Business promises are a tough thing. Your customers expect you to keep them. If you don't, it can hurt your brand.
Sometimes companies demand employees to keep promises in areas like not going to work for competitors. It's often not possible to make those pledges stick.
Then there are promises that companies should really never make or ask. And the promises that political candidates should know better than to ever offer.
Michael Bloomberg, billionaire media business owner and former mayor of New York City, has crossed the line in his quest to become president. Passed by the bounds of petty reason in a way that, surprisingly, offers a pointer for entrepreneurs.
The big reveal: Never plan on putting everything into an open office space. Here's how it came up on Twitter:
As president, I'll turn the East Room into an open office plan, where I'll sit with our team.-- Mike Bloomberg (@MikeBloomberg) December 30, 2019
I'll use the Oval Office for some official functions - never for tweeting - but the rest of the time, I'll be where a leader should be: with the team. https://t.co/zIU3ZL5uIv pic.twitter.com/jLwWKJCmxw
Bloomberg, no stranger to a corner office or the need for working spaces to help people do what they need to, just promised to bring the open office structure to the White House just as the knee-jerk adoption of the strategy has been losing favor after some years of fad adoption. But there are multiple fundamental reasons why this makes no sense for the seat of the executive branch:
- The first thought is that security is a major issue for an administration and not everyone working at the White House has the same level of clearance. Having everyone in the room potentially able to see and hear serious things they aren't supposed to raises operational issues. Probably legal ones as well.
- An administration has a vast amount of responsibility and while different agencies have their own offices, it all has to come together at some point. Do you have a cacophony of conflicting topics babbling about at the same time? How do people keep focused?
- People need time and space to think and work, especially when you are working on legislation and policies that are complex and need deep thought.
- Governance is always a political process. There is constant negotiation between departments, with members of Congress, and other interested parties. That requires tact and privacy.
Such practical considerations should rule out an open office structure immediately. Many of these considerations apply to any business. In fact, Bloomberg's media empire has, over the years, repeatedly criticized the open office concept. Here are some examples:
Any time someone suggests that there's a magic form of organization or structure that will fix problems before stepping into the environment to be fixed, quickly get out of the way. Disaster is imminent.
Also, one question: Does Mike Bloomberg sit in an open office at his media company? If not, everyone's eyebrows should be arcing upwards.