Unless you’re in corn or grain country, we can all collectively agree that silos are bad. They create frustration, disengagement, animosity, and other feelings that won’t help your business, team, or content.
We can also all concur that silos are a reality for large enterprise content teams. With lots of stakeholders, strategies, products, and customer targets, silos are all but necessary to get things done. The issues crop up when communication and collaboration ceases to happen. And remote or hybrid work frameworks can make it more difficult without a commitment to communication, processes, and accountability.
So, how can you start to implement a change in your siloed structure? How can your silo walls be broken down? We have some ideas.
A Story About Silos
I often think back to the early days of DivvyHQ and some of our interactions with companies. Many times, these enterprises would be going through organizational change and seeking to create a new content strategy and plan with the help of a content marketing platform.
One of those early customers was a large technology company based in the UK. They were having issues tracking all the content they were producing and publishing. They had 50 different markets worldwide, and each had its own content team. They didn’t talk to each other most of the time, so the silos were undeniable.
This lack of communication was so bad that two teams hired agencies to produce some product videos. They were nearly identical, and the company was out tens of thousands of dollars. That’s a shining example of why silos are bad and what they can literally cost you.
The Impact of Silos
In the example above, it’s evident that if those teams had collaborated, they would have saved time, money, and resources. They’d still have a great video at the end of the day, usable across many regions.
It seems simple. Why wouldn’t they talk to each other? Why didn’t anyone realize this was happening? The short answer is that they, like so many organizations, lack visibility at scale. They don’t have processes around planning, nor do they have a master content calendar that defines every project for the company.
To play devil’s advocate, you might be thinking silos aren’t always bad. They let groups have a very internal focus. It might make some tasks easier. In the long term, it’s not sustainable. It creates a vacuum where there’s no outside input or collaboration. It won’t help your company realize its content marketing goals. When everybody’s doing their own thing, they are also most concerned about self-preservation. They look only to grow their silo, not the business as a whole.
If there’s no urgency from leaders for transparency and collaboration, there won’t be any from below. That can create a toxic workplace, and your best content marketers will burn out or leave.
Breaking Down the Silos: A Roadmap for Organizational Change
Change is hard; no one likes it. However, we all faced substantial pivots in the past few years. So, hopefully, we all collectively learned that change is good!
However, it doesn’t happen overnight, and it requires leadership to make it part of the culture. We saw this happen with another customer. They had five core business units. Each had its own marketing team and product offerings. Time and time again, they kept having issues with marketing efforts.
Customers would receive conflicting messages from the units, which confused or annoyed them. To resolve this, they hired an executive to head up an initiative to integrate all the five silos and foster collaboration.
With a dedicated executive leading this organizational change, the company started breaking down its silos and introduced new processes and tools. Here’s an inside look at the four main components that helped them implement these changes.
Top-Down Support and Accountability
Organizational change must be top-down, or things will remain the same. These people control budgets, provide support and resources, and are accountable for your team’s performance. It’s not uncommon for these executives to take action and tell people, “We’re doing this, so make it happen.”
Create an Inclusive Space for Ideas
Lack of trust breeds more corporate BS and a hostile work environment. You always end up with duplicated efforts and no sense of collaboration when silos are present. An inclusive environment champions trust and transparency. When that happens, people will be more apt to share ideas. Thus, trust should become the status quo.
Find an Effective Collaboration Platform
There was a time when interactions were all in person. The advent of email and chat changed that. Now, in person is rare, but communication might be better in some ways.
Beyond having access to communication tools to collaborate, your content team needs a platform that helps you strategize, plan, execute, and measure your content efforts. A content marketing platform does that and more, enabling true content collaboration, transparency, and visibility.
Formalize Your Content Process
If you strategize and plan in silos, your content team isn’t on the same page. They may not even be in the same book. Without agreed-upon processes, consistency and throughput will suffer. Thus, you first need a content strategy. Second, you need to turn it into a plan. Then you need to build content workflows to work on the logistics of how something goes from an idea to a completed project. Your content marketing efforts will be stronger and more sustainable.
For more insights on organizational change, check out the video below, featuring one of the most influential thought leaders on organizational change, Arthur Carmazzi.
Organizational Change Is Hard, But Silos Are Bad
If your marketing remains in silos, you don’t have to disrupt anything. However, you’ll waste time, money, and resources. Change doesn’t happen by itself. It requires commitment from the top as well as input and buy-in from all those on the team. Building a collaborative culture is good for your business and your people.
Take your first step in banishing silos from your content team by checking out the DivvyHQ platform designed by and for content marketers. Try it for free today.