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Home and Away Silos.

If you are running a business, whether it's 15 employees, 150, or 1500 you probably have silos.

If you have people, you probably have silos. You probably have co-workers that don't even know how someone else wants their name said, and know very little if anything about their origin story. And you probably have some "Abe Lincoln Friends" that are waiting in the wings as well, but co-workers and employees got off on the wrong foot, and have had no opportunity to have a second chance. 

There are lots of types of silos. We see the boss/executive team silo often, where no one even knows what the boss likes or cares about. We see all the executives and the boss silo'ed with the other employees. We see departmental silos, building silos, division silos, and even floor silos. These are often a result of the first 2 ingredients of friend-building frequency and proximity, working on a daily basis.  

The fascinating one we worked on through much of this year is the "Home and Away Silo."

Do you have a home office with a small amount of people, often including the executives, and then a much larger staff of people, sometimes 10x or 20x working out in the field or in a different location.  Do you run a painting or construction company, with workers constantly out at job sites. Do you run a contracting or temp firm, where your people are constantly shifting from one client to another in new locations outside the office? 

We heard great feedback over the summer from a home and away client that we ran a family Olympiad with. The championship trophy we handed out helped to break this silo, since everyone on the team got to keep it for at least a week, but some team members were home, and other team members were "away" on job sites.  The trophy got passed back and forth between the two locations and everyone noticed and asked about it, even if they didn't attend the original event. 

In addition, because they were constantly moving employees around to new sites away from the office, the first day on a new site, which can sometimes feel like the first day of school, went a lot smoother since people knew each other from the Olympiad. 

Imagine showing up for your first day at a new job and feeling like a friend, and not an outsider and even knowing a few people's names. That's the power of "friend-building." 

So keep an eye on the "home and away silo," and think if there are ways to bring those away employees into the office more to connect with office employees. 

Start with a simple question: has anyone in the field met anyone in the office face to face for more than 10 minutes in the last month?  A real conversation, maybe even lunch.... not a required or mandatory meeting with 20 or 30 other people. 

You might find that having your people in the field know, and understand, and even care about the people in the office might be a worthwhile investment for a silo that might actually define who you are as a company. 

Shawn Madden