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I am currently reading Gillian Tett’s latest book ‘The Silo Effect” with great interest. Gillian has a Phd in Anthropology and is a British author and award-winning journalist at the Financial Times, where she is a markets and finance columnist and U.S. Managing Editor.
It couldn’t have come at a better time for me as I have just launched RSVP’s Members Club in Johannesburg, South Africa for people at the top of their game across all sectors.
Almost a year ago to the day I was on a plane on my way back to South Africa after London and Dubai and pondering what it is that I find so very frustrating about South African society and business. Everything is so incredibly silo’d; by industry, sector and gender, by thought, process, product and colour – of your skin that is.
A reflection of SA society – closely integrated in some ways and deeply segmented in others.
I was faced with three options – move back to London, complain endlessly about it all – which is bit of a national sport, or do something about it. I chose the latter.
Gillian’s book sheds so much light on what I instinctively knew. Silo’s are great for organising, structuring and making things more efficient. Saying this, they have the undeniable power to collapse organisations and destabilise financial markets. In a society so intent on navel-gazing, silo’s are rife, tribal and engender tunnel vision. It feels very constricted, blinkered and dangerous.
I realised I couldn’t change what is so deeply ingrained. All I could do was to give like-minded people a platform to cut across the confines, and let human nature take the lead. So I started with a series of private dinners for people at the top of their game across all sectors. Business, politics, the arts, entertainment, philanthropy… And last month I launched a Members Club. What I am now wryly thinking of as a platform to foster “silo-busting”.
Every now and again a book comes along that speaks directly to what we inherently know. This is one of them, thank you Gillian.