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  • Writer's pictureAnnie Frisoli

Silo Vs. Collaboration - Which Word Is Used More Often?

People managers and leaders can attest that there’s no wrong time to work on maintaining or improving collaboration among teams and individuals at work - and unfortunately the word "silo" is the most stated word I hear when interviewing a Director, CEO, or Executive Director prior to my arrival to a staff/team training or prior to the start of a coaching program for teams.

Nor have I ever heard a leader say “our team actually collaborates too well.” And since collaboration is such a desirable skill that leaders aspire to cultivate in their teams, I think it’s important to continually refresh our collaboration-focused toolbox as we grow and evolve.

I’m excited to share some of my favorite ways (and Team Talk Cards) to encourage collaboration among teams and individuals at work! Increased collaboration can often lead to more efficient problem solving, effective communication across teams and between individuals, and an overall increase in sense of belonging and enjoyment at work. When collaboration runs smoothly, there’s practically nothing we can’t do. Here are few reminders and tips for driving collaboration:

Rally Around Your Mission

For some organizations, a mission statement or values set is only mentioned briefly in the company handbook and occasionally at all-staff meetings. But by tapping into the bigger picture more frequently, you can remind your people about the “why” behind what you do. Spending more time focusing on the mission can be a great way to create a common goal.

Get Away From YOUR Office

Whether your teams are completely remote, in the office every day, or somewhere in between, it can be helpful to change up the scenery by stepping away from the “norm.” Host a team development day, host a walking meeting, go meet your employees in their spaces (head to the maintenance building, go to their facility). If you are remote, ask everyone to go to a local coffee shop and login from the coffee shop instead of from home - and send everyone a virtual cup of coffee using Or have them all go to a local park and find a picnic table to login from. This can help increase chatter, morale, and create a sense of connectivity, even if you’re miles apart.

Leverage Collaboration Tools

There are a number of great services, sites, and physical resources that can make it easier to help you foster a collaborative spirit among teams. My personal favorite is my set of Team Talk Cards, created specifically for teams looking to increase communication across the board through stimulating conversation topics. Resources like these cards allow members to take turns asking and answering questions that may not otherwise get brought up.

Highlight Strong Collaboration

When someone on your team exemplifies what it means to be collaborative and communicative to get things done, don’t be afraid to show them off! This recognition is a great way to motivate them to keep it up, motivate others to strive for the example, and even motivate you to be more encouraging, more often.

When in doubt, communicate! Increased communication - and opportunities for communication - is one of the most effective ways to encourage better collaboration. When an open, honest, approachable environment is prioritized, everyone can thrive and we can begin to use the word collaboration more than silo.

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