Deconstructing Silos


(c) 2020 Amberwood Media

Enterprise transformation agendas often hit a wall. When they do, productivity and agility goals can go unrealized, often when they’re needed most. With today’s external demands raising the bar higher, organizations and their leaders feel the impact of inertia now, more than ever.

Where can leaders turn?

For the corporate functions on the hook for transformation – notably HR/OD, KM and IT – there is at least some focus on fostering productivity, organization learning (L&D), empowering teams and collaborating.

Achieving these ambitious goals requires work in 5 actionable areas, all on the critical path for true transformation:

  • Aligned vision, with clear messaging and priorities
  • Sharing stories – internally and externally – about outcomes that ground the agenda
  • Technology and process solutions to help streamline efforts and get teams working together
  • Navigating org culture – to understand and influence operational behaviors and mindsets
  • Organization design that is fit-for-purpose, using optimal org patterns for the type of tasks at hand (including models that may be flat, siloed, networked, etc.)

All focus areas above are important. But owing to the complexity and poor track record with the last 2 of the 5 listed, I’ve concluded that culture and organization silos are now critical leverage points for focus – if not game changers.

So I’ve started a research project: Deconstructing Silos

OD, KM and IT practitioners – along with Systems and Complexity thinkers – may find much to contribute here. As I finalize the visualizations, I can see decades-old questions come into focus – bringing light to the forces that foster org silos, and some potential intervention points.

Here’s an excerpt from the work coming together, first a look at the STOCKS or assets of a silo-based team:


Excerpt from “Deconstructing Silos”


I’ll also provide here recent ‘baseline’ guidance from the planning group, to serve as initial definitions and areas for focus.  More context for this is provided on LinkedIn.





For additional context on the scope and scale of culture problems, here’s some background reading: two classic stories, which I recounted on Medium: Why Culture Mattered at IBM and Kodak.

Please, share your thoughts on your own perspectives and the challenges ahead.

Meantime, stay safe –

Chris Jones | SourcePOV


Looking for more on corporate culture? My compliation of past SourcePOV blog posts on culture may prove useful, providing the conceptual building blocks for this project.

#orgculture #orgdev #futureofwork #storytelling #systemthinking