All organizations, public and private, require teams to perform individual, often specialized tasks with expertise and efficiency. Organizations are therefore divided into units. Each unit has a hierarchy with a leader responsible for oversight. Hierarchies exist even in flat organizations.
Members of individual units get used to the internal ecosystem in which they operate. Collectively, they protect their turf and prevent others from creeping into their domain. Each unit is a silo, comfortable with itself and resentful to outside influence. Silos retard cross-fertilization of ideas from outside. They impede innovation.
Management practices claim that organization development and growth require periodic breaking down of silos. It is often assumed that silos retard business growth. The problem lies in the silos but the lack of collaboration mechanisms between silos.
Let us take a look at Apple. The company is known for producing great customer-centric innovative products. It, therefore, has a strong Product design division that is staffed with A-plus people, lead by an A-plus leader. The design team works independently. It is a hub for innovation and produces great products.
The Apple organization structure leverages the Product design division silo giving it all the financial support required. The Product design head reports directly to the Apple board. The Board offers prompt feedback, recommends changes to new products, and mentors the product team.
The collaboration mechanism is lying here at the level of the Board. Traditional organization re-design experts may find the retention and hard walling of the Product design team inappropriate. But we all know that the hard-coded Product Design silo is working well for Apple.
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Sudhirahluwalia, Inc