Silos are a Killer of Organisations


Silos are an organisational killer. They lead to a lack of collaboration and communication, leading to sub-par decisions made by those in the silo. This post will look at what silos are, why they exist, and how you can break them down.

Silos are a killer of organisations.

Silos are a killer of organisations.

They’re the death of innovation, efficiency and agility. They cripple collaboration and kill transparency.

What is a silo

A silo is a structure that separates different functions of an organisation. For example, a business may have separate marketing, sales and customer service departments.

We say it’s not a people problem: If you’ve got people working together across these silos, you’re going to find it very difficult for them to collaborate on something that matters to the customer or market. They will have different goals and incentives, so there will be disincentives for collaboration between those teams. The silos don’t work well together because they can’t see each other as part of their business unit; they are operating in isolation.

The pros and cons of silos

Silos are an organizational structure that may be useful in some situations. They can provide more clarity and focus and allow for more specialized knowledge. However, when silos become too distinct, they can stifle organisational productivity.

If your business has multiple departments or teams working on the same task, you may consider breaking up your team into smaller groups with a specialized focus instead of relying on siloed teams. This will allow each group to work independently while remaining accountable as one unit within the larger organization.

1. Silos create competing subcultures within a business

Silos are, by definition, small enclosed spaces separate from the rest of the room. In an organisation, silos become concrete barriers between different departments and teams. Silos can lead to:

  • competing subcultures within a business
  • disjointed company culture
  • lack of communication between departments or divisions
  • lack of innovation

2. There is limited interaction with people outside of the silo

Silos are self-contained and efficient but can result in siloed thinking. People often only interact with people within their silo, making it difficult for them to share information or learn from others with different experiences.

Collaboration is key to creating a successful organisation because it helps employees understand each other’s roles and perspectives. Without collaboration, there can be no clear understanding of what needs to be done by whom and how others will contribute towards meeting these goals.

3. Silos can cause resistance to change

  • Silos can be a barrier to innovation.
  • Silos can cause people to be less open to new ideas.
  • Silos can cause resistance to change.

Steps for breaking down silos

There are three steps you can take to get started:

  • Create a shared vision. To break down silos, all departments must be on the same page about what the company is trying to accomplish. This means that everyone should work toward one shared goal instead of having disparate goals for every department.
  • Focus on the customer. As mentioned above, if you don’t know your customers’ needs and preferences, it’s impossible to serve them well or make good decisions about how your organisation should work internally. So start by researching what customers want and how they think about their experience with your brand—and then share this information across departments so everyone has access to it to make better decisions going forward (and therefore create fewer silos).
  • Create a sense of urgency around change management.”

Improved collaboration, increased efficiency, and better innovation

Silos are one of the biggest killers of organisations. They create competing subcultures within a business, causing resistance to change and making it difficult for employees to collaborate with others across departments. Silos can also cause information overload because each department has its own way of doing things. Employees need to relearn everything when they transfer from one silo into another.

To break down silos in your organization:

  • Encourage collaboration between different departments by setting up regular cross-functional meetings where you can share knowledge from each other’s fields. This will make your team more efficient and effective at solving problems together as a whole rather than as individuals working in isolation from each other. The same goes for encouraging employees who work in different areas of an organisation through training sessions or workshops on best practice techniques, so everyone knows what’s going on across different teams – this helps everyone feel more connected within their organisation, which helps break down the “us vs them” mentality often associated with siloed workplaces.


To break down silos, you must start by identifying the ones in your organisation. You then need to create a structure where it’s easier for people from different silos to work together. Finally, you should invest in cross-silo collaboration activities so that employees feel like they have a stake in their work and recognise its impact on others.


About the Author:

I Help Companies of all Sizes Develop Great Business Models and Products As an MBA qualified consultant, Forbes contributor & co-author of the book “Online Innovation”. I have been shaped by working with great people & thought leaders throughout the years and having a great network of seasoned innovators and strategists, for which I have learnt so much. My practice has been shaped by Lean startup, JTBD (job to be done), testing business ideas, business model design, business strategy, and OKRs (objectives and key results). I am a member of the Association of Business Mentors, a fellow of the Institute of Innovation and knowledge exchange, and MBAs. I have over 20 years of experience in product & business management in global organisations, managing complex relationships strategically and driving business change.
Go to Top