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Sacred Silos: What Are They and Are They Good?

Photo Credit: Darren Murphy

Sacred Silos refer to an organizations rules & regulations; unwritten yet understood is one type. The other type are practices continued to be used, but the reason for them has been forgotten. Both types can be costly to an organization whereas some are good.

Unwritten yet understood rules & regs often lead to legal disputes within an organization. Some code phrases are "glass ceiling", gender proof, and the list goes on. A real good practice is to put first "the best qualified", "the most creative", or whatever parameters the occupation requires in order to achieve excellence. A 'good old boys club' is a sure fire way to lose market share.

Some sacred silos are good. One that comes to mind is the police never go alone when responding to a domestic dispute. It was understood that two will always respond. The few times when only one did, the outcome was never good. It then became written as well as understood, this is known as being codified.

Are there Sacred Silos of this type in your organization? Which need to be codified and which need to be GONE? The other type Sacred Silos are practices always done , but the reason for them has been forgotten.

A story comes to mind; a young husband asked his wife, "Why do you always cut the end off the ham before you cook it?"

" I don't know - my mother always did. I'll ask her."

"Hey Mom...?"

"I don't know. My mother always did. I'll ask her."

"Why did I cut the end of the ham off? I didn't have a pan it would fit into."

Does your organization have any type of these Sacred Silos?

-Darren Murphy

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