Silos observed

I’ve always been fascinated with silos. I think they are interesting structures with a specific purpose on a farm and in industry. I grew up in Wisconsin so they are part of the landscape of agriculture there, but not everywhere. Texas had few silos. Crops and feed are handled differently there. Agriculture is different there. Silos can be dangerous. My husband lost an uncle in a silo accident and we both can name farm family friends who have experienced injuries, serious injuries, in silo accidents. In traveling cross country recently it was notable how many farms were in disrepair with their silos crumbling, missing their domed roof, and vine covered. New methods for storing acres of silage and grain include bag systems that lay on the ground, which would seem to be far less dangerous, and much less costly to build and maintain. Still fascinating to me, although as a child I pictured living in a silo, like a castle tower, so the bag systems aren’t very dreamy.

Silo structure can happen intentionally or unintentionally in the workplace. In a church office it can happen because more often than not, people/the pastors, are just so glad to have something get done that before long an individual can build themselves into a silo of job responsibilities that no one else does or wants to do. Most church employees are prized for their self management and ability to work unsupervised. (Pastors need to pastor, and administration and management isn’t necessarily their language.) Silos seems to be naturally perpetuated because stewardship and budgets prevent training opportunities for more than one at a time, especially in smaller budget churches. I confess to have built several silos myself, and defended them, resisting change with every fiber of my codependent being!

Somewhere along the line, with a change in leadership attitude, an atmosphere of vision and teaching entered the picture. Goals were encouraged, goals that supported the vision, and that were measurable. It’s not that specialities weren’t encouraged and appreciated, it was that teaching was also encouraged, sharing the knowledge and resources, in other words, cross-training. Which led to the ability to work as a team, to understand better how to support each other. It was a revelation. A thing of beauty. Instead of individual silos with separate crops and dangerous equipment, we became connected, focused on the season’s needs and how best to provide a flow to our work.
Understanding this makes me want it for those who still work in silo structure especially if they are unhappy, and most especially if they aren’t experiencing growth, personal growth, AND especially in mission and ministry. I’ve also found myself praying for change for a business or two I’ve come into contact with, from a customer viewpoint. There is nothing more frustrating that having to wait for resolution because it’s not someone’s job to assist. Break down those silo walls, build connectors already!
Side note: Change is possible. It takes time. It takes gifted leadership with vision and a heart for teaching. It takes some serious boundary breaking. My advice, teach or take a Boundaries class using Cloud and Townsend’s, Boundaries. Then go from there.


Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

Ephesians 4:15-16


About Robin Arnold

Reader, writer, gardener, geek, maker of homes in several states, now settled in Virginia with husband Bob, and Hazel and Wilson the tabby cats.
This entry was posted in Work & Leadership. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s