I’m a big fan of Patrick Lencioni. In the interest of full disclosure, I work at Wiley and he is one of our company’s most successful authors. My favorite Lencioni book is still The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. His latest work, Silos, Politics and Turf Wars is another classic. He presents the material in the form of a fable, making it so readable that even I was able to get through the entire book in a single day.
Silos are everywhere. I contend that if you feel your organization is immune you’re either in denial or not looking closely enough. I’ve seen them at every company I’ve ever worked for and they’re one of the most aggravating issues to face.
Lencioni clearly explains that the only way to crush silos is to start at the top. I don’t want to give away his “secret sauce”, but here are a few of my favorite excerpts:
In most situations, silos rise up not because of what executives are doing purposefully but rather because of what they are failing to do: provide themselves and their employees with a compelling context for working together.
Even the most well-meaning, intelligent people get distracted and confused amid the endless list of tactical and administrative details that come their way every day. Pulled in many directions without a compass, they pursue seemingly worthwhile agendas under the assumption that their efforts will be in the best interest of the organization as a whole.
But the fact is, most employees have a profound and genuine interest in working well across divisions. That’s because they, more than anyone else, feel the daily pain of departmental politics as they are left to fight bloody, un-winnable battles with their colleagues.
If there is a place where the blame for silos and politics belongs, it is at the top of an organization.
By the way, all of these excerpts are taken from two facing pages in the 200+ page book, so you can imagine how much insight you get from the other 198+ pages. This is another winner in the Lencioni library.