Imagine, for a moment, that you manage a farm. You have many different workers with many different tasks. You tell them to do this, that and the other thing while keeping tracking their tasks and staying on schedule. Some of your workers harvest grain, some store it in silos and some deliver it to whomever might need it.
However, there’s a problem. Even though you’re on top of things and a very good manager, you aren’t sure if your workers put the grain in the appropriate silos. You go to one silo where corn should be stored, only to find wheat. You go to the wheat silo and find hay. You go to the hay silo only to find it completely empty.
You decide to meet with each group of workers and ask what happened. Each group tells you a different story how things became so goofed up. So you give each group the right direction and they assure you it won’t happen again. But guess what?
It happens again.
This is a problem for your pretend farm and, potentially, your real-life business. You can break your employees into their appropriate work groups, but if each group isn’t on the same page, that’s when problems begin and can snowball into a huge issue.
How can you prevent the silo affect from happening at your work place?
One great way is to bring everyone together for a weekly or bi-weekly meeting. Be sure to invite all the teams and associates, which stresses the point of cohesion at the workplace. You don’t want to ostracize anyone or any group. This way, everyone gets a seat at the table and is included in the big picture for your company or project.
At the meetings, review current goals and tasks you might have, including upcoming projects, recent news, best practices and methods. This allows everyone to see the overall picture and what the mission of the week might be. This also allows workers to see firsthand what other department purposes are, how that work may impact them and vice versa. As each team goes around, the bigger picture begins to take focus and the overall company mission takes fold. Each team member will realize how important their work is, and the impact it can have on others.
Remember to keep it fun. End the meeting with something non-work related, whether it was what you did over the weekend, birthdays, stuff outside of work life. This keeps things on a personal level while building trust with team members. And it’s just as easy to do today with video conferences as it was in person…what seems like a long time ago.
When everyone is on the same page, good things will happen. Now, go make sure those silos are full of what needs to be there.