Breaking Down Your Personal Silos

Accountability Collaboration Organizational leadership


Key Point: Let’s fix our own personal silos first. Organizations are not living creatures, but like the word “government,” they seem to take on a persona. It’s like there is a big puppet master in the clouds somewhere, pulling all the organization strings.  A common phrase we often hear regarding company behavior is: “The organization has too many silos…” Or “the company is too silo’d.” In fairness, this is often an accurate assessment because people in institutions can act in a fragmented, disconnected, and conflicted way. However, it is worth reminding each other that WE’RE the collectives of how we individually think and act in the workplace. So in that regard it may be worthwhile to reflect on the importance of fixing our personal silos first. After all, if we can’t look at ourselves as a whole system, how can we navigate our contribution in organizations in a systemic, connected way? 

Ok… The following is a bit “heady” for my little old blog. Yet I wanted to introduce you to a more spiritual look at this matter of personal silos. Richard Rohr is a best selling author, who also happens to be an Ecumenical Franciscan. I happen to believe the essence of his reflection is found in Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, and/or many other religious/philosophical perspectives too. Here is what Rohr shared in his daily meditation, Aug. 6, 2014 (the beautiful day my granddaughter was born). He describes the behavior and thinking of people who see things holistically (non-duel) versus those who are dualistic or divided. Read his entire meditation if you want a more comprehensive explanation.

“Non-dual people will see things in their wholeness and call forth the same unity in others simply by being who they are. Wholeness (head, heart, and body all present, positive, and accounted for) can see and call forth wholeness in others. This is why it is so pleasant to be around whole people.

Dualistic or divided people, however, live in a split and fragmented world… Fragmented mind sees parts, not wholes, in itself and others, and invariably it creates antagonism, reaction, fear, and resistance—“push-back” from other people—who themselves are longing for wholeness.”

Character Moves: 

  1. Learning how to best contribute to a whole system starts with our ability to see ourselves in our wholeness. That’s why developing our own self emotionally and spiritually (and physically) is necessary to fully serve in any organization. Where are you on your personal wholeness journey?  
  2. When someone fires out salvos about fixing the silos in the organization, take it as a gentle reminder that we each need to work on fixing our own personal silos too. 

Personal wholeness in The Triangle,


One Millennial View: If any group of people wants to work in less of a “silo” mentality, it’s probably millennials… And since we may not have the leverage to spearhead a plan to help increase overall “wholeness” yet, it’s the perfect time to concentrate and develop our own first.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis