A few weeks ago, I wrote about organizational silos and their negative impact on seamless customer experiences. Apparently, I hit a raw nerve, as evidenced by a flood of responses from readers.
Since I wrote that post Smartsheet (a solution provider that helps organizations streamline information sharing both internally and externally) announced their Achieve as One Alliance and I’m honored to be a founding member of that alliance along with others like Keith Grossman, President of TIME, and Nick Sinai, former US Deputy CTO and Adjunct Faculty Member at the Harvard Kennedy School.
The alliance’s charter is “to explore how organizations can bridge the gap between people and technology to drive greater organizational effectiveness and achievement.” In keeping with that objective, Smartsheet recently asked Engine Research to look at the relationship between communication flow, organizational effectiveness, and customer impact. Here are a few findings from that study:
- About a third of office team members report that the main detractor for maximum workplace effectiveness is that their “teams are not well-connected with others at the company, making it hard to understand how their work fits into larger company goals.”
- Less than 50% of mid- and entry-level employees reported that their organizations are helping them easily gain “access to information they need to make informed decisions or to collaborate with colleagues and customers.”
- More than a quarter of office team members felt “the people who purchase and implement their company’s workplace technology do not understand the dynamics of their everyday work.”
I recently conducted a workshop where half of the participants were able to collaborate on a project with others at their table while the other half had restrictions placed on their information flow (such that communication could only occur between two people at a time). All of the restricted groups experienced the following:
- A lack of team identity
- Frustration with the process
- A far slower pace toward project completion
- A willingness to compromise quality
- Less accountability and support
- An inability to complete the project within time parameters
Conversely, the collaborative tables all completed their projects swiftly and flawlessly with high levels of engagement. One of these tables challenged the need to be “siloed” into a table group and elected to forge a coalition with a neighboring collaborative table. That coalition produced 50% more quality, completed projects than any individual collaborative table.
I am convinced that breaking down naturally occurring silos helps organizations engage team members and customers in the direction of innovation and customer value creation. Airbnb, the focus of my recently released book The Airbnb Way, is a classic example of a brand that has used tools like Smartsheet to streamline information flow as a catalyst to disruptive innovation.
I would love to talk to you about your efforts to breakdown silos and encourage streamlined information flow across your organization. Simply reach out to me here.