Week 35 – Moved by the experience of others

There are these experiences we have with products and environments in which everything, it seems, is exactly right.

These experiences are initially delightful, exquisite. As we settle into the experience of these products and have them as part of our daily lives, we also come to expect similarly delight from others.

These objects and environments are perhaps so good because they are also embedded with the great experiences of those who made them. Even in our touch of those objects or environments that seem to be the simplest (or perhaps because they are), we realize that everyone who was part of their making “got” it. That is, everybody in the chain of imagination, technologies, crafts, processes, and application found their place, imagined their contribution, and acted to deliver on something great.

What must have been a great experience for them in the making must also be a truly great experience as they witness the pleasure that everybody else has in the experience of the product or environment that they had a role in delivering to the world. That reward must then inspire and shape in them an even more generous quest for the next great experience of others.

I am frustrated, then, in why those truly rewarding experiences of making, borne of a great generosity of spirit and energy, do not influence and motivate all of us. Perhaps these experiences that I assume to be almost universal are not.

A project that I have been associated with is nearing the completion of its construction. We toured it this week, and there is yet a lot of adjustment to make.

While I am sure that, eventually, it will be a transformative workplace for the client organization, getting there has been affected by changing roles and responsibilities, shifting values, a descent into the politics of finance, and other diversions from the purpose, mission and program that guided its design.

Each of us in the extraordinarily diverse team responsible for a building has clutter in our life that diverts our attention and energy from our achievement of great things and the rewarding experiences that come from their making and from the experiences of those who follow us in those spaces.

To get us there, we all need a team member with vision and deep appreciation of the future experiences of others. Someone who will, despite the clutter in the path to getting there, finds every means to understand every player in the process and to motivate him or her to a performance that they will be proud of, and thus to a performance that unselfishly imagines, appreciates and prizes not only their own experiences but also the experiences of those, yet unknown, who will move through the places we make.

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