Yes, those chocolaty, gooey, sweet, powdered, substances we love to devour. Put a platter of chocolate chip cookies in the break room and tell me if you don’t get that collaborative workplace she is trying to achieve. Let those not in the office know about the coconut layer cake in the office they are not tasting and see if they don’t find the motivation to get into the office.
But seriously, the metaphor here is not only literally true, but true in business. Put some really good information in a place where people know where it is and they will come and consume it. But if employees don’t know where the break room is, or how to get there, or even have a key to the door, then they are the home dwellers left out of the conversation. (Sorry for the metaphor, but if documents/data reside someplace in the corporate infrastructure and people don’t know where it is or have access rights to it, they will not be good consumers.)
The baked goods of business are the truly sweet bits of information we should be distributing to the employees, so they can digest them and become energized by them. Collaboration is not only about the exchange of ideas but more simply the distribution of key information to individuals who view, analyze, and interpret it differently than others. Wow, that blueberry muffin was great, why did we design the panel for jig milling instead of CNC milling?
Business has become so compartmentalized, and confidentiality concerns have so griped us by the neck, we have created information safes that few people have access to or even know exist. I get it, my job is on the line if the wrong person gets a hold of this file, or this is my file and I’m pretty sure no one else needs to see it. So we have set up corporate “repositories” called share drives where no one “shares,” or worse draconian digital rights systems that put up so many walls we actually are discouraging collaboration.
C’mon guys, those cookies weren’t just baked for you, share them. They are really good. Not as good as my wife’s, but really good. And if I share them I start the collaborative thing going and you may even see people in the office you haven’t seen in a long time.
Share the wealth, get yourself a decent document management system!!!!! (Gratuitous plug required by the break room crowd, mostly the salespeople who really seem to love the baked goods.)