This is the follow-on book from Leadership and Self-Deception, you can read a summary of that book here.
Mindset is the way people see and regard the world – circumstances, challenges, opportunities, other people, themselves.
Behaviour drives results, mindset drives behaviour.
Those who attempt to effect change by concentrating on mindset are four times more likely to succeed than those only looking at behaviour. Consider compliant behaviour versus committed behaviour. Those who are merely following rules versus those who are emotionally invested in the outcome or results of the organisation.
Who we are is who we are with others. How we behave around others is what defines us. In Leadership and Self-Deception, we covered the concept of ‘People as objects’ (inside the box) versus ‘people as people’ (outside the box).
Outward mindset: accountability, collaboration, innovation, leadership, culture, value to customers
In order to shift our mindset, we need to move beyond self-interest. Other people’s needs, objectives and challenges matter to us.
Inward mindset -> distorted picture -> justification to do what you want
Even if we do good things, we are still inward facing if the reason we do them is for ourselves or to satisfy our own needs, objectives and challenges instead of other people’s. We should focus on the organisation’s mission and put this at the heart of what we do.
Inward mindset – help people do things. Outward mindset – help people to be able to do things
Most teams are filled with people who are only interested in themselves and their own success. “Lateral awareness” is when we become aware of the challenges of those horizontal to us. And it is a good indicator of outward mindset.
- See the needs challenges objectives of others
- Adjust efforts to be more helpful to others
- Measure and hold ourselves accountable for the impact of our work on others
How do we do it?
There is a natural inclination to wait for others to change first. But, we should change our mindset even when others are not ready or willing to change theirs; other people’s ‘inwardness’ gives us the justification we need to remain inward ourselves. Instead, we can focus on helping others be more successful. Being able to operate with an outward mindset even when others do not is a critical ability.
People worry that others will take advantage, and therefore resist making the first move towards an outward mindset. We can also slip back into an inward mindset. Wanting others to think well of us is a common inward mindset motivation.
Organisations that have a leader/ led approach are rife with justification and blame – it creates an ‘us and them’. Having a collective result is something that is much bigger than just ourselves. To do this we need an outward mindset.
Outward mindset -> people are fully responsible/ accountable - to both plan and do their work.
We have reached a stage in work where we are seldom allowed to use our brains, to the point that we have stopped using them. We are so busy being told what to do, we have a learned sense of helplessness. But that can change.
- Focus on the *impact* of what you do
- Trust others to know what needs to be accomplished and how it needs to be accomplished
- People should be involved in determining the results they need to deliver in the context of a collective result
“Trappings of difference” [creates an ‘us and them’ approach] – practice or policy that communicates to others that they don’t really matter like we do -> gets in the way of creating an outward mindset in an organisation.
Performance measured on a Bell-shaped curve looks at relative performance rather than actual productivity and results. [don’t get me started on bell-shaped curves and forced grading! Systems/ processes need to also be outward focused, eg bonuses, metrics…
Ask yourself: “What can I do to be more helpful?”