Silos and Silo Mentality

Because I live in Kansas, I am very familiar with silos. They dot the landscape and are often the subject of fine art work and photography.

Silo Print by Justin Marable

Because I interact frequently with managers, I’m also familiar with silo mentality. Last week I visited three clients. When I asked them about their greatest training need, all three mentioned silo mentality. One, a director of a local health department said: “I just wish people would say they work for a great health department, rather than a great program.” Another client complained that people in one program often disparage the importance of other programs. This isolated thinking by teams is lateral silo mentality.

Another form of silo mentality is vertical silo mentality. This is characterised by  mistrust between management and staff. Again a client mentioned mistrust and a lack of understanding between “upstairs” and “downstairs.”

In his book Group Genius, Keith Sawyer discusses “Collaborative Webs,” which he demonstrates are responsible for the majority of innovation and creativity in our economy. Obviously any organization plagued by silo mentality will not feature collaborative webs, and will become stagnant.

How to deal with silo mentality. At Laugh2Learn. We have developed creative play exercises designed specifically to address the problem. Like all of our programs, they are guaranteed to be fun, and effective. If they don’t do what you expect, you don’t pay.

Let’s break down those silos!


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