Releasing the skills from the box\nIt is all too common for staff to collaborate only within their teams. When people have little or no interaction with others outside the walls of their silo, the organization is wasting powerful resources. The adaptive organization allows staff to express these skills in a \u201cbig picture\u201d way \u2013 across departments, across different business units \u2013 and even across suppliers. When this happens, we start to see the power of real collaboration, problem-solving and critical thinking.\nThe problem is not the people \u2013 it is the organization itself\nThe biggest problem with the silo mentality is not about what happens within silos or departments. The specialisms within the silos are important to the operation of the business, but this does not mean that conversations should be locked within the silo. It is vital to address what happens \u2013 or does not happen \u2013 in the gap between the silos.\nThis is the gap that customers usually end up falling into and from which they need rescuing. Thus, it is vital to have systems and job roles designed to provide business information from outside, and also to identify and address key inter-department issues.\nReorganizing the collaborative model\nTo address the \u201csilo gap,\u201d organizations need to ask themselves some key questions. How do we collaborate end-to-end \u2013 in the horizontal, and in the vertical? How do we create the opportunities for communication in these channels?\nThe solution is to create a different collaboration model which enables the organization to address organizational constraints so that it can move quickly to change whatever is needed, when it is needed.\nCollaboration is about everyone knowing how everything fits together. To achieve it, there must be a process of dialogue where people from different departments learn about each other\u2019s key challenges. This kind of interdepartmental understanding enables people to do their jobs more effectively. And when something goes wrong, it gives them a network outside their area to contact immediately.\nGrow your own: why recruit what you already have?\nThe adaptive organization makes full use of the problem-solving, critical thinking resources within its existing workforce. Staff \u2013 including top managers - not only think outside the box, but they are aware of what is outside the box, so they can work outside it too. The more minds this organization brings together, the greater its problem-solving power. Put another way: release the potential of your people and they will realise the potential of your business. Why look to recruit collaborative problem solvers when you already have them in your organization?\nThe 3 steps true collaboration\n1. Identify and understand the fragmentation\nManagers identify and address inter-departmental misalignment of goals and targets. How is what we are doing inhibiting the way we drive products and services to customers?\n2. Enable work \u201coutside the box\u201d\nPeople begin to see what is outside their boxes and they develop an intimate appreciation of what others are doing and how it is part of the big picture.\n3. Work outside the box\nManagers encourage their staff to work upstream and down, and horizontally between departments, with vast improvements to their own and others\u2019 effectiveness.\nWhen staff are made to work within their own boxes, they have little chance to engage in true collaboration. They know very little about other parts of the business and how they operate, and can only use their skills in myopic ways. This is not what makes an adaptive business. In today\u2019s fast-paced environment, the whole organization has to understand and shift. The challenge is for management to \u201clet go\u201d a little and allow people to work \u201coutside the box\u201d while still trusting them and still maintaining control.