Don’t be a Monkey

There is an old story about company policy that goes as such:

Subject: Company Policy

Start with a cage containing five monkeys. Inside the cage, hang a banana on a string and place a set of stairs under it.  Before long, a monkey will go to the stairs and start to climb towards the banana. As soon as he touches the stairs, spray all of the other monkeys with cold water. After a while, another monkey makes an attempt with the same result – all the other monkeys are sprayed with cold water. Pretty soon, when another monkey tries to climb the stairs, the other monkeys will try to prevent it.


Now, put away the cold water. Remove one monkey from the cage and replace it with a new one. The new monkey sees the banana and wants to climb the stairs. To his surprise and horror, all of the other monkeys attack him. After another attempt and attack, he knows that if he tries to climb the stairs, he will be assaulted.

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Cubicles Do Not Exist In This Dojo

In 2006, when Birk opened up its news 18,000 square foot addition to its existing building, it was decided that Engineering would move its offices from the front of the building to the new extension.  We had chosen the middle office at the rear of the new building because it was one of the larger rooms and we needed to house between five to seven people.  We were approached as to how we wanted the room arranged with regards to placement of desks, filing cabinets and shelving units, and then were asked how many cubicle walls we would need in order to separate the room.  We said none.

When working with the Birk Engineering Department, you are assigned to an engineer who will oversee your application and design engineering needs in order to deliver your final product.  Even though you are assigned to a particular engineer and may have only direct contact with one of us, in essence you are working with the whole team.  We have an open office floor plan because we believe the only way to provide you with the optimal design for your end need is to have an open forum. In this way we can all share our ideas with each other.  We always have open discussions about current projects and encourage this practice so that everyone can share their ideas and bring in past design experiences in order to solve our easiest and most difficult applications.

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