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  • June 08, 2022 3:54 AM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from Security Management Magazine

    History has an odd way of repeating itself, for better or for worse. Just as the 1918 influenza pandemic contributed to the Great Depression, the world faces an eerily similar situation with the coronavirus pandemic leading to the Great Resignation, or what some are calling the Big Quit.

    The Great Resignation describes the phenomenon whereby employees of all levels are voluntarily leaving their jobs in response to COVID-19. According to an August 2021 survey by Bankrate, 55 percent of employed Americans are likely to seek new employment in the next 12 months. Whether due to burnout, recruitment, or poor company culture, the Great Resignation has driven leaders all over the world to take a step back and reconsider what it takes to retain employees during such a tumultuous time.

    Of course, navigating the new hybrid workplace model can make retention even more challenging, as employees working both remotely and on-site have different needs and preferences. Staff are also holding employers to higher expectations than ever before. This certainly includes fair compensation, but employees today are asking for much more than bigger paychecks. According to recent survey results from IBM, employees are also prioritizing work–life balance, career advancement opportunities, benefits, and employer ethics and values.

    Given this information, what approach can companies take to keep their staff from joining the millions of Great Resignees? To put it simply: implement a people-first mind-set within your hybrid business model. Companies that follow this strategy have seen positive results in terms of talent retention and employee satisfaction.

    But what does a people-first approach look like, and how can it be implemented? Below are the do’s and don’ts for businesses looking to transform their company culture and retain staff.

    Don't Forget to Lay Down the Foundation at the Top

    In a people-first organization, being a successful executive manager means being acutely aware of employee morale and—especially—their happiness. This is not an easy job, which is why it is essential for businesses to hire self-aware, empathic executives and set expectations for them on day one.

    A people-first mindset is a companywide commitment, beginning with a rock-solid foundation. This must originate from top executives and those in leadership positions. A people-first organization must communicate with all leaders that their performance will be evaluated, in part, on the satisfaction and retention of those they manage. If they are not on board from the start, a people-first approach will never be successful, especially in a hybrid environment.

    Don’t Be the Leader Who Is All Talk and No Action

    It is important to highlight that leaders are not exempt from the above standards. There should be no delegation from the top executive when it comes to fostering a people-first culture. On the contrary, people-first leaders play the biggest role in cultivating and perpetuating a positive, welcoming environment. Leaders need to be walking the talk and actively demonstrating that they are putting in the effort each and every day. This means reaching out—prioritizing people above everything else—and being flexible enough to make changes so others don’t feel lonely or marginalized.

    For example, when the pandemic was spreading in March 2020, my company began to see a trend of selective layoffs and terminations across the region. Our employees were worried about their jobs. As the leader in the region, I immediately addressed those concerns with a series of internal communications that responded to employee concerns in an honest way. I encouraged people to keep working from home since we were still open for business—even though we were 100 percent remote. Then I worked with our finance team to apply for a U.S. government Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan to ensure that we had adequate cash on hand to keep our personnel employed. We have since paid back the loan, and we never had to lay off a single person. Our strategy paid off—employee morale and loyalty were maintained throughout the pandemic.  

    Leaders should approach people with authentic empathy and understanding so they can mitigate a lot of employee stress and anxiety. When leaders commit to the people-first initiative, it will signal to their employees that they are valued as individuals, making them happier workers. And happy workers, as studies have shown, are more productive workers—13 percent more productive, to be exact.

    Do Select Core Values that Foster Team-Building and Openness

    Let’s face it, even daily team-building happy hours are not able to fix deeply rooted issues within an organization. A successful hybrid organization must establish core values that foster a culture of inclusion and openness—and live by them. If a company wishes to successfully move to a hybrid model, it has to select core values that permit such a model to work in the first place. Core values that center on reliability, openness, innovation, and flexibility must be widely visible to employees both on- and off-premises.

    Leaders have to double down with clear actions to put those values front and center in their employees’ everyday working lives. Similarly, organizations must re-visit, prioritize, and showcase their mission statement, and ensure that current and prospective employees align with it.

    When the big-picture goals are clear and prominently featured in day-to-day work life—and these align with an open company culture—employees will have a much easier time committing to an organization’s objectives and purpose whether they are geographically together or not.

    Do Provide Your Employees with a Channel for Open Communication

    Employees should feel empowered and welcome to have open and honest conversations with colleagues of all levels—anywhere from an entry-level person to the CEO—no matter where they are. Nobody should be off-limits to anybody within a successful hybrid organization. Having an open-door policy with a remote/distributed workforce will break down barriers and encourage constructive and healthy conversations to occur, enabling problems to be solved before they become overwhelming.

    These open lines of communication not only ensure that all voices are heard, but also build trust among employees. When employees feel heard and trusted, they are more likely to stick around for the long haul.

    Do Implement Policies that Align with Your Core Values

    If you select core values that center on reliability, openness, innovation, and flexibility, then your policies need to showcase these values. For example, you could arm your personnel with notebook PCs instead of desktop computers and give them a flexible working environment so they have the freedom to work from wherever. You have to make certain that you put procedures and technology in place that ensure your business will be unaffected by your employees moving around.

    For example, when the pandemic hit, we were already prepared and our staff could work remotely. We had installed cloud-based telephony (not just Microsoft Teams, but PureCloud for our call centers). We also had webcam capabilities for all laptops and external webcams for home office setups. TeamViewer for remote support work was already up and running, and we had already upgraded our Global VPN infrastructure which enabled us to have the capacity to handle over 1,000 users simultaneously across all regions. Finally, we were using cloud-based technologies to handle everything from project management to reporting to IT ticketing. The transition was seamless because we were already operating in a quasi-hybrid working environment prior to the pandemic.

    In short, when you establish and foster company policies that enable a successful hybrid environment, you’ll be contributing directly to a people-first culture and aid in maintaining employee happiness and tenure.

    Do Encourage Employees to Prioritize Their Mental Health

    Work–life balance and mental health have been at the forefront of business conversations over the last two years, and for good reason. Research suggeststhat the majority of employees have experienced burnout at some point in their career, and businesses that wish to maintain a happy and motivated workforce must actively promote flexible workspaces and work–life balance. People are more than just the work they produce each week—business leaders must not only understand this, but treat it as a lens through which they view every aspect of the organization.

    Companies that value their staff will put forth resources such as meditation or free counseling, encourage mental health days, and have open conversations to prove their commitment to employees. This is particularly useful in challenging times like a pandemic, and it can help support employees who may not easily adjust to the hybrid model. When employers spend time, money, and resources on creating an environment with a people-first mindset, they not only help to retain their staff, but they can also recruit new talent.

    Retaining staff has never been more important than in the era of the Great Resignation. Although a healthy company culture does not guarantee employee retention, it aids in combating unhappiness and attrition. Company culture isn’t just about happy hours, a snack bar, or games in the office (although those perks may help); it’s also about a deeper, heartfelt philosophy. This is where the people-first mindset in a hybrid workplace comes into play. If executed properly and genuinely, businesses may avoid the Great Resignation and prosper in their own era of the Great Retention.

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  • June 08, 2022 3:52 AM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from Artnet News

    An astonishing scene unfolded at the Louvre on Sunday when a man in a wheelchair wearing a wig hurled a handful of cake at the Mona Lisa.

    According to videos and eyewitness accounts shared on social media, the perpetrator, who has not been publicly identified, stood up from a wheelchair and approached La Gioconda, first attempting to break the glass before finally deciding to smear cake all over it. Damage to the painting was prevented by a sheet of bulletproof glass installed permanently in front of Leonardo da Vinci’s iconic work.

    A video posted online shows the perpetrator speaking to visitors in French as he is escorted away by security.

    “There are people destroying the earth,” said the man who wore a ball cap over a black wig. “Artists come now to tell you to think of the earth, all artists think of the earth, that’s why I did this.”

    The attack occurred while the gallery was brimming with tourists late Sunday afternoon. One social media user who was there described what he observed: “… [A] man dressed as an old lady jumps out of a wheelchair and attempted to the smash the bullet proof glass of the Mona Lisa,” he tweeted.

    Artnet News wrote to the Louvre to confirm whether the man was detained and whether the work was damaged, but did not hear back by publishing time.

    This is not the first time the Mona Lisa has been attacked. In 1956, a man threw sulfuric acid at the painting, damaging it. At a Tokyo exhibition in 1974, a woman in a wheelchair unsuccessfully attempted to spray red paint on it, in protest over the work’s lack of accessibility to people needing ramps. In the summer of 2009, a Russian man threw a cup of tea at it.

    Since 1960, the Mona Lisa has been protected by a sheet of bullet proof glass, which now includes a sealed enclosure that consists of a 1.52-inch-thick glass able to withstand permanent temperatures of 43 degrees Fahrenheit and 50 percent humidity.

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  • June 08, 2022 3:49 AM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from Security Management Magazine

    Organizations are facing unprecedented challenges when it comes to globalization, risk management, and market volatility. This makes it of paramount importance that businesses and government entities pursue every competitive advantage, especially where public safety, law enforcement, and security are concerned.

    The public and private sectors must remain constantly agile, able, and willing to recalibrate and realign mission goals and objectives to address ever-changing vulnerabilities and risks, which have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

    One of the methods an organization can bolster its competitive advantage is through the application of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) principles designed to enhance leadership’s strategic thinking around complex problem solving. Many successful organizations recently made workforce DE&I initiatives a critical priority. Such campaigns strengthen teamwork, collaboration, and innovation throughout a workforce. The overall added value of continued operational growth and development from these initiatives has seeped into upper echelons as executive-level management positions have even been established to advance DE&I concepts within the workplace.

    Embracing DE&I principles not only supports the workforce and strengthens ethical and strategic leadership—it is also a catalyst for constructive organizational change in the 21st century.

    DE&I in a Nutshell

    The concept of diversity focuses on characteristics, similarities, and differences considerate of an individual’s national origin, culture, heritage, language, race, color, abilities, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, veteran status, and family structures. It also considers an individual’s upbringing, unique life experiences, and way of thinking.

    The concept of equity focuses on fundamental fairness and respect for all individuals, where the application of processes and programs are fair and impartial to provide the opportunity to achieve equal possible outcomes for all. It also ensures legal obligations are upheld related to civil rights laws, including reasonable accommodations and equal employment opportunities.

    The concept of inclusion seeks to establish an organizational culture, which fosters a sense of belonging and collaboration within the workplace where thoughts and perspectives can be shared in a safe environment. It also mitigates groupthink, or the practice of making decisions in a group setting that discourages creativity and diversity.

    There are various tangible benefits for advancing DE&I within organizations. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) identified three key examples in its Diversity and Inclusion FAQ as to how DE&I advances social responsibility within communities, cultivates innovation, and increases return on investment for organizations:

    Serving our communities and being socially responsible. “Diversity and inclusion increase an agency’s capacity to serve and protect people who have different experiences or backgrounds and enhance its ability to be receptive to different traditions and ideas. Law enforcement officers present a good example of the critical need to have civil servants who look like the people and communities they serve.”

    Fostering innovation. “Increased creativity is another byproduct of capitalizing on differences. Research has shown that effective diversity management coupled with inclusive work environments improves organizational performance and innovation. Employees from varied backgrounds bring different perspectives, ideas, and solutions to the workplace that result in new products and services, challenge to the status quo, and new collaboration.”

    Generating a return on investment. “Diversity and inclusion initiatives improve the quality of an agency’s workforce and are the catalyst for a better return on investment in human capital. One of the biggest budget items in any agency is the amount it spends on human resources in the form of salaries, benefits, training, development, and recruitment. In order to get a healthy return on investment in human capital and maximize competitive advantage, an agency must engage in recruitment and retention efforts that focus on acquiring the best and the brightest talent.”

    While the OPM is a U.S. federal government entity, the benefits it identified resonate worldwide. As globalization continues to be a driving force impacting diplomatic, information, military, and economic elements of national power, organizations must successfully leverage and apply DE&I-related principles, concepts, and themes within their business strategies and operational frameworks. This is especially important where worldviews have an impact on negotiating agreements, managing expectations, understanding cultural norms, and forecasting business decisions in the open international market. Such practices should not only empower innovation, but they should help shepherd novel organizational changes that ensure more agile business enterprises are ready to address new challenges in a global environment.

    Leveraging DE&I has proven to also increase strategic leadership capabilities by allowing decision makers to comprehensively assess issues from various frames of reference. This facilitates more informed evidence-based decisions, which consider second- and third-order effects of the available options. Many executive-level training programs, such as U.S. military war colleges, focus on strategic studies where students examine and assess the interrelationships between politics, economics, diplomacy, and the military from a global perspective. Such an analysis helps to ensure that senior-level decision-making processes apply a multifaceted analytical approach and that pivotal decisions are not made in a vacuum.

    The application of DE&I can also play a key role in talent management initiatives. This not only focuses on recruitment and retention efforts, but also plays a role through succession planning to prepare the next generation of leaders within the organization.

    Incorporating DE&I within a Business Strategy

    Many government and business entities have already established strategies incorporating a DE&I-focused framework. Some organizations have reimagined their vision and mission statements to incorporate DE&I concepts. Other entities have included these concepts in their annual and five-year strategic plan documents, which serve as roadmaps for how an organization will strive to meet its strategic mission goals.

    Some forward-leaning organizations crafted and implemented leadership tenets and associated foundational talking points as part of their professional development programs. These are intended to enhance employee collaboration and dialogue, cultivating critical and strategic thinking throughout the workforce. Such deliverables have been calibrated to address and further explore DE&I principles, themes, and concepts in support of building new and strengthening existing coalitions. (See “An Investment in Employees,” Security Management,October 2018.)

    Substantial DE&I inroads are also being made at the interagency level, demonstrating a commitment toward advancing DE&I across U.S. government entities. In the second quarter of 2021, the Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency established a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Working Group. It collaborates with more than 25 Offices of Inspectors General (OIG) to advance the Inspector General community’s commitment to promoting positive office cultures and oversight work while supporting DE&I principles. Some initiatives of focus include the enhancement of the “lifecycle” experience of OIG employees from an enterprise talent management perspective and how to bolster oversight work by weaving DE&I principles into its audits, investigations, and evaluations in a manner that ultimately benefits everyone in the United States.

    Leveraging DE&I in Training and Development

    With organizations implementing DE&I within the workplace, significant advancements have been made by government and business entities seeking tailored training opportunities. Several organizations and companies—such as OPM’s Center for Leadership Development and consultant and training firm FranklinCovey—have been integrating DE&I concepts into their programming to focus on increasing self-awareness and identifying and internally processing unconscious and implicit bias and microaggressions. Curricula can also focus on the positive impacts DE&I can bring to an organization, and how constructive and diplomatic dissent can usher in novel changes for the betterment of the organization and its stakeholders.

    Professional associations have also played an integral role in broadcasting the need to embrace DE&I principles within organizations. ASIS International established its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Community on the ASIS Connects platform, allowing security management practitioners to share their thoughts and ideas on DE&I-related discussion boards and advance collaborative professional development.

    Affinity groups often host DE&I-focused regional and national seminars, workshops, and conferences. For instance, in May 2022, the Federal Asian Pacific American Council (FAPAC) is hosting its annual National Leadership Training Program (NLTP). May also marks Asian American, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander Heritage Month, which this year is themed Advancing Leaders Through Collaboration.

    This year’s NLTP focuses on OPM’s Executive Core Qualifications, which provide a professional development framework for employees to build upon their leadership and managerial skill sets that will ultimately increase organizational competitive advantage.

    Several academic institutions, such as Southern New Hampshire University, have also conducted noteworthy curricula reviews to ascertain whether undergraduate and graduate course content should be reimagined using a DE&I-focused perspective as it relates to artifacts and deliverables employed, and whether additional progress can be made to further diversify authors of such content.

    For example, several educational institutions in the California State University System—including California State University, East Bay—promote the benefits of undergraduate and graduate internships. These opportunities provide the university’s students with significant professional experience, allowing them to develop cross-cultural skills while working in diverse settings.

    Youth organizations have also been crucial in promoting DE&I to develop young people to become better global citizens. In support of such efforts, the Boy Scouts of America (Scouts BSA) announced in November 2021 the creation of the Citizenship in Society Merit Badge, enabling scouts to learn about DE&I and ethical leadership and understand why such tenets are not only important in scouting, but necessary in a global society.

    Securing the Advantage

    For organizations to successfully navigate challenges in a dynamic operational environment against the backdrop of increased globalization, it is essential their leadership leverage critical and strategic thinking, which is grounded upon DE&I concepts, principles, and themes.

    The implementation of such a framework throughout the workplace will not only manifest increased agility and resilience to respond to rapidly changing priorities, but it will also cultivate innovation and bolster talent management initiatives within the organization. To truly pioneer and lead change, successful organizations must strive to be fully invested in including DE&I in business operations. Otherwise, such a pivot in branding can be perceived as a hollow sound bite that does not manifest any value added to the organization, its employees, and stakeholders.

    Employee salary, benefits, and training are essentially some of the largest line items for many organizational budgets. As such, it is imperative to enhance the lifecycle experience of employees by promoting DE&I principles within the workplace to assist in increasing employee satisfaction, self-worth, and personal involvement in the organization. If organizations can be successful in the endeavor of leveraging DE&I principles within the ethos of the workplace, not only will such application serve as the ultimate mutual return on investment for organizations and employees alike, but it will truly optimize and advance organizational competitive advantage in the 21st century’s volatile and uncertain environment.

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  • June 08, 2022 3:46 AM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from the Seattle Times

    As members of the Seattle Art Museum, Alan Akioka and his wife are always sure to see the museum’s special exhibits before they’re gone, even during the pandemic, but they’ve been wary of crowds, continuing to wear their masks in enclosed spaces.

    They were happy to discover recently that they could have the best of both worlds at SAM’s monthly mask-required hour.

    From 9-10 a.m. last Saturday, an hour before the museum’s regular opening time, patrons could visit SAM and the Seattle Asian Art Museum knowing that everyone in the galleries, including staff and all other patrons, would be wearing a face mask.

    “It’s mostly a comfort level thing,” Akioka said. “I’m not necessarily afraid of catching COVID, but I still don’t want to get sick.”

    Throughout the pandemic, SAM has aligned with the guidance of public health officials, so masks were required for entry for much of last year. Since King County dropped its mask mandate in March, this new concept will hopefully be a way to bring in people who are otherwise uncomfortable visiting or are more vulnerable to COVID-19, said Rachel Eggers, SAM associate director of public relations.

    There will be two more mask-required hours — the third Saturdays in June and July — and SAM is open to providing more if there is good turnout. 

    SAM sold 56 presale tickets for Saturday’s mask-required hour, and more than 80% of those tickets were for “Our Blue Planet: Global Visions of Water,” SAM’s special exhibit about the significance of water, which closes Monday, May 30. 

    Jill Sells, a SAM member who brought her daughter to the exhibit Saturday, advocated for more than one hour a month of mask-required time, but thought Saturday was a good start. She still wears her mask in public places, though the mandate has dropped.

    “It’s a good protective measure against COVID in general, so I don’t see any reason not to do it for now,” she said. “Certainly now with rates increasing here and across the country, there’s no reason to be exposing people more than we need to.”

    Melissa Rothe and her husband took their three boys to the exhibit Saturday, the family’s first museum experience since the pandemic began. When they discovered SAM was having a mask-required hour last Saturday, they grabbed free passes through their King County library cards.

    Rothe said that more places that are prone to crowds could benefit from a mask-required hour, and her family would visit any museum that institutes something similar. Her son Ethan, 12, seconded that, saying the mask-required hour makes him feel safer when visiting museums, which he enjoys doing.

    “I just like looking at all the cool stuff that people have built in the past and things that have happened before us,” he said.

    Akioka said he thinks one hour a month is enough and is efficient, allowing people to make their own choice about when they want to attend the museum.

    Mikhael Mei Williams, SAM’s chief marketing officer, said the museum initially began discussions of a mask-required hour last summer when the local government temporarily rescinded its mask mandate, recognizing that was a deterrent for some visitors.

    “Accessibility and inclusivity are important goals for SAM,” Mei Williams said. “This was something that we wanted to do to make sure that we could give as many people as possible access to the museum.”

    Chelsea Leingang, SAM’s visitor experience assistant manager, said the museum has had a lot more visitors since King County dropped its mask mandate, and most of them aren’t wearing masks.

    “A lot of people are coming in wearing masks, and then they take them off when they ask us if it’s optional,” Leingang said.

    The museum has safety measures in place for staff, like plexiglass at points where they interact with patrons, and most of the staff still chooses to wear masks, including Leingang.

    “Absolutely. 100%,” Leingang said. “For my safety and for their safety, and kind of front-line sticking together.”

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  • June 08, 2022 3:43 AM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted NBC Dallas-Fort Worth

    A man accused of breaking into the Dallas Museum of Art overnight and destroying more than $5 million in irreplaceable artwork tells police he broke in and caused damage because he "got mad at his girl."

    According to an arrest warrant obtained by NBC 5 Thursday afternoon, a man identified by police as 21-year-old Brian Hernandez was apprehended late Wednesday night at the museum after he forced his way inside and destroyed several items.

    The arresting document said Hernandez smashed the glass front entrance to the museum with a metal chair at about 9:40 p.m. and once inside intentionally damaged or destroyed $5,153,000 worth of artwork including several pots and statues.

    A guard told police after a motion sensor went off he and another guard went to investigate the concourse and found the man. The guards asked him what he was doing and he said "he got mad at his girl so he broke in and started destroying property." 

    The guard told Hernandez to sit on a bench while he called the police, which he did. That's where officers found him when they arrived a short time later.

    Police did a walk-through of the museum with the director of security and noted multiple art displays and cases had been destroyed.

    Surveillance video reviewed by Dallas Police and referenced in the arresting document said Hernandez used a stool to destroy at least two display cases worth $17,000 each along with four pieces, a "Black Figure Panel Amphora 6th Century Greece" pot and a "Red Figure Pyxis 450 B.C." pot that were both shattered. The pots, together, were valued at $5 million. A 6th Century ceramic cup, "Kylix Herakles and Nemeon Lion," valued at $100,000, and the Caddo statue "Batah Kuhuh Alligator Gar Fish," valued at $10,000, were also destroyed.

    "The items inside of the display cases that were destroyed are rare ancient artifacts that are extremely precious and one of a kind," police said in the affidavit.

    Other items, including a computer, a phone, a bench and signage were also destroyed.

    Police said final valuations of the damage done inside the museum may change based on the final assessment by the museum's curator and insurance provider. Photos of the damaged and destroyed artwork have not yet been released. 

    "While we are devastated by this incident, we are grateful that no one was harmed," the museum said in a statement. "The safety of our staff and visitors, along with the care and protection of the art in our stewardship, are our utmost priorities."

    Hernandez was booked into the Dallas County Jail on a charge of criminal mischief greater than $300,000 and is being held on a bond of $100,000. Police said during an interview with detectives Hernandez confessed to destroying the property. Jail records did not list an attorney.

    Though some of the permanent collection galleries were closed due to the ongoing investigation, The Dallas Museum of Art was open to visitors Thursday.

    See Original Post

  • June 08, 2022 3:41 AM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from the Antiquities Coalition

    The Antiquities Coalition commends Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg for the seizure of 5 Egyptian masterpieces, worth over €3 million euros / $3.2 million dollars, from New York’s famed Metropolitan Museum of Art (“the Met”). A search warrant alleges the artifacts are evidence demonstrating “the crimes of criminal possession of stolen property” and “conspiracy to commit the same crimes.” The Art Newspaper broke the story on June 1

    The seizure is part of a wider criminal probe, involving police in several countries, that has exposed an international trafficking ring operating out of Egypt and war zones such as Libya, Syria, and Yemen. As part of this investigation, just last week, French authorities reported they are also targeting Jean-Luc Martinez, a French scholar and statesman. Martinez headed the Louvre Museum in Paris for nearly a decade and is currently France’s special ambassador for international cooperation on cultural heritage.

    “The Louvre and the Met were the gold standard—tarnished now—of museums around the world,” said Deborah Lehr, Founder and Chairman of the Antiquities Coalition. “Yet even as they spearheaded commendable efforts to fight ISIS’ illicit trade in ‘blood antiquities,’ both failed to keep their institutions from entanglement in a criminal network that smuggled millions of dollars worth of cultural treasures from areas of unrest in the Middle East. This disconnect should serve as a warning. If our foremost museums, with entire departments of lawyers and scholars on staff, cannot ensure their collections are not the products of crime and conflict, then there is a clear and urgent need for stronger legal protections in the art market.”

    The Antiquities Coalition has frequently warned that the $65.1 billion dollar art market remains the largest unregulated market in the world. Museums have a unique opportunity—as well as a responsibility—to set the legal and ethical standard for all who operate within this wider market. Many are thankfully meeting this challenge head on, but this week’s news shows there is much more that can be done. 

    Here are five recommendations that could have a significant impact:

    • Hire an independent, outside firm to conduct a comprehensive and credible external investigation.The Louvre, Met, and all other museums implicated in this matter are public institutions. The public has a right to know whether they followed not only the letter, but the spirit of the law. 

    • Understand the problem. It is critical to combatting looting and trafficking, recovering stolen works, and ensuring marketplace integrity. The art market and museum community, due both to their unmatched expertise, as well as their unique situation, can help answer questions no others can. There is also a real need to report suspicious activity to relevant authorities when permitted by law. 

    • Launch an awareness campaign. As educational institutions, museums have an unmatched platform to help policymakers, the art market, and the general public better understand the threats from cultural racketeering and how we can fight back together. Through exhibitions, lectures and other programming, they could reach a wide audience. 

    • Strengthening best practices. Many of the ethical guidelines, national laws, and international treaties we rely on to combat the illicit trade are now decades old. It is time to upgrade our strategies, just as criminals have updated theirs, to protect both our cultural heritage and the legitimate art market. Museums should be at the forefront of efforts to do this.

    • Capacity building. Training in provenance research and authentication, as well as having dedicated museum staff to research acquisitions and object history, can make a significant difference. As this case demonstrates, such steps are also needed to protect institutions not only from unethical behavior, but criminal liability.

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  • May 25, 2022 3:54 AM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from Security Management Magazine

    Do you consider yourself an above-average decision maker? Does logic drive most, if not all, of your security risk mitigation decisions? Think again.

    Most security professionals believe that they are better decision makers than the average person, but recent research has proven this is not the case. In fact, security leaders often fall prey to the same biases as the majority of the population, and they may find themselves relying on gut feelings and prior experience instead of facts and probability. Unlike most people, however, security professionals’ biases could have significant ramifications on risk management and safety decisions.

    Awareness is the first step to correct this issue, and analysis into security professionals’ decision-making tools has unveiled myriad pitfalls.

    Risk Management Processes

    Risk management processes—including the guidance published in the Risk Assessment Standard from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), ASIS International, and RIMS—appear organized and can be interpreted as precise, accurate, and objective. External context, likelihoods, vulnerabilities, existing controls, risk tolerance, and options are communicated and considered fairly, driving additional risk identification, analysis, evaluation, and treatment as required.

    Closer inspection, however, reveals subjective human decision making plays a major role. Each step in the process is a decision: What do we consider to be part of the context? What threats do we take into account, against what assets, and within what timeframe? Which controls do we compare and what is their effectiveness? Do we evaluate that effectiveness? If so, how and how often?

    Subjective decisions like these structure the content of a security management process, and the output reflects the personal judgment of the security decision maker.

    This should not be particularly surprising, given the nature of risk. The Risk Assessment Standarddefines risk as the “effect of uncertainty on the achievement of strategic, tactical, and operational objectives,” and the definition clearly indicates the two main components of risk and risk assessments: effects (often referred to as consequences) and uncertainty (often expressed as likelihood or probability). Because any risk refers to a future state of affairs, it is by definition impossible to predict exactly. After all, as Sven Ove Hansson wrote in the Handbook of Risk Theory, “Knowledge about risk is knowledge about the unknown.” The security risk field is dealing with malicious—and therefore manmade—risks. This aspect of security management adds an extra dimension to the uncertainty. People performing malicious actions, such as intrusions or thefts, try to be unpredictable or hidden to evade existing risk controls. This dynamic context—with bad actors’ ever-changing modus operandi and the large variety of situations, including locations and times—adds to the uncertainty.

    While past security risks and events help inform the risk assessment process, they do not provide certainty about future risks. Therefore, risk assessments are a combination of experience, expert judgment, and objective facts and evidence. And that judgment—however well informed by past experience—is susceptible to assumptions and biases.

    Bias vs. Logic

    Over the centuries, philosophers worldwide have explored the concepts of human judgment and decision-making processes. Eventually, they settled on maximization theories—humans are supposed to apply a form of rational decision making with the goal of achieving the best possible outcome. For example, a purely rational human would search the supermarket shelves until he or she uncovered the perfect jar of pasta sauce—weighing variables of volume, price, nutritional value, and taste.

    In reality, however, few people apply that depth of rationality to everyday decisions. Instead, they grab a sauce that is good enough for what they need and move on—a concept psychologists dub “satisficing.” There are many reasons that cause a consumer to settle on one item instead of another or, from a security lens, to make one risk mitigation choice instead of another. Often, those reasons hinge on personal preferences and cognitive biases.

    In 1979, scholars Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman introduced the prospect theory, which clearly identified systematic ways in which humans make decisions that are not optimized for the best possible outcome. Decisions turn out to be less logic-based and more prone to heuristics, mental shortcuts, and biases.

    Kahneman, who received the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2002 for his work, espouses that there are two systems of thinking: fast and slow. Fast decisions rely on intuition and prior experience, and they are almost automatic. A firefighter arriving at the scene of a blaze may make split-second decisions based on his or her past experience with similar events. But if the firefighter confronts bright green flames or some other abnormality, decision making is likely to slow down, becoming more deliberate as the firefighter weighs information and debates possibilities. This takes significantly more brainpower, so humans tend to revert to fast decision making whenever possible.

    Where security decisions are concerned, however, it can be invaluable to exert the extra effort to slow down, debate different possibilities, and bring in different points of view to make more informed, rational decisions that acknowledge biases but don’t fall prey to them.

    Information and Confidence

    Humans are notoriously overconfident. An infamous 1981 study by Swedish researcher Ola Swenson found that 93 percent of Americans considered themselves above-average drivers. Statistically, this is impossible. But security professionals seem to fall into the same trap when it comes to making informed decisions, believing that the rules of informed and rational decision making can be circumvented with enough professional experience.

    One of the authors of this article (de Wit) has studied security risk decision making within both physical security and cybersecurity domains in recent years as part of a doctoral research program. Across a span of three surveys so far—including approximately 170 security decision makers—researchers explored security professionals’ relationship with information and how it affects decisions and the influence of biases on decision making.

    According to the author’s research, 56.6 percent of security professionals indicated that even if they lack exact information on the consequences of security risk, they can still estimate it; 60.9 percent said they could accurately estimate a risk’s likelihood, even without exact information. Three-quarters said that situations where they can estimate neither the consequences nor the likelihood rarely occur.

    This lack of exact information—which the security professionals were cognizant of—did not influence the confidence they expressed in their decisions. When asked how confident they were in their security judgments concerning the consequences of risks, 73.8 percent indicated they were always confident or confident most of the time. Likewise, 67.7 percent said the same of their security judgment when it came to the likelihood of risks.

    Security professionals have preferences for some information sources over others, as well. Experts (76.3 percent) and peers (56.4 percent) were the most trusted, and 62.2 percent said their own experience is very important for their judgment. Only 15 percent said information from higher management is very important for risk management decisions.

    The more experience security professionals have, the more confident—and potentially overconfident—they are in their decisions, the research found. Researchers asked whether the security professionals would like more information to make their decisions, and the more experienced professionals refused, choosing to rely on their gut feelings instead.

    Biases to Watch

    A huge number of cognitive biases have been identified in recent years, and those biases can wreak havoc on risk management decisions. The author’s research analyzed a set of biases against security decision making practices and found several that are likely to influence risk management.

    Certainty effect. It’s time for a gamble: If you had to make a choice between a 100 percent chance of receiving $150 or an 80 percent chance of receiving $200, which would you choose? When the outcome is a gain, decision makers under the influence of the certainty effect will tend to prefer certainty over a 20 percent chance of receiving nothing, even though the choice of an 80 percent chance at $200 can be considered optimal.

    Security professionals show a similar level of vulnerability as laypeople for this bias. Three-quarters of security professionals selected the certain but less optimal outcome, indicating that in real-life situations they may not maximize security risk reduction or may spend resources less efficiently. Even when researchers exchanged the monetary gains and losses with security risk reduction to reflect a more realistic situation, this effect guided the decision of the security professionals.

    Reflection effect. This is similar to the certainty effect, but the reflection effect looks at losses instead of gains. If you have a certainty of losing $150 or an 80 percent chance of losing $200 (and therefore a 20 percent chance of losing no money at all), people will regularly take the gamble.

    Security professionals gamble here at a similar rate to laypersons. When a possible loss is at stake, 84 percent of security professionals take the gamble for a possible higher loss rather than accepting a certain but lower loss. As one might expect risk-avoidance behavior from security risk professionals, this finding is surprising.

    Isolation effect. Very few decisions happen in isolation, and when a decision contains several stages, decision makers tend to ignore the first stages and focus on the last one only. This bias demonstrates a level of ignorance about the comprehensive view on a combination of decisions—how one factor will influence another—and it can lead to suboptimal outcomes.

    An example from security praxis affected by this effect is one of the fundamental principles in security. A layered defense strategy is the implementation of multiple, independent risk reduction measures. These layers, when taken in combination—not isolation—should reduce risk to an acceptable level.

    Unfortunately, you can test susceptibility to the isolation effect, and 83 percent of security professionals in the research chose suboptimal outcomes. What might this look like in concentric layers of security? Most likely the isolation effect would come into play when one of the layers receives an outsized amount of attention and the rest of the layers are neglected.

    Nonlinear preferences. One percent is one percent, no matter which percent it is, right? Wrong—at least where human decision making is concerned.

    This bias (also known as value function or probability distortion) demonstrates that the perception of 1 percent when changing from 100 percent to 99 percent is very different than when changing from 21 percent to 20 percent. This also works in larger percentage jumps—100 to 25 versus 80 to 20, for example. Both were divided by four, but the change in perceived value from 100 percent to a quarter feels significantly more drastic. (Research has determined that the single percentage change between 100 and 99 percent is weighted to hold the value of 5.5 percent, oddly enough.)

    Small probabilities tend to be overrated as a result of nonlinear preferences, which can strongly affect security decisions. For example, the probability of a terrorist attack is usually quite low, but security professionals are likely to devote outsized resources to mitigating terrorism risks, both because of their potential high impact and the bias for nonlinear preferences, adding additional weight to the low probability.

    Conjunction fallacy. Consider two scenarios in which you are the security manager of a private pharmaceutical company:

    1. How would you estimate the likelihood of experiencing a successful attempt to extract intellectual property during the upcoming year?
    2. How would you estimate the likelihood of experiencing a successful attempt to extract intellectual property by suspected state-
      affiliated attacker groups specifically targeting COVID-19 research, using one or more insiders during the upcoming year?

    Did the additional conjunctions—“by suspected state-affiliated attacker groups,” “specifically targeting COVID-19 research,” and “using one or more insiders”—change your risk assessment? Logic would lead to the conclusion that the short version is more likely because the additional details make the case more specific and reduce the likelihood. The results of research on security professionals show the opposite effect.

    The survey participants were divided into two groups and were presented with either the short or long version of the scenario. On average, the likelihood of the longer scenario was estimated 12.5 percent higher. Nearly three-quarters of security professionals assessed that the detailed case study was more likely than the shorter one, with no significant influence one way or the other for security training or education level.

    This is an example of the conjunction fallacy—the more detailed a scenario, the more realistic and likely it feels. This has potentially serious implications for real-life security risk assessments, though. More information on a security risk almost automatically and unconsciously raises the risk assessment of individual security risk decision makers when, logically, the more specific details should reduce the likelihood. This could lead, for example, a retailer to invest time and resources in addressing the risk of a high-profile flash robbery at a flagship store—which is a specific, low-frequency incident at a specific location—instead of shoplifting as a whole.

    Corrective Action

    The research indicated that security professionals are as vulnerable as laypeople to studied cognitive biases. As a result, their decisions are likely to be influenced by bias and might turn out to be less optimal, efficient, or effective. Security and professional experience, security training, and level of education do not show an observable significant effect on circumventing cognitive bias.

    However, all hope is not lost. Once security professionals begin to recognize biases at work in their decision-making processes, they can take action to mitigate them—at least on less time-sensitive, large-scale decisions like organizational strategy or broad risk mitigation efforts. There are many techniques available to root out the influence of bias and mitigate its risks, and while extensive research has been done on this topic elsewhere, a few simple suggestions to start with are listed below.

    Gather a group. Multiple viewpoints and healthy debate can help identify cognitive missteps and uncover unorthodox solutions. If appropriate, bring in uncommon participants—such as interns, security officers, HR professionals, or facilities staff—for additional perspectives. Consider appointing a devil’s advocate within the group to challenge every assumption and point out potential pitfalls. This person is meant to be somewhat exasperating, so appoint the naysayer with care and outline his or her responsibilities to the group.

    Slow down. Fast thinking often relies on snap decisions and intuition, rather than reason. If the situation allows, plan to make decisions over longer periods of time and use that time to gather additional information and input.

    Aim for options. Don’t stop after you reach one strong contender to mitigate risk. Aim for five instead. By fixating on the first strong solution, decision makers fall into systems of fast thinking. Requiring additional options will force a decision maker to slow down, reconsider available information and possibilities, and likely arrive at a better-reasoned conclusion.

    Undercut the optimism. Optimistic thinking is a hallmark of many decision-making missteps. Harvard Business Review recommended performing a premortem, which imagines a future failure and then explains the cause. This technique helps identify problems that the optimistic eye for success fails to spot. At the same time, it helps decision makers prepare backup plans and highlights factors that may influence success or failure.

    The most important step in this process is to recognize the “flaw in human judgment,” as Kahneman calls it. And despite security professionals’ proclaimed confidence in their own judgment, they are as vulnerable as anyone else to bias and similar cognitive peculiarities. Knowing what you don’t know and acting on that awareness should make security practitioners more reasoned in their decisions.

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  • May 25, 2022 3:51 AM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from Colleen Dilen Schneider

    As Americans learn to live alongside the coronavirus, they continue to prefer some cultural activities over others when compared to 2019 – and the research suggests that these evolving preferences may prove durable.

    When the pandemic first began, IMPACTS Experience started monitoring how the coronavirus was impacting the types of organizations people were choosing to visit. We’ve referred to this metric as the “redistribution of demand.” Now, more than two years into the pandemic, institutions may expect the demand for different cultural experiences to return to pre-pandemic levels. In other words, one might think that the folks who once enjoyed going to the theater over the zoo would by now have returned to their pre-pandemic preferences.

    But that’s not the case. The demand for onsite cultural engagement remains redistributed away from some organization types and towards others.

    This research has important implications for strategic planning, market potential and future attendance expectations, and engagement tactics.

    Redistribution of demand as of the end of the first quarter of 2022

    It’s been some time since we published redistribution of demand data, so let’s start with a refresher on the methodology. We’ve been asking people the following basic question: “On a scale of 1 to 100 where a response of 1 means ‘a significant decrease in my likelihood of visiting,’ a response of 50 means ’the same’ or ‘no change in my likelihood of visiting,’ and a response of 100 means a ‘significant increase in my likelihood of visiting’: How likely are you to visit a(n) [organization type] after the current coronavirus-related restrictions are removed and you are able to resume your normal activities?”

    A response of 50 indicates no change whatsoever in intended future visitation behaviors, suggesting intentions to engage with the indicated organization type as they would in the “before times.” Any response greater than 50 indicates a proportionately higher level of demand for a type of organization, and, conversely, any response less than 50 indicates proportionately lessened demand.

    This research does not necessarily mean that people prefer botanic gardens to symphonies on the whole. Instead, this metric measures how likely people are to return to their normal, pre-coronavirus behaviors. It means that people whose normal behavior in 2019 was to go to symphonies report being less likely to return to the symphony now. It means that people whose normal behavior was to go to botanic gardens are even more likely to visit them now than they were before the pandemic.

    The chart below shows the redistribution of demand as of the end of 2020 and 2021, as well as through the end of the first quarter of 2022. The different timings of the bars are included in order to better demonstrate how quickly things are changing as American behaviors and regulations have broadly loosened.

    If you’re a regular reader familiar with IMPACTS data and methodology, then you already know that seemingly small changes in big data can have significant implications. Any number above or below the 50 value is proportionally indicative of more or less demand relative to “normal 2019” visitation behaviors.

    What do these findings mean?

    1) There remains a redistribution of demand away from stationary, indoor activities towards outdoor activities or those that allow for freedom of movement.

    This finding from the early weeks of the pandemic continues to hold true even now that institutions have long since reopened, many folks have been infected or vaccinated, and most mask requirements have been lifted. Even with these looser regulations harkening back to pre-coronavirus times, people are still behaving differently when it comes to their behaviors involving cultural activities.

    You’ll note that redistribution of demand dramatically benefits parks and gardens. It also strongly benefits zoos, aquariums, and some museums. During the pandemic, gardens, zoos, and aquariums generally did (and continue to do) comparatively well in attracting visitors – with some attracting even greater attendance numbers than before the pandemic! Over the last couple of years, Americans have been conditioned to consider outdoor activities and those that allow for greater freedom of movement as more top-of-mind due to safety perceptions. Simply, the pandemic more effectively activated previously inactive visitors to these institutions by providing a perceptually safer activity than other out-of-home competitors for leisure time. People who may have been interested in either going to the zoo or seeing a movie in the movie theater are more likely to choose the zoo now – even if the movie would have won out in pre-pandemic times.

    A factor likely contributing to the redistribution of demand toward museums in particular is that people previously interested in these types of experiences are starting to come back. Indeed, there may be some pent-up demand at play for art, history, and other museums. Additionally, science museums and science centers have returned to historic levels of demand. This may generally be considered good news given concerns surrounding touching shared objects during the pandemic.

    However, this makes the redistribution of demand away from performing arts even harder to swallow. These organizations have also been adding back programs and experiences to welcome back guests and patrons, but while people are indeed attending these organizations again, their intentions are notably lower than 2019 levels – even among those who consider themselves regular patrons of the performing arts.  Predictably, this impacts market potential for performing arts organizations.

    2) This redistribution of demand may be the “new normal” …at least for the near term.

    This point may be the most important of the whole article: These findings have proven relatively durable over the past two years. While some seasonal variability affects these trends, the data on the whole suggests that visitors have not only adjusted their behaviors in response to the pandemic but have settled into these new preferences as part of a “new normal.”  Extant research suggests that new habits are formed in 66 days, on average. At over two years into the pandemic and over a year reducing regulations and mask mandates, visitors to cultural organizations are well beyond this timespan in establishing new habits. Returning to previous visitation behaviors will happen slowly, if it happens at all.

    This finding is a good one for zoos and botanic gardens seeking to attract or maintain greater attendance. It’s a potential blow for theaters, symphonies, and other live performances. As a reminder, though, attracting new audiences by way of elevating welcoming perceptions is still an issue for organizations experiencing positive redistribution of demand. While positive-demand entities are comparatively doing better on this front on the whole, attracting more visitors does not always mean that an organization is effectively attracting the new visitors required to sustain attendance into the future.

    3) Digitization played a likely role in the durability of this new reality

    The other factor potentially influencing the durability of these behavioral shifts is the technological response to the pandemic.  Multiple studies indicate that the pandemic has rapidly accelerated digitization trends, and perhaps no visitor-serving enterprise has been more affected by this trend than the performing arts. Accelerated digital adoption coupled with the increased competition from the couch (i.e., one’s likelihood to stay at home for leisure purposes (link)) and technological innovations that enable more robust viewing and listening experiences continue to challenge the market potential of place-based performing arts.

    This research does not necessarily indicate that interest in the content presented by performing arts organizations has changed! People are interested in entertainment. However, the pandemic may have shifted expectations around the delivery of performing arts content and how people engage with it. During the pandemic, entertainment companies met us on our couches with releases of robust streaming content. As of the end of 2021, 86.5% of Americans who say they prefer to stay home over the weekend report that they watched a movie or show the last time they stayed home.  From a performing arts perspective, consider that the number of people viewing “Hamilton” within its first ten days on Disney+ exceeded the total number of people who had seen the show in person!

    Old habits die hard. When cultural organizations shut down, Americans missed visiting them, and perceptions that these institutions are assets to their communities generally increased over the course of the pandemic. But the past two years have been hard, and those old habits haven’t stayed the same. While there may have been hope among some institutions that Americans would return to 2019 behaviors and preferences as soon as the opportunity arose, that’s not proving to be the case. Many behaviors and perceptions shifted during the pandemic. It may be some time before they move back – if they do so at all.

    While change is always difficult – especially when layered atop more change – these shifts may represent a strategic opportunity. For some organizations (e.g., parks, gardens, zoos, aquariums, some museums), the durability of the pandemic’s redistribution of demand may be good news for audience engagement. For performing arts organizations, however, these findings are an indication that audience engagement remains altered, requiring consideration of new potential platforms and methods of connection. It’s still a time of trial, creativity, testing, and evolution for performing arts organizations as they invite guests back to their auditoriums, continue to experiment with outdoor experiences, and cultivate online communities.

    Americans are inching toward a new normal and life is different than it was in 2019. In some ways it may be better. In others, worse. Cultural executives must continue to lead their institutions in strategic evolution to educate, connect, and inspire their communities – come what may.

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  • May 25, 2022 3:49 AM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from Artnet News

    When Catalan artist Oriol Vilanova exhibited a jacket filled with postcards visitors could remove and examine at the Musée Picasso in Paris, little did he imagine that one person would take the liberty a step too far.

    But in late March, a 72-year-old woman took the blue work jacket, which had been hanging on a wall, home with her. According to French daily Le Parisien, she then had it altered at the tailor’s so it would fit.

    Upon returning to the museum to revisit the show a few days later, the woman—who had been captured on surveillance camera putting the jacket into her bag—was arrested by the police, who happened to be at the museum looking for evidence.

    While in custody, the retiree—who was reportedly “passionate” about art, according to Le Parisien—immediately confessed to stealing the jacket but claimed not to have realized it was an artwork. Police searched her home, where they found it with shortened sleeves.

    After a few hours of interrogation, the public prosecutor’s office let the woman off with a warning and dropped the case. According to Le Parisien, the woman had been placed under guardianship.

    Vilanova’s artwork belongs to his “Old Masters” series (2017–21), which involved filling the pockets of a blue jacket with postcards depicting artworks by major figures in art history. At the Musée Picasso, the jacket was filled with postcards purchased at flea markets and museum shops, all with images of Picasso’s work. The jacket appeared next to a black-and-white photograph of Picasso in his studio and was presented in “Picasso à l’image” (through February 12, 2023), a thematic exhibition of the museum’s collection with archival photographs, films, and documentaries.

    “When the museum told me the work had been stolen, I was surprised, but it was impossible to envisage the story that followed,” Vilanova told Artnet News.

    But Vilanova disputes this. “I’ve always exhibited this artwork in the same way in other museums without any problem [as there were] security guards that guaranteed its safety,” he told Artnet News. “Other museums insured the artwork. If I had been aware of the risk of theft [at the Musée Picasso], I would never have exhibited it,” he said, adding that 150 postcards were also destroyed by the culprit.

    The theft raises questions about the Musée Picasso’s security system. However, the museum told Artnet News it “proposed to the artist to secure [the jacket] on a coat-hanging system which would have prevented it from being unhooked off the wall.

    “This option was not chosen by the artist because the public could not have manipulated the work easily. He wanted people to be able to handle not just the postcards, but the jacket too.”

    Due to the nature of Vilanova’s piece, it was “not insurable for the risk of theft,” a point stated in its loan agreement with the artist, the museum said. “The artist was aware of the risk of the object being stolen.”

    Based in Brussels, Vilanova describes his method of working as a “flea market studio practice.” His installations of chromatically ordered postcards, intended as a reflection on mass reproduction, have been exhibited internationally. Work from his “Old Masters” series had also been shown at the Albright Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, as well as in Monaco and Belgium, where it was always free from harm.

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  • May 10, 2022 5:38 AM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from MIT Sloane Management Review

    Lately, it feels like “resilience” has popped up as the answer to just about everything. Having a hard time because of a toxic environment? Just be resilient. Struggling to home-school your kids while working 50-hour weeks during a global pandemic? Try some resilience. 

    Resilience, or the ability to withstand hardship and bounce back from difficult events, is useful when it comes to work. But, too often, it’s presented in a way that overlooks structural issues and instead encourages employees to grin and bear whatever tough stuff comes their way — and to do so on their own, without disturbing their colleagues.

    The truth is, it’s much, much easier to be resilient in an environment that makes it easy. Say your team priorities suddenly shift or everyone has to switch to remote work overnight. You’ll be better able to regroup and gather the energy to figure out a new path forward if you trust your manager, feel safe opening up to your team, and believe that the organization will work to support you. 

    In other words, there’s a difference between demanding that everyone be mentally tough and actually helping them take care of their mental health. As the past few years have proved, uncertainty and challenging situations are often beyond our control. But how leaders respond — that is, whether they make work a place where employees feel supported, or push them until they burn out and give up — is not. Based on the research and interviews we conducted for our new book, Big Feelings: How to Be Okay When Things Are Not Okay, we’ve pulled together five actions leaders can take to create a workplace that supports resilience.

    1. Make well-being a collective practice.

    Teams can put shared practices into place that make it easier for individuals to improve their well-being. Ask yourself: How can my team better incorporate balance as part of our days? Saying you want your people to have a healthy work-life balance is great, but if their calendars are filled with back-to-back meetings and they get pinged at all hours of the day, chances are they won’t feel safe taking the breaks they need.

    To improve team well-being, establish shared rituals. When everything feels up in the air, rituals can help employees feel more grounded — and less stressed. It doesn’t matter what the ritual is: Research shows that simply doing the same thing at the same time can improve mental health. 

    A couple of ideas we’ve heard from teams: Kick off weekly team meetings with a fun prompt, make a shared commitment to not schedule video calls with each other on one or two afternoons a week, and put 15-minute team breaks on the calendar every day. We also heard from one leader that she’s found it useful to give her team the first five minutes of their regular meeting to turn off their cameras and do something that will help them be more present, whether that’s responding to the email burning a hole in their inbox or getting up to stretch.

    2. Look back at how far you’ve come as a team.

    A ritual around reflection and recognition can also help your team members connect and build confidence. Successfully navigating change or uncertainty as a team is not about having the perfect plan in place but about trusting that you can weather surprises together.

    To take stock of all that your team has accomplished, set aside time at the end of each month or quarter to discuss the following:

    • What have we learned over the past few weeks or months?
    • What was difficult, and how would we approach it differently given what we know now?
    • What important progress did we make?

    Keep in mind that an important part of progress is lessons learned. If your team had to rapidly pivot toward a new goal, you’re not “behind” where you’re supposed to be. It means you’re moving in a new direction, this time with experience.

    3. Use one-on-one meetings wisely.

    If your one-on-ones focus solely on status updates, you’re missing out on a valuable opportunity to better understand and support your team members. Worse, you might be inadvertently sending the message that you care only about pressing tasks and to-dos, which can leave your reports feeling expendable and anxious.

    Find an alternative channel for status updates (think email, Slack threads, or brief team meetings) to leave more room for personal conversations in one-on-ones. We recommend asking these questions:

    • What one thing can I do to better support you this week?
    • What kind of flexibility do you need right now?
    • How does your workload feel right now? Where can I help?
    • What was a win for you over the past week? What was challenging?

    Make sure to take action on what you hear, and communicate the steps you’ll take. For example, you might say, “You mentioned last week that you could use more heads-down time. Let’s work together to see if there are any upcoming meetings that could be handled asynchronously or that you could push to next week.”

    4. Understand and adjust for different emotional expression tendencies.

    While it’s important to create space for your employees to flag feelings or raise concerns, you shouldn’t push them to do so. If things get challenging or the future seems uncertain, let your reports know that you’re there to support them, but make it OK for them to not open up to you in great detail. 

    When it comes to how comfortable we are expressing emotions, we each sit somewhere along a spectrum. On one end are over-emoters, or people who are highly emotionally expressive. People always know what over-emoters are feeling and tend to turn to them when they want someone to be excited. On the other end are under-emoters, or people who are less emotionally expressive. People feel they can go to under-emoters if they are upset or have a problem, since the under-emoter will be able to calmly figure out a way forward. Even-emoters sit in the middle but can swing either way, depending on the situation. None of these tendencies is “good” or “bad,” but it’s useful to be aware of where on the spectrum your reports (and you!) sit so you can adjust your behavior as needed. (We’ve created an emotional expression tendency assessment that you can use and share with your team.) 

    For example, say one of your reports is an under-emoter. If she’s feeling overwhelmed by the amount of uncertainty she’s facing, she won’t wear that emotion on her sleeve, and she likely won’t bring it up in a one-on-one conversation on her own. So as her boss, you’ll need to dig a bit deeper by asking questions like, “What part of your job is keeping you up at night?” or “What should I know about that I don’t know about?” 

    5. Create shared language.

    To make it easier for employees to feel safe opening up and trusting one another, it’s helpful to establish shared language. For example, teams at the executive coaching firm Reboot use a “red, yellow, green” system to check in at the beginning of meetings. Red means someone is struggling; yellow means someone feels stressed, but it’s manageable; and green means someone is feeling good.

    We’ve also worked with teams to help them create “It’s OK to …” lists. The idea comes from writer Giles Turnbull, who wanted new employees at the U.K.’s Government Digital Service to know that it was always OK to do things like make mistakes or ask a question. He drafted a list, crowdsourced more ideas from his colleagues, and then designed posters that he hung in the office. The final “It’s OK to …” list included things like “say you don’t understand,” “have quiet days,” and “ask why, and why not.”

    “It’s OK to …” lists surface permissions that might already exist within the company culture but might be helpful to remind people of — especially in uncertain times and when onboarding new employees. In addition to sharing team documents, individuals can share work style preferences with one another (see our work preferences template) to support them in doing their best work.

    Uncertainty and change are inevitable. But by putting the practices listed above into place, leaders can create environments for their people that make it easier for them to be resilient. Ultimately, the best and most successful workplaces are those that ensure people feel supported through difficult times.

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