25/03/2014 Leave a comment
As a Knowledge Management and MBTI Consultant I have had the pleasure of working with many different organisations and have visited many offices/work locations – of all shapes and sizes – and have also had the opportunity to visit different parts (floors, functions, meeting rooms, canteens, store rooms etc.) of many of these offices/work locations.
A common reaction I have observed when I’ve been working (and walking) in an organisations building is that members of staff will often look up from their desks and computer screens (or peer out from their offices if they have one) to check out a face they do not recognise. Perfectly understandable, I hear you cry; but what if the face they do not recognise is not that of an external consultant, but of another member of staff?
Well for a start their reaction is the same, and perhaps in part explained by the scale (just too many faces to recognise) of the organisation concerned. But it might also be down to the fact that, as creatures of habit, many members of staff will enter their organisations building and follow the most direct route to their desk. They are likely never to vary the route, nor so the pattern of using the same/nearest toilet facilities during the day, or walking to the canteen or coffee machine along familiar/well-trodden paths.
Why should this matter? Well because (and particularly in the case of knowledge workers) the outcome of this habit is that an employee is likely only to see the same faces, week in week out; and the chances of bumping into a colleague that has a new idea, something to share, or an example of know how to, is reduced significantly.
So whilst connecting with others can be done behind a desk and via, for example, a good expertise finder, the power and fun of unexpected discoveries (serendipity) should not be underestimated.
So then next time you are about to take your normal route to your desk, or your normal route to a meeting room, why not ‘turn left instead of the usual right’ (or go up or down a floor)? You may find a colleague with some knowledge to share!