Rethinking Silos, part 2

From the desk of Teresa Jordan, Executive Director – More thoughts on my silo expert colleagues at that recent meeting. (To read the first blog post on this topic see Rethinking Silos.) 

Brent, from Big Brothers Big Sisters Peterborough, added to our conversation about how the analogy of silos as negative is even more flawed. Brent told us that in the farming community only the farmers who put the crop in the silo know exactly what is in there. Only they know the moisture content of the crop or whether it was at its peak. The farmers knows what the crop was intended for, what the nutrient mix in it is and what should be added to make it perfect.

It is only in the silo, separate from all the other things, that the delicate mix can be fully understood. All crops needed for all livestock in one massive bunker would be a feed disaster. There is room for specialty and a need for separateness to know where to go for the level of expertise required.

So why the bad reputation we all wonder? That happens when the silos never get opened and great feed wasted. Silos of departments doing exactly what they know how to do need to have focus and be specialized. But, in opening and being part of a bigger agency, they can make big things happen where specialties overlap. 

Equally separate agencies can focus on their own excellence and strengths, create a structure that is the perfect balance for their mission. Partnering for causes where missions overlap or community is shared is the place where the great level of expertise blend and then all crop nutrient content rises.

Okay, so sometimes the analogy of, and my passion for, agriculture goes a little too far… but you understand… be expert, be open to help and lend your strengths.

Photo by Magda Ehlers on

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