I recently visited an emarketing company. About 20 mostly young people sat in four rows with keyboards and screens. I was there in response to an enquiry from the CEO concerning the development of his team – he had in mind that I might run a workshop for all employees on a topic of interest to him and them.
What struck me about the workspace was the silence. I took it to imply insularity – each individual working on their own. No teamwork.
In the later meeting with the team leader, he explained that the group communicated with each other using Skype text and that there was a constant banter and commentary going on alongside and in between the work. One of the rather unexpected events is when the whole group or subgroup burst out laughing on reading a funny text.
The group has a strong social life. They frequently organise social and entertainment events and spend time together outside work. I was finding all this out while sat in a small meeting room with literally a glass wall. I bet the group were curious about what I was talking to the Chief Executive and the team leader about. I now imagine that they were texting each other, speculating about who I was, why I was there. I could easily imagine the CEO briefing them in advance or as we started, perhaps also by text, and inviting them to provide a text commentary and questions. What a great way to have immediate access to their mood, their preferences and their needs.
Read the other posts in this collection: Martin Saville’s A Facilitator’s Eye View and James Traeger’s Like the Noise of a Fairground on the Wind. This collection relates to the third in a series of the Glass Wall experiment. You can find information on the others here and here. The Glass Wall experiment is part of our wider inquiry to understand the practices of Leadership and Organisation Development in the 21st Century.
This post forms part of a collection about the Glass Wall experiment we developed with Training Journal into what the world of Social Media (SoMe) can teach the world of 21st Century Leadership and Organisational Development. The most recent run of the experiment was at the OD Network Inaugural European Conference. The iteration for ODN Europe was slightly different in its set up, and also involved different people. This collection – Looking Again Through the Glass Wall – reflects the experience of several of those involved, from their perspective.