Don’t break down silos! Build more …

There is a great deal of talk in business about breaking down the Silos!

Sorry to be controversial, but I think it should be the opposite, I think you need more silos! they just need to be better quality and intentionally configured.

We have been conditioned to resolve a problem over the last number of years which has changed massively and need a fresh approach and thinking.

Let me explain.

Most of us know that when a business gets to a certain size then it makes the organisation less agile and slows it down. Richard Branson has a rule in business which is once the organisation gets over 222 people, it’s time to break away.

In IT and Telecoms it’s always been important to build communities of Interest or Centres of excellence, which are basically groups of like minded experts who can join forces for the common good. This makes complete sense until you try and organise around it.

Let’s think about the dynamics of a team structure, in truth it’s just a Silo, just not configured for efficiency and success it’s more around either what we have done before or the business landscape.

So if a team is a Silo, what’s the best way to build that perfect “Silo” that will give the maximum performance.

Well, how about building a small dynamic “Customer Focus Team” that has the key parts within it, from sales through technical and operations, the main core required to be successful. Harvard Business Review recently had an article on Cluster Teams. Cluster Teams are dynamic teams that are made up of the common parts, but are made up of people in cross functions that are used to working together, so hit the ground running.

By all means have shared centres of excellence but why not pepper the subject matter experts together with other functions to get the desired result. Spotify have built their Development teams this way,using Agile, which means the team set their own direction, objectives and deadlines, the efficiency gains are unbelievable.

They worked out that although this team needs to be connected to the rest of the organisation their is a higher priority to be communicating with the team, which the normal centres of excellence structure contravenes. For example why put all Project Managers together in a pool, let them be immersed in a customer focus team, but still have them work as a community for common methods and knowledge.

I have seen so many re-organisations that move from central to devolved management and visa vera, but just a little food for thought, next time you are looking at a re-organisation, consider what construction will make the biggest difference…

deckchairs on the Titanic… ?

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