Bridging the Silos: How Networks Can Solve Our Toughest Challenges

By Céline Schillinger |  4 June 2024

Let’s face it: collaboration in today’s organizations often feels like a game of telephone – the message gets muddled, siloed thinking prevails, and innovation stagnates. In a complex world brimming with challenges – climate change, social inequality, technological disruption – this simply isn’t sustainable.

My work with corporate volunteers over the years, tackling issues as diverse as corporate culture, customer engagement, industrial quality and digital transformation, has shown me the incredible power of collaboration. I have recounted these stories and the lessons I learned from them in Dare to Un-Lead. Witnessing the magic that happens when people from different job levels, departments, backgrounds, and skillsets come together to tackle a shared goal is truly inspiring. These experiences, including those run alongside Emerging World, a company dedicated to transforming leadership through immersive experiences, have solidified my belief that bridging connections within organizations is the key to unlocking our collective potential.

So, how do we move beyond the limitations of siloed work? In addition to leadership consulting and education work, I have recently developed two exciting practices to spark networks and collaboration within organizations:

1.   The Community Studio: Unleashing the Power of Conversation

Imagine a world where employees can connect through shared experiences, fostering a sense of belonging and ownership within your organization. The Community Studio, developed in partnership with Laila Noort of Lagor Services, leverages the power of employee podcasts to develop collective agency and connection. Volunteer groups come together to create podcasts that share peer stories and experiences. This not only fosters dialogue and listening skills, but also allows an organization’s culture to emerge organically. The Community Studio is a breeding ground for agility, a can-do attitude, and highly valuable cultural insights. It provides the perfect platform to role model relational leadership and inform initiatives that shape a company’s DNA.

2.   Network Activation: Mobilizing Collectives with Dynamic Visualization

Have you ever felt like your organization operates in a series of disconnected pockets? Network Activation, co-created with Ana Neves of Knowman, tackles this head-on. Through a powerful combination of culture insights, data visualization, and sense-making techniques, Network Activation helps identify and energize the hidden networks within an organization. By uncovering cultural patterns, commonalities, and gaps, we can reveal the knowledge, skills, and leaders that already exist within a company. This makes it possible to harness the power of change networks and accelerate learning and knowledge flow across the organization.

These practices underscore the necessity of innovative approaches to internal collaboration and network building. By engaging employees in meaningful ways and utilizing cutting-edge tools to visualize and activate networks, organizations can transform their internal dynamics and enhance their capacity to tackle complex problems.

Reinforce Commonalities, Bridge Gaps… Let’s Do It Together!

The challenges we face today are too complex for any one department or individual to solve. By fostering networks and collaboration, we can tap into the collective intelligence and creativity that lies dormant within our organizations. We can break down the silos, unleash the power of personal and collective agency, and activate the hidden networks that can propel us towards a more innovative and successful future.

Are you involved in this kind of work? Or interested to explore? Join the conversation! Let’s grow a network of leaders and practitioners who value relational leadership and the power of collaboration. Share your thoughts and experiences here or get in touch!