September 23

The Silo Effect by Gillian Tett

Business, Impact, Insight, Perspective


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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.



Gillian Tett, RSVP Essential, The Silo Effect

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