A recent article on the BBC web site made “What your desk says about you – Whether you’re a clean freak or a slob, your workspace may reveal a lot about your personality,” caught my attention.
Some years ago I walked into a print broker’s office in San Francisco. He was out and on his way back. So his receptionist and I stood in his reception chatting for a few minutes. She asked what my company did (I was there to have business cards made and she had noted the name of our organisation—the mindtime project).
“We measure and map human thinking.” I replied.
“That sounds very interesting, so what can you tell about me?” She smiled a little self-consciously.
“Well, let me explain this in the context of your desk and why you keep it the way you do.” I said.
After a couple of minutes she was suitably impressed by the predictive nature of a person’s desk, but for some reason she had a massive grin on her face.
“What is it?” I asked.
“What can you tell me about my boss?” She replied, opening the door behind her.
It was as though a small bomb had exploded. It’s epicentre was clearly his chair which stood waiting his return. No doubt he was the explosion of ideas and information. And, I bet he knew where every single thing he needed was stuffed no matter how long ago it was stuffed there.
I turned to her and said. “I’ll bet that, from what I see here, he is often running late, over commits, has a ton of great ideas but executes on few of them. He is very likely highly connected with a substantial network of acquaintances and friends and he thrives on difficult challenges. He is probably also one great sales person.”
“Wow, spot on again. No wonder he pays me so well to stay. We actually make a very good team. As long as I don’t touch his desk.”
“Ah, yes. That’s sacred ground.” I intoned. “Best not to mess with other people’s survival strategies.”