What do you do?

What do you do?

This entry originally appeared on October 20th, 2022 using the mirror.xyz platform and has been permanently stored onchain and signed via ArWeave.

That’s not an easy question to answer if you’re in the business of work. At Orion Growth, we (1) help middle managers with workplace talent & development programs (2) help early-stage companies rethink their organizational structures to better support future workers, and (3)subscribe to life-long learning and explore all the ideas and concepts around current and future of work.

We model CRE construction projects with cross-functional technology for simulation.

We study and learn the tech that will save us from the tech that’s eating us.

We think differently. We ask that of our clients, too.

Founded in 2010, Orion Growth was born from the ashes of the great recession. We had just bore witness to the residential market crash caused by CDO’s in the CMBS market. Those events caused us to pause, similar to today, to observe the CRE market processes and influences and think about real estate differently.

We saw silos, everywhere. Especially between space, tech, and stuff. CRE, IT, and Vendors weren’t even in the same book, let alone on the same page. Over time, they’ve become closer and closer. Now, they have to be integrated.

From our first explainer piece in 2011
From our first explainer piece in 2011

We focused on office - more specifically TI projects and leases.

So on we traveled into this new, bold world - armed with a new understanding of partnerships - leading occupiers down the path of tenancy. Off we went standardizing lease language, finding quality landlords, negotiating fair terms, dissecting work letters, creating procurement partners, removing middle vendors, essentially creating interoperability not only site-specific but org-wide. We worked to streamline and consolidate while our clients focused on their work.

We took the pain out of growth.

That was our problem. We took the pain out of growth. We did such a good job being remote - catching issues, putting out fires, reacting on job sites, selecting partners, creating standards, maintaining budgets, and avoiding delays….we forgot to show them how hard it was. And they couldn’t see us.

So why are talking about this? For one, we learn from our mistakes. Our mistake, early on, was not illustrating our value - forgetting to build our value proposition into our process. Secondly, and perhaps more important, - we were unaware of proximity bias and our shadow presence kept us underrepresented.

“We were so busy doing distributed work, we forgot to build a mechanism of value to illustrate the enormity of our work. Our clients couldn’t see it because we weren’t there.”

March 4, 2020

We had a design meeting in St. Louis. Three large architecture firms were pitching an HQ project to one of our portfolio clients. A senior executive got a call in the middle of one of the presentations. He stepped outside. It HAD to be important because the timing of his dismissal was not good. He was the senior leader who would ultimately have to make decisions and he had left the room. It was awkward - but not as awkward as work and office would soon become.


He left with good reason. One of his people had been admitted to the hospital and was positive for Covid-19. It was the first documented case in that state. With 12,000 people distributed across the world, and a global virus outbreak, they had a lot to be worried about. The office wasn’t at the top of the list. We flew home and the music stopped. The pandemic lockdown forced a distributed work model. March 13, 2020.

Fast Forward

There’s a lot to leave out between March 13, 2020 and today. What can’t be left out is the fact that distributed work proved to be effective and efficient and workers gained the ability to work from anywhere. Covid exposed massive chasms in technology and forced HR and IT to innovate. WHERE work was being done was no longer as important as THAT work was being done.

Proximity Bias

When we don’t see work being done, we often don’t adequately value that work. In fact, some leaders have equated proximity to laziness. Working in your mom’s basement in your PJ’s doesn’t mean you’re not working - it might mean you’re more comfortable, productive, and supported. There’s good news though. There are brilliant minds who recognize this bias and are working hard to track and assign value to contribution. The truth is there’s so much energy our teams are supplying to projects that simply can’t be captured, let alone recognized and rewarded.

With that - it’s time to recognize the technologies and structures that begin to allow for a more horizontal approach to work. Technologies like consensus mechanisms that allow for individual proposals. Single-source documents that allow for collaboration and versioning. Consolidated communication platforms for all media, allowing choice of communication method as well as synchronous and asynchronous work times. Structures and protocols that define boundaries within these systems so we can establish synergy and symbiosis rather than chaos and hegemony. Not to mention the AI, ML and automation tech that frees humans from tasking and allows for time for thought.

What we’re really getting at here is community building through systems thinking and applied technology. Disparate apps have taught us to isolate problems, but the future is in interoperability. Open-source documentation, telling others how you did it versus locking the secret away, is the future. Decentralized access to information, perhaps with a centralized goal, purpose, or theme is a good place to start.

“If the organization takes a return-and-retreat mentality, and orders back legacy support systems with legacy policy - it will fail in time.”

We are building out our first education platform to help teach the tools of the trade back to our trade. If you’re in T&D, you’re a middle manager who hears this message, or you specialize in Integrated Workplace Managment Systems but don’t know where to turn for fresh information, please reach out here so we can get you on our interest list and send out an application.

There has never been a better time to be an entrepreneur or establish Entreprenurial thinking within your organization. The future of work depends on it.

Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

#TotalTenancy™ / #OrionGrowth