I've written about this in the past, but I thought I would revisit it again - it is top of mind as I am moving home and am thinking about everything furnishings related.
When I founded my company it was very important to me that I create a work environment that I liked. That generally meant a slightly groovy minimal experiece with post modernist touches. I wanted to work around our brand color whenever possible (we landed on a bright blue/green hue probably because I was from Miami and that is the color of the ocean).
We did create 2 exceptional spaces and then lucked out on a third - best part about this space aside from the built-in units that I did not have to pay for, was the price of the space, almost a fifth of what I paid on my last lease. We've done well in creating something that feels open, free, cool and liveable. I do have slightly stringent policies around keeping things neat, pr agencies can tend toward the sloppy, but the overall effect is our office would be a nice place to live. And that doubles back to the title of this blog, how important is decor? Very. I think.
We spend so much of our time in our offices. Buckminster Fuller, the social engineer who "invented" the geodosic dome proposed that it was a crying shame that our offices are better appointed than our homes. Personally, I think we spend SO much time in our offices they should be as nice, if not nicer than our homes. I can assure you the various offices I've had in NYC are much larger and in many ways nicer than my apartment ever was........Ce la vie!
A few years ago I got my first real taste of the corporate world's crazy meeting schedule. I was representing one of the biggest beauty brands on the planet and if I tell you their PR and marketing department were in meetings all day - I am NOT exaggerating. Shocking! How did they ever get the work done that we strategized about in our meetings? Well, I guess the answer is that WE got the work done, and that is ultimately what we were there for. Even so, you do need time out to give solid direction and synthesize ALL the information that is shared by ALL the BIG consulting firms that do ALL that expensive research for you on how to reach your customers, never mind breathe. But there they were, stuck in meetings. They literally had meetings to help structure their meetings.
Truth is, they were one smart bunch, and they've done remarkable things with their brand, so something was/is working - perhaps it is all the meetings. I am NOT a fan of the multiple meeting day, but I'd be lying if I said that even our small agency didn't fall prey to the lure of the "sit down and hash it out" syndrome. We are now working on leaving a certain amount of time for non-meetings, and structuring departments so they can handle the workload in such a way that we don't have to have a meeting. I'll let you know how it goes. Petrie dish, that's what we are these days, thank goodness it's fun!
My husband wrote a book entitled "Follow the Leader". As second in command of an international church movement he has faithfully served the head of that organization for over 30 years. I'm sure that it wasn't always easy going, following never is, but leading isn't that easy either.
Leading is lonely and often feels like a thankless job. When everyone else has gone off to their lives, their happy hours, their whatever's, you are often left behind turning out the lights. Leading looks glamorous, but there is a high price to pay for striking a path and unless you are strong hearted, I wouldn't recommend it.
But the subject of this blog is about following, a difficult journey in its own right. Today everyone is told that they can be a leader - especially in business. Who wants to be a cog in the wheel? But if everyone is leading who is executing? Who is making all the "stuff" happen?? Someone has to do the "following" right? I think following is quite the thing to do if you know how to get behind someone. And the pay off can be enormous! If you can get behind someone else's vision and make it happen you'll reap much of the reward with very little of the risk. Not a bad gig, if you can get it. So, don't feel bad if you aren't top dog. Sometimes it's best to be the puppy with the bone.