It is inevitable. As an organization grows, so do its silos.
The communication breaks around 20 people. Little by little, walls between people and departments rise.
All the sudden you have silos and you have to somehow make sure everyone is communicating. If not, people feel like they're being kept in the dark. They're no longer aware of every initiative at the company.
This isn't just about company culture or making employees feel connected. A lack of communication between teams and people can have serious impact. It'll create extra work or cost when different groups or departments aren't aware of each other's happenings. It can make your organization more vulnerable to mistakes because the silos aren't talking. It can even hurt your business.
It's a rocky change as your company scales.
What you need to do:
Don't Wait Until It's A Problem
It can get easy to neglect communications between departments and teams. You won't necessarily notice it happening until something's wrong. Shipping didn't tell sales that deliveries ran late. Marketing wasn't aware that production was running behind. Foster organizational communications before you need to.
Hold Cross-Functional Meetings
They feel big and corporate, but they're necessary. When you make big decisions, when you set timelines, when you set product specifications, get everyone in a room. It isn't the time to be too sensitive of peoples' time.
Who needs to know about decisions? Who would be interested to know about them even if they're not affected? Be purposeful and disciplined about what gets communicated. Think before you act on any conversations.
Recognize the difference between decisions that can be changed and decisions that have already been communicated outside the organization. You don't want to change the production timeline on a major customer. That additional day or two may not seem like a big deal to operations, but it may be a huge deal to sales.
Don't Get Lazy
Some people may be feeling tired, ready to take the foot off the gas. It's time to take another deep breath and power harder - make sure that you're disciplined about your conversations. Keep them going even when you want to sideline.
Train Your Organization
Great companies start at the top and so does great communications. Set the pace right out of the gate as your business begins to scale. Be the most diligent about maintaining its conversations. Lead your teams and management to be mindful of the discussions that need to happen.
Not everyone communicates efficiently or effectively. A great senior executive might lack at keeping dialogue. Your younger staff may not know when to recognize that something needs to be shared. Expect the uphill climbs before you hit them. It can make things easier.
Partner With Your Colleagues
And when you communication breaks down... don't point the finger. It's tempting to point at the person (place) where the communication broke down. But good communication takes all of you. It's a group problem and you'll only get through it by lifting each other up instead of putting each other down.
Make It A Habit
Be diligent about making an effort to have conversations. Have a plan in place of how you approach discussions and when they need to happen. Pay attention to when your company and teams are getting too quiet or feeling disconnected.