Management Tip of the Day: Give up your guild mindset

Tue Jan 25, 2011 10:44am EST
 
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BOSTON (Reuters Life!) - The Middle Ages mentality of certain work functions banding together to guard their trade secrets is still alive and well in many companies, says Harvard Business Review.

The Management Tip of the Day offers quick, practical management tips and ideas from Harvard Business Review and HBR.org (www.hbr.org). Any opinions expressed are not endorsed by Reuters.

"Guilds were set up in the Middle Ages to protect and further the skills and knowledge of their members. For example, blacksmiths might band together to defend trade secrets and corner markets.

Unfortunately, this mentality is still alive and well in many companies today in the form of silos. Functions like marketing, sales, and IT have their areas of special expertise and at times expend energy trying to guard it from others.

Competition between functions can be helpful, but not if it leads to unproductive jousting. Nurture the healthy instinct to compete but focus it on external forces -- not internal ones. Functions should work together to become a team of specialists that spans silos."

-Today's management tip was adapted from "Stop Operating with a Guild Mindset" by Paul Leinwand and Cesare Mainardi. (For the full post, see: here)

 
<p>United Auto Workers union local 594 president Don Skidmore shows his 'Buy American Buy Union' tattoo on his arm outside his union local 735 in Canton, Michigan June 2, 2009. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook</p>