Efficiency Kills Companies
A wise CEO believes, “A role for everyone, and everyone in her role.”
…Or does he?
Think of how that plays out in the enterprise. The CEO is in charge of everything, of course, and so he has a number of top executives reporting to him, each in charge of one area within the business. Say there are a dozen such leaders, including a head of finance, marketing, sales, human resources… you know the drill.
In its way, this is very efficient. When he wants to know how the books are looking, he speaks with his CFO. When he’s concerned with sales, he meets with the Chief of sales, maybe bringing in the CMO at the same time. Talent issues? Let’s talk to the Chief HR Officer.
But what about when there’s something so big, so general, that it eludes assignment to a single silo? Or something that isn’t really the purview of any one department?
Let’s take a very current topic: who is in charge of Social Media at your company? Often, in 2012, it still falls under Marketing. But time and again within our largest corporations, I’ve noticed it falls well below the office of the CMO. Giving Social to an entry-level clerk with little experience and no clout within the org – that’s a recipe for failure, wouldn’t you say?
And then, what about when someone outside of Marketing finds a use for social media? Say recruiters in HR want to tap Social for their work. Or the customer service team proposes a Social presence to meet the customer where he already is? What if Sales wants to do the same, to enhance their prospecting efforts?
Should your company hire a bunch of social media experts, each to roll out its own social initiative? Hmn. Wouldn’t the company speak with a dozen voices, then, delivering a dozen different (and often misaligned) messages?
There is a lot of danger with the silo system. So why is it still so prevalent?
This issue goes way, way beyond the topic of social media. You can apply the same types of questions to customer experience, or org design, or innovation, or ethics: who owns these things? When it comes to fundamental issues such as these, shouldn’t everyone own them, across all of the silos?
The problem with the silo system in modern corporations is, when everyone owns something, no one does.
This post first appeared (in an earlier form) on Ted’s previous blog.
Photo by Shelly Alexander