Some buildings have a buzz the moment you walk into them. As soon as you walk in, something is special about the building. It has an energy, an infectiousness, a vibe. It is hard to describe but when you experience it, you know it.
Once you have experienced this, it is surprising how many buildings, and particularly corporate buildings DON’T have this buzz. Regardless of the amount of money spent on Steelcase, Eames and Herman Miller furniture, you can’t buy the buzz.
I fully support companies investing in creating attractive, comfortable and functional spaces … but the buzz is something difference. I repeat – you can’t buy it.
This is because the buzz is creative energy; it is passion; it is the collective ambitions of those inside the building trying to change the world.
It is that significant. It really is.
And when we appreciate this, we start to understand why most buildings are dull, lifeless, soul-sucking places, that people increasingly want to avoid. For a building to have a buzz, the people inside the building need to believe that they can change the world. This means that they need to have the confidence, freedom and encouragement to do so.
And how many companies provide one, let alone all three of these factors?
Answer: Very few.
And of those that do, how many employ the misfits, the challengers, the contrarians, the game-changing visionaries that are the essential catalysts of real change?
Answer: A tiny number.
So, despite the millions of people working in thousands of companies, in hundreds of buildings, very very few have any buzz. They function. They produce. But they have no buzz.
What a waste.
A waste of productivity
A waste of human potential.
A waste of peoples’ lives
All because of a lack of freedom, trust, ambition and a willingness to be challenged.
The next time your hear a senior executive set an ambitious goal or your CEO talk about being a leader, have a look around the office. Does it buzz? Do the people there want to change the world? If they do, does the company want them to – or does it just care about making the next quarters results?
If you even have to look, then you know the answer.