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Change Management - Breaking Team Silos

There is a lot at stake for insurance organizations today as they are trying to up their distribution strategy and customer reach. One key element to this drive is that technology needs to be blended with the right customer experience for a sustainable market share. Having placed heads of business transformtaion and conversations with business change leaders, the common thread that connects customer experience to the business emerges out to be an all-encompassing synergized philosophy that starts with some basics in place.

The trick is in the balance and It’s also a big ask to drive especially in a multi layered organizational structure with different business stakeholders. One of the business leaders who’s agenda is to drive business transformation recently shared with me that , “the challenge is, that teams work in silos and the backlog, the history you have inherited is not easy to break and without it you cannot achieve a business breakthrough.”

In our first article in the business transformation series, we are sharing a perspective on how to break team silos in Multi layered organizations.

Industrial psychology talks about heuristics as an important element of the organisational decision making process, which means drawing out from the human experiences. Here we are bringing one such business leader’s experience to light. Robin Armstrong, brings over 25 years of insurance experience. He has led complex businesses in the capacity of a change leader and CEO, across Asia Pacific. This article is inspired by his experiences of counteracting team silos and driving positive business and people changes in a new country.

Robin shared with us his experience of setting up change acceleration in one of the countries in Southeast Asia where business productivity and employee performance was challenged by complex structures and a lack of collaboration within teams. What he found behind this resistance was a lack of trust.

He stated "A common challenge I see across the Asia Pacific region, is that whilst the insurance industry talks about the importance of having good team collaboration and an engaged workforce, few organisations have it embedded into their DNA. Consequently teams keep functioning in silos and the organisation fails in executing its strategy, and productivity and ultimately performance suffers”. If silos and team factions are allowed to fester, it will spread like a disease and business performance will suffer with deteriorating employee morale, and key talent will soon get fed up and abandon the ship’’.

Here are a few of the changes Robin made to help colleagues to become more engaged with the business and each other:

Take out the fear of reprisal

1) "I created an open environment where people could share their ideas and concerns without fear of reprisal. Some of our best process improvement ideas came from junior employees who took the opportunity to step up and be heard, without fear of creating a loss of face with senior colleagues.

People at all levels need to know and be aligned with the bigger picture

2) "I organised a monthly morning tea to pull everybody together, update on our business strategies, year to date performance and key success stories and any lessons learned - This ensured everybody understood the organisation's goals and our key strategies. Colleagues felt connected and engaged and were happy to volunteer to be involved in other teams' projects, thereby helping us all achieve our goals".

Developing the power of listening

3) "I encouraged team diversity and engaged team members to join other team meetings and share their views - Sometimes people are set in their ways with the view that this is the only way to complete the task, but by hearing other peoples' ideas it enabled us to change the project scope and deliver improvement in the strategy execution. Building trust and changing behaviour can't be implemented overnight. People need to see the benefits of both, and be coached through the transition. If everybody is aligned and committed, both the individual and the team thrives".

Hope these ideas bring to light some of your personal experiences in managing transformations across your organization.

If you are in the middle of driving these changes and are looking for expertise to create, impact and facilitate change and business transformation, please feel free to TAP into our talent - contact me on: sakshi.singh@reedglobal.com or reach out at our insurance desk at +65 66029108.


This Article has been written by Sakshi Singh in collaboration with Robin Armstrong who's registered with REED Exclusively.