In his book Silos, Politics and Turf Wars, New York Times best selling author Patrick Lencioni explains that working in silos is a great way to slowly cripple an organisation from the inside out. Poor staff engagement, lack of direction and focusing on office politics rather than shared objectives is a horrible (and slow) way to die!
Lencioni goes on to say that the best way to combat the silo thinking is to have a clearly understood objectives, open lines of communication, trust and openness. It is also important to prevent the ‘it’s not my job’ attitude by ensuring roles, policies, processes and procedures are clear to everyone.
Why do you need an intranet? The answer is simple, because a good intranet supports communication, collaboration and the operational activities of the organisation. I should say at this point, that an intranet isn’t going to solve every problem, but it is a very useful part of the tool kit.
A few examples of how an intranet can support communication, collaboration and operations:
- Supports the company mission, vision, values and brand
- Provides one location for communicating company news, announcements and events
- Supports formal, team and social communication
- Working spaces for projects – documents, calendars and lists
- External sharing – working with your business partners and other external collaborators
- Co-authoring (SharePoint and Office 2010 or later)
- Alerts – tell me when something changes
- Content roll ups
- Single source of truth for policies and procedures
- Contact lists
- Forms and templates
- Issues registers
- Reporting portals
- Knowledge bases and Wiki’s
Other areas where Intranets can make a significant positive impact include:
Organisations with multiple branches or remote workers need to rethink how they foster collaboration, support process and build social connections between people who don’t meet face to face. Remote workers in particular need to feel like they are part of a team and have the ability to reach out to their peers. Technology can help fill the gap, but will never fully replace a direct relationship.
Intranets can support organizational change including restructures, mergers and acquisitions. In any of these scenarios communication is of great importance. A one stop shop for authoritative information reduces confusion, misunderstanding and misinformation. Intranets can be used both to publish news, FAQ’s, events, policies and other information. In addition, they can be useful as a two-way communication tool using features such as comments, likes, discussions and survey’s to gather feedback.
This is just a taste of things intranets can do. An intranet should adapt and grow as the organisation it supports changes. Successful intranets are owned by the organisation not an individual, they are easy to navigate and search, they are the central directory for people, content and services and last but definitely not least they are the first place you think to go when you need to find something to help with your job.
So when someone asks us ‘why do we need an intranet?’, the answer is simple – tell me why you don’t?
Silos, Politics and Turf Wars is available on Amazon