Why Organizational Silos Fail Our Customers — and How to Fix It
By Jim Fisher
My most recent AMA Executive Circle posting on “knocking down” organizational silos drew immediate response and has pushed me to expand on how they begin, why they are harmful in today’s digital world, and how leaders can tear them down.
To begin, I was wrong when I implied silos only develop inadvertently from a lack of leadership attention (wishful thinking?). Such can certainly be the case, but a lack of confidence or a pile of leadership insecurities can also unfavorably impact organizational silos. If a business sector leader is defensive in the face of criticism, his or her area of responsibility can become unresponsive, even stubborn, to company needs regardless of the strategy or culture. Or if segment leaders believe in themselves and their team to the exclusion of others, then potential for goal sharing and achieving organizational success together will be significantly diminished if not destroyed.
Why Organizational Silos Are Wrong for Today
Today’s technologically aware customers have more and faster access to information for their decision making, leading to a need for horizontal and non-siloed organizations. As outlined in a previous post, the number of potential customer “touch points” through the decision-making customer journey has exploded, thanks to our digital devices.
A recent presentation by Forrester’s James McQuivey dove into the importance of emotion in today’s experiential world. He explained how our brain’s “risk central”―which has helped us to quickly avoid sometimes life threatening mistakes for our survival over the millennia―is now helping us to make faster decisions in today’s “hyperadoption” world. Digital technology allows us to quickly gather decision related information from multiple sources, reducing the risks we are programmed to avoid.
In this world, organizational silos create more confusing and sometimes contrasting bits of information for the customer to digest.
This is important to progressive, non-siloed, transparent, and accountable-to-the-customer (customer-centric) organizations because the role of emotion to this decision-making process is enormous. Our risk central allows for rapid decision making by leveraging our emotions to carry the message and response and cut through the data. Emotions have become more critical to help us quickly decide what to focus on, engage with, and remember while managing the onslaught of available information from today’s tech world.
Our emotions play an essential role and are key to what we remember from each and every experience. All of this makes the individual server, the attendant at the airline gate, and the representative on the other end of the phone important to delivering a consistent brand or cultural message that the customer can emotionally relate to (think Apple, LL Bean, Zappos … ). And the technician committed to fixing your problems, the creator of your website, or the HR leader responsible for hiring the motivated staff critical to the level of engagement delivered in your customer’s everyday experience with each and every customer touchpoint are equally important.
Perhaps this has always been clear to me because my B2C marketing has been focused on restaurants. We all know that our potential revisit to a Go to the full article.