Today’s world of work threatens our personal and organizational health and performance in a thousand ways. The level of uncertainty, volatility, and constant change is unprecedented in human history. And yet it’s the same 70,000 year-old forager’s brain we will need to use to navigate it. How can we not only survive, but thrive, in this whitewater environment?
We ground our answer, based on the book Tomorrowmind (Atria, January 2023), first in the past, learning from previous labor transformations about how our ancestors adapted their hunter-gatherer brains to meet the demands of first agriculture and then industrialization. Many suffered in those transitions. What lessons can we use to help us avoid a similar fate? We have another unique historical advantage in the form of the behavioral sciences. We will briefly look at the parts of the interdisciplinary world of the behavioral sciences that have the most to offer, and understand how more recent trends in the field will work in our favor in this endeavor.
In this course, we’ll examine the five skills most essential for thriving as individuals, leaders, and organizations in the whitewater. These skills allow employees to thrive not through a single transition but through change after change, reinvention after reinvention. These five skills, collectively the PRISM powers, were derived through several massive data sets as well as five years of research on large organizations across industries andaround the globe:
Prospection (P): The meta-skill for our time, our ability to imagine and plan for the future. We can grow in our ability to envision divergently, and plan pragmatically, in a manner that can restore our agency.
Resilience (R): The ability to respond to change without harm, and even to grow stronger through challenge. We outline the five building blocks of resilience, and how to build each.
Innovation (I): We are all creatives now, as automation takes over the more rote aspects of our roles, and as rapid change necessitates new levels of innovation in response. We introduce a novel typology of creativity, as well as a novel approach to building the creative muscle to support individuals, teams, and businesses.
Rapid Rapport to build Social Support (S): We need each other more than ever, and yet we are working in teams of strangers, teams that seem to dissolve and reconstitute just as we get to know each other. Rapid Rapport allows us to build trust effectively and efficiently as individuals, leaders, and colleagues.
Mattering (M): Our sense that our work matters is essential to fuel our efforts as we pivot time after time. Mattering offers managers and organizations a new way of thinking about how to provide that motivation to all employees.
The organization of the future will organize to win around the work of building these PRISM powers for employees. There are hidden organizational barriers to this work that need to be recognized and addressed in order for companies to position themselves proactively for the future.
Our Brains at Work
Understanding the work context within which our brains first evolved
Lessons from the transitions to agriculture and industrialization
The twin trials: The pace and nature of change
Our unique advantage: The positive behavioral sciences
Resilience Part One: Building emotional regulation
Resilience and Mattering: The how and why of navigating uncertainty
Resilience Part Two: Building cognitive agility, optimism, self-compassion, and self-efficacy and The resilient organization
What we know about meaning and purpose at work
Mattering as an alternative to meaning
The Mattering Map
Rapid Rapport: Building trust efficiently across difference
Defining terms: Positivity resonance, empathy, compassion
The biological, professional, and organizational benefits of connection
The three biggest barriers: Time, space, and us/them
Strategies for connecting despite limited time
Strategies for connecting across space
Strategies for overcoming the mental block of us/them
Prospection: The Meta-Skill for our Era of Work
The case for prospection
The two stages of prospection
Building prospection in individuals and teams
Creativity Part One: Creativity in the brain
Innovation and the Proactive Organization
Creativity Part Two: A novel typology of creativity and Creativity hygiene
Origins of talent development and benefits
Challenges of the dual structure
Opportunities for a holistic approach
What Alumni are Saying...
Learn more about the Cape Cod Institute from former participants
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