10 SIGNS OF SILOS FROM C-SUITE to CUBICLES (by Patrick Slevin)

BlindFolded

Silos manifest themselves on a daily basis, undermining profits, performance and productivity costing a corporation millions. The secret to breaking down silos is accepting the fact you have a silo problem. To deny that you have silos obstructing growth and performance is in fact creating a silo. Once you accept the problem, then you can begin to reduce losses and optimize your potential.

Silos have different meanings to different people within the organization. Senior executives it’s profits – management it’s performance – employee it’s productivity (or paycheck). Here are the 10 signs of silos from “C-Suite to Cubicle” that provide a glimpse into the not so mysterious world of silos.

Bye

1. I’m Giving My Two-Weeks Notice (Turnover): If you’re losing your top tier talent to competitors or they fail to meet expectations, it’s a sign of a silo. If top talent is leaving or you cannot recruit top talent, then that’s an organizational by-product of several silos that constrict a talented workforce from hiring to firing.

2. The Company Thanks Me with a Paycheck (Bureaucracy): If you have too many employees who feel disenfranchised, then they are working for a paycheck. Often doing their time of 40 hours a week, coasting and undermining employee morale and culture.

 

 

3. Those Guys at Corporate Don’t Get It (Step-Child): The farther your associates are away from HQ, the more silos come into play, causing non-compliance, ineffectiveness and inconsistent practices.

Big Deal

4. Those Guys Outside of Corporate Don’t Get It (Potomac Fever): The closer to the top you get, the farther away you are from solving problems. The powerful silo is executive hubris that creates blinders. More formality, more reports, more meetings, and less feel for the workforce will give birth to silos.

Survey

5. Another Employee Survey? (Night Light): Too many surveys look for satisfaction, but rarely solicit meaningful input to help employees find more meaning and purpose in their work. Most employees see the survey as a night light trying to illuminate the entire house. Therefore, surveys, for the most part, just reaffirm negative perceptions of corporate being out of touch and the survey is covering someone’s backside.

6. Meeting About Meetings? (Double Jeopardy): Wonder why you have so many meetings? It’s obvious – silos. Getting into the same room together and directly communicating keeps the silos outside the room, but in fact, it only strengthens them. When you get to having too many meetings, then work suffers, deadlines are missed and stress fractures performance.

Meetings

7. Employee of the Month (Shooting Stars): Recognizing employees who went the extra mile is good, but a formalized, predictable program is counter-productive. For every employee showcased in the EOM, there are nine employees who feel overlooked. Perceptions of brown nosing, gaming the system and “managers’ pet” just builds silos. Randomized recognition breaks down these type of silos.

Employee of the Month

8. That’s Not How We Do It Here (Step-Child): Whether you’re across the world, country or department, corporate policies are too theoretical when you have to perform your job. You call it improvising or just getting the job done. Which came first, the silo or the egg?

9. That’s Not in My Job Description (Anti-Hero): Ever come across someone who is more focused on what he/she is not supposed to do versus focused on doing what needs to get done? It’s either a clunker of a hire or it may be an achievement-minded employee who has taken on way too much work from other folks and simply burnt out. Regardless it’s a silo that started with the job description and hire.

Email 1

10. Can You Resend the Email? (Machine Gunner): Sent an email days ago and it never got looked at or you didn’t see it come in your Inbox? Ever happen? If so, that’s evidence of a silo. There’s always someone who professes that they get over 200 emails a day, maybe you. Yes, it gives the impression that that person/you are very busy, but it also is a warning of key information getting lost or overlooked. This leads to delaying productivity and meeting deadlines.

These 10 signs of silos are the most basic evidence that the corporate structure needs a renovation. There are almost as many silos as there are employees, so leaders and managers must identify the systems, processes and practices that fail to empower the majority of people make up the workforce.

Carlin

Thankfully, the solutions to silos are found within the organization. Yes, it’s about the organizational culture, but silos have several beginnings from command & control to punching the clock. So where to begin is key and depends on the type of organization framework you have in place.

The more you notice the silos that act like the devil on your shoulder, the more ability you have in breaking them down. The key is putting a system in place that empowers and engages. Look for more in the Secret Silos Series by SL7 Communications. Go to www.PatrickSlevin.com for more on the series and services.

5 Enduring PR Lessons I Learned as a Mayor

Patrick Slevin: Youngest GOP in the Nation in 1996
Patrick Slevin: Youngest GOP in the Nation in 1996

I learned public relations the hard way the day the city clerk informed me that I would become the youngest mayor in the history of Safety Harbor, Florida, at 27. Within a few hours of learning the news, I was mobbed by reporters from the St. Petersburg Times, Tampa Tribune and television news crews from ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox.

I wasn’t prepared to encounter this level of media interest. And it showed!!! I did everything wrong from a PR standpoint. I answered with yes and no responses, I repeated negatives, and I naively trusted the reporters.

I would become the youngest GOP mayor in the nation, I was youngest mayor in Safety Harbor’s history and I was first time candidate who was unopposed.

One of the TV news stories that evening headlined, “Safety Harbor, a little fishing town on the shores of Tampa Bay, where the fishing is great, but not today. Today, the city has a newly elected mayor…27 year old first time, unopposed candidate Patrick Slevin.”

KNOW Tampa Bay
KNOW Tampa Bay

So what was wrong with the news story? First, Safety Harbor is an upscale bedroom community located on the bay not known for any commercial fishing. Second, the reporter lived in Safety Harbor and wasn’t thrilled about having a Generation X-GOP mayor. Third, I simply allowed myself be portrayed as a schmuck before millions of Floridians and worst yet, I failed my first attempt to be an effective spokesman on behalf of my nearly 20,000 new constituents.

GOP

After the weekend news cycle died off, I evaluated my poor performance as a public official and politician. I quickly determined I must learn how to master public relations before I was sworn into office 60 days later. So, I devoured the latest PR books, talked to other public officials, studied political communications and met with local beat reporters.

I quickly learned and mastered these five enduring lessons (Sketch Artists, Thick Skin, All PR is Local, Humanize the Story and Leadership) as a young mayor, which served me well during my 3 years in office and the next 15 years of my public relations career:

SKETCH ARTISTS: Reporters are not painters, they’re sketch artists. They require fast, bite size narratives and facts. The nature of their work and the pressures of deadlines prevents reporters from obtaining deep knowledge about your issue. The earlier you provide your messaging and supporting facts, which are often times presented in press releases, statements, media kits, press conferences and briefings, the better the odds of framing the story to your benefit. The easier you can make their job, the better relationships you will forge, while ensuring accuracy in reporting.

AddressVows

Edittorial Impress

THICK SKIN: If you’re not being criticized, then you’re not doing your job. As a public official, I learned that media thrives on controversy. Conflict sells papers. As an active mayor with a vision and purpose, I attracted more than my fair share of criticism in the media. When political opponents and editorial writers attack, you must have a thick skin and unwavering resolve in pursuing your goals.

TangleEditorial Grandstanding

ALL PR IS LOCAL: In every community there still exists the “Proverbial Barbershop”, where thought leaders influence the behavior of voters, consumers and constituents. Local markets and community intersections are the infrastructure building any national platform delivering integrated communications focused on recruiting, influencing and mobilizing stakeholders. More people listen to their community leaders who influence where they eat, what they buy and who they should vote for on Election Day, than any news story in the New York Times or USA Today.

American Legion Magazine
American Legion Magazine
Mayor's Task Force
Mayor’s Task Force

HUMANIZE THE STORY: Emotion trumps logic when influencing the opinions, behavior and attitudes of audiences. For corporations, associations, and special interest groups it’s not what you say, but who says it for you. My campaign as mayor to sue and close two establishments in Safety Harbor did not have the support of the city commission. Unfortunately, my go-getter attitude created the appearance of being unilateral, when in fact I was representing hundreds of affected constituents.

This is where I learned the value and impact of surrogates and putting a face on an issue to help educate key stakeholders. After setting up a neighborhood watch and partnering with the sheriff’s office, the effort to close the establishments was championed by Safety Harbor residents. Several would receive Keys to the City.

When the time came to vote, city hall was overflowing into the street with angry and concerned residents. Residents, mostly African American women, shared their personal stories of drug dealers, crime and concerns for their children. What started out as a 4-1 vote against suing, turned into 5-0 vote for lawsuits to protect the citizens of Safety Harbor.

CrimeDrugs

Deputies

Nightclub 1Nightclub 2

LEADERSHIP: Leadership must have vision, strategy, fortitude and inspiration. Public relations affirms leadership by defining the big picture, justifying risk, and most importantly, motivating stakeholders. As mayor, it became apparent that the biggest threat to my city’s progress and future prosperity was status quo attitudes. Any C-Suite executive would agree that protecting the status quo is not an effective strategy, but the equivalent to organizational and market share atrophy or suicide.

Therefore, a leader must be an effective change agent and communicator in allaying the fears of change. A leader must be able to articulate and address the self-interests of his/her employees, partners, shareholders, constituents, voters and media.

Call of DutySquabbleTax Cut

It was a honor to represent the people of Safety Harbor. When I left office in 1999, I decided to pursue a career in public relations. Everyone has a story to tell. My experience as mayor so many years ago, gives my clients, to this day, a unique perspective underwriting successful programs, campaigns and initiatives across Florida and across the nation. I have the privilege of telling their stories to the audiences that impact their bottom-line priorities.

***

SL7 Communications is led by Patrick Slevin, whose meteoric rise in public relations started when he was elected the youngest GOP mayor in the nation in 1996. Six months after his election, Patrick was appointed spokesman and surrogate for presidential candidate U.S. Senator Bob Dole. Since 1996, Patrick has educated opinion leaders and engaged stakeholders as a Florida mayor, Fortune 500 corporate manager, national trade association director, international agency executive, corporate trainer and public speaker.

Patrick can be reached for a confidential inquiry at 850.597.0423 or email pslevin68@gmail.com.

5 Enduring PR Lessons I Learned as a Mayor

KNOW Tampa Bay
KNOW Tampa Bay
Youngest GOP in the Nation in 1996
Youngest GOP in the Nation in 1996

I learned public relations the hard way the day the city clerk informed me that I would become the youngest mayor in the history of Safety Harbor, Florida, at 27. Within a few hours of learning the news, I was mobbed by reporters from the St. Petersburg Times, Tampa Tribune and television news crews from ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox.

I wasn’t prepared to encounter this level of media interest. And it showed!!! I did everything wrong from a PR standpoint. I answered with yes and no responses, I repeated negatives, and I naively trusted the reporters.

I would become the youngest GOP mayor in the nation, I was youngest mayor in Safety Harbor’s history and I was first time candidate who was unopposed.

One of the TV news stories that evening headlined, “Safety Harbor, a little fishing town on the shores of Tampa Bay, where the fishing is great, but not today. Today, the city has a newly elected mayor…27 year old first time, unopposed candidate Patrick Slevin.”

So what was wrong with the news story? First, Safety Harbor is an upscale bedroom community located on the bay not known for any commercial fishing. Second, the reporter lived in Safety Harbor and wasn’t thrilled about having a Generation X-GOP mayor. Third, I simply allowed myself be portrayed as a schmuck before millions of Floridians and worst yet, I failed my first attempt to be an effective spokesman on behalf of my nearly 20,000 new constituents.

GOP

After the weekend news cycle died off, I evaluated my poor performance as a public official and politician. I quickly determined I must learn how to master public relations before I was sworn into office 60 days later. So, I devoured the latest PR books, talked to other public officials, studied political communications and met with local beat reporters.

I quickly learned and mastered these five enduring lessons (Sketch Artists, Thick Skin, All PR is Local, Humanize the Story and Leadership) as a young mayor, which served me well during my 3 years in office and the next 15 years of my public relations career:

SKETCH ARTISTS: Reporters are not painters, they’re sketch artists. They require fast, bite size narratives and facts. The nature of their work and the pressures of deadlines prevents reporters from obtaining deep knowledge about your issue. The earlier you provide your messaging and supporting facts, which are often times presented in press releases, statements, media kits, press conferences and briefings, the better the odds of framing the story to your benefit. The easier you can make their job, the better relationships you will forge, while ensuring accuracy in reporting.

AddressVows

Edittorial Impress

THICK SKIN: If you’re not being criticized, then you’re not doing your job. As a public official, I learned that media thrives on controversy. Conflict sells papers. As an active mayor with a vision and purpose, I attracted more than my fair share of criticism in the media. When political opponents and editorial writers attack, you must have a thick skin and unwavering resolve in pursuing your goals.

TangleEditorial Grandstanding

ALL PR IS LOCAL: In every community there still exists the “Proverbial Barbershop”, where thought leaders influence the behavior of voters, consumers and constituents. Local markets and community intersections are the infrastructure building any national platform delivering integrated communications focused on recruiting, influencing and mobilizing stakeholders. More people listen to their community leaders who influence where they eat, what they buy and who they should vote for on Election Day, than any news story in the New York Times or USA Today.

American Legion Magazine
American Legion Magazine
Mayor's Task Force
Mayor’s Task Force

HUMANIZE THE STORY: Emotion trumps logic when influencing the opinions, behavior and attitudes of audiences. For corporations, associations, and special interest groups it’s not what you say, but who says it for you. My campaign as mayor to sue and close two establishments in Safety Harbor did not have the support of the city commission. Unfortunately, my go-getter attitude created the appearance of being unilateral, when in fact I was representing hundreds of affected constituents.

This is where I learned the value and impact of surrogates and putting a face on an issue to help educate key stakeholders. After setting up a neighborhood watch and partnering with the sheriff’s office, the effort to close the establishments was championed by Safety Harbor residents. Several would receive Keys to the City.

When the time came to vote, city hall was overflowing into the street with angry and concerned residents. Residents, mostly African American women, shared their personal stories of drug dealers, crime and concerns for their children. What started out as a 4-1 vote against suing, turned into 5-0 vote for lawsuits to protect the citizens of Safety Harbor.

CrimeDrugs

Deputies

Nightclub 1Nightclub 2

LEADERSHIP: Leadership must have vision, strategy, fortitude and inspiration. Public relations affirms leadership by defining the big picture, justifying risk, and most importantly, motivating stakeholders. As mayor, it became apparent that the biggest threat to my city’s progress and future prosperity was status quo attitudes. Any C-Suite executive would agree that protecting the status quo is not an effective strategy, but the equivalent to organizational and market share atrophy or suicide.

Therefore, a leader must be an effective change agent and communicator in allaying the fears of change. A leader must be able to articulate and address the self-interests of his/her employees, partners, shareholders, constituents, voters and media.

Call of DutySquabbleTax Cut

It was a honor to represent the people of Safety Harbor. When I left office in 1999, I decided to pursue a career in public relations. Everyone has a story to tell. My experience as mayor so many years ago, gives my clients, to this day, a unique perspective underwriting successful programs, campaigns and initiatives across Florida and across the nation. I have the privilege of telling their stories to the audiences that impact their bottom-line priorities.

***

Patrick Slevin heads SL7 Communications, an integrated public relations consulting firm. Over the last two-decades, Patrick has successfully engaged stakeholders as a Florida mayor, Fortune 500 corporate manager, national association regional director and international agency executive. His unique and diversified experience in political, corporate, government and agency communications offers clients a greater degree of efficacy in strategic counsel and campaign performance. He has developed and executed strategies, corporate campaigns and grassroots operations advancing the bottom line interests of clients in markets across the United States.

Patrick can be reached for a confidential inquiry at 850.597.0423 or email pslevin68@gmail.com.