Tangible identity elements refer to the visible aspects of self and others.
These elements inform first impressions and their impact on all interactions. The tangible identity elements such as generation or ethnicity are encrypted in our body. They are difficult but not impossible to change and often overly essentialised.
Question 1: In your current context how do you bring this identity element to life?
Question 2: How do the considerations connected to this identity element manifest in your team and company culture?
The world’s workforce is diversifying. See the vignette of flight crews for illustration:
Flight crews interact with the aircraft's automated flight system. Before take-off, the junior First Officer will typically enter the aircraft performance and flight plan data into the computer. It is then the standard procedure for the Captain to check the data entered. Recently, Captains reported that younger First Officers tend to be less diligent about monitoring the accuracy of their typing actions.; e.g. when the Captain points out an error in the data input, the First Officer will simply correct the wrong input.
The above interaction has been labelled as an illustration of the 'undo generation': individuals that grew up with the technology that provides sufficient flexibility to 'undo' incorrect inputs or actions. This mindset is subconsciously transferred over to the interaction with an aircraft computer without perhaps fully appreciating the potential repercussions of wrong inputs. Differences in perceptions, outlooks, attitudes, and experiences among team members of different generations can produce 'tensions' with possible implications for outcomes, such as flight safety.
Question 1: In which ways are the considerations of ethnicity connected to your team and company culture?
Question 2: In which ways could the ethnicity element open up new market opportunities in your business?
The changing picture of ethnicity over time coincides with increased mobility induced by historical, political, economic and social reasons. In the context of the identity portfolio, the visible 'face' of ethnicity refers to any physical aspects of a people's appearance that display their ethnic background or ancestry to others. It includes tangible aspects such as names that provide insights into ethnic background, which might or might not be misleading. In any case, it provokes assumptions that, in turn, shape the perceptions of the interaction partners.
In today's interconnected world, individuals may interact mainly with people from diverse ethnic backgrounds. Ethnicity and its visible format can act as misleading pointers to cultural differences; for example, stereotyping, and at worst, may form the basis for racial discrimination. Working in a multi-ethnic environment may reduce awareness of these differences and no longer shape people's perceptions of others. Equally, ethnicity may provide a source of pride in a distinct identity or an external signal of difference, which could be used for creativity and innovation.
Intangible Identity Elements
The intangible identity elements refer to the less visible parts of our identity construction.
These elements are largely developmental, changing with time and shaping our life experience. Intangible elements require a second look and are more difficult to detect. People are often unaware of them in their own and others’ identity constructions, but they are key to unlocking performance in the physical and cyberspace.
Question 1: How does your wellbeing currently impact your life and performance?
Question 2: How can you leverage this identity element and strengthen it to benefit your team culture?
Although many economies are going through tough times, the wellbeing industry has proved resilient, and some fast-moving businesses are finding success. It is the result of more people becoming aware of the broader benefits of getting fit and partly because technology is revolutionising how they can track, record and motivate themselves.
Nevertheless, the world of interconnected work has caused countless health-related problems for people. Stress levels resulting from hyperconnectivity, meaning being connected 24/7, are unparalleled. The absence of daily physical activity, poor nutrition and smoking are major contributors to people's poor health. The consequent lack of wellbeing and its impact – both physical and psychological – on work performance negatively influences business performance through absenteeism, reduced productivity and engagement.
The number of wellbeing apps is increasing daily. The offering covers nearly every aspect of wellbeing so that you can now diagnose symptoms yourself, track your fertility, get fit, monitor mood swings, lose weight or track your sleep patterns. At the heart of the digital wellbeing revolution is the smartphone or tablet. These apps' fundamental idea is to enable you to lead a better and healthier life.
Question 1: How has geopolitics affected the development of your team and company culture up until this point?
Question 2: Which regions would you consider for building your business, both in alignment and in contrast to the current geopolitical circumstances?
Cold climates, ice and snow, like great heat, potential sand storms and other hazards, determine how people manage daily routines and work. Geography and habitat immensely impact people's lives and significantly shape the world of work. As such, geopolitics explains the relationship among politics, geography, demography, economics and connected power, so it refers to the shifting situation of superpowers and their effect on their citizens.
Even our country's history informs the way we build work-based relationships. Commonalities and differences in the business partners' national or regional histories can foster cooperation or hinder it together. When generating products and services for places other than the ones people are used to, or when collaborating with people from different geopolitical conditions, this shapes their identity, the way they interact and thus the outcomes generated.
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