Bill & Ted’s excellent workplace

Since 1989, the idea of our being “excellent to each other” has scythed its way like industrial detergent through the congealed grease of our thinking on work, management and leadership.

Nothing new here – the expression has appeared in numerous blog posts over the years and bubbled its way through countless after-five lager-lubricated conversations. Yet when we’re done proclaiming that its about all there is or needs to be, we still seem collectively a little nervous and embarassed that it could actually be the case. Especially as the script for the whole film was written by hand in just four days. There must be a more grown-up way of saying it?

Well, not really.

And then along comes an article that takes our inability to keep things simple right down to the Abyssal Zone.

Apparently “the new buzzwords on every workplace designer’s tongue are incubation, cross-pollination, symbiosis….” – who the heck are these people? If I ever see any of those words in a pitch, its over, there and then. All three together will merit a special outcome. I should add that if you are actually interested in this kind of thing, there is an excellent glossary of stuff you could raid here. Its where I found “Abyssal Zone”. Easy isn’t it?

So consider that if we design and create our workplace so that it supports us being excellent to each other, we actually have it cracked. It requires that we explain what being excellent means in equally simple terms, not those embarrassingly borrowed from deservedly far more complex disciplines to make us sound smart.

If our workplace allows us to respond to the individual and social needs of our colleagues and has enough of everything so as not to create tension in the exercising of our choices, if its reasonable quality, if it allows us to get a decent drink and eat something healthy, if all the tech works so we don’t vent our frustration on the next person to ask us a tricky question, then we have a place that helps us be excellent to each other.

That’s scary to a lot of workplace practitioners, thinkers and designers. Imagine having to admit that all of the energy and cash spent on research, experimentation and installations actually boiled down to a throwaway line from a goofy geek-flick. I wonder if its ever shown up in a pitch?

We’re people, not lichen or plants. We’re just looking out for each other, while hoping to stay happy, get better at what we do, and learn something useful in the process. Then everybody benefits, whatever fauxcracy happens to be governing our domain. We really should stop looking for the next scientific term to explain what happens between us. That’s actually far more embarassing than quoting Bill and Ted.

One thought on “Bill & Ted’s excellent workplace

  1. Most excellent, dude! Interestingly (well, to geologists, anyway 😉 abyssal zones can evidence global mass extinctions in the fossil record. I should know – I mapped one once in the French Alps for my undergraduate geology dissertation! Perhaps, hopefully sometime soon, the extinct detritus of all this workspace/place emperors’ new clothes will find it’s way down there for good…

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