Silos are what most of us think as places to store grain or a feed for animals, but an all-time great author, Patrick Lencioni, wrote a great book about silos more figuratively speaking. Silos literally are a stand alone object that is independent of the other silo, functions independently, may serve the same purpose, but has nothing to do with the other silo. Figuratively speaking, we often see these in business, in colleges, in families, and even with just two people in a marriage where people begin to operate independently of each other.
Silos begin in business as that business grows, and more people are added, and leadership doesn’t know how or the importance of their “why”, their purpose, or vision. And can’t put into words these things for our teams to have extreme clarity on their purpose. You get different parts of the organization working on different things, sometimes even in unknowingly creating competition with each other, or through creating “this is our turf not yours” wars. This began to occur in our vet clinic in approximately 2008. As we had started in 2005 with 4 people, and by 2008 had 10 or so full time and part time team members, and they began this “front end”, which is our “first impressions” folks, vs “backend” which is our vet techs and assistants, vs “kennel staff”. And I had no clue this was occurring (until I read on it), until I began to get the every day complaints about issues and misunderstandings between these independent teams of people. These are everyday issues for many organizations, and even with families and marriages. We often work on different things, and without anything to unify us, the silos begin to get further apart. In families and marriage, we are all caught up in this fast paced, duel income, push our kids to do everything so they don’t miss out or fall behind world, that their our many silos in many households today. And it is darn easy to build them, as it can happen in any house or business, mine included!
I often relate or make analogies between business and marriage, because to me, they are very similar. And in the case of silos, it really comes to mind. I talk on it because I see so many marriages and businesses with these silos, and it truly makes my heart ache. And those silos exist because of this extremely fast paced world, and an extreme lack of communication often times because our emotional gas tank is on “E” and we are just exhausted. The pressures are there and are very real. Breaking down these silos has to start with communication. We must communicate what is important to us and pursue it. We must know what “matters” and have extreme clarity on all our objectives. And, we must constantly talk about what we are doing for our mission. Silos exist in business because leadership at the top has failed, and in marriage because two people “stuck in a relationship” choose to stay stuck in a relationship and in both instances not work together on what matters. Bring your people together, come together as a couple and have routine meetings and “over share” information, discussing your purpose and what matters to the organization or marriage and put resources towards those things to accomplish those goals. Over communicate what the shared goals are and have expectations of the silos on how they are expected to come together, to work together, to execute those goals.
For today, sit back, think about what silos exist in your life, and make the choice to break those them down! There are 422,000 words in the english language and the most important one is “choice”. It is our choice to break down those silos, and we know we can’t win by pulling against each other! Let’s end the turf wars, and the unknowingly created unfriendly within team competition, and the silos of separation and loneliness and create one gigantic, behemoth silo, bursting the top off like an unstoppable earthly force of business or marital success!! Happy Leadership Thursday!!