Author: Nick Petrow
Remember when you were in school and your teacher assigned a big group project? What was the first thing you and your group did? I am willing to bet that, at least once, you found the easiest way was to split it and assign one segment to each group member. You then went home, completed your “fair share” and brought it in the next day without collaboration (or interruption) from your teammates. I don’t blame you, we’ve all done it. Plus, working alone is much easier than having the headache of amalgamating the different standards and work styles of the group.
Although this “divide and conquer” technique may be easier, it is not necessarily the best strategy. Not only does this tactic disturb the continuity of the final product, but it also ignores the most valuable asset a team has to offer: Collaborative knowledge.
Knowledge capture is increasingly seen as a priority by executives using different social media and cloud-sharing tools in order to inspire teamwork. It generates better results. When members of a team work in silos, the ability to share knowledge is inhibited and that resource is wasted.
Trying to operate without all members of a team working together is like trying to pedal a bicycle with misaligned gears. However a misaligned business is much harder to diagnose and fix than a broken bike. Generally, executives do not realize the problem until it has adversely affected profitability. Personally, I did not realize the danger of working in silos until I underperformed on a group project. For a business, the moment of realization may occur when revenue is below the internal forecast for a quarter. This moment of realization will often function as the kick-off point for alignment within the silos of a business.
No one likes to underperform, but it may be just the wake-up call your business needs to trigger alignment. Like the bicycle with the misaligned gears – only after a stressful day when the bike fails completely causing you to be late for work, is the initiative to fix it sparked. Once the bike is fixed your commute to work will be much more efficient. That one day you were late for work will be well worth the strain.
So, next time your team underperforms, do not view it as a hassle or a failure. Instead, view it as an opportunity to motivate your team to abolish silos and begin working together. In the end, it could be the most valuable quarter all year!
Would you rather skip the underperforming step? Check out how our Business Analytics Strategy Experience Workshop can kick-start your team’s alignment in this cool video! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZOcpgLNoAs