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Organizational silos are the root cause of most workplace problems and are why many of them never get resolved.This is why today’s new workplace must embrace an entrepreneurial spirit where employees can freely navigate and cross-collaborate to connect the problem solving dots; where everyone can be a passionate explorer who knows their own workplace dot and its intersections.In a workplace where silos exist, problem solving is more difficult because you are more likely dealing with self-promoters – rather than team players fostered by a cross functional environment..
1. Transparent Communication Problem solving requires transparent communication where everyone’s concerns and points of view are freely expressed.
I’ve seen one too many times how difficult it is to get to the root of the matter in a timely manner when people do not speak-up. That is why when those involved in the problem would rather not express themselves – fearing they may threaten their job and/or expose their own or someone else’s wrong-doing – the problem solving process becomes a treasure hunt.
Competitors equally create problems for us when they unexpectedly convert a long-standing client, establish a new industry relationship, or launch a new product, brand or corporate strategy.
Mergers & acquisitions keep us on our toes and further distract us from solving existing problems by creating new ones.
It becomes less about corporate politicking and more about finding resolutions and making the organization stronger.
3. Open-minded People Breaking down silos and communication barriers requires people to be open-minded. In the end, problem solving is about people working together to make the organization and the people it serves better.Problem solving is the essence of what leaders exist to do. As leaders, the goal is to minimize the occurrence of problems – which means we must be courageous enough to tackle them head-on before circumstances force our hand. We must be resilient in our quest to create and sustain momentum for the organization and people we serve.A leader must never view a problem as a distraction, but rather as a strategic enabler for continuous improvement and opportunities previously unseen.When I launched my first venture in the food industry, we had a problem with the adhesion of the labels to the glass jar packaging of our products that affected nearly 20% of an initial shipment.But the reality of the workplace finds us dealing with people that complicate matters with their corporate politicking, self-promotion, power-plays and ploys, and envy.Silos, lack of budgets and resources, and many other random acts or circumstances also make it harder for people to be productive. When you know your workplace dot, you have a much greater sense of your sphere of influence.This is almost impossible to gauge when you operate in silos that potentially keep you from having any influence at all.Effective communication towards problem solving happens because of a leader’s ability to facilitate an open dialogue between people who trust her intentions and feel that they are in a safe environment to share why they believe the problem happened as well as specific solutions.Once all voices have been heard and all points of view accounted for, the leader (with her team) can collectively map-out a path toward a viable and sustainable solution.