This week I’m in England talking with our colleagues at The Factary in Bristol. Their offices are open-plan and I’m impressed at how collaborative they are, with each other and with their clients. I met with nearly everyone on the team to learn more about the kinds of projects they’re working on, what they each do to meet their clients’ needs and how they work together as a team. It’s really interesting to see the ways we’re the same and the ways we do things differently.
My visit has been a wonderful opportunity for us to share the seeds of ideas and innovations across borders. As I walked out of their office today and down the cobbled street, it occurred to me that, much in the same way as American English and British English evolved after splitting off from each other, it will be interesting to see how the ideas we brainstormed will germinate for each of us on different soil.
It’s been a really fun few days, and it reminded me that I don’t take as much time during the year to benchmark with colleagues as I intend to. Do you? It’s easy to share information when we’re all at a lunch table or in between sessions at professional conferences, but how often do we make the time to actually go visit colleagues at their offices? See them in their own environment and ask questions? Speaking for myself, not enough.
When I do, though, before I go visit, I like to create a list of questions, including:
- What are the things that you all do well?
- How is your shop innovative?
- Who else do you think is innovative, and what do they do that you would like to emulate?
- If you could change three things about your shop, what would they be? What’s keeping you from doing that?
- If money were no object, what would be the first tool or resource you would buy or thing you would enhance?
The conversations are always fun and interesting, and I’m going to try harder this year to make more of them happen.
How about you? Do you have a goal to benchmark with colleagues? How often do you try to meet, and what questions do you like to ask?