A strange kind of disruption

I know that one of the key activities of a thriving ICT department is to disrupt the business.  In many ways we are best placed to provide challenge and interrupt tram-lined thinking by introducing new technologies or transforming business practices.  My approach to work through Guerrilla Working is disruptive in itself.  It allows people to come together around an issue or opportunity, get it sorted and get back out again before becoming bogged down in the day to day minutiae that grinds away at our productivity.

Part of me likes being the Maverick, the challenger or the disrupter.  I like to believe I bring a different approach to thinking where I work yet that maybe just wishful thinking on my behalf.  I may be over promoting myself.

The other day though I ended up disrupting in a way that I had never expected.  I had been asked to attend an important meeting with the most senior managers of the organisation.  I arrived early as having no office it was just as easy for me to sit in the meeting room as anywhere else.  The second rule of technology is to steal electricity and, as my laptop was getting low I decided to sit at a seat near to a plug.

Ten minutes or so later one of the attendees arrived and commented that I was in the chair that another senior manager would normally occupy and, sure enough, when he arrived he said the same thing.  Not sure whether they were joking or not I offered to move (any chair was the same to me) but they both said that that wasn’t necessary.  As each person came in they commented that people were sitting in the wrong place.  Everyone was able to identify exactly where each person would normally sit and so this arrangement had been clearly going on for a long time.  By the time the meeting had started many were in unusual, for them, seats and the first few minutes of the get together were given over to talk of such a momentous event.

Now I don’t like to park in the same parking space two days in a row and I hate sitting in the same chair in the same meeting day after day.  Sitting in different chairs allows you to sit opposite different people.  You pick up on their body language that you don’t see when by their side.  Sitting next to different people allows you to build and strengthen relationships as you can nudge them and whisper comments on things that are being discussed.

If we all always sit in the same place we will end up with stagnant views and perceptions.  Perhaps it wasn’t the most disruptive I have been yet I was surprised at the reaction my attendance had caused.  I think I can add this as another benefit of being a Guerrilla Worker, disrupting people’s ingrained sitting habits.

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