If there’s one major downside of the rampant specialization we are currently witnessing in professional society, it’s the division of information into distinct subunits. The departments, teams, and even individuals that comprise your company are now operating within their own little universe of data protocols. This is often referred to as the silo mentality. “What is a work silo?” you may ask. Essentially, it occurs when there is a hesitancy between different departments to share information on an intra-organizational level.
Now at face value, this may seem like a simple security measure, but silos are increasingly becoming a thorn in the side of high-level decision-makers. Departments that are unable or unwilling to coordinate data sharing with their organizational counterparts make it difficult for other stakeholders to make informed decisions. When flowing freely, information can be efficiently passed along to other departments where they can further refine it to improve their own workflows. But, like a finely tuned stock car, the trick is getting each of these isolated organizational mechanisms to work in seamless unison while still preserving their integrity.
And in the same way the engine, gear system, and powertrain of a vehicle are synchronized to propel vehicles forward, the different departments and teams within your organization need to work to optimize company productivity. One of the best ways of eliminating workplace silos is to ensure that your leadership positions are providing solid mentorship that encourages high-level goal alignment, systems integration, and cross-team communication.
High-Level Goal Alignment
An experienced mentor brings years, decades even, of operational know-how to the table. They’ve navigated through some treacherous waters and are aware of the intangibles that lead to successful operations. Aligning the core objectives of each individual and department with that of the company as a whole is one of the most critical deliverables that a mentor will provide when addressing your siloed information issues.
According to McKinsey, over 90% of companies with effective performance management systems report congruence between employee goals and organizational priorities. It may seem obvious, but it’s powerful nonetheless. Productive interactions are much more likely to occur when individuals know that the work they conduct directly impacts the goals of the company. And, like many aspects of business success, this alignment begins at the top.
Between the individual goals of employees and the overarching mission of the company, there are team-level objectives. These are built around specific performance indicators that indicate how successful the department is at performing its function. Given the highly immersive nature of work in the digital era, it’s easy for employees and leaders alike to become obsessed with department-level goals. This narrowing of perspective is a key contributor to information silos and ultimately leads to an organizational schism.
Experienced mentors and leaders know that differences in goal alignment are often a result of perspective. Through consistent messaging that outlines how each departmental goal fits within the larger organizational picture, a skilled, well-positioned mentor will help break down your workplace silo mentality.
Death, taxes, and going digital. Those are the only certainties in life for business operators in 2021. Regardless of the sector that your organization operates out of, there will be aspects of your information infrastructure that need to move into the digital realm in order for you to stay relevant. According to Statista, the total direct investment into digital transformation (DX) between 2020 and 2024 is projected to reach nearly 8 trillion USD.
During this digital transformation process, your organization needs to ensure that its different departments are properly integrated with one another at the electronic level. But, to be optimally effective, your systems integration needs to include more than just software connection and expanded user access. There also needs to be integration in terms of the people that make up your company.
A qualified mentor is adept at identifying the critical information pipelines of your business and knows which roles are most important to the flow of information. By providing mentorship to these gatekeepers on the importance of downstream data application, you are forging an organizational structure that is optimized for information sharing. For example, if the marketing division has amassed a large collection of user data from ad campaigns, they can structure analytics reports so the information can be immediately leveraged by the business development team.
It’s no secret that intra-organizational teams function more effectively when they are encouraged, and enabled, to communicate with one another. One of the major benefits of undertaking a digital transformation is that it makes this type of information sharing easier. These software solutions make it easy for complex, confidential information to move between teams in a secure manner. However, software solutions only represent one-half of the necessary behavior change, with mentorship and guidance from leadership making up another critical component of the process.
As your new digital systems begin to carve out connections between your once disparate information silos, mentorship can effectively address the human aspect of data sharing. Experienced leaders know that the information stores within each department don’t need to be completely dismantled, they just need to be accessible for others. Internal communications experts provide an invaluable source of mentorship for organizations that want to promote cross-team interaction.
This type of leadership sets the stage for a holistic view of ownership when it comes to data collection, reporting, and even project success. By encouraging open dialogue between different specialist departments, mentorship also increases the likelihood of developing innovative solutions. When expertise from different teams is brought together under proper mentorship, not only will information silos be eliminated, but a more effective communication paradigm is introduced at the individual, team, and company levels.
If your business is struggling to break down information silos and productivity is suffering as a result, reach out to MentorCloud today. Our comprehensive mentorship platform allows for streamlined leadership and training services to be quickly administered across all departments within your company.