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The leaders should all relate to this principle: the governed must be as happy as possible.Cicero

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The Silo Effect

The Silo Effect

What caracterizes siloed organizations and how can you manage to break down these silos?

Author(s): Gillian Tett

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Date of publication: 2015

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The anthropologist author casts her detached professional eye on the phenomenon of organizational silos, both in business and the public sector. She shows that silos meet a basic human need to gather in like-minded groups in which it is easy to tell who is in or out. In the first part of the book, she also shows the potential detrimental effects of this reflex on many different levels, including risk management, information flow and innovation. Organizational silos prevent the formation of a general picture of the situation, as well as the combination of different talents—abilities that have become extremely valuable. The example of competing innovations amongst different departments of Sony is particularly enlightening.

In the second part, the author shares best practices of organizations which have effectively managed to eliminate silos. She also describes the benefits derived therefrom. New York City Hall, for instance, was faced with a dramatically high number of residential fires. By encouraging collaboration across very different departments, such as social services and urban renewal, the mayor’s office managed to identify at-risk buildings well in advance and take adequate fire prevention measures. The author underlines the importance of adapting work spaces, as well as processes, and of maintaining constant efforts to avoid the formation of new silos!

This book intelligently combines anthropological and organizational approaches by underlining the best practices which readers can transfer to their own organization.