Silo mentality causes conflict in an organization. Recently, a CEO approached me to discuss strategic planning. He knew, that to be a success, he was going to have to get rid of the silo mentality and get the team moving in the same direction.
What is organizational silo mentality?
When people refer to a silo mentality, they are often referring to divergent goals of different organizational units. Can strategic planning help? Yes! The goals of strategic planning require getting people with divergent viewpoints in one room to make decisions regarding the entire organization. But wait, they have divergent viewpoints – how can this work? It is not unusual for people to see the organization from their own vantage points – based on what they see every day. For strategic planning to be a success, however, these viewpoints need to be shared. Then the team becomes more well-rounded in their thinking about the organizational direction.
How do you eliminate the silo mentality?
- Set-up a planning team with representatives from various parts of the organization. The team will include people with a view to the customers, those that know operations, and those that know the more administrative functions. Do these various functions always see eye-to-eye? Of course not. These three divergent perspectives form what we call the tension triangle.
- Develop your plan in three separate meetings:
- Situation Analysis
- Strategy Formulation
Why three meetings?
In the first meeting – Situation Analysis – you will decide what topics need research to make informed decisions. You will look at research assignments to analyze market segments, competition, technology, suppliers, the economy and regulations. You will also develop the company’s strengths and weaknesses in small groups that have a mix of functional participants. This will enable people to talk informally about what they see as the company’s key strengths and weaknesses. Furthermore, and more critically, the team will hear different points of view.
In the second meeting – Strategy Formulation – you will review the assignments. This will allow the team to develop a shared base of knowledge, sharing their expertise and learning from others. This shared base of knowledge is important to breaking down siloed thinking and to enable everyone to make informed decisions about strategy – the direction the company will take to optimize its future results. Once you have made the decisions around the strategy, your team will select the 6-10 strategic initiatives that will move the company forward for the next 12-18 months.
The team will develop Action Plans for each strategic initiative between meetings two and three
The third meeting- Implementation – during this meeting the team reviews the action plans for:
- Resources: do we have enough time (people)? Do we have the right people (skillsets)? Do we have enough money?
Finally, the team will develop goals – the scorecard that will help us determine if we have been successful. When everyone decides on common goals and develops action plans to achieve those goals, your organization eliminates the silo mentality.
If you have questions about how your team can work better as a team using strategic planning, please contact me, Denise Harrison: firstname.lastname@example.org or 910-763-5194. I look forward to hearing from you.
Do you want to learn how to eliminate the silo mentality in your organization? Attend the Simplified Strategic Planning Seminar for more instruction on how to develop shared viewpoints as well as all other aspects of Simplified Strategic Planning.
Denise Harrison is a senior consultant for the Center for Simplified Strategic Planning, Inc. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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