Can Culture Overide Silos?

Adam Bryant interviewed F. Mark Gumz, president and C.E.O. of the Olympus Corporation of the Americas, earlier this year. I was intrigued by many of the points made by Mr. Gumz. His comments relative to building a strong company culture, and through doing so, how a company can minimize the struggle faced with the lack of alignment and collaboration between silos. The entire article is worth reading. Below are a few of the key bullets (paraphrased) relative to his approach. They are brilliant in their simplicity.

  1. Insist employees never eat at their desks. Encourage getting to know your co-workers in the company cafe. This will help build friendly relationships and bridges before they are needed.
  2. Let people freely talk in meetings. Have frequent coffees, lunches, and gatherings with your employees to truly learn what is going on within the company.
  3. Tie compensation to collaboration between silos to financially encouage that behavior.
  4. Do volunteer work together as a team. Give to the community and encourage company values outside of the company walls.
  5. Always tell the truth. Tell it openly and honestly –  both the good and the bad. This builds trust within the company. Without trust – we have nothing.