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Work Futures Daily - Adapting to Revue


Work Futures

October 2 · Issue #1003 · View online
The ecology of work, and the anthropology of the future.

It’s the little things.
Beacon NY - 2018-10-02 -— Revue’s editor works pretty well; much better than Tinyletter. But I find I am still having to work around how it does what it does. For example, there doesn’t seem to be a way to insert a horizontal rule in the middle of a text section. So I am going to start using images as dividers. Today’s are images of horizontal rules, but I might get more creative.
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Long Takes
What do you do when your employer strays from its mission?
About one in eight employees cite their employer’s mission as the main reason they stay on the job, according to a recent survey of 36,348 workers by Comparably, a workplace culture and salary site. Companies often embrace lofty mission statements partly to retain workers, such as vowing “to inspire humanity” ( JetBlue ) or “to refresh the world in mind, body and spirit” ( Coca-Cola ).
However, intense pursuit of a mission can foster groupthink and resistance to change. Companies need naysayers to bring problems to light—even though speaking up can jeopardize their standing in the organization, or even their job.
A must read (paywall!).
Implicit Bias Isn’t Discrimination. But It Leads to It | Richard Morgon tries to delineate the line between discriminatory behavior and implicit bias which is unconscious thinking:
Implicit bias is a trendy explanation for everyday discrimination. In the wake of high-profile bias incidents, companies and organizations often prescribe implicit bias training without knowing what actually caused the incident in question. And that, says some experts in the field, is a big problem. Implicit bias is subconscious thought. Although it might lead to discrimination, there’s no way to know without testing someone in a lab.
“Our whole discipline has no business explaining individual instances of behavior,” says Liz Redford, a consultant with the nonprofit Project Implicit, which does implicit bias research, education, and consulting.
Here’s the problem with the way the phrase gets bandied about: When a landlord uses Facebook’s ad targeting system to exclude Latinos and blacks from seeing apartment listings, or a lawyer harasses workers in a New York deli, that’s discrimination, which is behavior.
Jimmy Calanchini, a social psychologist at University of California, Riverside, says, “Every time another headline blames something on implicit bias, the other cognitive scientists and behavioral scientists in my social media circle do a collective eye roll.”
Cognitive scientists study trends and examine big-picture data to try and determine what we can learn about implicit bias on a societal level; there’s little research value to a handful of incidents. And even if the experts could agree that implicit bias is indeed the sole cause of headline-grabbing discrimination, they don’t necessarily agree on what to do about it.
It’s better to focus on policies that spell out acceptable and unacceptable behaviors instead of trying to shame people into struggle against unconscious biases.
And I love this anecdote:
[Liz] Redford recounts the example of the Boston Symphony, which wanted to hire more women and began offering blind auditions in 1952. The belief was this would help judges overcome their biases against female musicians. But it didn’t work: The symphony still only seemed to hire men. Finally, someone realized the problem: The tapping of heels gave the female candidates away. A new policy asked candidates to remove their shoes before auditions. Suddenly, the gender imbalance began to correct itself.

Short Takes
WeWork Is Launching a Venture Fund for the ‘Future of Work’ | WeWork’s head of M&A, Emily Keeton, is point on the new WeWork Creator Fund.
*Achieving Robotically Peeled Lettuce | A group of researchers have developed a lettuce peeling robot, another step toward an automated food chain.
This Health Care AI Loves Terrible Software | An AI program called Olive has been trained to operate existing ‘crappy’ health care applications, and to automate tasks like insurance eligibility checks and claim status denials.
The Mix That Matters: Innovation Through Diversity | A group at the Boston Consulting Group, ask and answer an important question:
When companies undertake efforts to make their management teams more diverse by adding women and people from other countries, industries, and companies, does it pay off? In the critical area of innovation, the answer seems to be yes. A study of 171 German, Swiss, and Austrian companies shows a clear relationship between the diversity of companies’ management teams and the revenues they get from innovative products and services.

Shout Outs
I’ve gotten some positive feedback recently, and I want to shout out to those folks:
  • Docdevil wrote
Your mailing list is one of the highlights of my day.
  • Karen Rivoire made my day by riffing on the title of yesterday’s Daily.
Quote of the Day
The point of a mission is that it’s never finished, or never entirely achieved. This can make people extremely zealous about doing whatever it takes to fulfill it, even if some of their actions are at odds with the organization’s values.
Adam Grant, cited by Sue Shellenbarger in When You Fear Your Company Has Forgotten Its Principles
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Stowe Boyd, 17 South Cedar Street, Beacon NY 12508