Zit Seng's Blog

A Singaporean's technology and lifestyle blog

Building Silos

Sometimes, I think about how silos are formed in organizations. You know, the sort of situation where fellow colleagues are divided into organization groups that are oblivious to the existence of the others. Or, they compete with great hostility. They might as well have belonged to some other company altogether. It’s related to politicking, but it isn’t quite the same thing.

I have been in such a situation where, being part of a sub-organization seconded on a short-term to another sub-organization to help out on a certain project, that I found such silo structure so ingrained in just about everyone’s attitude in that other sub-organization. I had considered myself an “outsider”, because there was little interaction between our sub-organizations (it’s not a silo-y matter). So I found it so strange to be rallying people from that other sub-organization to get things moving. I was thinking, why is it they could not work with each other?

That was a long time ago. I was thankful that it wasn’t like that around me. Or is it?

It’s been a lousy week. Organizational problems, people problems, lunch-date problems. A simple phone call to ask a question can be treated with so much animosity. It seems like alliances have shifted. Or, maybe they hadn’t existed in the first place, and it was just a mistake to think that they did. Simple communication can become so complicated. Simple coordination can become so complicated. I’m particularly peeved when even a simple thing like setting an appointment can screw up. It’s so depressing.

I guess I like a technical job because technical problems seem so much easier to handle. Even those impossible technical problems don’t seem that hard. Human problems, on the other hand, even the trivial ones are in fact complicated.

But anyway, I wanted to rant about silos, because the things that I hate about it seem to be happening. It appears to be getting into a sad state of affairs. To be able to work in a silo-less environment is a great blessing.

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