There is a term that gets thrown around corporate walls, a term that if you are wanting to strengthen an organisation and build resilience you want to avoid like the plague. That word is Silos. These are usually geographical, whether it is split offices in different towns or countries, or even closer to home, in a different room or on a different floor.
When we go into organisations to run our product discovery workshops we always want key stakeholders in the room. Those who will be impacting and/or impacted by the new platform/process. Usually they are from different departments/offices/locations. They all work for the same organisation and serve the same customers but more often than not they are strangers. The scariest thing for me is when they start talking together in the room they quickly realise they’ve been tackling similar problems but not communicated their solutions to each other. Only now when there is an opportunity for collaboration is the information shared.
Traditionally the causes of these collaborative boundaries is seen to be based on locality, but this isn’t really the case. If it was, no one would be working together in this remote world we find ourselves living in. Physically we are more distant than ever. Teams are being thrown into an environment where they are having to find new ways to work together, to communicate, to collaborate, outside of the limits of an office. This change will reshape the way business leaders will see their organisation, the way managers share information and the way we have our water cooler moments. If information and discussions can be shared within a remote team, it should also be able to be shared across multiple teams. Product teams communicating with the marketing and sales team to share feedback and insight. Sales teams communicating with Marketing and IT to work out how processes could be streamlined.
As a digital agency, remote working and cross organisational collaboration is normal practice for us. Face to face has always been a preference, but when that’s not possible we have tools at our disposal to work with teams across the world. When you are working on projects where the client might be in London and the team is spread; the design lead is in Devon, the tech lead in Hampshire and a development team in Warsaw, Poland, you have to be pretty good at communicating and collaborating.
Location is not the restricting factor when it comes to collaboration. It is just as easy for Dave from marketing to video call Pete from manufacturing, as it is for him to video call Jim from accounts. It comes down to culture, process and purpose. A culture that makes people want to communicate and work with people across teams. A process that allows individuals to connect and gives space and time to allow collaboration to happen. And of course a purpose. What is the driving force for bringing different teams together? Is it to deliver a project, is it to solve a specific business or customer need? Is there a process that just isn't working the way it should?
In times of challenge comes opportunity and even though our teams are more dispersed than ever we have the opportunity to bring them closer together then they have ever been before.
We are still here and ready to help with any projects you have in mind so get in touch with us to have a chat!