June 22, 2009

Free Beer and Pool Tables

The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.
Winston Churchill

You can improve productivity exponentially if you create an encouraging environment. There are some important points to heed if you feel it’s time to fix that aspect of your business.

Homework

First, watch several episodes of “The Office”. We see a boss trying so hard to be liked and respected you can see footprints on his face. No one likes this guy and no one particularly enjoys working there. It's dysfunction personified.

Flip Flops and Pez

I have been in media and marketing a long time so I have worked in environments where the concept of dress code is merely a suggestion and it’s a badge of honor to fill your office with Pez dispensers and music is requisite.

I certainly would never suggest if you are consulting a government agency you show up in topsiders and a NiN tshirt - though that may shake things up for a change. But this isn’t about dress code – it’s about mind space and attitude.

Fun Does Not Equal Lawless

You want to strike the balance between democracy and no deadlines. You can have too much opinion – I’ve been there, it ain’t pretty. Suddenly no one wants to listen to anyone and the exact environment you wanted to fix has been recreated on the other side of the axis curve.

And important to note that the best evidence of future behavior is past behavior, so if you suddenly switch gears and become co-creative helping person, that may not go well. Baby steps may be required.

It Won't Happen Overnight

This process cannot be taken lightly and it will not happen with a couple of emails and the dismantling of the cubicles. We still respect leadership, we still want meetings to start and end on time, we still want people to show up to work ready to work, but think of the ways to create a place where everyone actually wants to be five day a week.

And if you haven't seen the cult classic Office Space, do that too.
That'd be great.

@knealemann
knealemann at gmail dot com

Helping clients better utilize all media.
How to make it, use it and profit from it.

photo credits: wikipedia | bbc


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