Resent research indicates that environments with ‘disorder clues’ (think messy) cause people to diverge from social norms. This post from Roger Dooley outlines the premise that simple things like disorderly shelves or graftiti can push individuals towards behaving badly.
It would be interesting to know if these enviromental clues would have the same impact on team dynamics. So just like a “bad apple” individual could cut productivity could disorderly meeting spaces or work environment provide additional productivity losses?
We’ve all been to a meeting that was disorganized and left feeling that our time was wasted. A team whose information, or environment, was a mess is often hobbled.
On the other hand… Maybe chaos is the perfect antidote to ‘template’ thinking. A group of ‘creatives’ I knew was given permission to go off and think for a year. In addition to physically removing themselves from the cubes of our corporation, they outfitted their office space with random furnishings found at garage sales and novelty catalogs creating a sense of visual chaos that screamed ‘anti-cube.’ The place forced thinking differently. ‘Suits’ who made the pilgrimage looked for ways to send projects over – if only so they could camp out on the couch for a while.
The environment was chaotic in order to force a different thought process.
As a leader – creating a team dynamic requires thinking through both the team members as well as the team environment.