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The “Open Concept” Is Not Just for Houses!

Updated: Nov 6, 2020

Sometimes I do my cardio exercise on a nearby Town Lake YMCA treadmill. Mostly it’s a great excuse to watch home remodeling reality TV shows on the HGTV station. One of my favorites is “Love It or List It,” which features homeowners deciding what they really want and need next in a home and whether they want to redo their current home or buy a “better” updated one.

What I have noticed after many hours of watching this program is that EVERYONE wants the “open concept.”

What is the “open concept” they are talking about?  It’s usually a big light-filled living room that includes a dining room and kitchen without walls or doors. The notion is that the whole family and their friends can all see everything at the same time, whether they are cutting up vegetables, doing work or homework on the kitchen table, talking on the sofa, practicing dance or hanging out at another vantage point.

When I think of how to design work places that inspire people to achieve great things together, the open concept is at the top of my list. We know that younger workers, high achievers and, actually, pretty much everybody wants transparency. They want access to as much business information and know about as many goings on in the company as they can. They will put it to use in their own way, but they definitely don’t want secrets, hidden agendas, and people keeping what’s important to them behind closed doors.

Everyone wants FEEDBACK, and they want it everyday, all around them. Yeah, they want streaming, surround-sound feedback. I know this, from my own and many others’ research.

If you are a manager, this can be an intimidating fact. How can I possibly provide this much feedback? How can I prepare for it all and how do I have time to do it?

The fascinating truth is that–other than letting folks know that you will be turning on the spigot—you can just start now. Very soon, you will be saving time. Lots less time is needed to achieve your specific goals when people have feedback to steer them. Most importantly, people will be more motivated and proud to improve their impact!

If you’ve not been doing this as often as you’d like, focus on one or two improvement areas that can make really a difference—not a laundry list of everything that’s gone wrong over a 2-year period. Discuss with them what they can do to improve the most. Then ask them for feedback back about how you can support their change.

Trust me, you will be thrilled with the results. People will trust YOU more and the work results will be great!

The open concept makes you a brilliant designer of a super-inspiring workspace!

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