Why siloed working dislocates teams
Whilst there had been newsletters and updates celebrating the progress of the project the teams were used to working in silos. This had gone unnoticed during the previous “steady state” years; no one was considering the possible benefits of joined up thinking for customers, colleagues and the growth of the business.
The supply chain team’s focus was on how the change would impact them alone. So, when confronted with the need to support changes originating from the supply chain function, there was initially some resistance to adopt new ways of working (e.g. in sales and marketing) and to meeting proposed implementation dates.
Burst the bubble
The risks of not addressing the situation quickly included:
- Non-supply chain teams being caught off guard and under prepared to offer support to customers or internal teams during the implementation and embedding phases
- Limited or prolonged return on investment for the supply chain strategy – improvements were adopted slowly
- A disrupted customer experience and a lack of understanding preventing teams seeing new possibilities for the customer proposition
- Low morale within the project team as their determination to meet project deadlines didn’t translate quickly to the desired results
Three activities key to a shared vision
Bringing focus to the following three activities smoothed the way to delivering the expected results:
Unite all teams in their understanding of the big picture
- Show the end game, the goals, and different teams’ contribution to these
- Set priorities to reflect what’s needed to succeed, not just to deliver project milestones
- Be clear that success rides on everyone playing their part well and being supported to do so
Show the value in working collaboratively (and call out when it’s not happening)
- Clearly identify the links between teams that make the customer proposition hang together (and show the implications of not joining the dots between different functions)
- Demonstrate a hierarchy in decision making – prioritise what will successfully deliver customer goals, operational goals, functional goals, then finally team goals
Prioritise two-way, open and regular communications
- Don’t allow “busyness” to distract from the value of coming together regularly to review progress, check-in on how to improve, keep everyone heading in the same direction and encouraging cross-functional support in pursuit of high-level strategic and operational goals
The value of a joined-up approach
Getting into a rhythm with these three activities didn’t take long. We soon noticed greater curiosity and questions from the broader organisation leading to specific offers of help. This led to a significant reduction in delays to get changes adopted and even suggestions for the next phase of continuous improvement.
The investment of time and effort is minimal compared to the value seen from actively eliminating silos and being ready to address the next project or challenge as a joined-up organisation, supporting a shared vision and goal.
In the end, if we want organisations to respond quickly to changes in market conditions and customer or employee expectations, working in silos will put them at a significant disadvantage. Which of these three actions would benefit your organisation now?
If you are experiencing any of the issues we’ve raised in this article then please do get in touch here or click below to watch the replay of our recent webinar for more information, ideas and sharing of experience.