No Silo Effect Here
In the corporate world there is a lot of talk and concern about the silo effect, where each department gets kind of trapped in their own area, and they can't or don’t communicate with others across the company. This adds to inefficiency due to a lack of cooperation. I looked up a true definition for it, and at the end it said the silo effect “generally just makes work a lot more painful than it needs to be.” Based on that definition, I think the silo effect can hit more than corporate America unless we combat it.
Last week an email went out from a committee at church. There is to be a Wednesday night meal, and this was a recruitment of people to bring desserts, side dishes, help set up and tear down. It brought back so many memories of Rosemont, the church I grew up in.
The method of communication is different to be sure. In days gone by, I believe plans were made in the women’s Sunday school class, after church standing on the front lawn, or the old-fashioned phone tree.
At Rosemont there was a group of women who always handled all of that. I remember waiting around after a potluck wondering if they were EVER going to finish. These were my mom’s friends. They were talking and laughing so much they didn’t even look like they thought it was work.
Most of the time during these events, everyone had their own groups. We kids were outside playing tag on the front lawn, ducking around some impressively large boxwoods; the women were cleaning up, and the men were “wandering around” (aka hiding) trying to avoid getting asked to help with the clean up. So while I may have veered away from some of the particular teachings of that church, the lessons I learned in that place and from those people are invaluable.
I know these are cliché, and they are very similar in meaning, but it doesn’t make them any less true. Many hands make light work; it’s always more fun with friends, and community makes almost everything easier. This is what those women lived.
My mom gave me some great advice when I was in my mid-to-late forties. She said, “At this point in your life you are wiser (hopefully); you’re more settled financially and in your career, and you’re not so old that you're starting to have lots of physical ailments. These are some of the best years of your life. Pay attention.”
And I have tried to pay attention. I don’t know if I’ve always succeeded. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve failed more often than not, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve realized that not only has the advice my mom has given me through the years been sound and important - with the exception of that green sweater- but also the lessons she exemplified in her life and with her friends.
It all came back to me this weekend when I got a text from one of my friends saying she was in the ER with her mom who had fallen yet again. She alone has the responsibility of caring for her mom who is making it especially difficult as she fights to keep her autonomy. I can see it taking a toll on my friend in every aspect of her life, and I don’t know what to do.
After I told her a joke or two, the only thing I could think of was to take dinner over. Show her she was loved and supported. And then I thought back to that group of women at Rosemont. So I contacted our friends. They showed up with smiles on their faces and of course went above and beyond. And you know what? It’s true: many hands make light work; everything's better with friends, and community makes almost everything easier.