Ann does her job, Caroline does hers, Dan is busy doing his. Everyone is working independently. So what’s the problem? It’s known as the “silo effect,” and it occurs in the workplace when individuals are focused almost exclusively on their own areas. Think of the farm silos, they stand next to each other, each performing its individual functions, but there is no link between them. That’s not a problem out on the farm, in the workplace; however, it’s a different story.
This silo effect can occur in the dental practice when there is a lack of communication and/or a lack of common goals among the different areas. The business employee unknowingly schedules the emergency patient at a time that puts significant strain on the doctor and the assistant. The doctor recommends an extensive treatment plan, not realizing that the patient already carries a significant balance on his account. The collections coordinator is to increase collections, but can’t control accounts receivables when the doctor is recommending costly treatment to patients with outstanding balances. The doctor, meanwhile, wants to increase treatment acceptance and is now offering more elective procedures. But there’s no effective communication between the silos.
Clearly, the collective interests of the practice as a whole are suffering. If there are common goals or a common purpose, they don’t have a chance in this environment until the silos are torn down and individuals focus on how they fit into the shared success of the entire office.