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Beyond Silos Series – “Provoking” collaboration

For over 15 years, I have been actively involved in major transformation projects within large organizations. One of my findings, through years of experience, is that one of the main obstacles to the success of change initiatives is the lack of collaboration between people and departments. Collaboration is out of the question. It is considered only when it serves personal gain. Or people may want to collaborate and have the best intentions, but don’t know how to do it and this translated into nothing concrete or worse, makes matters worse.

In other words, the silo approach is an obstacle to successful change. But how can we change this situation? Let's be realistic. Silos will not be abolished anytime soon in most of our organizations. Should we accept what seems inevitable? Short of initiating a cultural shift, a major restructuring or a major realignment at the top management level, it is still possible to build bridges between these silos.

But how, are you asking? You do not know our people. True, however, there are many ways to overcome silos. One of the simplest ways is to trigger cooperation. Just look around you. Rarely does a day go by without someone initiating a meeting to get people to talk, collaborate to solve problems or implement solutions.

The problem lies in the fact that there are not enough such ad hoc collaborative initiatives or the fact that these initiatives are poorly managed.

You want less silos and more collaboration? Become a provocateur of collaboration.

Be among those who encourage people to talk. How? By applying what any good provocateur of collaboration does intuitively:

Recognize situations that could be better resolved if various groups took the time to talk to one another.

  1. Suggest to the relevant people to arrange a meeting to share their limits, expectations, needs and objectives.
  2. Structure the meeting so that people can listen to each other and discuss matters effectively to understand different views, and explore possible solutions that will satisfy their mutual interests.

The more our organizations will count on provocateurs of collaboration, the more people will take the time to talk to one another. More people will learn to put their resources together to solve problems and move projects and solutions forward more quickly and effectively. So, what collaborative initiative could you provoke today?

Look for my next blog to find other ways to undo the silos and propel collaboration.

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