What Does Your Office Say About You?
By Dr. Rick Johnson
Monday, 30th January 2012
What does your office say about you? Are you organized, precise, orderly, confident and do you maintain control.

Your office may be telling the world something different about you. As a "Strategic Advisor" to numerous CEO's one of the many things I look at in determining how challenging providing value may become for this person is the condition of their office.  I know, I know, it's an old cliché – "Cleanliness is next to Godliness". That's not exactly what I am talking about. What I question is simply what message does the condition your of office send.  It may just be saying something about you personally.

Take an Inventory

Look around. Does your office décor look like you are "Lost in the Fifties" or is it up to date with modern furniture and a fresh crisp look? Are you a "Clutter Bug"?  Do you have files sitting on every flat surface? Does the cleaning person need a tetanus shot before entering your office? Don't laugh; I have seen a few offices like that. Have you ignored the fact that a simple thumb drive has more storage space, more flexibility and more power than the technology on Apollo 13?

Are their cobwebs in every corner? If you were to dig down to the bottom of those stacks of paper are you afraid you might find "The Lindbergh Baby" or some other missing person?  Do you proudly say – "I know exactly where everything is". You are delusional!  And, so what if you do? Wouldn't it be better if whatever you were looking for wasn't in the midst of a stack of crap papers two feet high? Wouldn't it be better if it were in a secure file or better yet on that thumb drive that has a 32 Mega Bite storage capability in your pocket or your top desk drawer?

People with desks that are a total mess argue that point, " But I know where everything is." That is not the problem. The problem is that the stack of paper is shouting at anybody who looks at it saying --- "This guy is disorganized!  This guy has weak leadership skills! This Guy or Gal is a PIG!"

The only thing that should be on your desk, and even that could be on your laptop, is what you are currently working on at that moment in time. Not what you did yesterday or what you will do tomorrow or even in an hour. Only what you are working on NOW!  Why? Because everything that is cluttering up your office is also cluttering up your mind! Everything that is cluttering up your office is cluttering up your sub-conscious. It affects your psychic because it not only shouts at anybody that walks by but it continuously shouts at you telling you to do something with it.

The Real Questions

It's really not just about what your office looks like. It's not just about sanitation and cleanliness. What it is really about is exactly what your mess, your clutter says about you as a leader.  Think about this:

  • Does it say anything about character?
  • Does it say anything about integrity?
  • Does it say anything about leadership ability?
  • Does it inspire confidence, trust?
How many of you have walked through a vendor's manufacturing plant or a customer's warehouse and either got a feeling of confidence or a feeling of concern about their ability to meet your needs. It is often an intuitive judgment you made based on how their plant looked. Was it clean? Was it orderly? Does it look efficient? You made these judgments simply by observing. The same holds true for anyone visiting your office.

 "Exactly what does your office say about you?"

Does your office paint a picture of a true leader, a winner or does it cloak your skills with a "Cloud of Loser Laziness"?

The most effective CEO's in industry today have learned the art of letting go of the things that clutter their minds and interfere with visionary thought.  Some use meditation or an avid hobby to de-clutter the mental process clearing their mind and their body in building their personal leadership models.

If your office looks a little like the aftermath of Katrina, you need to use that same technique and de-clutter your office.

Technology is Your Ally

With the technological advancement we have made in the 21st century there is absolutely no excuse for holding on to those hard copy memos and other keepsake business correspondence that some of us fall in love with. There is no document that exists today that can't be saved electronically. In fact, you can carry the last ten year history and more of any project you ever were involved with around in your pocket. In fact, many companies now run a complete paperless system.

De-clutter Your Leadership.

"We all need to learn the art of letting go of the things that are simply cluttering up our minds and our work area's unnecessarily;" Clearing the Body, Mind, and Soul in the Leadership Process. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Hire someone that is good at it. You don't have to do it alone. An old friend/colleague of mine coined a phrase I live by religiously --- "Do what you do best and hire the rest.

If I have described your office in this article, don't despair. That doesn't mean you are a poor leader. It doesn't mean you have no integrity or that your character is questionable. Sometimes we just get caught up in the burning forest and we let things get a little out of control. No………….. It doesn't say you are a loser.  It simply means you need to work on it. You may need to get some help.  At the very least…………. It should be telling you to refocus and think about your own personal image.

Remember, your image does matter.

Rick Johnson, expert speaker, wholesale distribution's "Leadership Strategist", founder of CEO Strategist, LLC a firm that helps clients create and maintain competitive advantage. Need a speaker for your next event, E-mail rick@ceostrategist.com.  Don't forget to check out the Lead Wolf Series that can help you put more profit into your business.

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