Words-worth - Silo

Does your company operate 'silos'? Do people have a 'silo mentality'? Can you do anything about 'siloing'?

by
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

All fascinating questions, and not only in agri-business. A 'silo' in those circles is a chamber for storing grain and other produce. It's a venerable word, dating back to the Ancient Greeks, who kept their corn in a pit known as a siros. But as a business buzzword, 'silo' has a more distant connection with that bucolic world. To have a 'silo mentality' is to keep things separate, particularly business units or teams. These business 'silos' are vertical units, with their own budgets and hierarchies, and are generally frowned upon. There is a connection with agriculture, but this usage has more sinister origins. Since the late 1950s, a 'silo' has been an underground structure used to house a guided missile, particularly the nuclear kind. These are hardened, costly, destructive and remote enough from each other to make their removal difficult. You can see why 'silos' are not always seen as conducive to good management.

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime

Want to encourage more female leaders? Openly highlight their achievements

A study shows that publicly praising women not only increases their willingness to lead, their...

Message to Davos: Don't blame lack of trust on 'society'

The reason people don't trust you is probably much closer to home, says public relations...

Dame Cilla Snowball: Life after being CEO

One year on from stepping back as boss of Britain's largest advertising agency, Dame Cilla...

How to change people's minds when they refuse to listen

Research into climate change deniers shows how behavioural science can break down intransigence.

"Paying women equally would cripple our economy"

The brutal fact: underpaid women sustain British business, says HR chief Helen Jamieson.

Why you're terrible at recruitment (and can AI help?)

The short version is you're full of biases and your hiring processes are badly designed....