- Author: Wendy Powers
The first month of 2019 is just about behind us. I find that hard to believe! However, this weekend the increasing day length was both apparent and welcomed. Admittedly, I miss the long summer days of Michigan. Even a seemingly small 4° difference in latitude makes a big difference.
Last week I had a chance to listen to a reader-recommended TED talk that focused on improving work efficiencies. The speaker, Martin Danoesastro, makes the case that alignment around purpose enables autonomy and that autonomy allows for a faster, and more flexible work environment. Companies that organize themselves around multidisciplinary teams, as opposed to disciplinary silos, can be successful provided each employee is willing to be a leader. The hurdle is that each has to change their behavior and in so doing be willing to give something up. Thanks for the recommendation – I found the talk useful and timely.
Tomorrow is a UC ANR Town Hall to talk about UC Path, a new business system designed to change the way our operations data flows and integrates. The network of personnel working on UC Path are testing systems day and night right now to ensure that everyone receives a paycheck on April 1, 2019, and minimize disruptions. Long term, UC Path will improve efficiencies but it will take a change for that to happen and, no doubt, some things will be lost including mailed paychecks. As someone who still hasn't established a bank account with a financial institution that has a presence in California, I can't imagine getting a paper paycheck; it would parallel installing a landline telephone (something I stopped around 2001). Cybersecurity concerns contribute to changes, too. As a result, DUO multifactor authentication goes into effect soon. I can say that while this may change the way we work in that we have an added layer of sign-in to complete online approvals, I much prefer this system to the one we used at Michigan State. The Michigan State MFA required that you had to receive a 6-digit code by phone or text and enter that code to complete the sign-in.
I heard much discussion over the weekend about the need to change how we harvest crops. First, I read a post shared with my by Jose Aguiar: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/could-california-produce-soon-cost-you-more-farms-face-labor-shortages-immigration-woes/ar-BBSNijI?ocid=ob-fb-enus-280&fbclid=IwAR3IuTVX_W3yONXcXsAq-Azk6jE-NoDrL9ukPnz4Gn5D7_5vz0zy2iml23Y. I am not sure if Jose was aware that the same topic would make its way to a news report over the weekend, but the reporter talked about this very topic of the increased cost of food because of labor shortages.
Imagine if we could find a way to harvest, mechanically, more of the fruits and vegetables grown? Harvest automation was one of the ‘gaps' identified by growers we met with in Blythe a couple of weeks back. The farmers thought UC and UC ANR should direct more effort to automation as a key step in maintaining California's stature in food production. The topic did not make its way into the 46 positions considered during the recent process, but I do wonder if we have enough FTE directed towards this problem at present. Sure, we would give up something in the process, but overall, the opportunity to change how the work is done would be worthwhile. Perhaps the alignment around purpose is not quite there yet.