010 : Propinquity and The Power of Design with Christopher Good
What makes your workplace enjoyable? Is it the culture? The people closest to your work area? Or is it because of the small band of merry mischief makers that you have gotten accustomed to each morning? With the abrupt shift in our workspaces caused by the pandemic, we’re forced to re-imagine how we can work and collaborate as a team.
According to Christopher Good, the Creative Director of One Workplace, though team proximity may change, the most important thing is our continued intent to build and strengthen the team culture and to keep it strong and steady albeit doing it virtually. Chris says that culture may be greater than disruption, but any shift is bound to show the cracks in the pavement. The question now is, how can workplace culture weather this sudden change and what kind of disruption can it bring about?
Join Steve Chaparro in this week’s episode of The Culture Design Show, as he talks to Christopher Good, Creative Director of One Workplace, about virtual spaces and the different tools that encourages collaboration, the role of design in company culture, and how the distance between team members may change but the unified focus remains the same.affinity with each other may change but the intent remains the same. Stay Tuned.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- Christopher Good talks about what drove his passion for interior design and how it has evolved through the years
- The importance of defining the right type of space for your team and the different tools you can use to collaborate
- Chris describes his role at One Workplace and what he intends to accomplish with his team
- Chris gives an example of the challenges that his company has addressed
- How to create a culture that aligns with the company’s story?
- How can propinquity save the culture in your workplace?
- The value of inserting empathy into the human-centered design
- Why culture is so much better than disruption
Resources Mentioned in this episode:
About the Guest:
Christopher Good is an award-winning interior designer and artist. He is also the Creative Director of One Workplace, a company that strives to create spaces that teach, heal, inspire, and perform. He has had several of his works published in Virginia Living, Richmond, Eide, and LAVA magazines. Not only is his talent recognized in the design space, but Christopher is also a speaker whose purpose is to spread his belief in design and its ability to change lives.
Sponsor for this episode:
This episode is brought to you by the Culture Design Studio, a consulting firm that helps people and cultural leaders who feel constrained in their ability to engage their employees to become champions for their people through a series of facilitated workshops. They provide a practical and collaborative process to transform the culture within your creative organization.
Culture Design Studio has worked with organizations like Duarte Design, Design Thinkers Group, Red Bull, USAID, Bacardi, and the Office of Civic Innovation
If you’re looking for more than just a consultant and want someone who can facilitate your organization through a structured conversation to transform your culture, Culture Design Studio is the one for you.
Contact them today to learn more about what they can do for you and your company.
Full Transcript: Powered by Otter.ai
Announcer Welcome to The Culture Design Show where we feature conversations with leaders and thinkers who are passionate about culture and design. Now, let’s get started with the show.
Steve Chaparro Steve Chaparro, here I am the host of The Culture Design Show, a podcast where I feature leaders and thinkers at some of the top creative firms in the world including architecture, design, technology, and marketing. What’s the one thing they all have in common? They all believe in the power of culture and design.
This podcast is brought to you by Culture Design Studio, we help people and culture leaders who feel constrained in their ability to engage their employees to become champions for their people. Through a series of facilitated workshops. We provide a practical and collaborative process to transform the culture within their creative organization. We’ve worked with organizations like Duarte Design, DesignThinkers Group, Red Bull, US AID, Bacardi and the Office of Civic Innovation. If you’re looking for more than just a consultant, but someone who can facilitate your organization through a structured conversation to transform your culture, reach out to us to learn more go to culturedesignstudio.com.
Christopher Good is the creative director at One Workplace, a company that creates spaces that inspire, teach, heal and perform. As an award winning interior designer and artist, Chris believes in the power of design to do good things for other people. His work is devoted to changing the way we think about and shape the built environment. He is a frequent speaker and presenter at events across the country, leading active workshops teaching the power and influence of design. Christopher, welcome to The Culture Design Show. How are you?
Christopher Good Great. Thanks for having me.
Steve Chaparro You’re surviving COVID-19 I understand that you are working out of your office at home with your wife and children as we all are.
Christopher Good Yes, sir. All right. Well, I’m looking that way for a while.
Steve Chaparro So it’s it’s actually somewhat of an old hat for you, huh?
Christopher Good It is to some degree. And the only big challenge now is it’s every single day and not just the days that I sneak away.
Steve Chaparro Yeah, it’s eight to five every single day. Well, I I been looking forward to us having this conversation. We had originally planned to have this in person conversation at HR transform conference in Las Vegas. But unfortunately, because of all that’s going on, it was postponed to a later date. So here we are in zoom, like most people in the world having conversations. I wanted to learn you know, we’ve talked a little bit about your background and We share similar interests and that you’re an interior designer. I came from the world of architecture, but what initially drove your passion for interior design?
Christopher Good That’s an interesting question. You know, my path to interior design was one of those things when you know, you’re fresh out of school, you’re going to college, you’re trying to decide where life’s gonna take you. I was in a strange place of really not knowing where that was, that went to art school, I was an artist. And I think the thing that ultimately drove me that path was the recognition that I had at that time that the spaces around us shaped our experience so incredibly much, if you were in a great space, it had a positive influence on you. And if you weren’t, that influence was equally strong, that just not in a great way. How powerful would it be to be in a career path that we’re actually If I could shape that for others.
Steve Chaparro Yeah, I mean, that’s amazing. Because I think for me, I think it took me a while for me to understand the role and power of space to shape environment to shape culture to shape behavior. But it seemed like for you, that came pretty on how did you start making some of those connections for yourself?
Christopher Good You know, I think the connections became most strong once I really, truly entered into the workforce, and was, you know, as a junior level designer, working on projects that were having that kind of effect on other people. It’s one of those things that you don’t, until you actually experience it. Being a part of that process. It doesn’t quite hit you. You can talk about things all day long, but until you actually make it happen, and can see it and feel it happen. That’s when it really sticks.
Steve Chaparro Well, what were some of those projects that you worked on that had such an impact on you.
Christopher Good You know, so you and I talked a little bit a while ago about a story that I read recently. And in that story is an example of one of the very first projects I worked on, when I was a young Junior designer. And it was for a large banking organization that was transitioning their entire workforce into a new way of work. One that was more mobile and flexible, they’re gonna have shared workspace, this was 20 plus years ago. I know we’re all talking about that now, but they were talking about that, you know, at a time when if you were in a corporate work environment, you were looking forward to that giant 10 foot by 10 foot cubicle mansion you live in. They were doing the exact opposite. And that was exciting work.
But the most, I think interesting and exciting part of that was seeing the how that change to flexible work environment had both positive and new negative consequences for the people who lived in that experience? And how might you then rethink that to address those unexpected negatives. One of those negatives was that in that organization, those employees who sat next to each other every single day developed really tight familial relationships. They became there were a work family, they would show up at each other’s barbecues on a weekend and show each other birthday parties for kids, because they sat next, these folks every single day, they developed this great relationship. When that changed, everything changed. That stopped happening, those of those relationships that existed between those team members weakened, and they no longer started showing up on Sunday for a barbecue that had a very powerful cultural impact on that organization. So how do you then try to bring that back? If flexibility is still important to what you’re trying to achieve? You got to balance those those things.
Steve Chaparro Yeah, I definitely want to talk one about that article that you mentioned, because I definitely want to dive into that a little bit more. And I also want to get into in just a moment, what you’re what you’re talking about in terms of flexible environments as well. But But going back to your, your, your history and how that passion, how has that passion evolved over the years, if you’ve been in the industry, for let’s say, I’m just gonna put it out there, you know, a couple of decades, how how has that passion evolved over the years?
Christopher Good You know, I think it evolves every single day. Because the work we’re doing is having it, you know, the impact of the work we’re performing to help shape people’s workspace people’s learning space, people’s healthcare space, is being in you know, shaped by unexpected circumstances every single day. The limit that we’re having right now is one of those things and the fact that we are now transitioning to send hundreds of thousands of workers home To work from their, you know, their kitchen table instead of in workplaces that were designed to host them and support them provide them tools and resources. That was something most businesses have resisted for a very long time, for probably good reasons and bad reasons. But now they have no choice. Instantly a switch is flipped. And we are now in a new paradigm.
Christopher Good That happens, maybe not this dramatically, but it happens all the time. And it changes our appreciation for what space is intended to do. It changes our expectations of what we want it to do for us. And right now we’re at this really interesting place because the workplace has been a place you go to have a desk to focus that’s yours you own to to your it’s your place to become part of the tribe. When this is over, it may not be that anymore. It may have to be something entirely new and different. Something that celebrate The fact that we need places to come together as people. Interesting balanced to that, how willing will we be to come back and celebrate our experience together as well? Yeah, it’s gonna be a really interesting time. And that’s scary and exciting. And it provides all kinds of opportunity to shape the future of how we will work together and how we will learn together and now we will heal together.
Steve Chaparro That’s an amazing thing. You’re bringing up so many things, for me to think about. I’ve got like 10 different tangents that I’d be interested in talking about. But you so you talk about and on one hand, you know, say two decades ago when the environment sort of the, the protocols the how office were laid out, were those 10 by 10 cubicles. You’ve got the dedicated offices, you know, status was determined by whether you had an office on the exterior of the building, especially if you had a corner. There was some status, there’s some privacy. And you’re saying the company that you were referencing as a client, they were thinking 20 years ahead and looking at flexible environments. You know, there’s been talk about, you know, say, five, eight years ago, the whole idea of the open plan and you know, the the Google in the Facebook environment was the thing everybody went to, but we’re starting to hear a lot of negative feedback about open plans. Is there a silver bullet to any type of space, whether it’s open plan or dedicated office space?
Christopher Good There’s absolutely no silver bullet. You have to figure out what is the right type of space for your organization, your team. And I think if you think of that in the smallest most granular way possible, that’s the best chance you’re going to have for success. Open plan spaces can absolutely work, but they stop working once they reach a certain size. Once you have a giant sea of space, and Looks the same and I can’t tell what my team’s area looks like different from someone else’s team’s area, and you become lost as a number of desks. It’s not working anymore. But open plan and a smaller scale where me and seven or 10 other people have easy visual access to each other. We feel like we’re part of a small work family, we can collaborate together absolutely works, you just have to be careful that we don’t take things that are that are very successful, and scale them to the point that they no longer apply and are effective anymore. And the Open Office certainly is suffering from from some on unneeded scale.
Steve Chaparro Yeah, I think I mean, I mean, we can read all over the internet, you know about criticism about the open plan and where maybe it has worked or doesn’t work and what type of personality thrives in an open plan and what type of personality absolutely does not like that, but I think to your earlier point, you environment that we find ourselves in, you know, like, one of the things that I share about what I do at culture design studio is transforming the workplace culture, which part of that is the workplace itself. And many of the cut much of the conversation in the past has been about the physical environment. But you’re absolutely right, in that the current environment for the workplace is not a physical environment. It’s a virtual environment. And what are some of the things that are important to think about when we think about that virtual environment, outside of even, you know, our home office.
Christopher Good So, take one quick step back in that I’ll add that the physical workplace is just a tool. It’s one of many tools, we have the video call that we are on or is another tool. And those tools exist to allow people to collaborate together. The physical workspace it is it’s the kind of thing that’s not going to, it’s not going to determine your country. Nice culture, but it absolutely can be an excelent moron barrier, the culture you wish to create, as can this video call that we’re on, you have to weigh all of those things as levers that have to be pulled to just the right amount to achieve your cultural desired and goal. As more of us start working in this remote fashion and having these video calls, I think the thing that we’ll have to pay the most attention to is the power of connection that this creates, we can have connection lots of ways you can be you and I sitting on a couch in a room together it or it could be you and I having this call together. What matters is the quality of that connection and the quality of the conversation.
First, beyond that, there is no substitute for human interaction being in the same place together. That mean we cannot understate the value of that. But in a world where That may not be as readily available or as readily desirable as it used to be, we now have to find other tools to give us some sense of human connectedness. And if that’s you and me seeing each other on a video call, then we need to take advantage of that. This whole situation with the COVID virus has awakened, I think a lot of people’s gratitude for things that we used to take for granted. Just the other night on Friday, I called up two of my best friends who live in other parts of the country and seen either them in more than a year. And the three of us and their spouses and my wife, were on a call together, drinking wine sharing stories. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t have done that.
Steve Chaparro Right.
Christopher Good Just every week for the last two, three years. But we hadn’t we took for granted the fact that we had this as this tool in front of us and that we would see each other again soon. Well, you know, so moments like this remind you, you should never take those moments for granted. And a video call, well, it’s not a perfect substitute for sitting with each other across the table. It’s definitely better than nothing.
Steve Chaparro Yeah, I one of the things I really learned about the power of community and connection, virtually very much like you and I are speaking today is I was in a an online cohort for some graduate work at Parsons School of Design. And so I could choose from either one the on campus version or the in person or the online versus on campus. And I chose online I was a little reticent about it I didn’t was a serve, I was going to get the full quality of the Parsons experience. But as I went through it the first semester, it was amazing got to meet people. We had one week intensive where we did get together in person, man, I got to tell you that it was the relationships and connections that were built. Through the virtual means, coupled with that in person interaction for that week, I literally came out of that one week intensive based on both things, not just the online, not just in person coming away from feeling I have literally just made 30 lifelong friendships that came out of this, this experience. Finishing the two years we had some of my fellow students, my fellow classmates said that they had experience both the on campus and the online at different points in the program. And by far, they said the online experience the community, the connection that happened there was far more robust and rich than the in person and and I was trying to figure out why that would be the case.
And my conclusion was that everything that is virtual, you have to be completely intentional to make it work. And you Yeah, we have to be completely intentional. So when I think of even the workplaces I think there were multiple people that contributed to that there was one there was the the school providing the technology. There was two, there was the professors that facilitated that engagement. But then it was just the passion and intentionality of the students, for all of us to make this happen. And I was just so amazed at how rich that experience was coming out of that program.
Christopher Good When you log on for those moments, you’ve prepared yourself that you’re going to give something of yourself and you’re going to take something in return. And our normal day to day lives when we have casual moments where we cross paths with other people. We don’t necessarily permit ourselves the intentional moment to have that close connection. We we take it for granted. moments like this force the issue.
Steve Chaparro Yeah. And I can also say because I do both online workshops as well as in person works shops. Man, a two hour workshop online is far more exhausting than eight hours in person because you literally have to be on and then you have what I’m showing here on the video. You have like this frame right here that you have to try to do everything in this space. And it is some hard work for sure. Because and I think it goes to that intentionality intentionality definitely is a is a an energy taker, if you will. It just it takes a lot of energy to be intentional. Yeah, I one of the things that I wanted to ask you about was your role at one workplace if you can share with our audience. What is One Workplace all about? And what is your role there?
Christopher Good I think the simplest way to talk about One Workplace is that we create physical environments where designers have physical space, whether that’s workspace or learning space. healthcare space. And, you know, my job within the organization is as the creative director to shape our approach to that to that world to understand our customers and the challenges that they are facing, to help them ask really great questions to make sure that the that the business problem, or the organizational challenge that they’re trying to solve with space is one that they will understand. And to shape for my own team, at least, our approach to solving those problems to you know, poke them in the side sometimes and say, you know, what, if we flipped everything upside down on an approach, different direction? How do we make sure that the way we’re approaching the problem is really mindful of the people who are at the center of that experience? You know, something that I’ll share that goes back to the very first question you asked me about getting into this side of the industry. You know, my I entered into this world through the world of architecture and interior design. Something that I always struggled with at that time was the desire to create spaces that were incredibly beautiful. For the sake of being incredibly beautiful, sir. Yeah, I love beautiful things. I’m an artist, I’m a designer, I love the impact of beautiful space.
Ask do something more than that. It has to solve someone’s problem. It has to create a better human experience for the person who lives there. And I think a lot of the pretty glossy magazines sometimes forget that that space exists for a reason. And it exists support the people who have to live and work in it. First and foremost, it should also be incredibly beautiful and inspiring and, and and invoke on gender, as well as serve all those other human needs. We’ve got to do that first.
Steve Chaparro Right, you you mentioned some of the you’re called upon to solve some of these business and Organizational challenges. What are some examples of those challenges you’ve been called upon as a company to address.
Christopher Good Most recently, a lot of times it has been related to culture. And that then, you know, has within it challenges of attraction and retention of employees. Maybe it’s this growing challenge of flexible workspace if you’re going to compress real estate, and you cannot give every one within the organization, their own individual one to one desk relationship. What does that do to an organization culturally as it do to them from a HR standpoint from a managerial and supervisory standpoint? How do you think through those challenges? How do you address the challenge of as human beings we need physical workspaces that support our ability to rejuvenate and and to be well and to be healthy humans. All of those things are business challenges that our customers come To us with, but I think the one that’s been on the forefront, most recently at least has been this question of supporting the organization’s culture, or at least building it creating a space that is in alignment with the cultural story they wish to create.
Steve Chaparro Yeah, I love that. I’m glad I use three words there that I love. I love alignment. I love that. Obviously, culture is a big part of my passion. But story. Describe, describe what is what is that cultural story? What are some examples of what that cultural story looks like?
Christopher Good Well, you know, it’s every, every organization has a story for what their culture is supposed to be for them. And what I guess I would add to that is the physical space needs to also tell that story. Any place you go, you can walk in and if you’re creatively minded person, you could stop and say, what’s the story of this world I’m looking at right now around me everything Every artifact of the space you’re looking at, is telling you something about who lives and works there who trans travels through that space. who stays a long time, who stays a short time. does it support them in a positive way? Is it? It’s telling you a story? If you could, if you could, you could pull the elements out of the air and write and write a narrative out of it. You could you could draw that out of the ether of that space. Everyone who walks in any spaces feeling that and what’s the challenge for a designer like myself is to make sure that that story is the one you wish to be told when your space? Yes, it has to that has to align.
Steve Chaparro Yeah, I love that. One of the things I loved about the the last firm that I was at visionary studios, is that our founder would say every space tells a story. It just may not be the one you want to tell. And we talked about culture, and there are some values that we want to make sure that your space is in alignment with those stores. We know that the term that was used at that time was spatial storytelling. And, and so we wanted to make sure that the space that was designed for the employees and even the the customers was either one, enabling for enabling those cultural values to be lived out, or it was a mechanism to reshape them to the desired values. If you are leading the organization through some type of transformation, love that.
Christopher Good You can always you know, get at that, from the standpoint of not just addition but also subtraction. I will often ask a group that we’re working with to share me with me, what are those cultural values that you that you want to uphold in your organization, you know, get to the ones that they feel are most important to them? And then we’ll ask them about the existing spaces they have. Now, if we’re lucky, we’re in their existing spaces. And the first question is, do these experiences we’re looking at do they align with the values you just said, Show me everything that doesn’t? Well, that doesn’t, that doesn’t that doesn’t tell me why. And instantly we know what, what’s not working, and what we might want to change or do differently. And then after that, it’s well, what would align with those values stories, if you could take that element, the reception desk, this that staircase that, that conference room? And if it’s not working now, for all of these reasons, you just told me, what would we do different that would make it meet those values of whatever those values are? And let’s rank those values and importance and address those things first. Always makes for a great conversation.
Steve Chaparro Oh, yeah. I mean, I don’t have a high enough resolution on my camera, but I’ve got goosebumps because that’s so much in alignment with, with what I’m passionate about, as well give me some examples of what those those values stories might be. What are some examples of values that could be expressed in space.
Christopher Good So we were just working on a project recently with a gentleman named Brett Hardtop out of LinkedIn He was going to be one of the panelists that was going to sit with me at HR transform. And something that was a a major cultural initiative for them was to try to find a way to for their employees create a greater sense of wellness and experience. And one of those wellness experiences that was very high ranked for their team was having access to outdoor space. And so the challenge Brent threw at US was, what if we could work outside all day long? within California, we can work outside a lot. But what if we could just work outside and I mean, really work like all of our work tools are outside, what would that look and feel like? There’s obviously some logistical challenges with solving that. But we helped Brett develop a space that did allow a team to work entirely outdoors with four workstations spaces and shade and light and air and both And, and the story that Brett shared with me after that experience was they were trying to weigh, How valuable is that work experience versus their traditional work experience? They could choose one of those, those two spaces, where would they go, which was more meaningful to them. And the responses I got back were overwhelming. If given the choice between working and outdoor space all day long, people would choose that outdoor space just because of that human nature connection or all these intangible things. And that was an awesome opportunity to help make something like that happen.
Steve Chaparro I have a favorite quote. And as an interior designer, you may be familiar with it that comes from Winston Churchill. He said, we shape our buildings. Thereafter, they shape us. How does that resonate with you and why, if so.
Christopher Good Absolutely resonates. You know, the quote in and it’s I mean, it speaks from itself very much. I mean, every environment we are within, whether it’s the physical space environment or even these virtual environments, that’s a two way street, what we put into it as it will affect what we get back. From my standpoint as as a user on one side, as well as from your standpoint, as a user on the other side. I think what I would what I would take from that is, don’t ever take for granted. The decisions we make about the experiences we used to be a part of and to have it actively or passively go into those moments with intention, like you said earlier with the hope that you can make a positive dent in that experience for either yourself or the others in that place.
Steve Chaparro Yeah, yeah. So good. I mean, it’s been those those things have you know, one of the things for me when I think of My own career path. It’s, you know, I started off in architecture. And I say that I got restless within the four walls of architecture because I wanted to explore how the power of design can impact other areas. But it led me full circle back to architecture in the last say, up until three years ago. And now the passion has been more about how do I transfer those design principles to actually shaping the behavior of culture rather than the physical environment of culture. But the physical environment is so much a part of that, so, so that I appreciate you sharing about that.
Christopher Good I mean, space shapes our behavior, and our behavior will shape the space just let’s see exactly what he said. It’s the exact same experience. It’s a reciprocal experience.
Steve Chaparro Yeah. Yeah, for sure. So let’s get to that blog post that you wrote on LinkedIn. And I’m gonna say this word probe. propinquity. Is that is that great? propinquity. Maybe you could say that word. You could say the word And and say please, you wrote how it can save culture, you know, especially during this COVID-19 outbreak. So can you share some of your thoughts about what you shared on that blog post?
Christopher Good Sure. So I mean, propinquity is a pretty simple concept. It’s the shared experience that human beings have when they are together, and there’s a lot of social science research on puppet. At the core. What this says is that when human beings are sharing a space together, that experience expands and intertwines and grows and reinforces itself. So when we create physical workspaces, or physical learning spaces and so on, we go into it knowing that we’re creating a place where people are going to come together. And so let’s do so in a way that makes that experience positive.
Within propinquity is some assumptions that I like to say there’s a couple of rules that propinquity levers you can pull to make Experience stronger. The first is, it’s a rule of proximity, which essentially is the closer that more you know, closer you are to other people, the more likely that relationship of a cultural connection is going to form. When I told the story earlier of people who worked in an office building, they sat next to the same people every day, that proximity is what created their third bond. And their relationship was the fact that they saw that person every single day, which leads to the next part of it, which is a rule of free, Quincy, how often those occurrences happen, makes those bonds even even stronger. Those two pretty straightforward, easy to understand. The last one has a challenge within it. It’s a rule of affinity, which is not only us being close physically to you know each other and then having that close physical experience happen more frequently, it’s going to shape it, the fact that when we’re having those moments, if you I have shared beliefs or shared expectations or shared things we care about, or they’re just similarities between us, it’s going to accelerate that bond. And that affinity happens unconsciously a lot of the times. In fact, a lot of unconscious bias actually occurring, which is something that you can take advantage of for good. Or you can leave the chance and run the risk of very negative things have been signers like myself or yourself. The challenge that we have to have is to make sure that we pay attention to the fact that affinity exists. People will form bonds with people most liked themselves naturally, but not allow that to run rampant and uncontrolled to design intentionally spaces and experiences that address a broad society that give everyone the chance to express The broad range of who we all are to not focus and forget about, you know, subsets or groups and people.
One really great example of that is in the design of something as simple as mushrooms. architects who have never been a mother, and designers who’ve never been mother are going to probably approach the design to that space very differently from someone who has been and with a stakeholder within your organization with a lot of intimate knowledge on that topic. We should probably involve people like that in the decision making in design and, and planning for experiences like that. And not just assume that that we have it right without that kind of influence and input.
Steve Chaparro Yeah, I love that into the idea of of inserting empathy into the creation of physical spaces. Now we’ve talked a lot about empathy and Human Centered Design when it comes to services and products. But a lot of times we don’t realize that our physical and environments, our buildings, our offices are probably some of the biggest pieces of hardware that are out there in terms of products. It’s a product to house, you know, employees and customers, and what greater way to then design the user experience, then to bring them into the process? And I think actually, I think that goes to that is true, whether you’re talking about a physical environment, a product or a service, or even the employee experience, I think is so important to include the people that are actually using in quotes using the product or service into into the conversation. I truly believe that the real subject matter expertise on any of these things are the actual users as opposed to us as interior designers or architects, or, you know, even executives within organizations, we actually many times don’t know better, we may give them we may be able to articulate provide answers to the desires that they’re asking for. But, you know, they’re the ones that are really going to give us that subject matter expertise. I love that.
I mean, even the rule of proximity. My son, my oldest son is 14. And he was working on some, you know, Google docs for school, here at home. And he was doing his work, but he had his friend on FaceTime. And they weren’t always talking to each other. They were literally doing work, their own work on their own computers, but they were kind of manufacturing some proximity by having each other on FaceTime, just to add No, it’s it’s an interesting environment. I’ve seen some workplaces have done that you may be for one or two or three hour time period, you’re actually work virtually co working with each other and it kind of brings that proximity into the picture.
Christopher Good I do wonder which is what the impact of virtual proximity is going to be Going forward. Yeah, it’s when when I first started writing about propinquity, I was not thinking about the virtual experience. I was thinking entire Sure,
Steve Chaparro Of course. Yeah.
Christopher Good And very quickly, I realized that we needed to think about the same concept in virtual terms. The story of your son is similar to a story of my own. A few nights ago, my wife and was driving him and his best friend from school, home from school. She parked outside the front door, she invites them both into play together. And they’re like, No, it’s okay. My friend just wanted to go home, you know, a couple Doors Down the street. Okay. Okay. So my wife drives him down the street lets him into his house by the time she gets back. They are already online together, playing a game.
Steve Chaparro Yeah.
Christopher Good And for them, that virtual proximity was almost more meaningful than sitting next.
Steve Chaparro Yeah, for sure. And it’s almost it’s more meaningful than possibly even in some cases. respirable which is something that’s hard for, for some of us older guys to understand for sure.
Christopher Good I suppose they’re the ones who are going to survive best in this world.
Steve Chaparro Absolutely, yeah. They’re more resilient than we give them credit for for sure. One last thing, one question. You mentioned in that article in I hope that I wrote it down, right. But you said that culture is greater than disruption. One that I read that right? And if so, what do you mean by that?
Christopher Good I do think that culture is greater than disruption, especially if that cultural element is, is strong. And the members of an organization are the members of that cultural value, belief system. really, truly only believe it. It’s an aspirational statement and saying, we’ll all get through this together. I mean, that’s really what I’m coming from. But at the end of the day, if that culture is strong, and the values that we believe in are just and solid, we’ll it’ll overcome Any any disruption to that system? Where we run challenges I imagine would be if is if those cultural elements and values were not ones that we believed very deeply in, I think in those, those times disruption is going to severely impact those beliefs.
Steve Chaparro Yeah, I think and that was where I was going to ask a follow up was in those cases where culture is not healthy, where there is not alignment, because I think that alignment not only has to be organizational, and individual, but it also has to be leadership and employee. All of those alignments have to be in place. And I think this disruption will cause those things to bubble up, you know, whether it’s good or if it’s bad, I think they will all bubble up. And I’ve had it heard it said, I’m sure I forget the name of the book, but it’s talking about the power of physical environment to shape culture. And it says that anytime you change up the physical environment, whether it’s It’s literally going from an open space open plan to a dedicated space or you know, or from physical to virtual. Anytime you disrupt that, you’re going to reveal some of the the cultural things that have been allowed to settle down to the ground, and they’re going to start to bubble up almost as if it’s like a snow globe, you know, this disruption is causing those snowflakes those, you know, cultural problems to arise. And they will be revealed in times like this.
Christopher Good Yeah, no doubt.
Steve Chaparro We’ve been talking to Christopher Good, a creative director at One Workplace. Christopher. If people want to reach out to you and learn more about your work, where can they find you?
Christopher Good They can certainly find us on the web at one workplace calm. And if they want to find me, I’m happy to throw this out their email address. See [email protected] Alright. I just opened myself up to buddy.
Steve Chaparro All right, well, we’ll keep we’ll put that, that email in the show notes for sure. All right, Christopher, thank you very much. I appreciate your time. Thank you for joining us.
Christopher Good Thank you for letting me be part of this. I really appreciate it.
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