Do you work in an organisation?


Do you work at a desk?  I am presuming so.  Most people with whom I work do.


And if you work at a desk, do you sit or stand?  I would venture that most of us sit.


And if you do sit, does your chair have wheels?  I assume it does.

Picto Chair. model 206/7 – ProduktEntwicklung Roericht. Photograph copyright V&A Museum

Chairs have been produced with wheels for more than a 100 years and today most desk or operator chairs are mobile.


So …


… in your organisation do you have meeting rooms or perhaps a board room?


And what do you find in these rooms?  A table and chairs?  Yes?


And do the chairs have wheels?  Probably not.

Chair – Eames, Charles, born 1907 – died 1978. Photograph copyright V&A Museum

I have yet to ask that question and find an organisation that uses wheeled chairs in their meeting rooms.


Why is this significant?


Boardrooms and meetings room are where negotiations, influence and persuasion take place.


When you negotiate you are trying to get people to change their position – to come over to your way of thinking, to get them on your side.  The words I use are deliberate – how we conceive of something constructs how we encounter it – and there is something very located about how we talk about negotiation.  We talk of sides, of opposing.  We sometimes say that there is “a divide between us”.


Why then do we hold negotiations in boardrooms when there is a physical barrier between us and we are stuck in chairs that don’t move?  If our intention is to shift the other’s position, why do we make it so hard for ourselves.


So when you are planning your next meeting, consider the room and the geography.
Can you replace the chairs with wheeled ones? What would happen if you took all the chairs away?  What if you took the table away too?  What if you sat on the floor?  What if you had the meeting standing up?  What if you had the meeting walking around…

How might you change the way you move?

Movement beats stuckness.