I caught a good article recently, “The increasing importance of internal collaboration” by Jamie Notter — you probably know about him, he specializes in building stronger organizational cultures.

Notter is spot on when he says, “Today’s environment requires speed, which, in turn, requires the people and departments in your organization to collaborate effectively. Friction there slows everything down. We put up with that in the past and did okay, but the same won’t be true moving forward for a real social business.”

Nowhere is the need for improved organizational collaboration more critical these days than in meeting your content demands. The hunger for more and better information is well understood but delivering on that appetite demands high-level collaboration. It’s clear that it will take a significant leap for many organizations to get there.

According to our 2012 Content Marketing Readiness Assessment study, organizational silos remain a significant barrier. More than half of the respondents reported that cross-department collaboration is not the norm in their organization; internal departmental silos hinder their efforts.

So, how do you go about removing these barriers? Vijay Govindarajan says that companies don’t change because they want to, they change only when forced to.

Professor Govindarajan, Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, describes the forces at work as customers, competition, advances in science and technology and government regulation — only when change is being forced upon the enterprise will people seek or accept help.

In his Harvard Business Review article, he states that change does not happen without leadership embracing change. The burden is on them to effectively communicate why and how it must happen. Here are his first two critical steps in breaking down silos:

  1. Create a Compelling Case for Innovation Why is a powerful motivator. (Just ask Simon Sinek) Break through the change-resistance that’s embedded in most cultures by inspiring your people with the compelling case for why change will ensure the future health and growth of the enterprise.
  2. Create a Fully Aligned Strategic Innovation Agenda – That’s right, get an Innovation Agenda in writing! It creates necessity, inspires collaboration and in the best cases it demands that they do.

Another key insight from the 2012 Content Marketing Readiness study is that only 1 in 4 respondents reported actually having and following an organization-wide content strategy. While having one is critical to success, the process of creating one can also help you achieve another important objective – breaking down your silos to jump start a new type of collaboration.

Imagine an organization where everyone walks around knowing their Why.

Not your organization’s why. Their own why.

So, your organization, for example, serves people with diabetes and their circle of loved ones and caregivers — but that is not what your editorial or marketing team does. You know that the org needs a why and you’ve got that down. But, do your content creators throughout your organization have their own clear why? In writing?

We all know what content can do for your organization. I bet that you have stepped up your efforts to produce more and better content in recent years. But if your content team doesn’t know their why then they can’t identify the how.

Think about that.

If your content team doesn’t know their Why, then they can’t identify the how.

If they can’t identify the how, then can’t develop specific goals.

If they can’t develop specific goals, then they can’t measure performance.

If they can’t measure performance, then they can’t improve their efficiency.

If they can’t improve their efficiency, then they can’t meet the demands.

If they can’t meet the demands then they won’t be able to get results.

If they can’t demonstrate results, then why have a content team?

Be the organization that exceeds goals, and one sure way is to have a written content strategy.