Everyone who has ever worked in an organization knows the challenge of silos.  That is the condition when organizations operate form the perspective of their own functional unit, without seemingly little regard for the needs of other organizational units.

There is almost always an issue of “silo mentality” as one of the key issues an organization must address in most strategic planning sessions we do.  And so I naturally became curious, why is this condition so prevalent and why does it seem to evade all attempts at resolving it.

As for why it is so prevalent, it is because it is a natural human tendency.  It is based on the simple concept that we all want to be successful in what we do.  In organizations each functional unit is given a set of objectives with the belief that if each unit satisfies their objectives the organization as a whole will be satisfied.  This is very much born out of the “Organization as a Machine” perspective.

Given that we as individuals want to be successful we work to optimize our unit’s objectives and since our success is dependent on the success of our organization that is the entity we care about.  Hence we develop a single minded focus on our unit trusting that the other units are doing the same thing.  And there we have the foundation for a silo organization.

The solution to silos cannot be achieved from the “Organization as Machine” perspective but must shift to the “Organic Organization” perspective.  We must understand first the dynamic nature of the organic system and the human components which make up that organic nature.  As stated above the natural human condition is to think of me and mine first.  But as human’s evolve in their maturity they begin to shift from me and mine to us and ours.  The only real lasting solution to silos is development of the executive team from the “I” being the dominate theme to the “we” being the dominate theme.