Guilds – Good or Bad?

In this recent blog post, Paul Leinwand and Cesare Mainardi discuss how businesses need to break out of functional silos in order to align energies to the greater good and eliminate wasteful turf-wars for talent, resources and attention.  Doing so, they use the parallel of the medieval guilds to describe all the negative silo behaviour exhibited by finance, marketing, sales and all the other areas of specialism.

Of course guilds existed to advance the interests of their members and they were, almost by definition, bastions of protectionism.  However, there was also a positive aspect – one which modern professional “guilds” like the UK’s Chartered Institute of Marketing, Chartered Management Institute, the myriad accountancy bodies and even the Institute of Directors would recognise – which was to advance and certify the skills of its members.  As freelance workers form an ever greater part of organisations’ pools of resources, there will be a role for such bodies once again to provide independent vouching of an individual’s level of competence.  Perhaps the emergence of associations like the Institute of Interim Management and the Interim Management Association represent a step in this direction.

About Andrew Munro

An independent business consultant, interim manager and writer, Andrew operates through his company, Burning Pine Ltd (
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