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Silo Jumping

Connect because you can.

“83% of those surveyed indicated that silos exist within their companies, and 97% saw these conditions as having a negative effect on performance.”

 

Journal: Global Business Review

Intro

Depending on the size of your organization, you may be facing the very common challenge of people sticking to their silos.  If so, you are fully aware of the negative impact that it can have on things such as productivity, collaboration, innovation, trust, morale and more.  It can also lead to unnecessary tension between groups, which ultimately leads to failed project results.  

 

Luckily, there’s an easy solution, and it requires jumping out of those silo’s, and getting talking!  Below, you will find 4 resources that, if used, will break down those barriers and help your teams unite!  And remember, even if your organization doesn’t have separate departments, you can use the Silo Jumping resources to bring colleagues who work apart, closer together.

4 Silo Jumping Experiences

1

Whether it’s at a restaurant, or over a Zoom call, do you have the guts to ask a colleague to join you for lunch?  If so, this resource will help!

2

Barriers between departments and people will crumble when you choose to throw a Silo Soiree!

3

 This resource will help you create a safe space for others to share their concerns, while connecting people from other groups like never before.

4

This powerful resource gives people the rare chance to see life through the eyes of an other, which leads to a deeper understanding felt by all.

4 Silos
Lunch Leader

Lunch Leader

Introduction 

Similar to the Lunch and Laugh resource that we offer, this is an opportunity to double up on what colleagues are already doing each day, by adding in a little connection at the same time.  Whether done virtually, or in a live setting, this is a chance for colleagues to jump out of their silo, and enjoy a meaningful conversation with someone working in another department. 

 

For smaller organizations, you can encourage colleagues to have lunch with those they rarely get the chance to connect with.  In either case, making this effort goes a long way in crossing the divide, while building bonds with extended team members.

 

 

Use these tips to help make this a successfully utilized resource.

#1. For managers that have a small budget to work with, consider sweetening the pot by telling your colleagues you will pick up the tab for them and their lunch partner when they use this resource.

#2. Send an email to the entire organization asking people to enter their name on a sign up sheet showing their willingness to have lunch with a colleague from another department, or at least someone they do not know well.  For those who do not sign up, try encouraging them to consider it by reminding them of the benefits it will bring to their life, and to the organization as a whole.  Once the list is made, send out periodic reminders to the team enticing them to take advantage of this resource.

#3. We’ve said it above, and we’ll say it again.  The magic of making this resource one that brings greater connection to the organization as a whole is by choosing to have lunch with people you do not know well or at all.

#4. If you are a people leader, jump out of your silo by reaching out to other leaders in other departments, and ask if there are candidates who would be a good fit for this experience.  From there, match them with someone on your own team who, by making the match, would benefit them and the organization as a whole.

#5. Colleagues who have chosen to lead a lunch should always come to the experience with their leadership hat on.  It’s your party, so choose to lead it in a way that maximizes the success of the connection.  The best way to do that is to show up with specific questions that you would like to ask the person you are having lunch with.  Keep it light, but not so light that you miss the chance to connect.  What do they like to do when they aren’t working?  What’s an experience that shaped the course of their life? Where would they like to travel some day?

 

 

Conclusion 

Following these steps will ensure that any two people that don’t know each other well, or even at all, can enjoy a meaningful connection.  So, go have lunch, and make an exciting change for you and your organization in the process!

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Silo Soiree

Silo Soiree

Introduction 

Who likes to party?  We like to party!  Ok, so maybe it doesn’t have to be a party, but socializing with colleagues that we don’t get a chance to interact with is a great way to strengthen bonds across networks.  For those choosing to lead a Silo Soiree, we invite you to follow the steps below for a good time!  And feel free to ask one or two other colleagues to join you in helping organize this event.  Don’t worry, you won't have to split the credits as we are sure your manager will reward all of you equally for making the effort.

 

How Does it Work?

 

1.  Pick a date and time that is convenient for the majority of those you will be inviting.  We suggest you put a specific beginning and end time to your event, so that people are clear on expectations.  Keep in mind your Silo Soiree can easily be produced virtually too if most people work remotely.

2.  Consider overlapping your soiree with a timeframe that won’t pull people out of work for too long.  A breakfast get together that starts just before the workday begins, a lunch soiree or near the end of the day when people are wrapping up are all great times.

3.  Get “buy in” from the leaders in other departments.  If you can get them to join your event, others will follow.  While contacting them via email is fine, the best way to reach out is either through a virtual call, a phone call or by meeting with them personally.  Maybe even invite them out for a coffee to tell them about your idea?  During that meeting, communicate what you want to do, and how important these events are for people individually, departmentally and organizationally.  Having departmental leaders get behind your event makes a big difference!

4.  After getting the leaders within the different departments on board, it’s time to pad your event even further by reaching out to specific people in different departments to get their “buy in” too.  Is there someone from Marketing you chat with on a regular basis?  Are you part of a company-wide football pool that you can entice to show up?  Is there someone that you used to work with who is now in a different department?  Whoever it is, reach out to those who know you and will want to support you by showing up and bringing colleagues with them.

5.  Without being too pushy, make sure you send constant reminders leading up to your event, especially a week out and the day before.  Let’s face it, people get busy and it’s easy to forget.  

6.  If you are doing your event in a live setting and there’s a budget, bring food.  There’s nothing like a free slice of pizza after work, or a bagel with cream cheese in the morning to entice people to show up.

7.  At the beginning of your Silo Soiree, ask someone who is confident speaking in front of a group (that could be you) to thank everyone for coming, and to remind them of the intentions of the event.  Let everyone know that your Silo Soiree is meant to break down any barriers that might exist between departments or people, and to do that you have brought everyone together to connect in a meaningful way.

8.  Now it’s time to get them talking.  Your Silo Soiree doesn’t need to be complicated.  All you have to do is choose a way to get people moving around the room and engaging in meaningful conversation with people outside of their own department.  For some cool questions that can be used to spark powerful conversations, feel free to steal a bunch that are offered within other programs found on our Resources Page.

The Human Trivia Game, Tribe Building Event, No Regrets resource and more, offer countless questions from which you can choose to make your Silo Soiree a huge success.  And don’t forget to keep participants moving into conversations with new people!  As long as they are connecting with those outside of their daily orbit, how you get them moving around the room is up to you.  Without making things too complicated, get creative in pulling them into conversations with colleagues they don’t often get the chance to talk to.

Tip

 

Besides being a great place to find questions that can be used at your Silo Soiree, the Tribe Building Event, as a specific resource, is worth taking a look at for other great ideas to make this a success!

 

Conclusion 

At the Human Connection Group, we have produced countless events that brought people together who didn’t know each other at the beginning of the event.  The response by attendees has been consistently the same.  At first, people awkwardly come together to talk, and within a short period of time it becomes difficult to pull them apart.  Trust us when we say that they want to talk to each other, but won’t unless someone pushes them together.  That person could be you!

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Right To Gripe

Right To Gripe Event

Introduction 

 

Whether it’s within a friends group, a tight knit family or a growing organization, relationships break down when people stop communicating how they feel  Especially when those feelings pertain to frustrations, concerns and gripes being felt by one person, group or department.  

 

Knowing that, why not create an honest conversation that invites people to openly share the things that are currently ailing them the most?  Making this effort helps everyone see the perspective of others, and begins creating a space of understanding between teams.  With the right questions, it doesn’t have to feel like a “blaming session”, but instead can act as an opportunity for others to start getting along better than ever before.

How Does it Work?

 

Step 1

 

Whether your Right To Gripe event is conducted virtually, in a live setting, or on an internal posting board, invite people to participate by explaining this is an opportunity for everyone to gain a better perspective of each other's needs.  Below, you will find a sample invite that you can use or tweak however you see fit.

 

 

Sample E-Mail

 

 

Hey there everyone,

 

I’m sending this email to invite you to share any frustrations, concerns or gripes that you may have, so that we can gain a better understanding of where people are coming from.  It’s called the Right To Gripe, and it’s one of the resources offered in the Tribe Certified program.  It’s designed to help us have those uncomfortable conversations that are often avoided, but are so necessary for our continued growth.  It’s about learning what areas need attention today, and finding solutions for the future.

 

We have decided to conduct the Right To Gripe experience in a live/virtual/message board  (you choose) setting, which will be taking place on the date of ____________.  I will be following up on this email with a list of questions that we would love to get your feedback on.  We will then aggregate the feedback so that it can be shared anonymously with the rest of the group, and then opened up for wider discussion.  Please note, that this experience is not meant to be a blaming session, but rather an opportunity to be transparent with each other, so that we can work through our challenges.

 

For now, please save the date, and look out for those questions, which will be coming soon!

 

 

 

Step 2

 

Below, you will find questions that will generate this type of intended discussion.  Sending these questions in advance gives attendees a chance to reflect on how they would like to respond, and helps you avoid knee jerk reactions.  And remember, it’s important to remind everyone that their answers to the questions will be completely anonymous.  If possible, consider creating a private internal posting board where participants can answer the questions, without having to respond to one specific person within the organization.  This will allow for ever greater transparency.

 

 

Step 3

 

If your Right To Grip event is happening live/virtually, start off by reminding participants of the importance of actively listening, not casting blame and being respectful of opinions that may not coincide with their own.  Tell them that it’s about bringing people’s true feelings to the surface, and creating a space for respectful dialogue on important topics that need to be addressed.  Throughout the experience, repeat the questions that were posed, and then in each case, share the feedback you received with the entire group before opening things up for wider discussion. 

 

 

You are now ready to go!  Below you will find some quick tips that will help make this a success!

 

TIP #1: While these conversations often work best in a live or virtual setting, if that’s impossible, we’ve got you covered.  Simply follow many of the same steps outlined here, but instead use an internal posting board as the location of your questions and corresponding feedback.

TIP #2: If doing your event live/virtual, consider sharing the anonymous feedback to the questions with leaders from other departments first.  Ask them to give it some thought, and prepare perspectives they would like to share at the upcoming Right To Gripe event.

 

TIP #3: Effective facilitation is a skill, and one that anyone can possess.  The key is to solicit as much feedback from as many people as possible, while not allowing any one person to dominate the conversation.  In one of our resources called The Connection Club, we offer detailed guidelines on how to be a great facilitator.  Click HERE to check it out.  

 

TIP #4: This doesn’t have to be your one and only Right To Gripe event.  Breaking down barriers between silos is not an overnight job.  For that reason, when doing this event live/virtual/posting board, it’s best not to flood the group with too many questions, thus making it impossible to get through all of them.  Instead, pick a small number from the list below to get you started, and by all means, feel free to add your own.

Right To Gripe Questions:

  • If you had one wish where you could change something about a department other than your own, what department would you choose and what would that change be?

  • When colleagues outside of your department think about your own internal group, name one improvement you think they wish would be made?

  • Finish this sentence.  My job would be so much easier to do if only others would _____________. 

  • If you could wave a magic wand, and make three changes that you think would improve the way things are done within this organization what would they be?

  • What factors are the biggest contributors to the breakdown in communication within this organization?

  • Is there anything that bothers you about this organization?  If so, what is it and why does it cause you frustration?

  • What would have to happen in order for relationships to strengthen between departments?

  • How could our organization improve in order to better facilitate the exchange of information?

  • If you could improve collaboration within this organization, how would you do it?

  • What changes would you like to see made at the leadership level that would help break down barriers between departments, and promote cross functional teams?

Feel free to add your own questions!

 

Conclusion 

There isn’t a person on planet earth who doesn’t experience occasional frustrations on the job.  It’s part of life, and can’t be avoided.  What can be avoided is how your organization chooses to deal with inevitable professional gripes.  The can be buried away where they may fester into a potentially bigger conflict, or those concerns can be given a chance to see the light of day where they can be dealt with in a conscious manner. Having the courage to do the latter will improve communication, strengthen bonds and attract new levels of success!

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Walk A Mile

Walk A Mile

Introduction 

 

It’s amazing how quickly someone can better understand another person’s perspective after they “walk a mile” in their shoes.  This saying is one that most have heard, but how often do we actually put it into practice?  In fact, more often than not, we assume we know another person’s perspective, and it’s almost always different from what is actually going on for them.  

 

For that reason, we encourage you to use the Walk A Mile resource.  It is an event that takes very little effort to produce, and is one that can have a very big impact.  All you have to do is create an opportunity for all departments (or all people if you are a smaller organization) to tell each other something they really want them to know.

How Does it Work?

 

Step 1

 

Set up a virtual call with all members of the organization that is scheduled to last no longer than 30 minutes.  Tell them it’s a Walk A Mile event, which is designed to give one (only one) department an opportunity to share something with the rest of the group that they might not know or fully understand.  In your meeting invite, inform the group who will be presenting, and remind everyone that it’s not a gripe session, but rather an opportunity to give people a window into the way that specific team operates.

 

Step 2

 

In advance of the meeting, ask the department that is presenting to answer the following question.  If you understood this about us, it would generate greater collaboration, innovation and communication between our groups.  Ensure that the department prepares a short presentation that lasts approximately fifteen minutes, explaining their answer to that question. 

 

 

Step 3

 

When the group comes together, welcome them with a reminder that the purpose of the event is give others a chance to walk a mile in the shoes of those working within a department other than their own.  After that department presents, allow the remaining fifteen minutes to be used for people in other departments to ask questions in order to gain deeper understanding or 

clarification.  Emphasize the point that the “audience” is being asked to only ask questions, and not use it as an opportunity to complain or share their side of the story.  

 

At the end of the meeting, thank everyone for their openness to gaining a deeper understanding of the perspective of others, and encourage other departments to take advantage of the Walk A Mile resource in the future.  Within thirty short minutes, the rest of the organization has now “walked a mile” in someone else’s shoes, and moving forward will consider this information when working with the people on the team that presented.  As a result, this will help the members of other departments change their approach to better align themselves with the needs and wants of their colleagues in other groups.  

 

TIP #1: Have someone in the meeting assigned to be a note taker.  The following day, send out a high level bullet point summary from the meeting, so that everyone can keep them for future reference.

 

TIP #2: If getting the entire organization together is too difficult a task, consider creating an internal online post that everyone can contribute to.  You can keep it simple by using the same question asked above, or you can go further by posing the longer list of questions that are outlined in the Town Hall Event resource.  

 

Once the internal post has been created, reach out to leaders within the organization asking them to solicit feedback from their direct reports on the questions being asked.  Ask those leaders to aggregate this feedback and post the collective responses from their group.  After all departments have contributed to the post, leaders should absorb the feedback together with their teams to discuss changes they can make to better cooperate with other departments.

 

TIP #3: This shouldn’t be a one and done situation.  Every so often, a quick email should go out to the entire organization reminding everybody of this resource, and to encourage people to share their most recent perspective on the questions asked.

 

 

Conclusion 

Creating an environment within an organization where silos cease to exist is a pretty difficult task, but establishing bonds between these various units doesn’t have to be.  At the end of the day, those working in different departments are just human beings like anyone else who want the best for the organization.  And when you actively bring those people together in a meaningful way, great things can happen!

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