The Dangers of the Silo Effect

I start this one off with a quick question. What percentage of us Brits would happen to know who Justine Henin is to the sport of tennis? Yes, ok, we may know who Serena is but, what about Henin? 

Strange, the percentage would be quite low I would assume. Unless of course, you happen to be an avid Wimbledon fan or attentive to the WTA world rankings. Justine Henin was a world-class tennis player, who graced the game in the mid-noughties and bowed out on a high not too long ago for confidential reasons.

Okay, how about this? What percentage of my American audience have ever traveled to anywhere outside of America, to say...Northern Tibet? It's an unusual destination, outside of America, that is. The answer according to this Forbes article is not too many. Fewer than expected at the rate of 11% of a 2,000 person survey which was conducted in May say they have never left the comfort of the state they were born in and a further 40% say they've never left the country.

Gillian Tett (Financial Times) coined an analogy in the title of her famous book: Silo Effect (which I haven't read yet) but it's a point that resonates. Working in silos can be and is of significant danger to warrant this article. I compare silos to a sort of pride that comes before an epic fail. Not knowing Henin but knowing Serena, not leaving our houses but expecting the world in return. It's selfish and slightly clumsy. We're better than this.

Hence my surprise when I received a Slack notification this morning from Dama at BGV informing me that the FT had published another annual BAME leaders list for its readers. Congratulations to Deborah from YSYS and Kike from BYP and others for making the list.

I honestly thought my colleagues had each achieved a level of recognition that would amount to more than a place on this list. Maybe a televised award ceremony with FT subscribers and guests or perhaps (and some people may hate me for mentioning this) maybe it's time for an industry-wide shortlist that maps the contributions of every noticeable rising-star, founder, entrepreneur, and investor in the UK, regardless of their race or creed?

It's up to you. You the reader to make your voice heard about this. Very little I can do except point to the error. Let's make this happen by next year November 2020 and remember, avoid working in silos, or in what I ought to call the Henin-Serena thought trap, more precisely.