Are office politics, silos and turf wars killing your sales?

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In his book Silos, Politics and Turf Wars, Patrick Lencioni writes, “Silos – and the turf wars they enable – devastate organizations. They waste resources, kill productivity and jeopardize the achievement of goals.”

In my experience, these wars are often seen in the three departments that need to be working harmoniously together the most – sales, marketing and product development. For some reason, each department seems to have its own agenda that doesn’t involve collaborating or cooperating with the other two, despite the fact that they are supposed to be working toward common goals.

When departments work in a vacuum with blinkers on, they tend to start believing that their insight is the only one that matters. In the real world, however, it’s all too common to see marketing departments creating campaigns that don’t resonate with the consumer, product development launching products that the market doesn’t want or need, and sales departments wasting valuable time and resources pitching to the wrong market with the wrong message.

How can these departments work with more synergy and harmony? For a start, the company in question needs a way to capture, store and share information that benefits each of them. In the following image, you will be able to see how many organizations operate today and how those departmental silos create problems for themselves and the company.

In the second illustration, you can see how having a central repository that allows departments to share information and knowledge benefits the whole organization and leads to more effective sales efforts, marketing campaigns, product launches and…yes, increased revenues!


  1. Cheryl Rosedale Says: July 10, 2012 at 11:05 pm

    Another GREAT blog, Chuck Carey. A picture IS worth a thousand words in the illustration showing a central repository as the main hub for all of the departments.

  2. I am an executive involved in Business Development endeavors, I can relate to the problem that is identified here. I believe that the pictorial representation is very adroit.
    In addition to the remedies that are stated, I would like to add that companies should:-
    1. Reward those department / executives that are engaged in knowledge / information sharing.
    2. Develop matrix for tracking the POVs / white papers / information sharing.
    This will not only help in giving credit to the contributing departments, but also encourage innovation / creative solution.

  3. It is always a pleasure to read a common sense, practical approach to a difficult problem.