People don’t set out to create operational silos, but they still happen. As companies grow and organizational structures evolve, it’s important to break these silos down because they’re detrimental to creativity, efficiency, and collaboration. Here’s how a merged scheduling method can dissolve operational silos without taking away team autonomy.
Struggling to lead across silos
Imagine a company that operates in multiple regions. Each region has a supervisor, and there’s a director overseeing all regional operations. Over time, these regional teams have become isolated in their own operational silos. Each team focuses solely on its specific tasks and goals, with minimal communication and collaboration across regions. For the regional supervisors, this doesn’t seem like much of a problem. They’re focused only on what their own team is doing. But the director, who’s working at a higher level, is frustrated. She can see that there are missed opportunities and all sorts of inefficiencies caused by wasted resources and redundant work. She has to rely on meetings and talking to her direct reports to get a sense of what’s going on instead of having direct access to information first hand
The dual inefficiency of operational silos
The director is facing two big problems caused by the separate scheduling silos:
- Inefficiency in her own role: Because each regional team has its own schedule and preferred set of tools and communication method, she has to spend a lot of time getting a sense of what’s going on in each region, setting goals, reviewing needs and priorities, and providing feedback and direction. Her time is spent chasing down information, having meetings, getting updates from her direct reports, and trying to establish communication between teams rather than strategizing and improving operations.
- Inefficiency and poor collaboration among the teams:
- Information sharing between teams is disorganized and difficult, so most of the time it doesn’t happen. The teams could learn from each other and share valuable insights, but instead they’re operating like independent entities.
- Without any idea of what other teams are doing, the regional supervisors have no idea when they’re doing redundant work.
- The isolation of each regional team has created inconsistencies in processes, standards, and customer service, which isn’t good for overall brand image and customer satisfaction.
- Creativity thrives in collaborative environments. In siloed situations, the opposite is true. Each regional team tends to use the same ideas over and over. They’re stuck in a rut and struggling to innovate.
Conquering silos with merged scheduling
To consolidate operational silos, the director needs one merged scheduling system. The teams still need to be distinct, but instead of being spread across different tools and isolated in their own worlds, they’re able to share information and see what’s going on with each other. It’s a combined team scheduling system that still creates autonomy, while also enabling collaboration.
Here’s how it works:
- Each team has their own sub-calendars, organized in a team folder.
- The director has access to all team calendars for a combined view of company operations across all regions.
- The regional supervisors have customized calendar access, which includes selected sub-calendars. For example, the Team WEST supervisor has read-only access to the “Whole Team” calendars for Team EAST and Team SOUTH. And, of course, the Team WEST supervisor has Modify access to all the Team WEST calendars.
- Individual team members have customized calendar access with appropriate access permissions. Here’s the calendar access for Carlos, a Team WEST member. He can see the “Whole Team” calendars, too, which lets him benefit from information sharing and resources from the other teams. He can also view, but not modify, the events on his own team mates’ calendars. And he can modify his own events on the Team WEST Whole Team calendar, as well as his own sub-calendar.
The benefits of a merged operational scheduling
With all regional scheduling and operational info in one place, the director can compare projects, timelines, and goals across regions. She can help regional supervisors combine their efforts and resources, which leads to more efficient operations, more creative solutions, and more engagement for everyone. The regional supervisors can see how their work impacts the larger picture, and don’t feel so isolated. They also understand that their resource use has an impact outside of their own region. Individual team members can share what they’ve learned and avoid redundant work, which lightens their workload and enables them to focus on their strengths.
And it’s still easy to focus. When Carlos needs to view only his own schedule, he can hide all sub-calendars but his own. The director can focus on one team at a time by collapsing the other folders. And since only the items on the Whole Team calendar are visible to other team members, each regional supervisor can still choose what stays within the team and what gets shared across regions. The director can access updates and information directly, which means fewer meetings and less back-and-forth to get everyone aligned. It’s a combined scheduling approach that allows everyone to work more efficiently, collaborate with ease, and still have team autonomy. Learn more about multi-team scheduling, or start exploring with a live demo calendar.