From a discussion the other day with a business colleague, it led me to the thought of ‘The Social Silo Effect'.
First of all, we know how the traditional 'silo effect' in the business world works – put simply, when departments work independently from each other in the same company creating a culture of team disunity, low morale, where barriers exist, stifling business success.
Secondly, we all want to work differently in today's business world, whether it be by ourselves, hot desking, co-working or working in bigger open plan offices. As we work, a good majority of us are all caught up in the social world of social media, chat rooms, blogging, LinkedIn, Facebook, Apps - the list goes on.
However, what we are inadvertently doing is creating a personal ‘social bubble’ around us that includes the mobile devices or computers we are in front of where we are fixated on the world via a screen. At the same time, we are creating an unseen social wall around us that is forcing our own personal 'social silos' where we don't, or become reluctant to engage in person with others – the ‘social silo effect’. What we have is an environment being created where we alienate others, work independently from our own team mates, adding another dimension to work team issues that I have worked with clients on time and time again.
Evidence of this thought rang true the other day with this business colleague as mentioned above. I was speaking to them and they said they were working in a hot desk situation, and not one person who was there, engaged with them or even said "hello!" Why? Each and every one who was there, was fixated on their computers, doing whatever it was that was important to them at the time, totally oblivious to others in the same room!
I believe the silo effect is coming back to bite us all big time, masked under the cover of 'social', if we allow the social online world to swallow up our human ability to actually 'interact' verbally with each other. We will then, whether intended or not, erect false walls around us, believing that our return on the human investment will come calling via the screen.
Don't get me wrong, social media and the social online world has brought about enormous opportunity and exposure to all of us and we can either capitalise on its power or choose to opt out when we want to. But the term social shouldn't be dictated by technology as our first reason to interact and neither should we be seduced by it believing our human needs will be met.
Yes, we should use it to embrace our social standing and social connections with other as well as do business, but as a secondary tool. In the first instance, bring back the good old fashioned social concept of actually talking, collaborating and enjoying the company of others and saying 'hello'.
As a final thought, if there was one global switch that turned off everything online that was social, how would you cope?
Sonia is a leading Team Dynamics specialist, having facilitated numerous successful Team Productivity Improvement Programs with top Australian Companies and Government bodies over the last 6 years with Team Results. Her unique style, innovative outlook and approach within the team dynamics world, makes Sonia a sought after facilitator for today's work teams to achieve the results they need to remain competitive and relevant in our emerging business world. Sonia is also part of the new world of Team Neurodynamics being worked upon in the States by Team Results USA, in partnership with UCLA's Brain Research Institute.
Sonia is also a Business Entrepreneur - running a start up company called Recruitment Pool, owning and running a Ski Accommodation property and working as an independent Senior HR Project Consultant to many via her Partnership Consultancy business.