"Pleeease write that book. The silos in this company are driving me crazy...," so writes one of Pat Lencioni's readers after they meet.
Pat Lencioni has spent his career focused on the "heart" of organizations and identifying behaviors blocking personal and organizational excellence. Lucky for us, he has found another niche, as a best selling author, sharing his observations and remedies in fable form. His first four books - "The Five Temptations of a CEO", "The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive", "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team", and "Death by Meeting" have now sold over one million copies and are being translated into foreign languages.
With "Silos, Politics, and Turf Wars," Lencioni has tackled a perplexing problem that has frustrated humanity since the beginning of recorded time. `Silos' is a metaphor drawn from the large grain silos that one sees throughout the US Midwest. It is a term of derision that suggests that each department on an organization chart is a silo and that its stands alone, not interacting with any of the other departmental silos.
Lencioni addresses a serious problem facing most organizational leaders. A recent study by the American Management Association found 97% of executives believed `silos' have negative effects on organizations, 31% believed they have extensive destructive consequences, and 83% believed they existed in their companies.
As with earlier books, "Silos" centers on a fictional story and ends with a separate insightful analysis providing tools to help readers minimize or possibly eliminate Silos, and the aftermath (politics and turf wars), in their organizations. This book will appeal to anyone who works for or leads any organization, as well as community and political leaders.
Lencioni's "Silos" centers on Jude Cousins and what follows after his life at Hatch Technology. Cousins leaves Hatch after a merger which leaves Batch, the newco, with two heads of everything, no direction, and discontent. Soon after setting up his own shop, Cousin Consulting, Theresa, his wife, announces she is pregnant increasing the pressure for income and benefits.
Faced with twins on the way and a tanking economy, Jude quickly learns he will be unable to provide for his family as a generalist and begins to rethink his future. With the help of existing customers -The Madison Hotel where he did market positioning, JMJ Fitness Machines where he advised on reducing costs, Children's Hospital where he helped a friend transition into the role of CEO, and Sacred Heart Church - Cousins finds his niche as he observes silos and its offspring, the resultant politics and turf wars.
He becomes determined to find a solution for the problem and sets about to convince his customers, all of whom complained about `silos,' to give him a chance to implement a solution. He gets a green light from Madison Hotel first and fails in his attempt.
While at John Muir Hospital for the delivery of the twins, Cousins observes how hospital personnel from different departments serve in the ER as a cohesive team. "It was a bizarre and beautiful mix of chaos, coordination, and communication"....and, why was this not true for the entire hospital? That's when it all clicked. There were no silos in the ER, yet everyone came from different departments. Why?
Cousins then heads off to JMJ and starts to put it all together. With success in reducing silos at JMJ, he moves on to all of his customers learning new twists from each. Eventually, his success brings him back to Batch.
"Silos, Politics, and Turf Wars" will provide the reader with Cousins' learnings, and Lencioni's underlying theory and remedy. Breaching cultural barriers within an organization is a big challenge. Ultimately, it is the path of openness. In an open environment, people work towards a single goal and share information seamlessly with one another. Instead of pursuing hidden agendas, they collaborate. Instead of indulging in turf squabbles and political infighting, they work towards overarching goals. One needs to ask fundamental questions about the organization's goals, metrics, and strategies. The organization needs to know what it wants to be when it grows up. And each member of the group needs to know how they fit into the scheme of things and how they're working in relation to other groups.
This is an important new addition to the Lencioni library and a must read for all organizational leaders and all who seek personal and organizational excellence. Rapidly increasing competitive pressures from new technology, non-traditional competitors, and rapidly changing markets demand open systems where information and action can flow quickly...and where `Silos' have been sent back to the farm.