Ever since the dawn of industrialisation, specialization has been a key process in maximizing productivity and getting a better return on investment. But division and departmentalization can go too far and have serious effects on a business’s creativity and flexibility.

The silo mentality occurs when different departments and hierarchy levels in your organisation fail to share ideas and information to others outside their interpersonal bubble. Breaking silos as they emerge is a vital step to creating a more unified work environment – below are some tips:

• Silos can lead to increased accountability which in turn will lead to teams being more competitive and restrictive about data, leading to a waste of resources, or worse, miscalculating risks.

• Research on how societies work can help us understand how silos come about.

• For employees to be creative information needs to flow freely. Silos, however, discourage this.

• Large businesses are generally divided into silos that work independently, making it difficult for silos to collaborate or communicate effectively.

• Silos encourage “tunnel vision” and prevents anyone from seeing growing market risks.

• Silos aren’t just inside a business; they are also inside our minds. Personal silo-busting involves interaction with people who are different from you, both socially and professionally.

• Stuck in traditional organisation silos, many leaders miss the valuable insight that, without a strong business process structure, it is nearly impossible to improve performance.

• It is possible to abolish silos in a business and still harness the benefits of specialised work by introducing new people and new ideas.

Final thoughts…

People have developed silos as a natural response to the increasing complexity in the world. Though silos have some benefits, silos also blind us to risks and stifle our creativity. It is important that we engage in silo-busting, both in our minds and in society, too. When people from different backgrounds come together, they can produce great innovations.