Silos, Politics and Turfwars relates to one of the most frustrating problems facing management today: infighting and divisional separation. Patrick Lencioni weaves together practical advice on business management with a compelling story of fiction that applies the various principles. The fiction shows how the principles could possibly work in a real world business setting and the instructional section brings those suggestions into a workable framework to apply to businesses or non-profit organizations.
Lencioni weaves together the tale of Jude Cousins, a bright executive who makes the decision to leave a comfortable job with a technological firm to pursue full time consulting. The venture proves fruitful in the long term but starts with some short term struggles that need to be conquered.
After beginning the consulting firm, Jude finds that a general approach does not seem to be working and decides to specialize in the area of Silos. The silo is an ever elusive barrier that raises its head to cause havoc and difficulty in many businesses. Cousins begins the pursuit of solving the silo problem but with less than stellar results, at first.
While pondering the problem, Jude’s wife goes into early labor and he watches in amazement as people from a variety of departments come together to solve problems and care for his wife. The experience proves to be enlightening and leads Jude to think through the reality of emergencies.
Instead of leading the company or non-profit through a series of emergencies, the leader must have a rallying cry for the people. The task of the leader is to provide an ongoing source of dramatic leading theme to communicate with their employees and give them a goal to pursue.
Growing up in farm country made me very familiar with silos but not in the manner that Lencioni uses them. Silos were used for storing grain waiting for a more appropriate time to sell at the market or for use on the farm to feed livestock. However, silos can be deadly. Entering a silo in a wrong manner can cause the person to suffocate. In business, silos can suck the life, energy, enthusiasm, and effort right out of a company or non-profit. What exactly is a silo?
In business terms, a silo is a barrier or divider that keeps people within an organization from working with one another. One key reason for this is departmental politics within a business that turns co-workers into competitors and not in a positive sense.
Lencioni gives practical advice about developing a rallying cry for businesses and for leaders in general. This process plays through several key areas:
* Defining a Thematic Goal
* Developing Defining Objectives
* Creation of Strategic Operating Obejctives
The thematic goal is a single focus shared by the entire leadership team that rallies the company or group together for its accomplishment. The thematic goal acts as a way to bring the various departments or groups within an organization together to bring down the barriers and divisions. The goal is a broad yet simple piece that helps build unity and cooperation among every department within the business.
The defining objectives form the second tier to the overall rallying plan. These objectives are specific things that need to happen to make the thematic goal a reality. These are basically the actions steps that need to be taken in order to achieve the main thematic goal. There might be anywhere from four to six of these objectives.
Strategic Operating Objectives
The standard operating objectives are the day to day operations that will be needed to keep the thematic goal moving forward and will have the basic components of daily work. These objectives would be divided out among the various departments for implementation. While some departments might be more involved in the process, every department is responsible for some aspect of the plan, even if it is merely support natured.
Lencioni also provides a section of case studies that further apply the theories to common problems faced within businesses. These case studies are practical and add weight to the theories on how to solve the turfwar problem.
Overall Patrick Lencioni brings home another masterful creation of both fiction and fact to assist leaders to move beyond the problems of Silos. Silos, Politics and Turf wars is a must read for anyone who leads a business or non-profit organization that deals with infighting, departmental politics and personnel issues.