If I had a pound for every conversation I have had in the last few weeks in which the words, ‘get out of the office and go and meet some people’, featured … well, you know the rest.
I know that my own creative energy wanes if I stay in the office for more than a few days at a time, and I have at various times had members of my team tell me that having time out of the office meeting a range of people has transformed their thinking on particular topics, changed their perspective on what they previously thought was an insurmountable list of tasks and inspired them to higher levels of energy.
New perspective = new solutions
Getting out takes you away from the minutiae and reminds you of the real objective of your work. This can lead to a different perspective on some knotty aspect of a project as you realise that what you thought was important really wasn’t. There’s a great 1965 book called A Technique for Producing Ideas which describes how time away from the active thinking phase is important in the creative process and this is the same principle. Once you see an issue from a different perspective you are able to see different ways of tackling it.
New connections = mutual support
Sharing … and I mean REALLY sharing … what you feel about challenges on a one-to-one basis with a range of people can be very helpful. You may get some new ways of looking at your issues, hear something which makes you feel better and help someone else tackle his or her own challenges. And what’s more you’ll be building yourself a support network for the future.
Communication = information = opportunity
Communication is about information sharing. By definition this means that the more of it you do the more you will discover opportunities. In an excellent piece called Organisation is a Process, Dr Esko Kilpi writes, ‘Information is the energy of organizing. When information is transparent to everybody, people can organize effectively around changes and differences, around customers, new technologies and competitors. What we have still not understood is that people need to have access to information that no one could predict they would want to know. Even they themselves did not know they needed it – before they needed it. … When information is transparent, different people see different things and new interdependencies are created, thus changing the organization. The context matters more than ever. The easier the access that people have to one another and to (different) information is, the more possibilities there are.’
Inspiration = action
Whether it be people watching, product watching in a retail environment, or just looking at a different landscape, ‘newness’ inspires. Conversations inspire. Information inspires. Inspiration is mental stimulation to action.
What else do you get from time away from your regular place of work?