Leadership Tips: Break Down a Silo


The word silo comes from a farm storage silo – a tall airtight container with no windows. In many organizations that is exactly what a silo feels like, and often silos are competing for limited resources.

According to a Clear Company survey, 86% of employees and executives cite lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures. Does this surprise you? We know from the work we do at Fierce that this is true. One of our clients shared that if they could quantify the biggest line item on the loss side of their P&L statement, it would be miscommunication.

So why do we stay in our boxes/silos/bubbles? Well, it is less work. It is more comfortable. I love the quote from Brené Brown, “You can choose courage, or you can choose comfort, but you cannot choose both.”

Leaders (with or without the titles) today who have the most influence are able to create alignment and cohesion between different departments, collaborate often, and therefore, they have greater success. This week’s tip is to intentionally break down a silo by having a conversation with someone on a team you normally do not work with.

Schedule a coffee. Invite someone new into a meeting. Ask someone for a quick stand-up meeting on an issue you are wrestling with.

We all need some air – figuratively and literally – from our silos. Go ahead and break them down, baby!  It starts with a conversation.


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