Space is one of those popular words that means a lot of different things to different people. I’ve been using it lately as a catch all to describe what I need to do good work. Space to think things through and explore options for whatever I’m working on. Space to physically get away from others because I’m more productive when alone. Space to set, follow and break process when necessary.
I’m probably over concerned with excellence. Not because everything I do is excellent, it isn’t. I just want it to be. I’m also preoccupied with novelty. Put another way, innately skeptical of what already is like there is always a better way.
Desire for excellence and novelty drives my need to understand the big picture and connect the dots. I need to understand the how, why and what. For instance, why do we do this instead of this? What’s behind the reason? Who’s involved and what are they like? How would we do it if things changed? On and on in that head spinning kind of way.
The end result of having the space to explore is fuller understanding. The difficulty is that once you know the why’s, how’s and what’s you can’t un-know them and change is often slow and incomplete.
There are times, especially when I’m excited about an idea, where I need to sit in front of a person or two and just let it all flow out. Other times I need to be alone especially if I’m doing something creative. I don’t know why exactly but sometimes I just can’t think clearly when other people are around. Having the space to do my work outside of the office or simply away from others has been a necessity for pursuing excellence and novelty.
I’ve come to appreciate a good process. It helps me keep the details in mind and facilitates staying on task, two things I’m prone to neglect. I think a good process allows for flexibility because that’s necessary for everything; adapt or die. And, a good process can be abandoned when it makes sense or there is need for a new course.
However, I really do not like process for its own sake. The kind of process which exists because it’s the process and the process must be followed. I see this happen more when there is a lack of diversity of thought in a particular area. This kind of process kills innovation.
Not everyone wants space in this way. Shocking. But for those that do, what would they learn about their talents and what would they be able to produce if they were given this space?
Post authored by: Christopher Shivers — Director of Research at Cook System
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