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Silo Mentality, Aahhh!!!

03 October 2012, 11:48

Silo mentality is an attitude which is found in most Nigerian organisations that occur when several departments do not want to share information or knowledge with other stakeholders in the same body. This silo mentality reduces efficiency and can be a contributing factor to the failure in service delivery and hindrance to success in any organization.  

If you do your job well, and everyone else does their jobs well, everyone succeeds, right? Wrong. In fact, in any organization, it is not only important that everyone do what he or she is supposed to do. Everyone also needs to work together. We should recognize that we are all responsible for each other's work and if there is a problem anywhere in the organization, everyone fails. We should refuse to allow people to go to their separate corners. Encourage people to meet regularly to share what they are learning. Have the courage to call out when one part of the organization is struggling and find a way to fix it together as opposed to pointing the blame finger or relishing in seeing your professional colleague squirm when his department is seen to be wanting.

Our public departments and agencies tend to function as if they were isolated islands and the comedy that is this inefficiency continues to play itself out.

Just days after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), blacklisted some companies, their sponsors and some directors and barred commercial banks from further granting them loans, the Bureau of Public Enterprises released the list of companies that won the power distribution bids.  Alas, some of the personalities that won the bids are on CBN’s blacklist. How are they expected to finance capital-intensive power projects without bank loans? We are already doomed to delay and or failure. The

Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation owned and operated an offshore account with JP Morgan, managed on its behalf by the CBN, without the knowledge of the supervising Ministry of Finance. Na wah o! 

We need to create “joined up” solutions and eliminate these “black holes”, create strategic systems thinking, to enable our team to work together more effectively. This way it will be easier to measure performance in a way that will focus the whole organization and thereby maximize value.

We have the most illogical “we-versus-them” approach to public administration in this country between the legislature and executive, and the legislature and ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs). When other democracies employ the principles of checks and balances and separation of power to champion policies deemed best for the people they represent, our own lawmakers convert their powers to tools for fighting one another.

We must change our people’s behavior by changing their perception of their jobs. We have to reframe our leaders perception, so that they move from crisis management to “High Performance Leadership.” This will transform the usual resistance to change, which requires great effort to introduce changes. What we need is a highly motivated situation that will pull in changes for improvement, without the need for selling ideas to create the “buy in”.

Our public servants, it appears, still do not understand that the president, ministers, lawmakers and the Judiciary are in the same government.  Nobody is therefore immune to blame from any failure of that government.

Decisions made on behalf of the Nigerian people must be viewed from the public angle. “Have we succeeded in delivering our promises” should replace “I have done my bit and covered my back”. There should be a clear understanding that every government should focus on service delivery and not to debate in public whether or not to produce new notes, allow the president to present the budget or get an unnecessary definition of what the lawmakers’ resolutions represent from the erstwhile Minister for Information. These conflicts are embarrassing for the nation, as they show a clear lack of structure. SILO!!!

We should focus on “policy outcome” and function as a production line, rather than isolated silos with our exit valves representing “bottlenecks” to efficient service delivery.

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

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