I am not in favor of dictatorship, but I am beginning to think that maybe it does have one or two attractive characteristics.
Our move from 285 Madison Avenue to 3 Columbus Circle will drive transformative change in our working environment. We will move from an office environment to an open plan. We will have less personal space and more collaborative space.
I think the changes will make us sharper, smarter and more fun. But I learned a long time ago that organizational change — any change — is hard for people to embrace.
So it is no surprise that as we start to consult with our colleagues and New York network partners about ideas for the new office space, I hear two refrains. The first is, “This is very cool.” And the second tends to be, “But we are different — it won’t work for us.”
And that’s when my newfound dictatorial tendencies kick in. “JFDI,” as an old creative director of mine used to say, is the phrase that floats through my mind.
So far I’ve resisted the dictatorial urge. It’s easy to impose uniformity on everyone, but it’s more interesting and creative to embrace the diversity of opinion and to search for ways to allow everyone to adapt the space to meet their individual needs. When everyone feels the space belongs to them, and not to “the Man,” we will have created a more energetic and exciting agency.
Embracing individuality — and not imposing uniformity — is the right thing to do, but it is exhausting.
So this is fair warning: If anyone else wants to explain to me why the design that works for a thousand other people does not work for them, they should be prepared to encounter an undemocratic response …
Nick Moore is chief creative officer and EVP at Wunderman New York.