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.
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