Word Clouds. We’ve all seen them. Maybe we’ve made (or tried to make) them. But what is the point?
I’ll tell you. Every year, we do a group exercise with SoapBoxSample and icanmakeitbetter where everyone is asked to submit words to describe the coming year. Then we combine them all into a word cloud and give a printed copy to each person to display on their desks (in a fun, colorful frame.) We started doing this back in 2015, as a way to mark the end of not-so-great era. You can read about that first word cloud creation here.
Since then, it’s become a tradition. A blown-up version is posted in my office and in the conference room.
Language is powerful. But visual cues can be even more so. When you combine words with visual elements you can end up with a powerful one-two punch that can help people focus their efforts, become inspired and create a shared experience.
Aside from the personal benefits to the individual, having visual cues in the workplace (like colorful art) can provide a sense of place. Who wants to work in a boring, generic space that looks exactly like every other office? Not me.
What does our art say about us? Maybe it says that employees are so engrossed in their work that they might forget what year it is. But hopefully it conveys a sense of shared values, the concept that we are all working together to achieve something, and the uniformity of duplicate images on each desk conveys that we are all on the same page.
Company culture is something that I think about a lot. Creating a single image that every employee has a personal connection to is a powerful tool, and also it looks pretty. And also it’s fun to guess who contributed what word. One of our project managers contributed the phrase “Woof-woof” for this year’s cloud. Guess he’s planning on getting another dog?
What word would you use to describe 2018 so far? Tweet me your words @jax_rosales