The “S” word

Many organizations struggle with it. It’s a real problem preventing progress. And it’s the “S” word everyone knows about but can’t seem to resolve.

Yep … silos.

Guarding Fort Knox (and Losing the Gold)

Silos exist in nearly every organization, and they’re often deeply entrenched. Their inhabitants guard them like the entrance to Fort Knox. And therein lies the problem.

As long as your colleagues are dedicated to their particular silos, they essentially have blinders on. Nothing else really matters to them except what happens to, and what impacts, their silo. This causes them to play politics, advocate solely for their silo and fiercely protect what they think is most important.

But if everyone focuses on protecting their silos, then they aren’t focused on what’s most important—the goals of the whole organization. They guard their fortresses in vain because the real treasure is slipping through their fingers.

Play Basketball, Not Tennis

I love the game of basketball, and I play as often as I can. But I’ve also dabbled in tennis. And folks, these sports could not be more different.

Let’s talk about tennis first. All team members meet at the courts together, but we then go our separate ways. We play individual tennis matches against our opponents, gather at the end of the session, add up everyone’s match wins/losses and determine which team won.

Basketball is completely different, right? With the beautiful game of basketball, five players are on the court at the same time with the same objective. They must play together, in the truest sense of the word.

They must move together, defend together, rely on each other’s strengths, compensate for weaknesses and sacrifice for the good of the team. Sometimes it’s better for the team if I assist rather than score. Sometimes my teammates must hold me accountable because I caused a turnover. Sometimes I need to sit on the bench and support the team in a different way.

Learn to Score Together

Too many organizations are playing tennis matches. We meet as a “team” once a week or so and tell each other how our matches are going. That’s it.

We need to play as a basketball team instead.

What’s the game plan for our organization? What’s the goal? What’s the strategy? How can we score more points? How can we defend better? Are we holding each other accountable for results?

What do you need from me to succeed, even if that means diminishing my role (and ego)? What will you provide, or sacrifice, to get organization-wide results?

Play the game with one focus. Rely on each other to be successful. And align every team member with your credit union’s vision.

Because when we play as a true team, there’s no counting how many points we’ll score.

Shawn Temple

Shawn Temple

Shawn Temple has served the credit union industry since 1996, holding positions in both senior and middle management across lending, operations, compliance, marketing, training and project management. Since joining On ... Web: Details