From Where You’re Sitting

Hong Kong PaintingMy favorite piece of décor in my simple office at work is a painting I picked up in Hong Kong a couple years ago. My most cherished items are the pictures of my wife and four children. Adorning the walls are also a few leadership certificates, company awards, a sword (a story for another time), and a white board.

A couple years ago my operations manager sat in one of the two chairs in front of my desk and commented how one corner of my office was bare and quite drab. Spinning my chair around 180 degrees I saw that she was right. The small corner was plan with nothing on the walls. I turned back to her and replied “Yeah, but it doesn’t bother me, because I’m never looking in that direction.”

After a rather tiring day this week I walked down the hall with several work issues on my mind. I entered my office and instead of sitting in normal computer chair, dropped into a chair in front of my desk. As I lifted my eyes off the floor, the unadorned corner and remembrance of her words shook me from my thoughts. Wow! Almost two years later and I’d done nothing about it. The purpose for decorating in the first place was to make the space more inviting. For numerous co-workers who interact with me on a weekly basis, the main focal point of what they see has the exact opposite effect. And I’ve done nothing about it – because it didn’t bother me.

How aware are we of what everyone else is seeing and experiencing?

  • What things do we only view from our perspective not that of our clients, customers and co-workers?
  • How is our marketing being received and interpreted?
  • How do our customers perceive our brand? Customer service? Product offering?
  • How is our leadership style being received?

Reality is, as long as I only sat on my side of the desk – I would only see things from that point-of-view. I had to physically sit where my co-worker sat to gain a better understanding.

  • Marketers need to leave their computers and mingle with prospective customers and target audiences
  • Business owners need to get out from behind the counter – walk around to where customers are sitting, standing in line or shopping
  • Leaders need to walk away from their desk and see what’s going on in the trenches

There is a lot to be learned from seeing the world from the eyes of others!

 Hmm, the only question now is what should I do about the empty corner of my office? – Comments and suggestions welcome.

The plain drab corner

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5 thoughts on “From Where You’re Sitting

  1. A mirror would be nice! Also, a nice painting from a different part of the world you have or will visit? Scotland, maybe? I could go with you and help pick it out…

  2. Great article. You are so right. We all too often get caught up in only what we see and don’t consider the other perspective. In the grocery business we always encourage our store teams to look at things “through the lens of the guest.” This is not just up and down every aisle but even to the point of turning into the parking lot of the store… what do you see and is it appealing and inviting. As far as the corner of your office, what about a nice, tall plant or small tree?

  3. Love this:
    “Marketers need to leave their computers and mingle with prospective customers and target audiences
    Business owners need to get out from behind the counter – walk around to where customers are sitting, standing in line or shopping
    Leaders need to walk away from their desk and see what’s going on in the trenches”

    Steve Blank teaches his students/followers to “Get out of the building” citing similar benefits.

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