The hidden cost of organisation silos

Graham Winter

Graham Winter is an Australian psychologist and best-selling author of Think One Team, The 90-day plan that engages employees, connects silos and transforms organisations.

How do you design and deliver exceptional customer experience in an organisation that still behaves in functional silos?

This question about organisation culture sits at the cross-roads for marketing. Do you cross your fingers and hope that the business will transform quickly enough? Or do you step up and play a pivotal leadership role to actively shape the organisational culture?

Play a bigger game

ME Bank’s chief marketing officer and customer experience lead, Rebecca James, has a clear view: “With responsibility for the design of the customer experience Marketing has the ability to heavily influence the culture of the organisation – especially in the area of service delivery.”

Certainly there is a massive imperative to act given that the cost of silo behaviour, while often hidden among delays, inefficiencies and slow response is damaging the customer experience. There are three powerful areas in which Marketing can shape the culture.

#1 Make leadership commitment to the customer tangible

Marketing needs to step in and influence how the strategy is communicated and linked to day-to-day behaviour. James explains:

“At ME, this influence came in the creation of customer promises that the organisation strives to deliver each and every day. These promises were purposefully written from the customer’s point of view: Know ME, Know More than ME (when it comes to banking), Don’t Bullshit ME and Make ME Smile.”

#2 Measure and reward the customer experience

We shouldn’t be too surprised that a ‘silo mentality’ still prevails because team leader’s goals, priorities and KPIs are so often in conflict. The Net Promoter Score offers a simple, powerful way to measure, publicise and reward performance linked to the customer (and to working as one team).

Companies such as Lego base bonuses for the whole workforce on NPS scores, and not surprisingly they reinforce the behaviours of teamwork and collaboration.

#3 Scale teamwork

Everyone talks about scaling technology, but only the leading edge are actively scaling teamwork as a core capability. Paul Lloyd, Executive Director at Think One Team reflected:

“We’ve seen a massive shift in our work from traditional silo-based teambuilding, to embedding shared team tools and practices that enable companies to scale teamwork anytime anyplace.”

It’s not like marketing doesn’t have plenty to do, however all that could fizzle without a culture of working together as one team. Fortunately, marketing knows a thing or two about people experience, so let’s apply it to corporate culture.

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