Out of the Office

To belong, or not to belong


One of the projects I’m currently working on is to create a new Intranet for Citrix. As part of that, we’ve started to discuss “what does it mean to be a citizen of a company?”

We’re lucky to be getting some creative inspiration from  CCA’s dMBA 2nd year Experience Design class (taught by Nathan Shedroff).

The students are exploring the theme of membership and presented their research findings this weekend.

Here are my key takeaways:

Varying Levels of engagement:

  • Obligatory Membership v. Voluntary (e.g. draftees v. volunteers…however everyone is a veteran after returning home)
  • In body or in mind (am I doing yoga for exercise or for the spiritual side; likewise I may be at work for the job, my career or as a calling … go read Chip Conley’s Peak: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo from Maslow)

How membership works:

  • Rituals & Common Language (company acronyms, celebrations, etc)
  • Support Network or family-like relationships (think buddy programs and mentoring)
  • Defining who is “in” and “out” of the group
  • Feeling like you are part of something bigger
  • Sense of obligation; requirements to contribute
  • Some groups are defined by a shared struggle or challenge (e.g., weight watchers)
  • Leaving a group (alums)

Thanks CCA for the sparks!


2 thoughts on “To belong, or not to belong

  1. Hi, Julie. It’s Gerard Palmeri. Just thinking that you setup your thinking in “versus” or “or” tones where I see much of people’s thinking as “both/and”, being combinations and gradations of the polarities you establish. Also, in this post at least, you don’t mention the utility of the intranet. I think the best intranets I’ve seen in my work life have been the ones that have been the most used. It seems like every answer to every question that people have regarding their work, their relationship to their company, the functions they need to perform or even some facets of their personal life are easily engaged with via the intranet. Good luck with everything and wish you lots of success!

  2. HI Gerard!
    Thanks for the thoughtful note. Good point about it being “both/and” We’re hoping to make an intranet like the one you describe…where it becomes a real hub for getting work done, meeting other people, getting questions answered and feeling like you are part of something. I think there’s a lot of untapped potential in the intranet space to really help people connect – especially now that work is so distributed, there are lots of remote teams and there’s little separation between work and non-work (who really has work/life balance?)


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