Clients come to me all the time with great ideas about what they want to do for their workplace and their company. Usually the conversation goes something like this:
Client: I need to move my company – we are bursting at the seams. I found this really cool space. It’s great! Well, it’s OK. It’s a bit far away from where I want to be, and it doesn’t have a lot of windows, and the ceilings are a little low, but it’s really affordable and it’s available right away. Can you help us with a fit-out?
Laura Pirie: Wow, what great news! Congratulations on your growth. Let me ask you, when you stand in the potential new space, how do you feel?
C: Hmph…of course I feel excited, and nervous – all at the same time. I am a little worried that it’s not quite right, because it’s a bit dark and far away, but it’s so affordable, and it’s available right now. I think we can lighten it up with the right color, and the extra area will really allow us to have some elbow room. I know we can make something really super out of it – don’t you think??
LP: Let’s back up for a minute and make sure we are going about this in the right way. Question: if you could dream ANY space for your new workplace, regardless of constraints, what would it look like?
C: That’s easy, it would be really close to the train.
C: So I could attract new talent easily – I’ve found that young creatives would rather not use cars.
LP: Good. What else?
C: Well, I think I’d really like to be in a loft space, like an old factory, with cool old materials. Lofts are too expensive though. But, an old building would have us walk-our-talk a bit, being conscious of how we use resources and not building too much in order to maintain open green space. That sensibility is really the heart and soul of our work.
LP: Yep, makes a lot of sense. Anything else?
C: Well, maybe this is a bit of a guilty request, but I’d LOVE it if we had a gathering area in the center of the space, maybe a skylight overhead. OK, if not a skylight, at least a couple of couches. Seems like a luxurious thought though, don’t you think? I mean, we are doing well, but we are not a mega-million dollar company – at least not yet!
Observations + What I know:
- Taking a leap of faith is scary. Every little fear we have lurking in the shadows comes forward. Without even realizing, our choices are not directed by our hopes, but by our unspoken fears.
- Sometimes people inadvertently edit their dreams to “make things manageable”. Here’s the problem with this: in the process of “making things manageable”, they may leave out the essential factor that is most important to them, and critical to their success! Imagine talking yourself out of the most important space in your office because I felt “luxurious”, when omitting this could drastically alter the well-functioning of your culture and your company.
- Ideas are distinct from solutions. For every idea there are an infinite number of solutions. With this perspective, then every idea (or need) can be solved practically and within budget. Here’s what I mean: a gathering space is an idea that can be solved with a couple of couches or a skylit gathering space; choosing a location to “attract young creatives” is an idea that can be solved by choosing a location near the train station, or on a bike route, or in a walking neighborhood.
Imagine if you did not automatically edit your dreams to make them manageable?
Imagine if instead of saying “it’s impossible” you focus on your essential ideas to find the possible solution?
Imagine if your company’s environment was exactly what it needed to be to support your dream of growth, or taking it to the next level, or…?