability and a focus on profitability (profitable action).

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

The problem is the internal nature of the focus. In adolescence, it is a required focus, but, as a solution to the problems of go-go, it creates internally focused silos that emerge as the next organizational challenge. Silos are normal, but will grind an organization to a halt, cap its growth and make everyone miserable.

To continue its normal growth, a process of integration must occur.
____________Prime – multiple systems/sub-systems create friction, integration required

This is no easy task, and requires capability at S-IV level of work. The saga continues. Tomorrow, I promise.

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

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