Goodbye Myers-Briggs personality assessment, hello scientific desk analysis.
Everything about a person sends a message about who they are and what they prefer. From the way someone dresses at work, to the tone of voice on the phone, every action sends a message.
That’s why it’s always fascinating to me that so few people take the time to really assess what their desk is saying about them.
I would categorize most people and their desks into the following categories:
- Utter Chaos: I’m sure you recognize this desk. Everything is in complete and total disarray, piles of papers, printed emails sticking out of files that date back three years.
- Controlled Chaos: The piles still live on this desk, but it seems there is some order to the mess. Only certain items stacked in certain places, and the person seems to navigate the disaster around them with ease and some level of convenience.
- Creative Energy: Usually this desk has spots of interesting toys or gadgets, often whiteboards or wall space is decorated with different brainstorming ideas or visual displays. There’re also usually frequent changes to main items out on display for passers-by.
- Highly Organized: This desk has a labeled file and place for every single item that might disrupt the harmony of its surface. Papers are never seen out of place, and heaven forbid you’d ever find a lone paperclip away from the rest of their metal mates.
- Trophy Display: Awards, certificates, books, trophies, all of these items adorn the space of the trophy office. Each accomplishment, sometimes personal and professional, are on display here.
- Personal Display: Pictures of family, pets, holiday greeting cards and even vacation knick knacks are generally plastered across each available space. And not just one or two…literally, you wonder how they manage to get everything up and out.
- Power Desk: The Power Desk is generally devoid of any display items. Pictures are not generally present, neither are certificates, candy, toys or lone stacks of paper. Everything seems so organized and even empty you wonder if someone really works there.
So what is the point of this categorization? It’s not really to just laugh and nod with recognition when we think on our own and co-workers’ desks. It’s to consider what you think when…
- Utter Chaos tells you they can’t remember that email you sent?
- Personal Display tells you they are cutting out early on a Monday to meet a friend for dinner?
- Power Desk talks over you on a conference call?
- Controlled Chaos tells you they don’t think that deadline is reasonable?
- Trophy Display spends twenty minutes chatting to a co-worker about this weekend’s golf game?
These are just a few examples, but I think the message is loud and clear. Our credibility, reliability, and even upward mobility may be influenced by the message that our desk says about us.
What does your desk say about you? And, more importantly, is it what you want it to say?
by Channon C.