Friday Faves is our weekly blog series highlighting a few select pieces from the REG team’s reading lists. You can catch up on past Friday Faves on the archive

This week’s cartoon

Anne says: The cover design for the New York Times Magazine represents the special issue on the future of work. There’s some interesting topics and feature articles (see below for my Friday Fave selection), but the cover cartoon really captures some of the elements and absurdity of how we work. There’s an accompanying video explainer, called “Behind the cover” linked below, but I think the quote from the design director captures the essence of the cartoon interpretation.

Gail Bichler, design director: “For our special issue on the future of work, in which we interrogate the ways workers can take back power, we commissioned Tom Gauld to illustrate an office scene for our cover. He injected humor into what could have been a dull setting, creating an intricate and extremely detailed illustration that reflects the often hierarchical nature of the workplace and invites readers to imagine themselves within it.”

Viewhttps://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/21/magazine/behind-the-cover-the-future-of-work.html

And now, introducing Intergenerational Consulting – seriously…

Anne says: One of the featured articles in the Future of Work edition of the New York Times Magazine caught my attention. OK – the title and subtitle caught my attention!

Need to Keep Gen Z Workers Happy? Hire a ‘Generational Consultant’
As the thinking goes, millennial and Gen Z professionals have different values — and companies need a whole new approach to recruit and keep them.

A generational consultant?? What on earth is that? Right at the start, after a set of questions I couldn’t relate to (clearly I’m from another planet or generation not listed) in the first paragraph, moving on to explain the demographics that confront current workforces (there are now 5 generations in the workplace), followed by some sweeping generalisations about the different demographic groups, I was plunged into a cynical state. We all live together, day to day, is it that weird to work together? Are we really that different that we need specialist consultants?

The supporting evidence includes preferences for how we work – use of video as a resume versus submitting a resume. These are just processes – can we claim that these processes can’t be altered because we were born at a certain date?

The remaining examples are either hardware or software examples imposed by the organisation, not by the user preferences. There are some valid issues raised, but again, is it based on when we happen to have been born? Perhaps we need to all try some collaborative processes that enable us to understand that many of these generational stereotypes become easy excuses for avoiding change in the workplace. Perhaps if we all talked together about new ways of working and approached the processes with a different mindset, we might actually create the type of places that engage all generations. We already have the technology platforms available, we just need to use them, differently!

Readhttps://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/02/19/magazine/millennials-gen-z-consulting.html

Obituary: Katherine Johnson

Anne says: Katharine Johnson was relatively unknown until a book, then movie in 2016 rocketed her (excuse the pun) into the modern celebrity status. If you’re not aware of who she was, she was one of the team of African-American women mathematicians who worked at NASA in the 1950s-60s. In fact, she was the one did the trajectory calculations in 1961 for the Freedom 7 Mission.

An incredible story, for an amazing mind, unrecognised for most of her life. A silent achiever. An inspiration to break through the stereotypes. There are many articles covering her life achievements, this news release links to just a few.

Here’s to challenging and breaking through the barriers to create new ways of working.

Readhttps://www.theguardian.com/science/2020/feb/24/katherine-johnson-nasa-mathematician-hidden-figures-dies-101

Nearly 100 leadership models

Christoph says: This week I would like to share a different kind of resource. It is not an article but a collection of almost 100 leadership models. Someone at the HR Trend Institute seemed to have crawled the depth of the Internet to surface great, well-intended, surprising and poor leadership models. If you are tasked to come up or redevelop an existing leadership model at your company, this is the go-to resource.

Here is what I noticed flipping through all the models:

The Leader as Jack of all Trades

  • Some of the models are so encompassing and ambitious that it is hard to believe that those kinds of people exist. In German, we would call such people an “eierlegende Wollmilchsau” – essentially a pig that also lays eggs and gives wool and milk. But I assume these models are used as a guiding north star that leaders should aspire to instead of reaching it.

Different Leadership Styles

  • What is nice to see is how different leadership styles transpire through those models. There are styles from old-school people manager to servant leader to visionary leader. When you apply for a job the next time around, ask to see the leadership model. It will tell you much about how the organisation thinks about its people.

Leadership applies to everyone

  • Apart from the models that explicitly state “managing others”, most models can really also be applied to any employee, including the ones without a formal leadership role. And personally, I think this is a good thing. Too often employees wait for orders from above and wait to be told even though they may know better. No, any employee can become a leader even without formal powers.

Wording

  • The wording in many of the models is surprisingly interchangeable. Probably the words most often used are courage, vision, relationships, results, empowerment. Only one model explicitly states “humour” as a key trait.

Readhttps://hrtrendinstitute.com/2020/02/24/nearly-100-leadership-models/

This leap day and year would be the last ever if two scholars have their way

Jakkii says: If you’ve been half-asleep for the start of this year and hadn’t already realised, let me jolt you awake: 2020 is a leap year, so all those leap babies you’ve met over the years are finally turning another year older. ; )

I couldn’t help but click through to this article, as the thought process of leap years has always been fascinating to me – and the idea that people think there could be a better way is always of interest. After all, isn’t that what we’re supposed to be after when we’re constantly talking about ‘innovation’ in the workplace?

The scholars in question propose not only doing away with leap years, but changing the calendar to 364 days, and changing the length of some months to do it. It seems logical the way it’s been described. What’s interesting, though, is to consider our knee-jerk reactions to the proposal of such a change. For myself, my number one thought was “what about my birthday??” And followed immediately by “people would never agree to this” and finally, followed by “… or would they?”

We see these types of things play out in our workplaces all the time, from dismissing our own ideas out of the hat based on some perceived notion of feasibility or acceptability, to making assumptions about what others will think, feel, say or do, to cutting off creative new ideas because they might be disruptive or challenge the status quo. What we often need more of is the last question, the wonder – would they, could they, can we, should we… ? Of course, we do, at some stage, need to evaluate ideas for feasibility, and we do need to assess whether they’ll prove useful. But sometimes to be truly innovative we need to be bold, we need to be brave, and we need to cultivate our collective sense of wonder to ask “what if?”

Readhttps://www.washingtonpost.com/science/this-leap-day-and-year-would-be-the-last-ever-if-two-scholars-have-their-way/2020/02/21/9fb8ad70-5345-11ea-9e47-59804be1dcfb_story.html

This is cool: Photos from inside a tree reveal intimate lives of wild honeybees

Jakkii says: Bees are vital to our ecosystems and food production – and they’re also under threat. Not just from urbanisation and from climate change, but also – apparently – from organised crime. Researchers have also expressed concern about the impact of “bee-washing” (no, that’s not washing bees with water – read the article for more info).

For this week, though, I wanted to share this collection of amazing photos from inside a tree, published on the National Geographic, that shows the ‘secret lives’ of wild honeybees. There’s some great info in the article that accompanies it, too, but it’s the photos that really captured my attention – make sure you click through and check them out!

Readhttps://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2020/03/photos-reveal-wild-honeybees-intimate-lives-inside-a-tree-feature/

Tech Friday Five

Social Media Friday Five

Sydney Business Insights – The Future This Week Podcast

This week: Tesla’s computing advantage, Italy’s population crisis and gravitational batteries. Sandra Peter (Sydney Business Insights) and Kai Riemer (Digital Disruption Research Group) meet once a week to put their own spin on news that is impacting the future of business in The Future, This Week.

The stories this week

05:05 – Tesla’s real potential for disruption

20:55 – Italy’s population crisis

31:17 – robot of the week: Energy Vault’s tower of bricks

Other stories we bring up

Kickstarter has successfully unionised

IKEA lets customers pay using time

Floating Farms

The ‘Bracelet of Silence’

Mashable on Tesla’s Model 3 teardown and how advanced its technology is over other automakers

Our previous conversations of Tesla’s service integration on TFTW

Is Tesla really a disruptor?

Tesla the data company

What Tesla records with its cars

Tesla remotely disabled the autopilot feature

Our previous conversation of demographic timebombs on TFTW

Italian Town offers free rent and zero taxes to families ready to move there

Listenhttp://sbi.sydney.edu.au/teslas-computing-advantage-and-italys-population-crisis-on-the-future-this-week/


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