Small doors open into large rooms

Small DoorsThe 1999 movie, The Hurricane, was based on the true story of Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter.
Carter, a talented American/Canadian boxer, was twice controversially convicted of – and imprisoned for –
the same murder.
In the movie, his character says: “He who bemoans the lack of opportunity, forgets that small doors many times open up into large rooms.”
Sometimes the small things can make a big impact. So many of my clients work with thousands of other employees in large office towers in the city.
They share the lift with relative strangers, but strangers with whom they already have one vital connection: they all work for the same organisation. Each of these employees represents an opportunity to connect and engage in their
work and yours.
Mega-conglomerate, Google, spends vast sums on its workspaces, realising the power of people working face-to-face in common spaces.
They call it the power of the bump factor. People bumping into each other in the gym, in lifts, and the corridor strengthens the potential for collaboration, and for ideas to seed and grow.
One of the first and perhaps most controversial initiatives Marissa Mayer took as CEO of Yahoo was dismantling the well-entrenched telecommuting practice. She did so partly because of evidence it was being abused, but also to promote the power of people working face-to-face, and to give the organic bump factor a giant boost.
You will be delighted with the synergies and opportunities you find when you build those bridges and connections. What small doors are you going to open today?
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  • Sundar Rajamanickam

    While working in Singapore, I have observed that the employees have good laughter and fun in the lift area and lift and this truly gets them to relax and unwind. Singaporeans are so focused at work and they use their lift time effectively to socialize and have fun.
    In the US, every person known and unknown wishes each other and also get into good dialogue in the lift area and in the lift.
    Truly interesting experiences for me from these two countries.

    • Yamini Naidu

      Sundar what an insight. Often lifts can be painfully silent hubs, where people miss the opportunity to connect with others. Thanks for sharing this cross cultural insight – very interesting.

  • Reply

    Great reminder that everyone you meet can be an opportunity for something special!

    I want to share with you a little anecdote about a recent trip to China to visit a new customer. We had to fly a fairly distant town to visit with our customer. The Chinese are great hosts and very determined to showcase their products and ensure that time is well spent. By chance after lunch as our hosts had their siesta we shared a waiting room with a couple of American gents who were there also to conduct business. This chance encounter allowed us to introduce ourselves, and to our suprise they were familar with our company and our products. We learnt that our products are widely accepted by many in our industry, and fortunately for us outside of Australia as well. We had heard of them as well, but not in detail. By us having prepared an “elevator speech” we sparked some interest from this huge American company and now looking at a joint venture for some of our products. This truly is a wonderful world in which we live.

    Special thank you for your email and your story telling – I love it, live it and breathe it!!

    • Yamini Naidu

      Matt what a brilliant example and story of exactly this, the bump factor, never knowing where the next opportunity might come from. it’s wonderful how a chance enquirer can result in a JVP. Good luck! And thanks for sharing this amazing story.
      Best wishes

  • Reply

    Great post and an interesting take on “family friendly” policies. With organisations trying to bridge the workplace to encourage more flexibility what we are seeing is a feeling of isolation, not to mention lost opportunities to collaborate and get creative (as you highlighted).

    I do like the “bump” factor suggested by Yahoo.

    Personally, i find i am using the phone a lot more to chat to my colleagues across our network of offices – not to ring with purpose but simply to have a conversation that often leads to some exciting ideas and approaches.

    Thanks for giving what i do a name.

    Jessica x

    • Yamini Naidu

      Hi Jessica
      Some of us are naturals at creating bumps! And for others the environment and context has to be prepped to encourage more serendipity.
      Thanks for sharing your experiences.

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