Estimated reading time: 2 mins
It’s really about getting out of the office environment where formal positions and behaviors are established and enforced, and getting together with colleagues (from various levels) to chew over some ideas or issues that might normally create too much conflict inside the office. I think this is particularly so with techies who vigilantly defend their faith in their technologies and methods and the way things get done. An old friend of mine used to take exception with being challenged in the office – he was a bit of an ass that way – but it paid off for him most of the time as his way and his technologies won over. In fact he proactively stamped out any challenges with rebuking any new ideas early on before they even reached his desk. However, I think this gunboat diplomacy damages colleagues confidence, creates too much conflict and politics, stifles innovation and doesn’t really do the company the best service in the end.
Anyway the point is here that its valid for a team to take their issues or opportunities out of the office now and again and dealt with them in a safe but open environment. It’s an application of the term ‘socialising’ (which I personally hate, but the point remains) which means that groundwork for decision-making is done outside of the formal channels, so the agent can sound out key influencers and find out who needs more persuasion and who might be hostile. It’s not exactly espionage, but it could be construde that way. I think the differentiator is that it isn’t malicious or overtly manipulative.
Simply put, going for a curry or tacos might result in issues or opportunities get dealt with on a level playing field and with everyone’s interests represented. Many of them can be resolved with a full belly and a smile. In fact it was Freud who linked hunger and aggression, ie. the more hungry you are, the more aggressive you become. So get your enemies belly full and then bring up the point of contention, as long as it isn’t about his eating habits 🙂
It’s also true that if you organize such a culinary outing, it gives you the chance to set the agenda and deal with the matters you want resolution to. Take the lead and you could see an end to your woes, at least know where you stand. If you do take this responsibility on, then make sure you invite all the people who have influence over the issues, whether you see them on your side or not. Getting full representation means you won’t face another round of yapping back in the office. If your invite is rejected then make sure that person knows what could be discussed and see if they want to send someone else in their place.
To cap this off I will say give this a go. It will be a great way of dealing with stuff, you’ll have something nice to eat, and quite possibly improve your social standing!