Safety – the perquisite for Leadership
The desired behavior was the high collaboration that a team room space fosters. Those team rooms are a success because the team is protected from outside influences, have autonomy of action (such as displaying team artifacts on walls/boards), have alignment of purpose from the environment to the culture to the project's goals.
When organizations try to scale this localized behavior to a large group - what is the first thing to be destroyed? Safety! Humans will not feel safe in a group of 100 - 150 strangers. I've experienced this in a recent company. We had small team rooms that were too crowded for the 6-9 people, yet they were functioning well and gelling as teams, collaboration was increasing, alignment and focus was driving good team work behaviors. Then it all changed. We moved to a new building/campus across the street. The new space for engineering was one large floor open space with managers and directors in glass offices surrounding the table and chairs of the developers. All safety was lost, trust dropped, teamwork came to a screeching halt.
CEO Rich Sheridan removed the fear and ambiguity that typically make a workplace miserable. With joy as the explicit goal, he and his team changed everything about how the company was run. The results blew away all expectations. Menlo has won numerous growth awards and was named an Inc. magazine “audacious small company.”
book by Stephen Covey (the younger) The Speed of Trust
book by Richard Sheridan Joy, Inc.