Can clutter increase team-building and ultimately innovation? Cited by the book INFLUENCER, Hewlett-Packard used to encourage that employees keep, of all things, a messy desk. The thinking by HP was that by leaving work visible and accessible, that it was much more likely that others wandering by would see, take an interest, and get involved in the work of a colleague.

Steve Jobs had a similar strategy at Pixar. He placed the bathrooms at the center of the headquarters. In his words, “So we designed the building to make people get out of their offices and mingle in the central atrium with people they might not otherwise see.”

Both HP and Pixar are examples of the concept of PROPINQUITY. Propinquity is the physical or psychological proximity between people. It is also the concept that physical proximity as a critical factor in influencing change and nurturing culture. The closer people are, the more likely they are to build the best relationships. Better relationships should lead to better collaboration and teamwork.

As we deal with a remote workforce, we need to be mindful of propinquity. How are we creating opportunities for our teams to get together digitally? How are reinforcing kinship and togetherness when we are physically apart?

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Stan Phelps walks the walk. He stands out in the sea of sameness by modeling his own Differentiated Experience (DX) message: Differentiation isn’t just about what you say, it’s about what you do and, more importantly, how and why you do it. Stan leverages his unique collection of 5,000+ case studies on customer, employee, and brand experience to engage audiences with informative learning-based experiences. He believes purposeful DX wins the hearts of employees and customers, and differentiation ultimately boosts loyalty, retention, referrals, and results.

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