Your organization is a machine, and just like any machine, it is going to run well as it is designed. Each role of the organizational chart follows a process and together, produces a product or service, and works for a purpose.

Broken down and simplified, your machine consists of:

People – the ‘parts’ of the machine

Places – where your ‘parts’ interact or communicate

Processes – what your ‘parts’ do

Purpose – underlying goals or mission of the organization

Unfortunately, most machines are not deliberately designed. They fail at some point in each of these areas, and as we try to fix one of the sections of the machine, we sub-optimize; we improve one component of a system at the detriment of the whole system.

For example, your sales team has a revenue goal of $1MM. A new client approaches with a huge order that will help the sales team reach their goal, but it is for a product that your team hasn’t designed or built yet. While sales is now getting their bonuses,, production, engineering, and finance have extra work to keep each with this new product promised to their customer. This scenario creates multiple silos because of the frustrations, perceived shift of focus and purpose, and broken processes.

When any misalignment occurs between teams, departments, and locations inside of an organization, silos appear. Teams focus on their processes and purpose, creating a they vs. we company. This spirals into a decrease in sales, poor customer service, or a backlog of invoicing and billing, which all leads to a culture of blame and ego.

If we know why silos exist, ask yourself: Where is the machine broken within your organization? Most importantly, how can you fix it?