C-Suite Insights 8th November 2021

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Making silos work

Harvard Business Review


Silos are a defining characteristic of organisations of all sizes. For example, management consulting firms are known for organising around temporary project teams, but they also have formal expertise silos (often called practices) and fixed regional structures.


We often hear about the negative side effects of silos: Boundaries may lead to insular mindsets that inhibit sharing or collaboration between verticals, or worse, they could lead to finger-pointing and turf wars.


But if silos are such a bad thing, why then do they persist? Silos, or verticals, exist for three good reasons:

  1. To aggregate expertise. They provide the focus and critical mass required to develop expertise on an ongoing basis.
  2. To assign accountability. They provide boundaries and hierarchy that make it possible to assign accountability. Responsibilities are clearly delineated, objectives are well defined, resources are allocated firmly, and decisions are made and communicated quickly.
  3. To provide a sense of identity. They create stability and allow for the development of collective behavioural norms and ways of working. These, in turn, provide a sense of identity, security, psychological safety, and predictability for the people who belong to the silo.

This article suggests a number or practical ways to preserve the strengths of silos while minimising the unwanted side effects.

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How to make big, old companies act fast


Strategy + Business


Legacy businesses – those that are more than 50 years old, have well-established brands and market positions, employ more than 5,000 people, and are spread around the world - have gone through numerous transformations and adapted to multiple reorganisations and changing management principles.


How did such organisations do strategy differently as a result of the pandemic? This article looks at three European multinationals and identifies five significant strategic attitude shifts caused by the pandemic.

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The economic realities of ESG



Decarbonising the global economy is a monumental task, with far-reaching economic trade-offs that will challenge countries, industries, companies, and individuals.


Another is the growing impact of the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) movement, as it causes major investors, and the companies they hold in their portfolios, to rethink the risks of traditional business models, and the opportunities for more sustainable value creation in the future.


A research survey of 325 investors globally, showed most (81% of) respondents expressed reluctance to take a hit on their returns exceeding 1 percentage point in the pursuit of ESG goals.


Many also described significant reservations about the quality of the information available to them when evaluating ESG priorities, including information on the carbon emissions of their investments.


For leaders, the question is how to deliver both the business transformation necessitated by the changing climate and the returns investors pursue as they discharge their fiduciary duties.

Learn more>>

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