Collaboration without Consequences


Silos inhibit collaboration

Silos prevent transparency.

Do you see the theme that is looming here? I have written several times on the destructive nature of company silos. They ( unfortunately) exist in companies of all sizes and shapes and the dreaded silo has the same suffocating effect where they exist. They stifle the sales culture and they strangle, frustrate and trivialize the best part of any company – the people who make things happen.

Why do silos exist? Far too many reasons to list here. They get erected for all sorts of reasons – intentional and unintentional. The short list would include that they occur because people are afraid to share their “turf”. The rise from the grounds of a new company when people have fears of interference and they need to build a fiefdom to protect some right to do that they feel they were hired to do. They appear when people are afraid of something and as a result lack transparency. Silos also happen when people act out of hubris.

Silos appear out of arrogance, ignorance and and most often due to a fundamental lack of long term planning.

A company grows, people are added and plans are carried out, I actually believe that often silos initially happen not out of malice, but a dogged “heads down” approach to being successful and in that race to success business leadership sacrifices one profoundly vital component of their people. The ability and desire to collaborate.That heads down approach is often aided and abetted by compensation that rewards it.

The growth of a company and the parallel development of a sales culture is intertwined and inexorably linked to people’s belief that they can collaborate across the silos without consequences.

This rather simple concept should be the bedrock of any company who places their people and by extension their clients first. No lip service or false acknowledgements. When collaboration is not allowed or is discouraged ( subtly or overtly) the ultimate loser is the client who does not make a decision in your favor. I firmly believe that customers and prospects can smell dysfunction and they act accordingly. They can feel the internal conflicts that exist.

Consequences for collaboration has a detrimental impact on a company that can and will last for decades. Money is left on the table, holes are left for the competition to come in and employee turnover rises. All expensive and damaging outcomes of penalizing free and unfettered communication and cross functional working. and The longer we create a culture that puts up and hardens silos the more long term damage done. It’s not rocket science. Stifling people by discouraging collaboration crushes the best part of any company which is to say people and their solution creating energy they bring to the job.


Todd Cohen, CSP is an accomplished and sought after international keynote speaker, sales culture expert and author of “Everyone’s in Sales” and “Everyone’s in Sales; STOP Apologizing.”

Todd’s dynamic and motivational keynotes and workshops are based on the foundation that regardless of career path or position, everyone is a salesperson. Since 1984, Todd has led sales teams to deliver more than $950 million in revenue for leading companies including Xerox and Thomson-Reuters.

You can also see Todd’s articles on Sales Culture in many magazines, trade journals and the Huffington Post.  

For more information or to book Todd Cohen for your next meeting please

Follow Todd on Twitter @SalesLeaderTodd.

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