Overcoming Separate Silos: the Biggest Bottleneck in Your Business
I'm Amanda Burris, my official title is somewhere between traffic director + Chief Operating Officer. I run Forward Progress Management at AmandaBurris.com and help business owners make progress by offering strategic operations and management. That's fancy talk for making your business and projects run smoothly, keeping your team happy, and money in your bank account. All while giving you a little mental white space to get back to your happy place. When I'm not running teams or projects, my all time happy place is Family Pizza Night every Friday, attendance and wine required! I live in Lubbock, TX with my husband, Josh, and little mini-me, Wrenn.
The mark of a smooth running kitchen is the communication between the chef running the pass and the line calling times, communicating, and remarkably bringing all elements of the plate together in perfect synchronized harmony. “Yes, chef!”, “Heard!”, “3 minutes to the pass.”, “Dropping garnish now.”, “Walking”. All things chefs have to hear to make that restaurant meal a success.
The mark of a smooth running team + operations is much of the same. “Here’s the graphics.”, “Edited and added links.”, I’m almost done with the newsletter.”, “Social promos completed, working on next month’s.”. Everyone is in the know, working towards the ultimate end goal, adjusting, if necessary, along the way.
All the while, you aren’t having to chase down information from anyone!
The more you scale and grow you’ll likely have team members working directly with each other- many times without you in the middle of the conversation. Setting up an open, transparent, collaborative system NOW will only strengthen how your team operates during crunch time.
By structuring (or re-structuring) your team operations to be more Top Chef inspired, you are also avoiding the biggest bottleneck around, separate silos.
What’s that? Separate silos is a tricky situation where team members are working independently on collaborative projects, sharing information in waves, and working outside of a shared space.
Oh, that sounds opposite of the dreamy scenario we just discussed.
Ya, definitely not ideal (cue adult sized temper tantrums and stress eating leftover Halloween candy)- but unfortunately separate silos it more common than you think!
Let me help you whip your operations into shape and avoid separate silos all together.
Keep in mind these four crucial components to run a tight ship + smooth operations.
Setup a communication + collaboration hub
I prefer Slack for lightning fast collaboration + communication and a project management platform (Asana or Trello) to get the job done.
Use Slack for these situations:
- Do you love this graphic or this one?
- Can you proof this?
- Can we reach out to such and such?
- Oh no, this is broken – how can we fix?
Use Asana for these situations:
- Final end product + deliverable (blog post, newsletter, or graphics)
- Deadlines + due dates
- Removing hurdles (anything that would affect the pieces coming together)
- Project + Progress Updates
There is so much “noise” that happens during the collaboration portion of a project, you never want the end deliverable or to be lost in translation. Which is why Asana plays an important role here at Team Savvy!
Put your people in your “house,” don’t let anyone do their own thang.
Empower your team with project management trainings, short + sweet video tutorials, and set expectations of your ideal communication and project management use.
If your team can see what’s coming down the pipeline they’ll be able to make any necessary adjustments. You may need to speed things up, slow things down, move dates or priorities around.
If you are updating individual team members separately, they can’t see how their individual piece works with the other pieces. Plus- it’s like the game of telephone. Your update may be one way to one team member, but slightly different when you talk to the next one. Before you know it, due dates, focus, and directions are mixed up.
Update your project’s status on a regular basis.
This means paying attention to what gets done, removing any hurdles you see down the line, and making sure at the end of a hard sprint you’ve recapped the progress. This helps team members stay up to date and gives them fair warning on anything that affects their deliverables.
Don’t forget to celebrate those wins as they happen and give your team recognition (both in front of the team + to your wider audience)!
Schedule regular official team chats to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Your ultimate goal with team operations is to have everyone in the zone and collaborating, delivering, and checking all the boxes. But don’t forget that while everyone is working so hard at a micro level (their individual piece of the pie), your macro plan (the direction you’re headed) needs the same attention.
Mini checkins happen on the daily at Team Savvy and we have our regularly scheduled monthly calls to make sure everything + everyone is on point.
None of this is rocket science, but sometimes the separate silos scenario grows slowly from hardly noticeably to “Oh my gravy, we are not on the same page at all!”, then massive chaos ensues.
If your team is operating in the most efficient + collaborative way possible, your ability to scale + grow will catapult you to the next level with minimal growing pains.
Have you experienced separate silos? What did you do to fix it?