Skip the Meeting, Change The World

Meetings, tweeting, brainstorming, open floor plans. How much of your work in PR is done alone? From workplace trends in the past 20 years, one would guess very little. This “groupthink,” or herd-style working, could be leading to less creativity, says one author.

Susan Cain, who wrote Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking cites Apple’s Steve Wozniak and Isaac Newton as two famous loners who  prove her point. Some people can be friendly but just don’t like being part of a crowd. They need alone time to recharge. Quiet time, without jabbering or constant interruption, is when they do their best work. Not that I’m projecting or anything.

Cain describes Woz as the creative introvert who spent hours working alone in a garage designing a personal computer that would revolutionize the world. He wanted to give it away for free. Enter Steve Jobs, and the partnership flourished.

There has got to be more respect for the introvert. So much more work can get done if people are allowed to be alone with their thoughts. Collaboration is great, but anyone who’s survived the daily gathering (the “editorial meeting” in journalist-speak) in a big office knows how it can derail a whole day’s work.

The New Yorker gives its on “groupthink” in this week’s issue as well.