Silos, Politics and Turf Wars by Patrick Lencioni


I finished Silos, Politics and Turf Wars: A Leadership Fable About Destroying the Barriers That Turn Colleagues Into Competitors by Patrick Lencioni yesterday. In Pat’s true style like Five Dysfunctions of Team, this is another business fable where he tackles a big problem in organizations – Silos.

He not only gives us ways to identify silos, departmental politics but also tells us how to solve it. The model for combating silos consists of four components –

  1. A Thematic Goal – A single qualitative focus that is shared by the entire leadership team–and ultimately, by the entire organization–and that applies for only a specified time period. It must be,
    • Single. There can only be one. Something has to be the most important.
    • Qualitative. This is not a number. It is a general statement of the desired accomplishment requiring a verb because it rallies people to do something (e.g. Improve, Reduce, Increase, Grow, Change, Establish, Eliminate, Accelerate, etc.)
    • Time-Bound. The thematic goal does not live beyond a fixed time period, because that would suggest that it is an ongoing objective.
    • Shared. The thematic goal applies to everyone on the leadership team regardless of their area of expertise or interest.
  2. A Set of Defining Objectives – Components or building blocks that serve to clarify exactly what is meant by the thematic goal. Like the thematic goal, these objectives are also qualitative, time-bound, and shared.
  3. A Set of Ongoing Standard Operating Objectives – The ongoing objectives that don’t go away from period to period. The danger is in mistaking one of these critical objectives for a rallying cry (thematic goal).
  4. Metrics – Measurement. Metrics could be numbers or dates (time frames).

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