10 tips for team cooperation without silo mentality


Our working environment is shaped by new requirements. Processes are now more complex and networked than ever before. Companies react by adapting their organization with matrix structures and project work. But that’s not enough. 10 tips how to do it better.

Problem solving needs new ways of thinking

“Problems can never be solved with the same way of thinking that created them”

This connection was already defined by Albert Einstein. Nevertheless, the old ways of thinking in many companies still dominate trading. They come from the industrial age and are called competition and division of labor.

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Today we are already in the knowledge age, which requires not only new methods and forms of organization, but a new mindset.

Competence Scramble blocks new approaches

The 9 daily meeting of all department heads is practiced in a similar or similar way in many large companies. There, current information is exchanged and problems discussed. Everyone agrees that this is a good thing.

But often it does not go as well as it sounds. If problems arise, it happens regularly that even experienced department heads shout at themselves.

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Instead of seeking solutions, there is mutual blame. Workshops to reflect such behaviors and agreements only partially eliminate the problem. The Competenzgerangel remains nevertheless on the agenda.

Instruments for agile working

The idea of such firm voting meetings makes perfect sense. The flow of information is promoted and problems can be quickly addressed. A central instrument of agile working. But it does not work if those involved are still stuck in old ways of thinking and behaving.

As soon as the pressure is high, they gain the upper water. “When it comes down to it”, it suddenly does not matter anymore, which, when considered soberly, is absolutely obvious and considered desirable. Then the competitive mode takes the lead with the result: One wins and many lose.

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Internal competition damages the corporate culture

A competitive driver is also the leadership culture. If those in charge are still old-school, the pressure on the individual will simply be increased if it does not work as it should. Also that departments are played against each other, happens again and again. True to the motto: “We know that they have no plan in development.

Now you have to do your thing in production. “The main thing is that the numbers are correct at the end of the quarter. Competition is reviving the business. This is a principle that was developed in the age of industrialization and brought very long economic success. Today, strong in house competition is detrimental to the business.

The Clan-WE is not enough anymore

One says and the others are loyal. That is how our grandfathers and fathers worked. After this clan we long back many older employees. “It used to be a completely different climate. Since one has something meant to the company, there was something worth it. “This feeling promises security. Who participates is safe.

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But the work result is reduced to the horizon of the respective manager. The individual employee is rather underage in this way of thinking. Even today, this structure is mainly found in family businesses. In a complex environment, however, the operation quickly loses track of its lack of agility. The fact that employees who prefer to think and act on their own responsibility will not work there for long will only be a consequence.

Collaboration in the team: silomentality has had its day

Structured and regulated to the smallest detail are working processes at the Amtsstuben-WIR. The individual is given more responsibility. Everything is so well organized that each employee can do whatever they are responsible for independently. Authorities have perfected it.

But companies also rely on this form of division of labor because this principle speeds up the work process. Departments can work independently with others with their own knowledge and resources and focus on their own

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goals. The danger lies in the lack of visibility or lack of interest in external relationships and relationships, also known as “silomentality”.

Modern leadership: Agile and without hierarchies

This leads to the use of agile methods. And it’s about the ability to organize yourself, get involved, work together flexibly and openly and develop solutions together. Thinking beyond the personal role and own area of responsibility is a prerequisite for this. People with a cooperative mindset actively take responsibility for the overall goal.

Collaboration – this term, which is not very well-documented in German, appears more and more often in relation to agile cooperation. It is not just about being willing to cooperate, but also working together to work closely on problem solutions that simply can not be brought about simply by a work-sharing approach.

There are no more hierarchies here, none that announce what, when and how to do it. The team organizes itself as it does within the team of each one. And that is only possible by questioning familiar impulses and consciously training new behaviors.

10 tips for team cooperation without silomentality

How is the new form of cooperation going? These 10 collaboration tips make us fit for the new WIR in business:

  1. We are all connected: We are always part of a larger WE. This is not a decision, but a fact. Our actions will always affect others.
  2. Co-centered instead of concentrated: Co-centered thinking means looking for both as well as solutions. Even in difficult situations, we can stay in contact with our collaboration partners.
  3. Interests instead of positions: A change of perspective helps more than cemented positions. Win-win solutions can only be found if we include the interests of all concerned.
  4. Find similarities: Small Talk becomes ‘Strong Impact Talk’. Focusing on commonalities promotes togetherness.
  5. Appreciation for difference: The own ego is not the measure of all things. An appreciative attitude at eye level forms the basis for true collaboration.
  6. Donor mentality: In the willingness to give is the “secret” of the WIR, because giving makes successful, fulfilled and happy.
  7. The WE in view: By taking a broader perspective and recognizing the WE as an organism, we give the WE a voice that helps us to go new ways together.
  8. Feedback as a developmental turbo: The more specific the request for feedback is, the more constructive the answer will be and will help us move forward.
  9. Active listening: Collaboration lives from different perspectives. So ask others actively about their opinions and ideas and listen well.
  10. Psychological safety: To address ideas, questions, concerns or mistakes must not have negative consequences. People in a safe environment think and act more cooperatively.
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