From silo thinking to multidisciplinary working
Putting the customer first and aligning all projects, actions and initiatives within the entire company perfectly with the overarching business strategy: that is what every management wants. Yet almost no board of directors succeeds in this and in most cases this is due to the traditional organization of the company: in departments, with each department neatly arranged, closed off from the rest of the company.
Silos limit progress
Silos, that's what those closed departments are often called. We allocate each silo its own budget and for cross-departmental projects the most frequently asked question is: on whose budget do we book this? With silo thinking as a result.
A company equipped in silos is struggling with projects that are primarily in the interest of one department rather than in the interest of the entire company. Departments want to be considered important and fight for their right to exist in boardrooms. There the weekly board meetings become inefficient. Employees spend a lot of time making presentations to convince executives that they add a lot of value to the company, but in the meantime nothing happens.
Fortunately, more and more companies are choosing to make the (difficult!) switch to multidisciplinary work to make. Such a step goes against all traditions, because you are going to pull employees (offline and online) from their department and have them collaborate with employees from other departments. Where we used to think that working together with one's own department was especially useful – being able to switch quickly, joining forces, etc. – it turns out to be crucial to transcend the boundaries of one's own department. Working together with colleagues from completely different disciplines increases the chance of a meaningful, company-wide collaboration that really fits in with the company strategy.
What is multidisciplinary collaboration?
This video explains it briefly:
When you decide as a board to take the drastic step towards multidisciplinary work, it is important to first create support among management. The fact that the managers in your company are committed to the choice they have made and are willing to put their hands in the fire is an important condition for a successful policy change.
Making the actual change can involve many activities. For example, you will have to make adjustments to the layout of your office or workplaces, but also online (on your intranet or in the other tools that are used) the necessary changes often have to be made. Project teams get a different staffing, a number of projects are canceled and a number of new project teams have to see the light. A lot of changes that cost a lot of energy and time, but in the long run lead to a much more fruitful business.
Because dealing with silo thinking is quite complicated, many entrepreneurs use a business coach to help the company with the adjustment process. Business coaches can now be found in almost every region in the Netherlands who are specialized in the multidisciplinary design of organizations (examples: business coach Den Bosch, business coach Utrecht). Because a business coach often monitors your organization for a longer period and several times a week during such drastic change measures, it does not hurt to hire a coach who does not have to come from the other side of the country.