There’s a nice piece (subscription required) in the "intelligence" section of the March Associations Now by Dale Gaddy of the American Chemical Society about how they avoid "silos" in their organization. Unlike most associations, they have nearly 2,000 (!) employees, so silos are a big risk there. Gaddy has a nice bulleted list of things to do to avoid silos, but my favorite quote is this:
At ACS, leaders have found that the key to avoiding the isolation and proliferation of silos is to drive the process. ACS’ executive director and senior management team take the wheel to ensure that money and time is allocated for encouraging employees from various units to share information regularly.
This approach translates to many meetings throughout the year–and meetings translate to dollars.
It’s not enough just to declare that people should work cross-functionally. You need to give them time to do it. The results, according to Gaddy: "fewer gaps, overlaps, and fumbles, and, ultimately greater member service."