Two restaurants, today:
Took 10 minutes to come take my order. The employees seemed to avoid looking at the tables, but I finally managed to signal one. At one table farther inside the restaurant, there were five waiters (I assume they were waiters, as they where sporting the restaurant’s the uniform) engaging in relaxed banter.
When I told her that I had no reservation, the girl at the reception desk apologised and told me that if I gave her my name and number, she would call me, at the latest, one hour later, telling me if a table had been freed in the meantime.
I got the call 21 minutes later; seeing that a table of six had only three people, the girl had gone to ask the people who were there if they didn’t mind sharing with two.
The food was good at both places, but to one, I will only return if there is no alternative; to the other, I’ll probably become a regular.
And I also stopped at the supermarket on my way back to #2 to buy a small box of chocolates for the girl at the reception, because just as no good deed should go unrewarded, so should excellent service never go unnoticed.
Centralization and transparency enable a kind of serendipity that can lead to breakthrough results.
For example, your lead programmer may come up with an innovative solution to the problem that’s been blocking the marketing people. But he can only do this if the marketing team has their discussions out in the open, not siloed inside their little marketing kingdom.
And transparency is hard. But there’s something even harder: making people care.
Even if the discussion is public, the developer has to care enough to look.
It’s not enough to make your company’s processes transparent; you need employees who care.
That’s what culture is for.
Painting: “Mercury and Argus” by Peter Paul Rubens
What is useful is a subjective concept. It is possible to justify almost everything as useful in some manner.
There are actions that are useful because they create value. For us, or for others. They result in tangible work.
There are actions that don’t result in anything tangible. I once read about a man who went out for a walk every day, and while doing so, made a point of photographing a flower. A different flower every day. The idea was that this was a way of remembering to appreciate the little things.
But what if this man, instead of taking the picture, just smelled it? What is the value of the experience? Is it the origination of a photograph? Is it presenting work?
Will not the act of smelling a flower suffice? Will it not have an intrinsic value, even if only momentary?
Who said that value is only value when it is not perishable?
Photo Credit: mclcbooks Flickr via Compfight cc