Let’s tease this out a bit further, and I will take from your earlier comments. First of all given Jungian archetypes, there are those among us for whom being in a vast bullpen without privacy is a death sentence to focus, creativity and production. This is only one part of why this doesn’t work. Another is that the noise-both aural and visual- is enormously distracting. Even for those of us who might enjoy easy access to our neighbors, the distractions act like shiny objects to those of us who are easily sidetracked. My hand is up here. If I need to concentrate, I HAVE to minimize distractions. By definition and design, this wholesale stripping away of all semblance of personal privacy and quiet space would send just about anyone running. And they do, as you describe.

To your point about having different folks from different roles: any vanilla gathering (too much like characteristics, color, gender, age, roles etc) ensures vanilla outcomes. Going back to the piece about Jungian styles: detail oriented people help balance out-there, too frantic but very creative thinkers. Hard driving goal folks balance the “lets make sure everyone is happy” people. Without all four basic types providing input and perspective, a project skews. There are inherent clashes over the use of time, how much detail, who’s in charge, and who’s being hurt or left out. However those are the very issues that have to be regularly addressed for each represents a value set belonging to a distinct working style, each of which brings significant value to the discussion and the end product.

When companies don’t understand and honor very distinct personality types and put them into environments where they can make the best use of their inherent skills and work preferences, good folks walk. Morale suffers. As you said absenteeism soars. For very good reason.

In many cases folks have no idea why they are unhappy. When you do some kind of styles training it becomes glaringly obvious. So then do the solutions.

As you point out, I would run like hell to, and immediately lock a breakaway pod. Most folks who are highly detail-oriented probably would. Noise is our enemy when it comes to certain styles, while others thrive on it. It’s an energizer.

Any mindless assumption that “EVERBODY IS GOING TO LOVE THIS” utterly and completely disregards vast amounts of work on personality types, work preferences and how those fundamentals drive how we can best maximize both ourselves and others. It isn’t just small teams. It’s small teams with the right mix.

That goes whether we’re discussing Millennials or Baby Boomers or GenEx. There is no one-size fit all. Each one of us has idiosyncratic needs. Learning to recognize and make the most of both those needs and the gifts we all bring to work is both the manager’s and the corporation’s job.

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Horizon Huntress, prize-winning author, adventure traveler, boundary-pusher, wilder, veteran, aging vibrantly. I own my sh*t. Let’s play!

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