Deconstructing the Silo


(c) 2020 Amberwood Media

Enterprise transformation agendas often hit a wall. Productivity and agility goals go unrealized. And 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 4 actionable areas, all on the critical path for true transformation. Of these, 3 are more traditional:

  • 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

But one set of mitigations is less obvious, and a routine pain point:

  • Org Culture change – which impacts behavior, and tends to be incredibly difficult to interpret and influence

All are important. But owing to the complexity and poor track record with the last of the 4 listed, I’ve concluded that culture is becoming the critical leverage point for focus – if not the game changer.

So I’ve started a research project: Deconstructing the Organization Silo

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:



Much to digest, but some key steps foward.

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