It’s a cynical view of consultants that they’ll tell you what you want to hear! Not necessarily, what you need to hear.
But what if they are right? What time do you want it to be?
Consider this: the future is literally made up!
Every invention we have today started as a thought, a concept, an idea. Nothing more.
Edison may have been credited with inventing the light bulb but today, the question isn’t, “What light bulbs do you have?” It’s, “What light bulb do you want?”
When I offer to buy someone a coffee, the second question is: “What coffee do you want?” Not everyone wants a long back with cream! 🤷♂️
So, what kind of day do you want? If that’s too long term, what would a good hour look like? (Half hour? Moment?)
The point is, going back to the consultant question …
What do you want?
The real challenge for the consultant, and for us, is whether we have the efficacy to bring the goal to pass?
Efficacy: the ability to produce a desired or intended result.
It’s one thing to want a thing. It’s another thing to bring it about.
I would suggest though, that most of us, have that ability.
Want a new car? Do you have the ability to save?
Want to have a good day? Do you have the ability to plan and stick to a schedule you plan?
Want a peaceful demeanour? Do you have the ability to block out calamity?
I’d suggest we all have the abilities. Most of it comes to a choice. To do or not to do. (I seriously didn’t mean to channel Yoda! 🙄)
A lot of this comes down to moments. What will we do in the moment? What is our choice?
My current moment
I’m sitting here having a coffee (long black with cream, if you’re following along) and sourdough! I shouldn’t be having the sourdough for health reasons. Some can, I can’t! But it is so delicious. But there was a moment where I could have decided not to indulge. I chose to do so.
I’ll have the opportunity to choose again tomorrow. One moment at a time.
Back to the beginning Imagine I am your consultant. You’ve come to me looking for some clarity, some guidance on where t from here.
You ask: “Who and what am I?” My response: “Who and what do you want to be?”
My “who and what”
I have a list of items I read every day. These are my affirmations. They cover who and what I want to be. They are not true at the moment. They are my goals.
Reading them every day imprints them in my mind. It’s a subtle mechanism to re-orient how I see myself. Maybe that sounds woo-woo. Except it’s based on how the mind works.
Everything we believe about ourselves to be currently true has occurred the same way, either consciously, or subconsciously. The constant imprinting of a belief that becomes true!
James Clear writes about it this way (if you don’t believe me, maybe you’ll believe James! 😉)
In Atomic Habits, he mentions a situation with two smokers (note they are both currently smoking).
They are each offered a cigarette.
One responds with, “No thank you, I’m trying to quit.”
The other? “No thanks, I don’t smoke!”
And so …
The question isn’t, “Who are you?” The question is, “Who do you want to be?”
And then, like every human invention in history: you make it up!
Years ago I was in a church where there was the discipline of morning prayer. You could do this at home but, if you were a “disciple”, it was better to be seen at the church building praying, anywhere from 6am to 8am.
The discipline of a morning meditation* was really good. The need to be seen? Not so much. In fact, if you missed attending for a couple of days you got the “didn’t see you at morning prayer, brother!” So there was this expectation and, as young me, there was always the pursuit of trying to be better. Again, nothing wrong with that.
One day, I overheard a friend say he got up at 4am to pray. Holy prayer mats, Batman!
Not to be outdone, I also got up at 4am to pray.
This was hard! Partly because of another church custom: fellowship.
This was coffee and food after church to be friendly to others, encourage each other and build relationships. Another plus for church and similar communities.
But going to bed after 10:30 and getting up at 4am was a tough gig. Not to be deterred, I stuck it out for a couple of weeks. But in the end, it was too much. I had to pack the 4am starts in and try and be a normal person.
A month or so after that, feeling like a failure in my prayer habits and clearly a very unspiritual disciple, I mentioned my efforts to my friend.
He laughed: “You obviously didn’t hear the whole conversation!”
“Oh?”, I responded, wondering what I had missed.
“Yeah, what I was saying was I had got up at 4am one time to try and it was hopeless. It was stupid. I get up at 6:30 every day!”
Needless to say we both had a good laugh!
It’s obvious to say we shouldn’t compare ourselves to others but we tend to do this without thinking.
Here are some things to consider next time you’re scrolling Social Media:
What is their background? What do they bring to the situation you don’t know about?
What do they not say? This isn’t the sin of intentional omission, it could simply be they have information, skills, knowledge they take for granted they wouldn’t even think to share. For example a blogger with experience in journalism.
What effort do they put in that we can’t see? We only get to see the end product in many cases. I like it when people on YouTube give us a behind the scenes look at their set up. It brings a whole lot of context.
Don’t be a literalist. This is taking everything at face value. It becomes a binary argument: this OR that. Rarely is that the case. There are so many shades of grey! (More than 50, I’d say!)
What to do:
What do you admire about the person? Admiration is great, we need role models. What attributes do you see that you would like for yourself. Write them down.
Allow space for yourself. You are not, and cannot, be them. You can be you. What does that mean? Write it down.
What are your goals in this area? Have you defined them clearly? Write them down.
What tasks need to be addressed for you to fulfil #2? (you be you)
What actions can you take to start completing those tasks? When can you do the first of those tasks?
Another erroneous comparison I have made.
I follow Yiannis Christodoulou, on Twitter (@Yiannis_83). With 83 being in his profile I assume he is 20 years younger than me. He is quite the accomplished triathlete in his age group. But I assumed he had been doing this since he was a kid. I assumed he’s been brought up swimming, running and riding for decades!
If I compare myself to him, I probably can’t emulate his feats.
Read his tweet of 4 days ago:
He only started swimming 10 years ago! And he started to run! And yet he has achieved so much!
We can be very fickle.
We see people who have made it and we think we can do exactly the same, without knowing their background.
We also see people who are accomplished and we think we can’t emulate them, without knowing their background.
If that isn’t an endorsement for you be you, I don’t on know what is.
Don’t compare yourself to others.
Admire their feats, sure and now start where you are.
*Funny that back then we referred to meditation as new age woo-woo! (Maybe they still do!) 🙄
Also, thanks to Yiannis for allowing me to mention him and his success in his journey!
Have you noticed your self talk? Is it predominantly positive or negative? For most people it’s negative. Over 80% of our thoughts are negative, according to one study.
We beat ourselves up constantly over little things that don’t matter. What’s more, we do it over and over. So one possibly bad event, turns into multiple bad events simply because we repeat it. According to this article, your subconscious can’t tell the difference between a real or imagined event.
So we can literally make shit up and the mind and body will react as if it is real. Seriously, the truth is, you can make this shit up!
I often have conversations in my head about real and imagined scenarios. We all do this, don’t blink at me as if I’ve lost my mind. Off we go on our little, pointless tangents, often over inflating the situation and you can feel your heart rate increase.
We feel ourselves getting angry, anxious or even depressed. It’s like we are in a hole and the world is closing in on us. Hope is futile and we look for a doughnut shop, a couch and a soppy movie! Or a beer!
It doesn’t have to be this way.
What to do
When I was listening to Sam Harris’s meditation app Waking Up, Sam would lead me through a meditation and the challenge, or suggestion at the end, was to notice the “moments” between commitments. Say between meetings, or conversations, or when moving from one room to another, or heading out to lunch or coming back from lunch. Simple, everyday moments we all have.
Sam would instruct me to take a moment and determine to respond, rather than react. To take a breath and notice the breath. To be mindful rather than be on autopilot and rush to the next thing!
To be honest, it took me a while. I’d get through my day and and realise I had missed all the opportunities to “notice the moment”. You can imagine what that self talk was like!
But then, one day, I did notice. I literally caught myself saying, “I am leaving this meeting and I’m heading out to get something to eat.” Bingo! I had slowed down enough, or become aware enough, to notice a moment.
Noticing moments allows you space to take conscious action.
In terms of working on your self talk, take notice of your internal conversations. Determine the difference between a real conversation you are working through versus a rant that will never see the light of day.
When the rant is in full swing, notice it, and shut it down.
I do this all the time now and it really helps my mood and reduces my stress or anxiety.
I will literally notice the conversation in my head and call out the exaggerations. I’ll say to myself, “That didn’t happen, drop it!” and I stop the conversation in my head. I then put on the “half smile” I talked about here to move away from the dark clouds in my head to the sunshine.
We can’t always control what happens to us and we can all get caught out by impulsive self talk. But if we start to notice these moments, we can begin to respond and not react.
Sometimes just reading something like this is enough to trigger the ability to stop and notice.
Other times we need to be more conscious about this.
I suggest writing something down to read each morning. Or, as I have also done, I write what I want to be conscious of at the top of the page in my notebooks where I write my notes of meetings during the day. This way it’s always in front of me.
On days I forget, I simply remind myself I get another chance tomorrow!
“Start Happy” is a way to take stock every day, every moment and turn our attention to the positive things that are happening, if we are prepared to notice them.
This doesn’t mean everything will be perky 100% of the time but the good thing is we can reflect on challenges and difficult times and learn from them, even if that learning is simply: I survived.
When I first wake up, I decide to be happy. Just decide. Nothing more. No writing out a mantra or reading a passage of an inspirational book. I can do those things of course, and often do but, even after doing those activities, I still need to decide.
Being happy is a decision I make. And I can make that decision multiple times a day. Even in the midst of a storm. In fact, even better in the midst of a storm.
As I go through my day today, I’m conscious of my mood and feelings. Then, at those times when I feel myself getting frustrated, angry, tired, worn out, flat, I …smile.
Just a small one so people don’t think I’ve checked out.
There is a practice which the Vietnamese Zen teacher Thich Nhat Hanh calls a gentle half smile, which can indeed brighten our day, without needing to pretend that life is all wonderful.
MIYANDA THERAPY AND TRAINING
Try this. I’ve been doing it for months now and, each time I think to do it and wonder if the “magic” of the half smile will wear off – it doesn’t.
Imagine you come home from work tomorrow night and, as you pull into the driveway, you notice a window has been broken. Not cracked, there is a hole in the window. The weather can get in, as can nosy neighbours and some ne’er do wells!
What do you do? You (hopefully) take action to fix the window.
Why? Because a broken window is classified as “wrong”. A fixed window is “normal”. A broken window is not.
When it comes to goal setting, you want to either:
get back to normal (i.e. fix the broken window) or;
create a new normal – do something new with the window
As humans, we gravitate to normal, our comfort zone. Normal is deemed as safe. But what I view as normal and what you view as normal is likely very different. Therefore, normal is not arbitrary. This is great news because we can pick the new, better normal and work towards that. Maybe I’d like to have more of what you’re thinking.
And to create a new normal, we need a new problem.
As with the broken window, if we see a problem, we look to fix it. It’s automatic. See broken window, fix broken window.
We work to fix the things that are without or control.
And problems, like the broken window, create energy, an impetus to fix the problem.
What is my point?
With regards to goals and making plans for things to change, we need energy. Ergo, we need a problem!
“Tell me what you want, what you really really want!”
If we want to travel overseas for a holiday, most of us have to change our spending and put funds aside for the trip. This, in itself, becomes the new normal. It’s hard at times but we need to decide if we really want the trip and to make the necessary changes. If funds are short week to week, it can cause conflict. It’s called sacrificing and we all have different levels of sacrifice!
But we make the sacrifice if we want the holiday! And then, one day, we step on to that plane … 😀
And so, with goal setting, we need to change what is normal in order to achieve the goal.
Different isn’t always better but better is always different!
The “Holiday” Imagine the change you want is the holiday. How do you plan for the holiday?You probably:
select a destination
check flights or journey options
review your budget
look up places to visit
create a spreadsheet to track things like packing, destinations, costs (no-one does that do they? *cough*)
you talk to people about it (endlessly!)
All of these actions to a greater or lesser degree, create energy. This energy provides the fuel to make your goal a reality. Hey, even planning for a well deserved holiday can be stressful and sometimes we think it’s just not worth the hassle – but it is and we endure!
What is your goal? Can you adapt the above points to your goal? More than likely.
How much do you want your goal? If the energy is there, you’ll achieve your goal or get very close to it. Even a holiday might need to be changed if something doesn’t work out and you can’t influence it. (I’d be on the next plane to Germany if Covid cases weren’t on the rise!)
Conversely, if there is no energy to change, the goal is likely to remain a goal. But, in the same way, if your goal is something you are prepared to sacrifice for, talk about, track progress and make it part of your “normal”, it’ll happen almost magically.
How do you achieve your goals? Let me know in the comments.
When we think of personal development, we think in terms of taking new things on: taking on new skills, taking on new behaviours, as well as new attitudes and beliefs. This can be scary and take us well out of our comfort zone.
This is because, when we start to take on these new attributes, we’re rarely competent … at first. We get to (re)learn about the competency ladder.
Unconsciously incompetent – we did know that we didn’t know!
Conscious incompetent – we now know what we don’t know!
Consciously competent – we focus and become better at our new skills
Unconsciously competent – we do it without even thinking about it!
Acting as if …
In his commencement speech at the University of the Arts 2012, Neil Gaiman finishes off a great speech by suggesting people be wise. “But”, he says, “If you don’t know how to be wise, think of someone who is wise and just pretend to be like them.”
“Acting as if” leads to acting, or behaving and thinking, like the character trait you want to be competent in.
According to the site, Ranker, Daniel Day Lewis is known for staying in character off camera. Reportedly, he would send text messages as “Commander in Chief” and talk on the phone as Abraham Lincoln when he was filming Lincoln.
He was acting as if he was Lincoln!
What skill or behaviour are you looking to develop?
An actor will take the time to research their character. Particularly if it is based on true events, they will go to great lengths to find out about their character, as stated by Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger of Tom Hanks.
And yet, here is how Hanks describes the situation:
When we are looking to lead people, or influence others, what traits do we need to take on in order to be successful in the role or the situation? Think about someone you know who has the attributes you are seeking. Have a conversation with them, taking note of how they approach a situation. Then reflect on how you might adopt that skill.
Imagine for a moment, you get triggered very easily by certain situations or certain people. Perhaps a leader in your organisation is unethical but keeps getting accolades and acknowledgments. Each time you interact with them you find yourself thinking about their flaws and it can distract you from the task at hand.
Speak to someone you know and trust. Ask them how they deal with difficult personalities. (I suggest NOT mentioning your trigger person). Hear your colleague out and imagine yourself managing the situation the same way. What skills and attributes would you need to take on? Write them down.
Now “act as if” you had those skills. Can you do this for a few seconds? A few minutes? A whole meeting?
This is different from “faking it till you make it”. Faking it calls out the fact you are faking it. Therefore, it could mean you’re being duplicitous with yourself. And there is no need to be.
An analogy in two parts
When we learn to drive a car on the road, we’re learning at the same time as doing. You’re not faking it.
Sitting in a lounge chair, making car noises with hands on an imaginary steering wheel is faking it!
It’s the same when dealing with new and challenging situations. You’re actually “driving the car” no matter how nervously or how you feel inwardly or how many mistakes you make … you’re driving! 🙌
Truth be told, the person you went to for guidance, at one time, “acted as if” as well. Maybe they still are! 😧
We do this every day! We act as if every day of our lives. We do it subconsciously to fit in, deal with a difficult client, even drive to a brand new location because just getting there can be stressful.
Now the skill is to do it consciously, on purpose, with an expected result. If you don’t get it exactly right first time, you go again. You can’t be version 2.0 of yourself within being a Version 1.0! Not even Apple, Microsoft and Google can do that.
Develop your character they you want it to be! To benefit you and those you work with.
We all know of the ubiquitous “To Do” list. Most have heard of the “Not To Do” list. But how many of us have a “Do Not Care” (DNC) list?
A DNC list is a way to consciously decide the areas we consciously give energy to and areas we consciously don’t give a toss about!
Allow me to explain…
There are many thing vying for our attention and many of them are promoted to be important. But they’re not!
Scientists have measured the amount of data that enter the brain and found that an average person living today processes as much as 74 GB in information a day (that is as much as watching 16 movies), through TV, computers, cell phones, tablets, billboards, and many other gadgets. [Source]
That’s a lot to manage. 😳 Fortunately, a massive percentage of that goes straight to the subconscious. It bypasses our conscious mind, thank god! But we still feel overwhelmed.
Having a DNC list can save a lot of time and energy; energy we need to cope in the world we live in.
Here’s an example:
The wife and I were discussing Christmas planning. Where and when we had dinner, who was cooking what, who was bringing what and how it was all going to work out. She had her view, I had mine. But the conversation took longer than it needed to! It all ended happily, and we are looking forward to the day with the kids. (I’m sure we are the only people on the planet who get into these types of discussions! 😉)
As I reflected on the conversation, I realised the points I had been making were unimportant. I didn’t really care how Christmas was planned. All I cared about what who was there. I was just trying to be helpful by limiting and unnecessary effort in what is already a busy time of year. But I really didn’t care. I realised I didn’t even value my own opinion. As long as the family is happy and it all makes sense, sure! At the time, I felt I had to have an opinion, and, once given, that had to be given consideration. But, I didn’t really care how Christmas went as long as we were all able to be together at some point and have a family meal. (One part of the family is in Covid quarantine so this isn’t a normal Christmas!)
Now, to I say I don’t care, I’m not meaning to be unfeeling or cold towards others or circumstances. What I mean is, it’s okay to allow others to take the responsibility if that is what they want to do. We don’t have to be the “captain of the world!” Perhaps a situation is out of our control and we have no influence whatsoever over the outcome. Why care?
Another example might be television.
There is some rubbish on the telly, isn’t there? So I’ve decided not to care. I’m not going to scroll endlessly though my subscriptions to Netflix, Prime and YouTube to see if there is something on. I don’t care.
Back to the Do Not Care list.
***This is not intended to be cold and callous***
It is about choosing where I put my emotional, mental and physical energy. It is a form of self care. Why get anxious about things I have no influence over?
A suggestion …
Open up a page in a notebook and think about areas we might normally allow to affect us.
Write down as many items as you can think of in 2 – 3 minutes. (you can add more later)
Now review the list
Put a ‘+’ or a ‘-‘ next to each item.
A ‘+’ means you want to continue paying attention to the topic.
A ‘-‘ signifies a conscious decision not to pay attention to the topic.
The list with ‘-‘ next to them become the DNC list. Each time this come up develop a plan to drop the topic as quick as you can. And move to something you want to focus on.
I’ve started developing an internal statement like this:
“I do not to think about or discuss ‘topic’.”
The Benefits of a DNC List
I remember my Mother-in-Law speaking about someone who had just died. She seemed really upset and I wondered who had passed away. My wife was consoling her but something seemed bit weird about the conversation. My wife quickly let me know: “It’s okay, we’re talking about Days of Our Lives!“
I see and work with many people who get distressed about factors and events which they have little to no control over. By deciding what to care about and what not to care about can save a lot of stress anxiety. It then allows room for more joy and happiness to we focus on the things we want to. It also means there is more energy for the things we choose to focus on.
I think it’s time to create a Do Not Care list and be very conscious of where and how use our time.
Over to you …
Do you have a Do Not Care list? Have you had it for a while? Do you think it might benefit you? Maybe you have something like it but refer to it as something else.
Saturday and Sundays will posts are hereby now known as S&S.
Though short (and sweet), hopefully insightful to give you a shot of energy and focus to do “the thing” you may have been putting off, or re-starting that “thing” you know has value but you’re stuck somehow.
Today is about the growth mindset! Simply put, the growth mindset is a perspective that you can achieve what you want through learning, failing and trying again.
Whenever you mess up, and say you can’t do something, add the word “Yet” to the end of what you just said:
I can’t run 5km … Yet!
I haven’t achieved my goals … Yet!
White Men Can’t Jump … Yet! 😉
It’s the opposite to the fixed mindset that suggests all your abilities are … fixed … and there’s little point in trying.
As Henry Ford is well known for:
If you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right!
Okay, this is now too long! I give you … Sesame Street!
The SCARF Model was developed by David Rock in 2008. It may seem a deceptively simple model at first, but it creates a broad range of conversations to help develop you develop as well as the people around you and the team/s you lead.
SCARF stands for Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness and Fairness.
The model depicts the possible reactions to the 5 areas when threatened or rewarded. In other words, if we recognise or help establish someone’s Status within a team, they will be more engaged. Threaten the Status and they may be less engaged, less productive and a flight risk!
First some definitions:
Status: Concerns an individual’s social standing, where do they fall in the pecking order.
Certainty: our brain’s ability to make accurate predictions about the future. Even if that prediction is that you’re sure you don’t know what’s coming.
Autonomy: The power to exert control over your environment.
Relatedness: feeling connected to other people—in particular people we identify as being similar to us.
Fairness: Humans have a hardwired desire for fairness. We seek a fair exchange of information, services and ideas. We also seek a fair exchange of respect, acknowledgement and a sense that we have been heard.
There is certainly more than one way to apply SCARF but I see benefit in the following:
Delivering SCARF is about providing each element to others. This might be seen as the role of a leader but it applies to anyone.
We can all raise the status of others. Acknowledge them, give them positive feedback, show appreciation, asking them to speak up in a meeting if you know they have something to contribute. It’s not difficult.
How can we provide certainty to our colleagues? What can we say and do that will help them be more confident and sure about the future? What information do you have that would be helpful? Do you have information you don’t fully understand and therefore not share it? If your team are relying on you, you may be putting certainty at risk!
How do we help them build the skills so they can achieve greater autonomy? What guidelines can they can work towards? Do you plan a direct report’s development with providing greater autonomy in mind? Do they know that?
How are we developing our relationships so they know they have something like a “best friend” at work? In the book, 12: The Elements of Great Managing, Wagner and Harter propose that,
“Something about a deep sense of affiliation with the people in an employee’s team drives him (sic) to do positive things for the business he (sic) would not otherwise do.”
To support this, you will likely find, when completing and reviewing exit interviews, the most common expression people provide is, “… the people were great … “
How can we ensure they know they are being treated fairly? This can be hard. Perhaps we use an internal compass. Do you suffer from the “horns or halo effect” where you consciously or, worse, subconsciously play favourites? (Worse be because you may not be aware that you do!)
Another aspect is taking responsibility to develop our own SCARF characteristics. These are similar questions but the responsibility is on ourselves to develop each elements of the model.
How can we raise our own status in order to make a greater contribution?
Can we take steps that will increase our own certainty? What research can we do? Who can we speak within the organisation? Is there product material we could read? All with the aim of being more confident within ourselves and, when the time is right helping others with this information.
Are we learning more about our role and responsibilities to allow greater autonomy because the boss trusts us? What are we demonstrating? What initiative are we showing?
Are we building our relationships with others in the team and across other teams?
Are we treating others fairly? How do we know and what can we do to ensure we meet this expectation?
One of the consequences of failing to consider these elements is staff turnover. I’ve seen this occur and I have been responsible for … fixing it!
I worked in an organisation where we had 40%+ staff turnover. It was just above the top of the industry range. We were turning over our whole staff every two years. As this was the resources industry (Mining & Gas) the cost of this was astronomical. Lose a good person and you had to replace them. If salaries were averaging $150k that meant recruitment costs were between $15k ands $30k. Do the math!
Twelve months later we were at 19%, just below the industry norm!
What did we do?
We increased out connection with your people.
We communicated what opportunities were available internally.
We developed recognition systems that truly valued people’s contribution.
We allowed the team to promote their areas to “recruit” internally.
We redoubled our efforts to remain in contact with people on site. We received feedback that once we placed them, we forgot them. More regular visits and news from “head office” were welcomed, rather than what was happening before. This showed we valued them and their opinions. They were connected to the company and felt part of something bigger. All of a sudden the greener grass elsewhere began to fade. (Status, Certainty, Relatedness)
We made sure they knew what was going on in the company. Many of these people knew colleagues on different projects and sites. And they talked. If we left a gap, they filled it in with their version of the “truth”. We worked to open the communication channels to get ahead of the rumour mill and keep in touch with those at risk. (Relatedness, Certainty)
This was crucial. We developed mechanisms to recognise years of service, outstanding project work and anything else worth a mention. And when a client sent through a compliment, we shared it far and wide. Not just a “thanks” back to the client. (Status, Relatedness, Fairness)
Team PromotionExpo (see note below)
This started off as a beast of a project to organise but was an outstanding success. The premise being an internal expo. Teams were invited to set up stalls to promote what they were doing. “Be as creative as you like”. They promoted what they did at their site and used all sorts of methods to do so. Some showed skills in presentation we didn’t know they had! They let people know what skills they used on site, what skills were still needed or would be needed soon. This allowed others who were rolling off projects to look at options internally. This was a huge relief to many, as they didn’t want to go on to the open market. Having roles come up internally provided a great deal of peace of mind. And those needing the skills, gained people who knew the culture and the basics of the project already, this limiting a downturn in project productivity. (Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness, Fairness)
Admittedly, we can reverse engineer any successful strategy. However, looking at what we accomplished without SCARF in mind, demonstrates the benefits of the model. The principles hold true.
Reviewing these tactics, and how they significantly impacted turnover, provides a template for what to do across a number of critical organisational strategies.
I was speaking with an ex-colleague a few months ago, and they shared with me something that happened to her at work.
Her supervisor told her to “… get a growth mindset. You have a fixed mindset and you need a growth mindset!” Her response, not sure if it was verbal or just to herself, was, “My mindset is my own business!”
Telling is not developing!
It made me think of how we assess others. When I think of fixed vs growth mindset I apply it to myself. What areas do I need to grow in? (still looking at you, touch-typing!)
But this interaction made me think how managers and leaders (and co-workers for that matter) consider those around them. Do they have a fixed mindset about others, even if they have a growth mindset about themselves?
Does considering oneself to have a growth mindset, create a level of false superiority over those one thinks have fixed mindset. I say false, because anyone with a true growth mindset would be considerate of others and work with them, not talk down to, or about, them.
Consider terms like:
that’s the good old Tom we know
she’ll never change
they’ve always been like that
you need to have a good think about your future (meaning someone is fixed in their current situation)
If we are in a fixed mindset about others, our coaching and interactions will bear this out. We will coach with a limited view of achieving outcomes. Because “they’ll never change” we don’t look for alternative solutions or coaching methods. And even if we do sometimes, it’s simply to prove they can’t change! The good old, “I’ve tried everything!” approach (personal experience!).
If we are providing feedback to our manager on our team’s performance, our report will be governed by our view of them. This goes both ways, by the way. It’s called the “horns and halo” effect.
There is a great video on the Ladder of Inference by Cheryl Williams. Suffice to say, we behave in accordance with our assumptions of others.
And then, what do you do when you’re in this situation? It can be difficult to change our views because we have built up such database of evidence in coming to our conclusions assumptions. We develop blindspots to what people do well, so their fixed mindset behaviours are highlighted while their growth mindset behaviours are diminished.
We absolutely need a growth mindset around our own performance.
We also, perhaps more importantly, need to have a growth mindset with our colleagues, direct reports and those we interact with at work.
Photo Credit: Photo by Akil Mazumder on Pexels.com