When I was a kid growing up in upstate New York, one of my chores this time of year was to rake the leaves that had fallen and blanketed our yard. Although it wasn’t always a fun chore (as most of them weren’t), it was nice to get outside in the crisp fall air. Raking the leaves also allowed me to view the yard a bit differently. I was able to discover areas off my typical beaten path of play and uncover interesting displays of nature – root formations or even an intriguing bug - that would have otherwise gone unseen under the leaves.
In our work lives, we sometimes need to revisit the lay of the land to uncover areas where we can have a great impact, but are typically left untouched. As busy professionals, we tend to rely on automatic patterns of behavior and information processing (or schemas) that help us understand and perform our day-to-day work. As useful as these schemas can be in helping us quickly check off our to-do lists, they can also act as fallen leaves in that they can block our view of important information – information that may fall just beyond our routines and mental frameworks of how to perform our work. Fortunately, however, our contributors have raked back some leaves and revealed opportunities for impact that lie just beyond our typical work schemas. For instance, think about your current hiring practices or your organization’s diversity and inclusion initiatives. Have you considered how neurodiversity fits within those areas? Additionally, does your organization outsource work (or plan to) and, if so, are you aware of actions you can take to optimize a workforce consisting of employees and non-employees? In this edition, you’ll read examples of additional opportunities available to many of us that are perhaps just waiting to be uncovered in your own organization. I hope you enjoy it!
Katrina (“Katie”) Piccone Merlini, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in Industrial/ Organizational (I/O) Psychology and the Academic Chair of the Organizational Leadership MA program at Florida Institute of Technology. Her research focuses on leadership, diversity and inclusion, organizational culture and climate, and individual motivation and self-regulation. She is a member of South Brevard SHRM.