THE BLUE TREE
Welcome to a lesson on company culture and a democratic organisation.
This lesson is based on a fragment from a series “For All Mankind” available on Apple TV.
It discusses the topic of open space office layout, democratic decision making and company culture.
Answer the questions below. Listen to sample answers. Report back what you heard.
- How would you describe the company culture of the firm you work for?
- Do you think companies should be run tightly or rather more liberally?
- Can the rules of democracy be implemented in the business setting?
Study the language below. All of these words will appear in the video we will watch later in this lesson.
1. “Is this your first time at Helios?”
Polish Translation: Czy to jest twój pierwszy raz w Helios?
Usage: This question is often used to ask someone if they have been to or experienced something before, in this case, “Helios,” which could be a place or an event.
Polish Translation: Piłkarzyki
Usage: This word refers to a table game which simulates soccer, where players turn rods fixed on top of a playing box to kick the ball and score goals.
3. Hierarchical Structure
Polish Translation: Struktura hierarchiczna
Usage: It refers to an organizational structure where every entity in the organization, except one, is subordinate to a single other entity.
Polish Translation: Kolektyw
Usage: This term usually denotes a group of entities that share or are motivated by at least one common issue or interest.
5. “What is it you wanted to see me about?”
Polish Translation: O czym chciałeś ze mną rozmawiać?
Usage: This phrase is used to ask someone about the reason they wanted to meet or talk.
6. “How come?”
Polish Translation: Jak to?
Usage: This is an informal way to ask “why?” or to express surprise or disbelief about something.
7. “He is not going to cut it / It’s not gonna cut it”
Polish Translation: On sobie nie poradzi / To nie wystarczy
Usage: This expression is used when someone or something is not sufficient or capable enough to meet the requirements or expectations.
8. Laugh at Somebody
Polish Translation: Śmiać się z kogoś
Usage: This expression is used when someone finds another person’s actions, words, or situation amusing or ridiculous.
Polish Translation: Wiarygodność
Usage: This term refers to the quality of being trusted and believed in.
Polish Translation: Galwanizować, pobudzić do działania
Usage: This verb means to shock or excite someone into taking action.
11. To Buckle Under Pressure
Polish Translation: Załamać się pod presją
Usage: This expression is used when someone cannot handle stress or pressure and fails to perform or respond appropriately.
12. Thrive Under Pressure
Polish Translation: Kwitnąć pod presją
Usage: This phrase describes someone who performs well and is successful in high-pressure situations.
13. “Bring it in.”
Polish Translation: Zbierzmy się.
Usage: This phrase is often used to ask people to come closer together, usually for a group huddle or a team meeting.
14. “She has just pitched me an idea.”
Polish Translation: Ona właśnie przedstawiła mi pewien pomysł.
Usage: This phrase is used when someone has proposed or suggested an idea to the speaker.
15. “That’d be radical.”
Polish Translation: To by było wspaniałe.
Usage: This phrase means that something would be extremely wonderful
16. Babe Ruth
Polish Translation: Babe Ruth
Usage: This is the name of a famous American baseball player, recognized as one of the greatest sports heroes in American culture.
17. “No offense.”
Polish Translation: Bez obrazy.
Usage: This phrase is often used as a disclaimer before or after a potentially offensive statement, meaning no disrespect is intended.
18. “To be stuck in his ways”
Polish Translation: Utknąć w swoich nawykach
Usage: This expression describes someone who is unwilling or finds it hard to change their habits or views.
19. “I hear what you are saying.”
Polish Translation: Słyszę, co mówisz.
Usage: This phrase is often used to acknowledge that the speaker understands the other person’s point of view or opinion.
20. No Brainer
Polish Translation: Rzecz oczywista
Usage: This term refers to a decision or choice that is very easy to make and requires little thought.
21. “All in favour, raise your hands.”
Polish Translation: Wszyscy za, proszę podnieść ręce.
Usage: This phrase is typically used to conduct a vote, where those in agreement with a proposition are asked to raise their hands.
watch the video
Watch the video. It’s a fragment of a series “For All Mankind” from Apple TV. A woman comes to an office of Helios. She talks to the boss of this company. They discuss a candidate for a job. Later a decision is made.
When you watch this video, focus on how the office looks like and what the decision making process is like.
Answer these comprehension questions.
Some of them are quite detailed, so watch the film again if you need to.
- ⌚ 0:19 Has Karen been in this office before?
- ⌚ 0:32 What are some of the things Karen is surprised about?
- ⌚ 0:43 Why does Karen begin with the question: “Is this your office?”?
- ⌚ 0:54 How did Dev describe the work culture at Helios?
- ⌚ 1:26 What drink does Dev offer Karen?
- ⌚ 2:25 Who did Karen recommend for the position of Mars expedition leader?
- ⌚ 2:35 Why doesn’t Ed want to work for NASA anymore?
- ⌚ 2:55 What happens when Dev says: “Hey, everybody, bring it in.”
- ⌚ 3:23 How do people react to the idea of Ed Baldwin becoming the leader of their expedition?
- ⌚ 4:04 How is the decision finally made?
When talking about company culture you can use many different adjectives. Go through this poll. Listen to and read the short description of each pair of adjectives. Check any new language if necessary.
Use your answers to create a description of company culture of your current or former employer.
Discuss these questions. Refer to the video fragment you have just seen and your own experience.
- What do you think of the open office plan of modern offices?
- How would you feel working for Helios?
- Should companies take care of employees wellbeeing?
- What do you think of Dev sitting together with everybody else?
- What do you think of the democratic decision making process shown in this clip?
- What are the pros and cons of adopting democracy in a business context?