Tag Archives: silos

The Danger of Healthy Competition

“It was worse than I thought,” Reggie stated flatly. “What I didn’t realize when I opened up this little fracas, was that the competition started long ago. I nosed around some of my sources. It’s been a dysfunctional fight for the past six months, with not only my three internal candidates, but two others. They are all spread across three departments, so I never saw it.”

“What’s been going on?” I asked.

“Mostly, it’s the subtle non-cooperation of one department with another. Convenient delays, rough hand-offs, missing information. Nothing malicious or brazen, but I have five people working against each other, working against the company.”

“Who’s the culprit?”

Reggie’s demeanor changed. He sat straight up in his chair. The nerve was struck. Chin down, looking over his glasses, furrowed brow, he finally spoke. “I’m the culprit. I tried to create a little healthy competition, but what I created was an environment where individual agendas were more important that teamwork. I created intense internal focus within each department, when I need cooperation between departments.”

“How do we fix it?”

“First, we have to start with the culprit,” Reggie shrugged. “And that would be me.”

Temper Tantrums Don’t Work

From the Ask Tom mailbag –

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

Response:
Whenever I look at organizational underperformance, total throughput, all crumbs lead to the top. The culture an organization has, is the culture the organization deserves. And, all crumbs still lead to the top.

But your question is “What to do?”

Temper tantrums don’t work. Parents know that. Most management consultants who think they have the answer are behaviorists who have no children.

Visually, we can draw pictures of it. Interruptions in workflow, rough hand-offs from one function to another, undiscovered defects blamed on another department. Some CEOs believe a little internal competition keeps everyone sharp, when the product of that strategy may be counter-productive.

But it works in sports? Yes, but sports are not organized to accomplish work. Sports are organized for entertainment.

Indeed, what to do? Comments?