5 Quick Tips to Smash Silos

Death by Silo by @gapingvoid

Breaking down silos remains a huge issue for communicators.

Either in the context of the current social business buzz or modern integrated marketing, breaking down barriers within a culture to create comprehensive stakeholder experiences only makes sense.

The question then becomes how to break down those silos? Marketing in the Round (co-authored with Gini Dietrich) discusses the topic in depth, but I wanted to provide some quick tips for change agents looking to evolve their organization. Here we go:

1) Convince your executive team. Without executive buy-in, it’s going to be very difficult to empower teams to work together for the larger cause. Use case studies (plenty in the book and online), and market research to demonstrate why this will impact your business.

2) Incentivize teams to succeed. This means changing the way performance is judged. Collective marketing success should be part of everyone’s job review. Even if you allocate just 25% of overall bonus and raise structures, people will become more inclined to work with their peers.

3) Seat people together. It’s easier to talk and work together when people are in each other’s physical presence. Obviously, you can’t do this if you’re a virtual organization, but having cross department functions sit near each other makes discourse and collaboration natural. Dell does a great job of this, and I see it work with Razoo in my own experience.

4) Train your team. Several criticism of Marketing in the Round include the fact that integrating is a base level strategy skill. Truth! But unfortunately, many communications professionals have not been trained, or if they went to school, it’s been years even decades since their last education. A lot has changed, including the rise of social and mobile media. Use training to improve team performance.

5) Rewrite procedures to facilitate integration. Finally, many rules and procedures in older organizations protect siloization. Work with HR to rewrite rules and procedures so that people can move nimbly without fear of reprisal, and communicate a holistic branded experience.

What tips would you offer to break down silos?

If you want more integrate resources beyond Marketing in the Round, please download my 2009 white paper on the Cultural Challenges to Integration.