Just Say No – to Silos
Why intelligent minds like Steve Jobs and Elon Musk reject silos.
NWPS competes with the largest of 401(k) vendors. We frequently go up against Vanguard, Fidelity, Empower and the others. While there are many facets to our story, a differentiating one is that NWPS does not have departments or “silos” for different processes (e.g. the document department, the compliance group, the year-end services division, the distribution unit). Rather, each client is assigned a dedicated team with a lead consultant responsible for all aspects of plan operations. There are no silos at NWPS with robotic employees performing repetitive tasks. It has been this way since our founding in 1994.
Little did we know that Steve Jobs and Elon Musk have publicly endorsed our service model!
Writing for Inc.com, author and leadership expert Justin Bariso recounts how both Jobs and Musk rejected silos that “create an us vs. them mentality.” The cost of this divisive model increases as a company grows.
In an organization with functional silos, each department has its own set of success metrics, often not aligned with other departments. Each silo ends up attempting to curry the favor of management by hitting their own goals, frequently at the expense of others.
Offshoring work, as many of our competitors do, amplifies this divisiveness, adding different cultures within departments and increasing the isolation of one silo from the next. What is the cost of having all these silos competing for corporate approval and funding? Doesn’t the client get lost?
Rather, explains Bariso, the no silo rule is founded on principals of emotional intelligence (the capacity of individuals to recognize their own emotions and those of others) and encourages associates to work for the good of the client and the company as a whole. Individuals are naturally motivated to think immediately, critically, and creatively to solve problems for the client, to see how the company can work together.
Our company President & CEO is fond of saying, “We won’t out-Vanguard Vanguard.” and agrees with Elon Musk who wrote, “We obviously cannot compete with the big car companies in size, so we must do so with intelligence and agility.”
Intelligence and agility. No silos. These philosophies have served us well over 26 years of growth. Our future is bright. We hope the same for you. Happy New Year!