There’s something wrong with this picture – beyond the fact that I am not a photographer.
Earlier at an Infusionsoft small business conference in Phoenix (so great!), I saw two guys using the ping-pong table as their personal desk zone. They were talking so deeply and profoundly about apps and tweets, the normal function of a ping-pong table escaped their notice. By the time I’d thought about making them famous by taking their photo, they had deeply and profoundly gone to attend a business improvement session. (As they should do.)
Many small business owners do the exact same thing in their businesses. The desk is merely a placeholder for filing, the filing room is a place-holder for hushed library-like conferences, and the conference rooms are really zone-out rooms disguised as ‘meetings’.
I’ve done the same, and I’m quite sure I’m not alone. The cool red mobile desk that I bought for (a) tax purposes and (b) greater typing speed, often is a receptacle for my second coffee cup and unfiled papers. I’m sure my husband wonders why I bought it. If I actually used it as a desk, I might be able to get work done without distraction.
Example – if business owners would stop using their office assistants to run their kids’ lives or arrange for housecleaning, they might get surprised by their assistant’s new and improved attitude. Beyond having too many hats and pushing existing boundaries of what’s possible, there’s such a thing as ignoring structure and form that’s meant to help you. A laptop is not one large sticky note receptacle, and a phone is not primarily for taking photographs – unless that’s your business.
There’s also something attractive about seeing real value behind functionality. At the end of the day, the ping-pong table is just a table. Coffee is a great drink and full of caffeine – you can drink it purely for its perks. However, there’s an issue of valuing its inherent built-in quality. If you’re enjoying coffee for its warmth and aroma, and the fact that it brings people together to relax and open up, this is a real value. The joy of ping-pong is that people get competitive and silly and things go flying. People bond. Stories are created.
I can learn how to take better photographs, because I can learn the value of angle and light in telling a better story. If I close my mind to those possibilities, and just say “a photo is what I use it for, neither more nor less”, I’m probably missing out on the ability to communicate better. Think about the ways that tools or people are being used in your business. Do they just fill a gap or a need of the moment, or are they doing what they were created to do?