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On Google+, circles and silos and internal communications

July 26, 2011

Silos are the reality is a large company. Indeed, Silos most-likely help companies grow big, because silos and departments help define roles, responsibilities and job descriptions. When those are defined, people can do their job and grow the company.
For the individual, they identify what you can’t control (that’s not my job) and what you can. This would lead employees to like their job titles and silos. (Go read this really smart post from Tac Anderson on silos and many other things)
Google+ Circles are 2-d silos. The whole notion of circles on Google+ is putting someone in a silo. The obvious difference in a digital silo is that someone could be in every circle.

Google+ is trying to help companies plot these connections by letting use place people in an infinite number of circles. Circles could be a way to organize people in a company not based on departments. There could be a “knows where all the bodies are buried” circle, for example.
The potential problem could be our general inability to see infinite possibilities. Take file folders on a computer: just like in the real world, where a file must sit in one folder, we put a digital document in one e-folder. Really, it can live in multiple places.
If you happen to be charged with internal communications, people don’t have to live in silos. They can exist in many places  – linked by interests, departments, expertise, favorite color, etc. But in the real world, people need one silo to do their job and build the company.
In that respect, Google+ doesn’t have to break silos, it can help a brand craft more of them to share knowledge.
What do you think? Does your company have silos? Are they comforting?
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