Book review: Silos, Politics, and Turf Wars

Last week, the same colleague who gave me Patrick Lencioni‘s other book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, gave me another book to read. It’s called Silos, Politics and Turf Wars, and this one was also mildly interesting but not great.

This book talked about how when different parts of a company or organization do not march to the same beat, silos can form. More specifically, if not everyone is moving towards the same clear, shared, understood goal, and ideally using the same objectives and metrics, then silos will emerge eventually.
Because, according to the author, when people start working towards different goals, eventually they go into some form of competition with each other for more resources, higher priority, etc. Less collaboration happens, less work just done in the interest of the entire company, as opposed to the function / department / group the person is in, and his or her own career. And that’s how silos emerge.
Like his other book, the author spends most of this one in a fictional scenario, illustrating silo-related issues and how to overcome them. And again, the last 20% or so of the book (just a ballpark estimate) is spent in a more conventional academic style, laying out the author’s findings and recommendations.
I actually like some of the recommendations a lot. Pick an overall thematic goal for the whole company that is qualitative (we’ll get to metrics later), time-bound (so people can see an end, don’t despair, work towards the goal etc, but not start discarding it because it’s always critical), shared by everyone (including the entire management team, so it’s not just one person’s problem) and serves as a good organizational rallying cry.
It’s not always easy to come up with such a goal, nor with the 4-6 defining objectives that will let us get to that goal. But it’s a worthy exercise.
Overall, I do like the message, but I thought that (again) the book was really verbose and repetitive, to the point where it got annoying to read.

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