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Transparent thoughts and ideas from Administrative Consultant (aka: Virtual Assistant, Crystal Casavant of Relax Consulting.

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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Avoiding an Information Silo

Seeing that I'll be marrying a farmer in 100 days (not that I'm counting), I do know what a silo is. I also know that silos aren't replaced on most farms because it is cheaper to use a bag to store feed because there is no maintenance or upkeep on the machinery or the silo itself. I recently heard the term 'information silo' in the business world and I was intrigued. With my limited knowledge of farming, I could not imagine what the term was doing being used in the business world. For those of you who don't know, here's what I found for an explanation (compliments of Wikipedia):

An information silo is a management system that does not operate back and forth with other management systems within the organization. One manager has trouble exchanging information with other managers and this prevents information and ideas from being shared back and forth to help the organization communicate effectively. The managers are often thought of as gate keepers because of their 'information silo', 'silo thinking', silo vision' and/or 'silo mentality'. Their thinking is vertical (like a silo) while the others within the organization are horizontal which causes the frustration, security lapses, privacy breaches, and frustrated customers.

So...now that we know what an information silo is, how can we avoid it? That's easy, right? Have the right people on the team! If only it were that easy. We sometimes end up with people on the team who we think are the right people, or we inherit a team that we didn't necessarily choose and we have to work with what we were given. Don't give up. Open and honest communication is the key. If it seems like there is a problem between managers or team leaders, do not assume that it will work itself out. Meet with those involved and engage them in team building exercises, ask for feedback and input, and help them to see one another's points of view. You may have individuals who think differently and though they may never see eye to eye, they must see the importance of communication for the good of the organization.

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