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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Monday, September 08, 2003
    Shut windows and the organisation's soul
     
    Where your organisation is based must impact on how your organisation works, thinks, talks, communes. Place affects the organisation's soul. That must be why there's such a market in industrial landscaping, and 'quality-of-life' commercial centres springing up in our inner cities.

    Once, The Iona Community lived among Glasgow's struggling dock workers and their families, housed in a people's institution in Govan, The Pierce Institute, devoted to the cause of the urban poor.

    Today, I've been at their new offices in Sauchiehall Street, at the heart of the city's shining shopping area. Opposite Dixons, almost next to HMV, it's a dream for the casual-spending visitor. What's it doing to the Community's psyche, though, its malleable soul? You don't get many jobless dockers on Sauchiehall Street today, there are few dockers now and the jobless ones I'd guess mainly shop in less conspicuous centres.

    Perhaps the closest in spirit is the busker who plays endless grungy rock standards (I blogged about him last time I visited - here). Staff close their windows to him. Now, you can understand that - I would too, even if it was the real Eric Clapton repeating "Wonderful Tonight" ad nauseum four floors below. But - shut windows and the soul. What's the effect on the organisation's soul.....?