Disclaimer: No guarantee that I will continue this post but yah, blogging is a good way to collect my thoughts!
Covalent is a scientific term describing the chemical bonds formed when atoms share electrons to form a stable compound. Each atom by itself may or may not be useful but when it forms bonds with other atoms (which may not be of the same kind of element), it becomes something useful in our daily lives. Look at carbon and diamond. A precious diamond is a result of covalent bond of carbon atoms. The bond that is formed is so strong that it would need a large amount of energy to break it.
If we see this in the context of an organization, where each employee is like an atom, a covalent bond is formed when the employees share their “electrons” or rather the knowledge, skill sets, and expertise that they possess. They form “compounds” or teams with infinite possibilities. The teams formed are diverse, dynamic yet stable, and with strong bonds. Imagine an employee with good project management skill; he could bring his “electrons” anywhere with him to form the covalent bond with another employee with say, good marketing skill. Together with some other employees with other skill sets, they could form a team that would ensure a product is launched perfectly to the market on time. Then this employee could bring his “electrons” to form covalent bond with another employee who is so passionate about research and development. They could again form a team that would give birth to new innovations. In this diverse organization of ours, imagine how many covalent bonds we could form and how many high performing teams we could anticipate.
We always talk about breaking the silos in an organization. But how exactly can we do that? Silos are inevitable, and they are sometimes formed so naturally that we do not notice. We all have our personal interests and priorities. It is difficult not to have the mindset that when someone is ahead of us, we are at the behind. So if I lend you a hand to push you to the front of me, I am behind you. But we should not just confine our perspective to what is in front and what is behind us while ignoring the bigger relativity. Remember, as an organization, when someone moves ahead of us, the organization moves as well; when we push someone forward, we push the organization forward too. The force is conserved. However that person may not always be running in front of us. There will certainly be times when someone else, including that person whom we helped before, may give us a push forward. Again, the organization is moving forward. If we could keep such dynamic, can you imagine how far we can go?
Having said that, if our people hide behind the silos wall and deny the ability to give someone else a push, how can we move forward? Perhaps, we should all push and demolish the wall of silos? Will that create more commotions and halt the organization movement? Alternatively, we want our people to stand up, to stand out from the silos and say, “Hey, I can do this, I can do that. If you ever encounter an issue regarding this and that, come and look for me!” We want them to stand out from the silos and say, “Help! We need someone with such expertise, can anyone help us?” We do not want experts to be confined within silos and similarly we do not want problems and failures to be kept in the silos.
We want to build a culture – where our people are proactively sharing while learning and supporting each other. That would naturally break the silos and foster strong collaboration among our people. We know where to find resources, we know who to look for advices, we know what we can help… and we let others know as well. With that, teams will be performing better than ever before. Organization could move forward faster than ever before. The bond stays strong and it keeps on growing as new healthy blood are injected (let’s talk about new blood injection – or talent attraction, next time) and integrated well into the existing system.