The Lead: Global Education Headlines, America’s Culinary Schools Lack a Diverse Curriculum, Next Generation of Open Office Design

Welcome to The Lead, AchieveForum’s weekly brief of leadership news and insights. This curated content will provide you with quick clarity into relevant headlines and provide straight-forward analysis for applying effective leadership tools and techniques. 

Global Education Headlines

Education around the world is making great strides. As donors filled in the funding gap, Palestinian schools will stay open to allow more than half a million Palestinian children to attend school at the start of the new academic year. The philanthropic organization Dubai Cares is supporting a project aimed at providing quality education for children in humanitarian crises, and Colombia will give citizenship to more than 24,000 children born to Venezuelan migrants to better their access to education and healthcare. But all of the global education headlines are not as rosy. Schools are still under attack amidst Ukraine conflict, and so far this year, 23 conflict-related incidents in Ukraine have damaged schools with nine incidents that resulted in the threat of death or injuries to students, teachers, and parents.

Our View: Leaders who support global education demonstrate their dedication to human dignity and human rights and make one of the best investments possible, with benefits that span global security, poverty reduction, economic stability, and improved global health. The importance of investing in children cannot be overemphasized enough, because our collective global prosperity hinges on developing their breadth of skills needed to succeed in our rapidly changing world. Further Reading

America’s Culinary Schools Lack a Diverse Curriculum

Aspiring chefs, writers, food photographers, and restaurateurs can go to culinary schools for training and a working knowledge of professional cooking history, but America’s culinary schools have not kept pace with the expansion and growing diversity of America’s celebrated fine dining landscape. French technique and dishes are still emphasized, including a kitchen environment based on the brigade system. Guidance from successful chefs from varied backgrounds with diverse cultural food stories can fill in the gaps missing from culinary school offerings.

Our View: Learn to adapt your services and products by studying success stories. Innovation often occurs at the intersection of a beginner’s mind and a master’s experience. When experts adopt a beginner’s mind, they become more open to exploring different possibilities in place of being limited to one “correct” solution. This opens doors for creativity and unique problem solving. Further Reading

Related AchieveForum content: Leading in the Digital Matrix, Leading Innovation:  From Concept to Customer Value

Next Generation of Open Office Design

Open-plan offices are growing in popularity, but they pose challenges for workers who thrive in quiet surroundings and who need privacy for phone conversations. Free-standing one-person pods that line the open-plan offices and serve as indoor phone booths may solve some open-office woes, as office space evolves to be more flexible and not solely based on an “open” or “closed” concept.

Our View: Shared workspaces are multiplying, and “hot desking,” which refers to when workers sit at a different desk each day, is also becoming more common. If you’re leading a hot desking introduction at your organization, you can avoid productivity setbacks (that could result from workers feeling a lack of ownership of their environment or feeling disconnected from their team) by consulting staff to encourage buy-in from the beginning and making the appropriate technology available to support the changes. Explain whether the desks will be “first come, first served” or allocated with a “zoning” system. Allot safe places for personal belongings, and make sure desks are kept clean. Further Reading

Related AchieveForum content: Leading in the Digital Matrix, Influencing Behavior in the Digital Age, Influencing Outcomes Through Others

Technology and Reverse Mentoring in Construction

Technology experts, regardless of their industry background, have unique value to add to the construction industry. While younger generations are more knowledgeable and intuitive about the digital aspects of onsite work, they need to be encouraged to share this knowledge with more experienced staff. When there is cross-collaboration between generations and functions, new opportunities are seized and mistakes are mitigated. Technology has the power to transform the construction industry beyond the design phase of a construction project to also improving operation and maintenance activities.

Our View: Traditional mentors are in a position of power in the hierarchical structure of an organization relative to the mentee. On the other hand, reverse mentoring creates a model of mutual exchange where both the mentor and mentee fill in knowledge gaps for each other. This type of mentoring establishes more diversity, equity, and inclusion across sectors, and all leaders should consider reimagining the power dynamic of these two roles. Everyone should keep the mindset that there is always something to learn. Further Reading

Related AchieveForum content: Coaching Clinic

Ikea Closing US Factory

Ikea is closing its only factory in the United States as a part of a recent shift in its retail strategy to adapt to online shopping trends. Ikea will move production to Europe where there are cheaper raw material prices, and they will continue to invest in online pickup services and digital fulfillment centers. In 2017 Ikea acquired TaskRabbit, an online marketplace for finding gig workers, as part of their strategy shift that they say will ultimately create 11,500 jobs.

Our View: Executive coaching can help retail leaders adjust to today’s rapid changes that can cause enormous stress. A study of CEO succession showed that the rate of announced CEO changes in retail companies rose to 23% last year, more than double the 11% average across industries. Executive coaches can help guide retail leaders through times of great uncertainty by increasing their self-awareness and managing their stress levels. With proven coaching methodologies, leaders in any field can develop agility to adapt to short-term challenges while  still keeping their long-term vision front and center. Further Reading

Related AchieveForum content: Needs-Based Coaching, Coaching Clinic

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