Open Floor Plan, Open Leadership

Now What Research’s office layout is a very accurate representation of the layout of the leader/follower relationships. There are no assigned desks with no offices, except for the CEO and the President. The Senior Strategists, Strategists, and Associate Strategists all coexist in the same area. Further, every day is unpredictable depending on the seat that each person will take. However, while not directly stated, there are clear leadership roles.

Each desk clutter usually consists of the team that is currently working together. This is usually one or two Senior Strategists and two Strategists/ Associate Strategists. Even though the end goal is the same across teams, a leader always emerges. This is seen through the task assignments. During brainstorming, the Seniors take the lead while the Associate Strategists usually take notes and will give the occasional insight. Then, when the deck creation begins, the lower Strategists take the “grunt work” while the Senior Strategists take on the more analytical ideas. While all team members work together, the more difficult and “money making” slides are taken on by the apparent leaders. I was assigned to do some of these slides last week for my deck to be presented to Facebook this Wednesday. When I showed my work the Associate Strategist, she presented it to the Seniors as her own. Through the workshops in Jepson, I knew to keep my cool and obey the followership rules. When we were debriefing, my time came to explain the meaning behind the slides, making it apparent that I in fact did the work. While frustrating, it seems that the leader / followership roles can be altered when the followers prove their worth. This would explain why the Associate Strategist would feel the urge to take credit for my work.

The CEO is rarely around, only coming in on the occasional Friday to check in. Even if his presence is rarely there, it is apparent that he holds the highest leadership role. Everyone stops their work and tries extra hard to share what they have been workin on. When the CEO is gone, the President assumes his role. He is in the office everyday, usually tucked away in his assigned room. He will come out every few hours to assess the work progress. He seems to be highly respected and my colleagues go out of their way to try to show all the hard work they’ve put in. While the leadership roles are not always explicitly stated, the followers fall into line behind the leaders on every project they work on.

One thought on “Open Floor Plan, Open Leadership

  • June 19, 2019 at 3:26 pm

    Interesting dynamics; I’m sorry one of the associate’s presented your work as their own. I’m glad you had the opportunity to demonstrate – in the end – that the work was your’s. Good too that you waited for the opportunity to quietly rectify things; those opportunities usually present themselves. It does seem that an associate choosing to present your work as their own would erode trust; will be interesting to hear your assessment about trust levels as you continue. In regards to trying to ‘impress’ the CEO (or president), are your colleagues just looking for approval, have you found there is any ‘reward’ for those that connect with these individuals and share their accomplishments? Again, will be interesting to hear more about this as you continue.

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