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5 questions about the need for neatness

8th, March 2014
0 Comment
by Tom Haak
in  Archive

At home we have a new cleaning lady. She is excellent. In the bathroom she also cleans the inside of the bathroom cabinet. It has been a long time since this has been thoroughly cleaned. In the cabinet I store, amongst other things, my shaving gear. I am somewhat peculiar about the way I like to store my shaving gear: the shaving soap box should not be closed, and the brush should lie down. In my mind it is common knowledge that it should be done this way. The new cleaning lady does not like this. She likes the box closed, and the brush standing up. It is generally the same with cleaning ladies (or men) in hotels. Most of the time when I return to my hotel in the evening, the cover is on my shaving box, and the brush is neatly standing up.

In many organizations I observe a continuous need for a certain order and neatness. The boxes in the org chart should have the same size. The matrix should not contain boxes that are not connected to two lines, as this will lead to questions: why is this unit exempt from the matrix? Communications is watching out for mavericks who design their own newsletter or even worse, their own logo. Branding is often about neatness, and less about diversity.
The example of the shaving brush does not work, in a way. I also have a need for neatness, but my neatness (open box, brush lying down) is different from the view on neatness of the cleaning lady (closed box, brush standing up). I am sure there are shavers who have an even different view: box open or closed, brush lying down or standing up: who cares!
Also in organizations this is the case. People have a different view on the need for neatness. And the group of people who like and need neatness (a large group I assume) have different views on what neatness is, and what is required to reach the right level.
My first question is: can you create an organization where all the different groups feel at home?
In case you wonder where the other four questions are: I am afraid you have to ask them yourself.

Thanks to Gert-Jan van Wijk for some inspiration by his blog. 


HR Trend Institute

The HR Trend Institute detects, follows and encourages smart and creative use of trends in the field of people and organisations, and also in adjacent areas.
Tom has a keen interest in organisations and service providers that use trends in a creative and innovative way. He advices organisations on how to get more focus in their HR interventions and how use trends to increase the impact of HR.

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Tom Haak can conduct inspiring presentations and workshops about trends in HR and how organisations can benefit. The HR Trend Institute can also conduct the HR Trend Scan.

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About the Author: Tom Haak


Tom Haak is the founder and director of The HR Trend Institute. Prior to founding the HR Trend Institute in 2014, Tom held senior HR positions in companies as Arcadis, Aon, KPMG and Philips. The HR Trend Institute detects, follows and encourages smart and creative use of trends in the field of people and organizations, and also in adjacent areas.