exterior-south-side-010913My company is building a beautiful new headquarters, and I’m lucky enough to play a significant role in it. I have the pleasure–and it really is a pleasure–of overseeing the furniture, fabrics, fixtures, and finishes for all things interior. Over the past several months, I’ve learned more about office systems, upholstery, paint, veneer, laminate, and seat pans than I even knew existed. And I’ve had fun doing it.

Every now and then, I’ll stop dead in my tracks. I’m responsible for the interior of this impressive new building. Me. Moi. Yours truly. The realization always takes me by surprise, and it humbles me. That’s a lot of responsibility.

Of course, I’m working with an interior designer, as well as some very capable (and talented) vendors. I’m not flying solo here. Nonetheless, one principle has tempered every decision I’ve made. When I make  a choice at odds with the suggestion of our interior designer, I tell her this:

No one will remember your name when this is all over, but EVERYONE will know where I sit.

Anyone who fosters a gripe about the comfort and aesthetics of the new building’s interior will quickly and easily find his way to my office. My involvement in this process has been no secret, nor should it be. Because of that, I constantly have to balance what suits my own taste with what is appropriate for the company, what best serves the most people, what makes the most financial sense, what will stand the test of time, and what will be most widely accepted. I can’t simply disappear when the project is complete; I will carry the responsibility for my decisions for a long time.

As this project draws to a close in the next few months, I realize that this lesson is far more important than anything I’ve learned about paint or furniture. No matter what I do, I can’t (or shouldn’t) make decisions in a vacuum. Someone will always know where I sit.

That changes everything.

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