The Silo Effect

Gillian Tett

with Gillian Tett

US Managing Editor of the Financial Times

The Silo Effect

The Silo Effect 427 427 33Voices

Moe and Gillian Tett talk about how our tendency to create functional departments—silos—hinders our work…and how some people and organizations can break those silos down to unleash innovation.

The Traps of Organizational Silos

Startups are hailed for being nimble, fluid and resilient; still no startup ever gets into business to remain small, and as such, each will inevitability have to deal with growing pains.  There are a myriad of challenges that they are likely to encounter, with their information flow, or lack thereof, perhaps being the most debilitating.  During the early days, it’s not so difficult to walk down the hall to have a question answered or to gather the team for impromptu discussion, but as your team multiplies and you start to cross geographies, that becomes a tall order.  

Consider the historic rise of Uber, in just five years, the app developed by Travis Kalanick and Stumbleupon founder, Garrett Camp has grown from two hyper-ambitious hackers to more than 1,000 people spread across 60 cities around the world.  Still, as Kalanick was recently quoted in Max Chafkin’s Fast Company article “when you’re a startup guy, you have to be really lean and scrappy.  But as you get perceived to be big, you can’t have that same kind of scrappiness……The thing is, how do you build a company where you’d still feel small, even as you get bigger?”  That’s not so easy.

In her book, The Silo Effect: The Peril of Expertise and the Promise of Breaking Down Barriers, columnist and U.S. managing editor at the Financial Times, Gillian Tett uses an anthropological lens to illustrate how the boxes we create for ourselves are often the very ones that get in the way of our progress.  None of us are immune to these mental models, but as you’ll discover, each one of us has the ability to change them.  

Here’s what discuss: