Encourage collaboration between teams

“Nothing kills ‘one team one goal’ thinking like silos” (John G Miller — author of QBQ)

A Silo Mentality is defined as “A mind-set present in some companies when certain departments or sectors do not wish to share information with others in the same company. This type of mentality will reduce the efficiency of the overall operation, reduce morale, and may contribute to the demise of a productive company culture” (The Business Dictionary).

Whilst it is quite natural to relate best to members of your own team — and critical to combine energy to achieve the team’s goals — a sole inward focus creates an insular attitude or sometimes competitive spirit which could work against the company achieving its best results. Miscommunication and constant rehashing of issues and decisions between collaborative teams might be indicators of the formation of destructive silos. Some of these presenting problems include (Sarah Laoyan: 6 Tips for Breaking Down Business Silos):

  • Unnecessary status updates and meetings: If teams can’t access the information they need, then they always need to connect with others to get information. This results in more meetings, which leaves less time for those team members to spend on important work that helps achieve business goals.

Laoyan goes on to suggest that “silos typically form as a function of the tools you use-not the people who use them. Most tools are organised in what we call a container data model, which governs how the tool organises and stores information. Essentially, these tools require us to organise information in a one-to-one relationship.” A container data model uses one-to-one relationships to organise project work. Essentially, it’s a data model in which a unit of work can only live in one place-for example, your team has a folder, and your team’s work lives in that folder. We call this data model a “container model” because every piece of work falls into a single “container.” And, while the container data model is simple to implement, it doesn’t allow for dynamic projects or cross-functional teamwork.

As the realisation of company targets requires one-to-many, and not one-to-one, relationships, cross-functional collaboration needs to be fostered. This can be achieved by (as suggested by the Indeed Editorial Team):

  1. Establishing the organisation’s vision — an organisation’s “big picture” and accompanying vision statement defines its purpose and what it hopes to achieve. Creating a shared vision for the entire organisation can help break down silos between different groups and encourage a large team mentality. Instead of focusing on what their respective departments need to achieve, managers and employees can understand how they can contribute to the organisation’s ongoing growth and success. The company’s leaders can meet with managers to discuss and establish this vision. During these conversations, they may identify long-term goals the company aims to achieve and the role each department plays in those efforts.

Encouraging cross-collaboration between teams brings you one step closer to creating a more efficient workforce. This is achieved by creating opportunities for team members to focus less on the back-and-forth of project management, and more on the important work needed to achieve their goals.

Originally published at https://www.stretchforgrowth.com on January 29, 2023.



Jonathan has spent over 30 years focusing his efforts on developing people throughout the world. He believes that people have the most impact when stretched.

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Jonathan Mills

Jonathan has spent over 30 years focusing his efforts on developing people throughout the world. He believes that people have the most impact when stretched.