4 min read

📰 🍄🐚 Organizational Mycology – March 7, 2023

This week we are running our Oblique Thinking Hour on Building Empathy Through Visual Intelligence. Sign up details below !👇

These interactive workshops are a great way to experience co-creative work with other. We will use small group breakouts and prompting images to delve into how we think and see differently. You'll develop more empathy for how individual experiences  shape the way people see the world around them and you'll come away with at least one technique for use in your organization's teams.

This week we're taking a look at the four day work week. We're interested in how this organizational constraint can open up new ways of being in organizations. We then explore a project Dan Sholler has been doing on how work and occupations are changing in America. We end with upcoming events.

As always, if you want to engage with us, or just have a chat, hit reply and start a conversation!

🤔 Something that caught our eye

We’ve been watching with great interest as organizations pilot and implement 4-day work weeks. We think of 4-day work weeks as a particular tactic for the more general effort to build collective action and “efficiency” into an organization in ways that can be supported by all. In one case of a company in New Zealand, Perpetual Guardian, the leadership encouraged the company to re-think how they self-evaluated productivity, and how these measures would be different with one less day in the week. Putting staff in the driver’s seat to shape any new policy deployment is an important way to make sure a new policy is well thought-through, sensitive to worker realities, and doesn't’ feel like it was dropped from above.

Companies can fall into the trap of limited impact and performance improvements from rewarding individuals, when in reality their work depends on other's efforts. Focusing rewards on individuals can backfire because it may seed division among co-workers, motivate only those who did not need additional motivation, or exclude workers whose on-the-job or off-the-job circumstances misalign with the design of the incentive program.

When the rewards are collective, there is a potential to bring teams together rather than driving them apart. What are some ways that you might build a collective reward into a team or collaboration you’re involved with?

Co-designing a 4-day work week might be one way to engage your entire team or business in a collective reward system, yet even with this seemingly win-win scenario, it’s important to be mindful of the drawbacks:

  • Are you asking your workers to overextend themselves on the remaining days?
  • Do particular workers have home lives that are structured around a 5-day work week, and would this change introduce problems?

When co-designing any new policy, make room for voices to dissent from the direction of the change in ways that don’t jeopardize their standing with coworkers or management.

💪🏼What we’ve been up to

Dan has been working with the Stanford Digital Economy Lab’s (SDEL) Working in America project to explore how new technologies–particularly artificial intelligence, machine learning, and automation–are shaping modern jobs. Dan is interviewing U.S. workers across 50 occupations, asking a broad set of questions about their career trajectories. He investigates how their skills and occupational tasks have changed, how they view the outlook for the future of their job and industry, and how they are adapting to both technological and economic change. The resulting website will put these occupational stories in conversation with a suite of quantitative data.

This will produce a report on the Future of Economic Mobility, Workforce, and Inequality for California 100, a multi-institutional research effort that aims to understand and inform California’s economic and governmental strategy for the next century. In addition to the report and qualitative interviews with California workers, the project developed “Future Scenarios” for California--an exercise that challenges us to envision both positive and negative outcomes for California’s workforce over the next 10 to 100 years. “Futures Thinking” is a creative technique that asks participants to account for historical trajectories and current realities when thinking about what the world might look like at a set time in the future. Using four potential outcomes, groups can then collectively develop strategies to promote or avoid particular outcomes.  

🔮 Interested in doing a Futures Thinking session for your team or organization? Reply to this newsletter or reach out at [email protected]!

We have developed frameworks for identifying who should be at the table in these conversations, how to facilitate identification of desirable and undesirable outcomes, and techniques for developing and using strategies to start you on the path to where you want to go as a team or company.

🎈Engage with us...

Oblique Thinking Hour – Coming up on March 8th / 9th (depending on your side of the dateline), we will be offering a repeat of our Building Empathy Through Visual Intelligence workshop. This workshop will use small group breakouts and a prompting image to delve into how people think and see differently. In the process, you'll develop more empathy for how individual experiences and talents shape the way people see the world around them. You'll come away with at least one technique for surfacing and discussing these differences within your organization's teams. All are welcome that agree to abide by our Code of Conduct.

Two times are available for this event:

We're (virtually) going to MozFest! - OrgMycology team members will be running and participating in two MozFest workshops. Register for MozFest and pay what you can to support this awesome event. Details are here (see session time in your timezone) and the pay what you can MozFest registration link. We would LOVE to see you at both events!

🌲Dan, Beth and Jonah will  be doing a Biomimetic Problem Solving Session on March 21, at 12:00pm PST.  

🌉 Beth will be doing a workshop on her Boundary Spanning Work on March 20th at 12:30pm PST.  

Contact us at [email protected]