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Breaking Down Silos – Does cross-departmental distance make the heart grow fonder?

breaking down silos

How the Silo Mentality Affects Your Business Organization (and Salesforce Environment)

The silo mentality in business is characterized by individuals or divisions that withhold information from others in the organization for various reasons. Reasons might include power struggles, fear, organizational inefficiency, or simply because they don’t make the effort to update shared information. There is this notion of breaking down silos for greater productivity and even more business benefits. Since this is such a buzzworthy topic, we all mostly believe that silos are meant to be broken. But is that always true? 

We’re going to understand both sides to this story, as either option poses an impact on your business and how you utilize your resources. Breaking down silos also comes with a great impact on your Salesforce environment (and vice versa).

The Siloed Org

There’s an old fable about a two-headed dragon. Each head sees a delicious meal… the result? The dragon starves to death. Each head was too focused on a similar objective. The modern version might be “too many cooks in the kitchen”. What good is having a bunch of people designing, building, or managing the same set of relevant material?

In theory, this is what siloing seeks to avoid: let’s let the head do the thinking, the mouth does the talking, and the ears do the hearing. When it all comes together, we get a clearer picture of the reality in front of us. In Salesforce terms, this means making sure that each role in your organization is empowered to perform the function they’re intended to perform. When each role in your company is performing its function, it brings glory to the other roles in the organization.

But in today’s world of big data and fast-paced sales, a completely siloed organization can’t act quickly or take advantage of opportunities. When information isn’t freely shared, your business can’t make informed, data-driven decisions. Inventory, supply chain, distribution, marketing, and sales suffer when teams don’t collaborate. 

Breaking Down Silos

The expression goes: “Better to be a warrior in a garden than a gardener in a war.” We all have dealt with projects going south. We ask a lot of each of our organization’s resilient resources to go above and beyond to put out fires… and that’s just it — “beyond” (their day-to-day responsibilities). Siloing resources can create a fragile situation where resources become unable to contribute to any solution outside of their own specialty. Sure, specializing in a silo side-by-side complimentary silos can be ideal for business-as-usual, but this counts for nothing if each member of a team cannot back-up other resources when needed.

Allowing resources to become more resilient may come at the cost of further specialized knowledge, but allowing members of the organization to gain knowledge in multiple areas can lead to a more robust, collaborative situation. Furthermore, prospective employees looking at various employers find those organizations that can boost their professional development very attractive. Knowing that they’ll develop as professionals in their fields through a wide variety of avenues can help those organizations attract the kind of talent that they want to work for them.

Is there a happy medium?

Can there be a balance between specialization and resilience? Does there have to be this all or nothing mentality? Where siloing gets in the way is when it stops healthy collaboration and because there is a lack of visibility, blocks everyone from reaching the ultimate goal. There are multiple ways to go about fixing broken silo situations and encourage collaboration, visibility, and successful processes. 

Starting with the Salesforce environment; A free-flowing Salesforce environment is a good thing, allowing departments access to the information they need to understand goals and work towards them. Because Salesforce should be your system of truth, a free-flow of information will help the entire organization.

To ensure teams work towards the same overall goal, executives need to state common objectives frequently so they become part of the organization’s culture. Salesforce communication tools, reporting dashboards, and project management solutions can help with collaborative goals.

Just because departments/employees have a specialization, doesn’t mean they have to remain completely separate. In fact, most of the time they shouldn’t remain separate for this very reason. For example, sales and marketing need to work together more now than ever before. With those two departments having the most common goals (lead generation and deals closed), it’s critical for them to work together for success. Regular monthly meetings are a good starting point.

The verdict?

You tell us, where does your organization stand: Are you steadfast for keeping your silos or do you encourage breaking them down? Somewhere in between? Leave us a comment or tweet at us what you think @hirekadence.

About Justin Armer
Justin is a 5x Certified Salesforce Consultant at Kadence Collective.
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