Walls are amazing things when you think about it. They are what divides one space from another. They define boundaries of rooms and space. And yet, if one takes a moment to think about it, there is not much to a wall. Just a stretch of material, however thin, spread out across a space. Walls don’t even have to be solid; some of the most important walls have gaps in them!
No matter what kind of wall it is, walls are all around us. It seems like every day you hear a speech about people that want to break down walls or you read an article about walls people have built up. Sometimes people want to build up one wall while taking another down. Regardless of the direction the wall is going, I feel like they are always applied to large issues. That the election of a non-white president was breaking down racial walls. That politicians need to tear down walls and work across the aisle. The problem is that these are Great Wall size issues and, while important and worthy of discussion, are not the things you and I probably deal with on a daily basis. Instead, I urge you to think about the smaller walls you might erect, perhaps without even thinking about it. Walls that are mere inches or fractions of inches in thickness rather than several feet or yards wide.
These small walls can have a profound impact on interactions - just think of a bathroom with no walls for the stalls. Small walls can make all the difference – both for better and for worse. For example, not including certain functional areas, individuals, or groups on the distribution of a memo or report can build a wall. Withholding information can create a wall. Not giving the full context of an email string when talking about the end result can build a wall. Not taking the time to make a quick fix for somebody can build a wall. You get the idea.
The beauty and the burden of all of this is that the choices are all yours. You decide how to interact with people and how to treat people. You decide if you are going to pause a moment to see if everybody is on board or if you are just going to keep talking. The largest walls start small and then layers are added over time. Be careful about how you create your walls. Relationships are what makes things work or not work. Connections make business happen.
Are you building walls?
This has been a Thought From The Cake Scraps.