MPI Perspective - February 2008 - (Page 21)

The Lost Office Relationships And How Building Teams Can Find Them By John Wilkinson Diminishing social interactivity at the office is rampant. Between instant messaging, e-mailing, telephony products designed to provide interactive communication without personal interaction and employees working from home, more than ever, productive relationships between team members can be challenging. The benefits of the technological revolution are far reaching and few of us want to go back to the old ways of communicating. However, there are some important and even necessary elements of communicating that many of us no longer use – and we should miss. If you haven’t seen the show called “Madmen” on AMC, do yourself a favor and TiVo it. The show takes place at a Madison Avenue ad agency in the 1960s and is more a commentary on the changing social mores of 1960s America than anything else. The interaction between characters in an office environment, however, and the way in which they communicate is a textbook example of ‘the way it used to be.’ Virtually all communication takes place in person. One on one and group discussions take place in office environs designed to break down barriers and encourage free thinking. All client pitches and creative meetings are done in teams. Rarely is anyone working alone. The show also includes sexism, heavy alcohol consumption and smoking to authentically replicate an early 60s office environment (it is a Hollywood production of course and by all accounts it is spot on) but if you can get past the weak moral compasses of many of the characters, the office dynamics and how the employees relate to one another is striking. Alas, there is no simple way to roll back the clock to a time when technology wasn’t the primary method in which we choose to communicate. However, you don’t have to look far to fi nd companies that have set up environs to mimic an earlier time – when employees could bond and interact, personally and on a more visceral level. From lounges with living room style seating, snacks and drinks (the politically correct version of alcohol and tobacco), open office designs, game rooms, outdoor meeting areas, etc., companies we all know and respect are fi nding ways to create better relationships among their people. They get it; they embrace the value of the team approach, people working together towards a common goal. It’s not a coincidence these are the same companies that spend significantly more time and money on team building programs designed to improve the human dynamic. When people play, create and achieve together, something magical happens. They begin to learn important things about one another – interpersonal relationships grow, morale improves and cooperation increases. And guess what? By reducing adversarial encounters, employee performance skyrockets. MPINCCperspective | VOL. 26, NO. 4 | 21 Companies we all know and respect are finding ways to create better relationships among their people. They get it; they embrace the value of the team approach, people working together towards a common goal.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of MPI Perspective - February 2008

MPI Perspectives - February 2008
President's Message
Bulding Relationships for Work
Principles of a Professional
Love Alliances, Hate Negotiations
The Lost Office Relationships
My MPI - Paula Higgins
Member Pearls
Green Meetings
Chapter Chatter
Join the Ranks - Become a CMP
Destination Spotlight - Ontario, California
Index to Advertisers

MPI Perspective - February 2008