You wouldn’t be alone if you sometimes wondered how you’re going to deliver what’s expected of you in the next 12 months. In an increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous business environment, meeting your objectives can seem like a difficult thing to achieve.
We're sorry to be the bearers of bad news but, if you let it, it could get worse. The self-fulfilling prophecy is alive and well! When you start from the premise that achieving something will be hard, you’ll invariably be right!
Looking afresh at what's familiar
So why start there? Why not explore an alternative and see where it takes you?
Imagine you’re a fan of a sports team and they appoint a new manager. You wonder what they’ll bring to the table that their predecessor didn’t. Sometimes, you hope, the very same players that didn’t do so well under the last manager, will deliver results even they don’t think are possible once the new management team is up and running.
Now suppose your hopes come true. Results start going your team's way. Fans assume that's all down to the new manager. Their hero or saviour-like figure has arrived and their stereotypical image of what good leadership means is reinforced. Managers, they assume, have the power to sort people’s problems out for them.
Except it’s not the new manager that delivers results, it’s the players. Their skill level hasn't changed a great deal, the main difference on the field of play is their mindset.
It works like this: a new way of thinking creates a better feeling which in turn produces new behaviours that show up in performance. A manager may help this process along with new tactics and higher fitness levels for sure, but ultimately it’s down to each individual player to operate from a more helpful mindset when it matters most in the game.
Mindsets in business are not widely understood
In business, the link between mindsets and performance is widely misunderstood. Mindsets are habits of thinking that can build over many years or be newly formed. They become habits because they’re grounded in what feels true, even though they may be anything but. They drive what people do without them noticing much of the time.
When they work well, no problem, people work on auto pilot. Yet when a habit works less well, perhaps because circumstances or people change, they fail to adapt and stay busy doing things in the way they’ve always been done.
Busy mindsets can stay that way and ultimately become unhelpful as people rigidly hold on to habits irrespective of how useful they are. Clear mindsets on the other hand focus on the unfolding new reality. They bring out people’s innate qualities such as:
Being curious about each other and the challenges ahead
Listening profoundly to what each other has to say
Realising that others see things differently
Being open to new insights that bring new answers
Collectively deciding the right course of action.
Everyone moves in and out of busy and clear mindsets all the time. The problem is most are unaware of how this process works. Team members for example will know they’re feeling stuck or frustrated by something without realising the unhelpful habit of thinking that’s causing it.
Turn this around though and their innate qualities shine through. They feel like they’re in a real team again. Their rediscovered qualities sustain them during uncertain and complex times and create the feeling that extraordinary results - those that get people excited – are possible again.
We hope you found this useful. What do you think when you put the words results and excitement together?
To discover more about whether unhelpful mindsets are at work in your team read our short Insight Paper on this. If you want to see the main differences between a busy and clear mindset see our short Informational Picture Essay or 'InfoPic.'