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02 Jun, 2022

Connecting the dots for better collaboration

Connecting the dots for better collaboration

At Deloitte, Fluid has been helping organizations embark on a journey towards collaboration because we believe that’s the best way to successfully navigate our ever-increasing complex world. The great number of interdependencies we have been experiencing lately no longer allow individuals and teams to work mostly inwards as we continue to observe in our daily practice.

For a long time, our understanding was that having teams working in silos is bad for business and should be avoided. We all can relate to the idea that silos hinder the flow in which people collaborate between different teams in a project, or even between multiple projects, in a way that they end up pursuing their own goals instead of looking out for the benefit of the whole. In other words, decisions usually get optimized for each particular silo, sub-optimizing the broader organization’s interests.

Yet silos continue to be the number one choice for structuring teams in most organizations. Despite their potential negative impact on collaboration, we recently found that there’s more to it than meets the eye. In some settings, silos need to be recognized as an inevitable and essential piece of the transformation puzzle inside organizations. They help create accountability, focus, and specialization. We can change them, move them around, and restructure their orientation, but they will still need to be there somehow.

This means that instead of focusing your energy to try and break down silos, you should invest in bridging them and assigning the right people to do so. These are people that can easily "speak the language” of another function or business unit, therefore acting as a messenger sharing information in and out. They can also be someone that is highly connected across the organization with extensive working relationships in several networks. Thus, it’s essential that you look for those individuals that can create bridges and pave the way for collaboration, giving them the necessary time and mandate to make it happen.

So, when you open your mind to this perspective, you shed light on the crucial role that leaders must play to create the conditions for better collaboration. It’s no longer enough to simply define a well-thought-out approach to structure teams and projects in a transformation. Now more than ever, there’s a pressing need to focus on connecting the dots. When navigating complex transformations, this might be one of the turning points that will promote the pursuit of shared goals and, ultimately, value creation.

Tiago Ramalho, Delivery Expert