It Works: Stories From The Book

Get ‘in the pit’

Ivan was in the privileged position of having his own office. This meant he could schedule open- and closed-door time quite easily. However, he found that, even when his door was open, people weren’t coming in. At first, he took advantage of that and extended his first two hours to the next two. Yet he started to feel isolated from his team, and his scheduled one-on-one meetings were a bit stiff.

He believed there were a few reasons for this. His highly hierarchical organisation meant that people were sometimes nervous about ‘bothering’ senior people, and his office was not conducive to being relaxed. It had a very formal layout and required him to sit opposite his visitor at a massive table. So he decided to do his second two hours from a desk out with the team. At first, they were a bit taken aback and still avoided speaking to him. But then a pattern formed, and a few people started coming to him more casually. He found that the team opened up and made good use of his time ‘in the pit’, as they referred to it.

From time to time he would take people into the office if they needed a private conversation, but for the most part he enjoyed the couple of hours a day he would spend out with the team.

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