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

How humans think when they think as part of a group

Anne says: Most people are familiar with the concept of groupthink, but how many of you are familiar with entitativity?

This article was fascinating – not only does the storytelling style draw you into the example, but the challenge of thinking about groups working together to achieve tasks without groupthink was also fascinating. It follows a similar line of argument about the wisdom of crowds, but in this instance, the study was focusing on “socially distributed cognition”.

The research study centred around how collective thought produced enhanced outcomes that an individual would not be able to achieve. Yet, many of our current systems encourage and reward individual thinking, achievement and competition against the value of cooperation and collaboration. Perhaps this has arisen as an antidote to groupthink that results, in some cases, in disastrous outcomes. Meanwhile, we struggle with information overload, specialisation, and complex problems, this all tends to make our own perspectives rather narrow. Why are we not encouraging more work in groups?

The article describes three conditions that enable sophisticated group thinking:

  1. synchrony: coordinating our actions, including our physical movements, so that they are like the actions of others.

  2. shared arousal: participating in a stimulating emotional or physical experience along with others.

  3. perspective-taking: in which the group takes turns seeing how the world looks through the eyes of one of its members.

And that’s how a group achieves entitativity – or a sense of groupiness! The concluding section of the article outlines how this can be established in our current working environments. Some of the strategies include social activities, acknowledging that we’re social beings. However, in our current uncertain times with lockdowns and distributed teams, it highlights for me what aspects we need to be paying more attention to – as the author comments: “Eating together is a more intimate act than looking over an Excel spreadsheet together.”

This is a compelling concept that right now needs more attention than we’re affording it. While we plan the return to the office, hybrid models of work, and distributed teams, how can we intentionally design ways for people to achieve entitativity?

Read: https://www.wired.com/story/how-humans-think-when-they-think-group/

3 phrases make you sound totally insensitive. Try these others to communicate with empathy

Jakkii says: While we’re all dealing with various levels of pandemic stress and general “over it”-ness, I think it’s particularly important that we take extra care in how we communicate with one another, from really listening to being thoughtful and purposeful with our responses, a little bit of empathy forms the basis of a great deal of kindness that, frankly, we could all use more of right now.

This is a short article that looks at three useful phrases, as well as three phrases to avoid, when trying to communicate more compassionately with one another, not least employees and colleagues who might be struggling more than usual at the moment.

Phrases to use:

  • “I appreciate what you said about . . .”

  • “I’m sorry that I misunderstood what you said.”

  • “What I hear you saying is [. . .]. Did I get that right?”

And phrases to avoid:

  • “I know how you feel.”

  • “This reminds me of the time I…”

  • “You’ll be okay / You’ll get through it / It’ll all work out.”

As always, have a read through the article for the why’s behind these, and let me know what you think – do you already use the more compassionate phrases? If not, or if not all the time, hopefully this is a prompt for all of us to take stock and try to ensure we’re helping people feel heard and supported in our communications with each other, itself a great way to build and maintain strong relationships and a positive team culture in the workplace.

Read: https://www.fastcompany.com/90650883/these-3-phrases-make-you-sound-totally-insensitive-try-these-others-to-communicate-with-empathy

Staying home, staying safe

Jakkii says: Here we go again. As I write, some 12 million Australians are back in lockdown. If you’re lucky, your local lockdown might be ending sometime in the next day or so, but if it isn’t – or if you’re planning on staying home anyway just to be safe – here are a few ways to keep occupied from home:

Friday Fives

Hybrid workplace and the future of work

Remote work and the digital workplace

Communication, collaboration, engagement, and culture

Community management, moderation and misinformation

Privacy and data

Big Tech, tech and regulation

Social media

Extras

This is interesting: How a Soviet miner from the 1930s helped create today’s intense corporate workplace culture

Things that make you go hmmm: UFOs are real. That’s the easy part. Now here’s the hard part.

Space: Venus is more ‘Earth-like’ than scientists ever thought after groundbreaking discovery of tectonic action

Podcast: Creating boundaries in our everyday work

Friday playlist: DC Lockdown 2.0

Sydney Business Insights – The Future, This Week Podcast

This week: what if the science behind your favourite TED Talk was wrong?

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

11:00 – What if the science behind your favourite TED Talk was wrong?

Listen: https://sbi.sydney.edu.au/ted-talks-and-science-on-the-future-this-week/


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