When I was in college, I was randomly assigned to room 1313 Washington Hall. It worked out fine for me, but even being on the 13th floor bothers some people so much that many hotels and skyscrapers skip the number 13 when designating spaces. The elevator is marked from 12 to 14, thus reducing the fears of those who are superstitious or feel that the number is somehow unlucky.

But think about this for a moment. Just because you skipped 13 on the elevator button does not mean that there isn’t a thirteenth floor. Of course, there is. It’s purely a mind game but easier for the owner to play than dealing with pushback or undesirable real estate. The trepidation may not be logical or warranted but it is still real for people.

Is there a “13” in your organization where through a simple renaming you can avoid angst or anger? How you label something can make all the difference.

An elevator panel that skips the number 13 (Source: Wikipedia)

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