Do We Want to Dismantle or Connect?

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 child and adult hands coming together

“We need to dismantle silos.”

This is a phrase that we’ve embedded in our conversations about collaboration. But are we invoking the wrong metaphor? Are people really working in silos? And is dismantling silos a good thing?

Dr. Stacy Shuker Reece, who successfully convened a statewide biosciences community here in Georgia, has a problem with the word “silos” when it’s applied to groups of human beings. She says silos are meant to keep valuable things in—and livestock, predators and poachers out. In order to get what’s in the silo, you have to sneak up when the farmer isn’t looking and dismantle its defense systems. That’s no way to think about people.

She says it’s time to dismantle the silo metaphor, because People gather in tribes, and people and tribes can do things silos could never do—intact or dismantled. Is going tribal the way to get things done? Check out “They’re Not Silos. They’re Tribes.”

Then watch the TED Talk by Dave Logan, an expert on leadership and tribes. He shows how people who build world-changing tribes extend the reach of their tribes by connecting them to something greater than themselves—a set of shared values.