10 April 2024

Turf & Proximity Clash - A Personal & Business Perspective

Here is a definition from “Cambridge Dictionary - the surface layer of land on which grass is growing, consisting of the grass and the soil in which its roots grow, or a piece of this that is cut from the ground and is usually rectangular”

In simple terms it is the size of space that is occupied as you live and work. We will take a closer look at these expressions from a corporate angle and try to understand why it mattered to have a larger territory. Also not forgetting how managers insisted on having their teams situated very close to center of power.

I remember the traditional days when managers were so keen to have larger and prestigious offices as they climbed up the executive stairs. Every single step mattered therefore it had to be marked with something that needed to be different. Income was invisible thus did not provide the means to reflect the true nature of success. Material aspects of achievement were prerequisites and were essential to distinguish titles.

Such desire could only be filled with a more powerful car to drive and a larger room to conduct business. It was like a mathematical formula area is equivalent to knowledge. This does not certainly mean that only those without proper credentials deserve and acquire promotions. It is just a correlation that comes up over and over again especially within the family businesses. A quick jump from Zero-to-Hero may have been the inclination with glamorous surroundings, however without decent craftsmanship results turn out to be a tragedy.

On the other hand well-structured and executed corporations placed emphasis to vocational training and the best person with cognitive capabilities gained access to reputable slots. Soft skills had played an essential part during the selection process. “EQ” emotional quotient has always been a key ingredient to be able to fulfil these awesome responsibilities. Recently “AQ” Adaptability, “DQ” Digital Quotients are being appreciated.

Physical Proximity of professionals to the leader was sought both by management in charge as well as their reporting lines. Those were the days when, just to be at eye sight, started Proximity Clash. I have always wondered why the Turf Clash were implanted repeatedly at the top of the agendas.

Is it because technology was not readily available back then? Communications were cumbersome compared to current hype. Managers once walking out of the office wanted to have an imminent eye contact thus speeding up the reception of messages. Hence a defined area and confined jurisdiction were traditionally preferred. From the professional’s point of view, it was also well worthed to be nearby. Seeing and checking the traffic in/out helped to provide an inside to understanding manager’s preferences and thoughts. I must admit endless discussion of who sits where, was a serious defocus from real values.

In a nut shell Turf & Proximity Clash were beneficial to all individuals’ future plans. As a result I now have a serious doubt, whether companies were run more efficiently or productively within these enclosed debates. Those businesses concerned with prioritizing customer intimacy continued to flourish whereas those indulged in Turf Clashes retained current position or retarded back to where they have stared from.

I have witnessed for many years, practises of area conquest struggles being fought in vain. Worst of all it was like taking your eyes away from the road while driving your car. It was a common mistake which ended up in destructive accidents.

Many new concepts have been put to test since the long-established groups dwelled into newness encouraged by competitiveness. Let me highlight a few.

Non-Territorial offices: Where any desk is available to any person without a long term assignment. Even desks with wheels were exercised and evaluated. Relocatable desks caused a chaos and created a tension among employees. Each day’s layout was distinct from the previous.

Divergence, disorderness increased hence declined happiness in the office.

Significant adverse consequences occurred throughout the organisation with a rapid degradation of sense of belonging. Reaching to your desk early in the morning and just finding out that someone else has already populated your personal corner. How can you continue with a miserable reaction? Can you imagine being sombre and starting a gloomy work day? I wonder whether any entity is still practising this concept. Please insert a comment if you do? Tell us more about its advantages.

Proximity free offices: Rather different from the approach above it was where targets set for employee loyalty is codified and incorporated to satisfaction indexes. You are allowed to be settled into your designated spot which can be personalised with your personal attachments. Questions have been raised to this avenue with respect to permanent assignments. Would it be more appropriate for project based instances? Could seating arrangements be designed, in line with specific project requirements?

Kanban: Way back in the 90’s Kanban system helped to raise alarms between stations that relied upon each other. Processes were tuned to aiding supply chain cycles. Perfection of smooth flow of materials, delivered to stations in just in time manner, were endorsed. Later, during the implementation stage advancements were designed to remedy labour deficiencies. Training assisted employees learned skill sets of inbound/outbound departments. Thus if matters deteriorated either at the supply or delivery site experts from current tasks would be relocated either backward or forward.

Neighbour Approach: Impact of Kanban was tremendous to the way offices were architected. No longer Proximity was bursting with departments own employees but rather by those who are either suppliers of internal customers. An immense contribution to problem solving was in the air.

Internet has dramatically changed all that for ever. Communications and connectedness provided abundant time to react to disputes and complications. Project management was at its pinnacle. Another discontinuity that caught us unexpectedly was the wide cultural acquaintance of remote/distant working. Triggered by COVID19 pandemic it was the new game in town.

I honestly thought that Turf & Proximity Clash were finally over. Nobody seemed to care for travel and were content with online meeting platforms. Large constructions are no longer compelling to demonstrate corporate might. Fabric of work environment was flattened which equalised people and work. Since the pandemic is over my expectation was that hybrid working is stable, durable and ever-lasting. Obviously nothing can replace a face-to-face session.

As usual my aspiration was high. I anticipated a conflict free work environment without borders. It wasn’t meant to be…

Unfortunately I was wrong, Turf Conflict has returned stronger than ever. Besides it was now enhanced with technology. There emerged a much nastier, malignant mammoth claiming to capture our entire essence. Online! Presence in an irresistible virtual world is inevitable. You must be either in or out. If you are in than your Turf & Proximity is surrounded. Whether you like it or not. There is no escape, corporate and personal behaviour has migrated. Everyone must post whatabouts and whereabouts and push the like button endlessly. And if you are out than you are totally disconnected not being aware of anything. What a dilemma!

I don’t know you but I am suffering from Digital Turf Clash. I have membership in so many social media and instant messaging platforms. It has become so easy to create new groups and we volunteer to be part of these groups. Once in it is a real challenge to keep up with the speedy flow of information and not to miss evolution. There is no return. Therefore can any of the approaches mentioned above be utilised to tame Digital Turf? Can I even define my own Digital Proximity? Let me know your thoughts.

You dare not leave any group for any reason. Risk of losing Proximity and worst of all not to be perceived as an unkind wise guy scares us all.

Well finally I must admit my uneasiness towards artificial intelligence as an emerging tool that is claimed to guide us in this jungle. Will AI listen to us and help to construct our own Proximity??

Clash of any kind is destructive and non-constructive, we should all collaborate for peace. Our destiny lies in friendships beyond boundaries…We are not confined…

Take care.

İcrayı San’at Eyle – İyi Bayramlar

Business excellence is only possible with arts & science and goodness in your heart.