How did “working in silos” become A Bad Thing?
As far as I know, no one works in a silo for longer than they absolutely have to (the film Witness gives a reasonably vivid demonstration of why). Although, thinking about it, I’m not sure whether the expression refers to a grain silo, a silage silo, or a missile silo. And why does “silo” sound such a stupid word if you say it a few times – and do the 330-odd inhabitants of the place think it sounds stupid?
Anyway, you don’t want me sharing these random thoughts: I should just keep them to myself. Except that collaborative effort is surely all about sharing, and so inevitably the question arises: when should I come out of my silo and share? Obviously, when my thoughts are going to interest you, grab your imagination, provoke further thought. That’s what collaboration is all about, isn’t it?
But how will I know that my thoughts will be fruitful in that way, except by sharing? Does anyone still say “Let’s run it up the flagpole and see if anyone salutes”? No, probably not. But you can’t tell if anyone will salute unless you do that flag-hoisting thing. Should we say “Let’s run it up the flagpole and see if it’s pants”? No, probably not.
So collaboration is about having confidence – that I have something worthwhile to say. And trust – that you will hear what I say above the noise; and listen; and, if so moved, respond. With respect. Or at least without harmful disrespect.
Confidence. Trust. The twin pillars of successful collaboration. Just thought I’d share.