Matrix Management / Virtual Teams

Our top 10 tips for stronger silos and less collaboration

We spend a lot of time in our matrix management training and practise helping organizations to break down silos and improve cross functional collaboration. However, we regularly meet managers who don’t want to be accountable for results broader than their span of control, and who prefer to get things done in a discrete area through the exercise of hierarchy rather than collaboration.

For those individuals, here are our top 10 tips on how to strengthen your silo and prevent cross functional collaboration 😊

  1. Make sure you set goals and KPI’s that can be entirely met by focusing on your own area of responsibility and not involving others
  2. Set up key measures and incentives that encourage people to focus on their own area of responsibility and penalise them for thinking more broadly
  3. Only take accountability for tasks where you have complete control over the resources to do it yourself
  4. If your team works in an office, consider adding physical barriers between them and other departments such as walls, cubicles or soundproof partitions
  5. Implement different communication systems for your team or department. This could include using different email systems, chat programs and software versions. This will make it difficult for employees to communicate with people outside of their own department.
  6. Always be critical of perspectives that don’t come from within your own team, look for opportunities to blame others
  7. Make sure that personal development and career development steps only equip people to develop vertically within their existing department, discourage cross functional career steps
  8. Discourage your people from joining cross functional projects or teams
  9. Encourage and reward territorial and competitive behaviours within your people
  10. Create different cultures for each department. This could involve encouraging different dress codes, behaviours, and even values. The goal is to make employees feel more connected to their own department than to the company as a whole.

By following these simple tips, you can create a company where silos thrive, and cross functional collaboration is discouraged.

On the other hand, if like most organizations you want to dismantle your silos and encourage cross functional collaboration, then simply do the opposite.

If you want to dismantle silos but are still doing some of the things on our list – we should probably talk.

How have you seen organizations deliberately or inadvertently construct or defend their silos.

Educate yourself further with a few more or our online insights:

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