26 Feb Fixing the “Silos of Broken”



Many see the following attributes as strengths:

  • Being passionate.
  • Having many great ideas.
  • Responding quickly to solve problems.
  • Jumping in to rescue others.

Indeed, they are strengths, but when overused, they soon become weaknesses. Leadership expert Liz Wiseman calls this accidental diminishing.

A few weeks ago, I got very busy and could not respond promptly to email. When I did get to it a few days later, I noticed that most of the problems identified had already been solved without me.

Had I immediately stepped in to solve the problems, I would have become what Liz Wiseman calls a “rapid responder.” I would have fixed the problems, but I would have fixed them for someone else. Someone who could have, and should have, been able to do so themselves.

I learned that I should give others more time to solve their own problems.

I am bringing this up because I want to explain why it is important to have the right systematic forms in place to efficiently solve problems.

Quote requests, product specification requests, solutions requests, and others are needed to multiply the effectiveness of the team. They are intended to help team members better understand problems, ensure management does a better job listening, and quickly provide the best solution.

Requests for Clarification

When an employee needs information for a quote, the form provides all the information that management needs to respond quickly.

The extra 5 minutes filling out the form saves 30 minutes of follow up. It saves the need for a phone call and numerous back-and-forth emails. Most importantly, instead of receiving an answer in a week, the answer is received the next day, or even sooner.

Silos of Broken

When team members have problems or ideas, they must be heard and prompt action taken. This makes sense of course, but sometimes the problem does not reach management because it gets fixed too quickly.

Dedicated and resourceful team members find ways to get work done even when something is broken. That is a strength. The problem is management never learns what is broken. This creates “silos of broken“.

Solutions forms are designed to fix the silos of broken. Most importantly, they allow team members to solve problems. But at the same time, they alert management to the existence of the problem, so that it can be addressed and solved permanently.

The 5 minutes it takes to fill out the form, saves people hours down the road, by ensuring the same problem does not reoccur.


When team members discover ways to do something better, management wants to hear about it immediately. Solutions forms communicate team members’ ideas for improvement instantaneously.

Combining this form with an open-door policy allows team members to present their ideas freely and ensures they are heard.

Pay Attention

It is important that managers read the forms closely and act on them swiftly.

The forms serve to answer questions quickly, resolve issues expeditiously, contribute to permanent problem resolution easily, and most importantly facilitate communication so all team members can hear what people want to say.

This shapes the plan to move information and solutions forward, faster, for both customers and for the business.