Linking Mindset to Transformation

I’d like to introduce two concepts that are emerging in discussions across our client communities, cultural transformation and mindset.

In our work, regardless of the specific outcome we are seeking, some degree of change within the existing culture will be required, or the desired outcome will be impacted by the existing culture.  Both are true and typically occur simultaneously.  It’s critical we stop thinking of organizational culture as a single thing, but rather, a group of individuals who each have their own mindset that drives their behavior.  When the mindset of leadership is to expect more and expect it faster, we must remember to support the culture (the mindset of all of those individuals) that delivers it.  This support typically goes beyond the technical capabilities of our organization’s people and the technology we provide them.  Understanding their mindset is getting to the “heart” of what makes them tick and motivates them to want to do more and/or do it differently.

Our clients spend many hours and resources to create business strategies to improve market share, ROIs and increase the value of their service or product.  These strategic initiatives always require the culture to transform in order to deliver.  This cultural transformation is achieved when people have a common understanding of the initiatives and believe there will be value for them by engaging in the initiative.  As we work with leaders to develop their business strategies, the corresponding change strategy includes an assessment of the mindset of leadership and those responsible for implementing the change or impacted by the change. It is important to define and communicate this alignment between the mindsets of leadership and the supporting culture.

What is the thing we call mindset really? Consider the following:

  • Awareness is your perception of reality.  Mindset formulates those perceptions.
  • Knowledge is the content of your mind.  Mindset constructs the meaning you make of that content.
  • Thinking is the process of your mind.  Mindset shapes what and how you think.
  • Emotion is your feeling state.  Mindset determines what you feel in any given situation
  • Behavior is the manner in which you conduct yourself.  Mindset causes you to behave as you do in any situation.
  • Based on individual mindset, a person’s reality will be formed by how they interpret a situation. 
Reality = Situation + Interpretation1

When seeking cultural transformation within an organization, begin with understanding the mindset of the organization.  Interpretation of the same situations may vary greatly across your organization, depending on individual mindset.  To the extent leaders are able to help the organization interpret the same situation similarly through strong change strategies and meaningful two-way communication, their chances for a successful cultural transformation increase greatly.

Karen Branick
Practice Leader
Orion Advisory LLC

1BeingFirst, 4Sight Advanced Change Leadership Skills and Development Course and The Change Leader’s Roadmap, Linda and Dean Anderson

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