January 3, 2020

Look beyond what’s in front of you

Cultivate an outward mindset to understand and work successfully with others. Our mindset is a choice and the way we picture things creates our version of reality. Of course, there are two sides of our mind, the outward and the inward, both dictating our courses of action.

Have you ever tried really hard to solve a problem with an inward mindset? I’m guessing you barely moved an inch in your thought process. With this type of mindset, individuals tend to be blinded by what is immediately around them. In other words, you are so completely caught up in “you” that you cannot shift your thinking or attention elsewhere.

On the other hand, the outward mindset enables individuals to look at things from a holistic perspective, focusing on the bigger picture. It’s like seeing all the players in a team interacting with each other, and decisions can be made based as a whole rather than individually. When an organisation is able to foster this type of mindset in its workforce, possibilities can blossom and solutions seem to naturally present themselves.

In our modern day and age, collaborating more and more with others has become an essential part of life. The way we negotiate with our world will leave a lasting impact.

An outward mindset doesn’t necessarily come naturally; one must consciously change the way one thinks about others. According to a report by the Arbinger Institute, the greatest lever for change isn’t change in our own beliefs, but rather a fundamental change in the way we perceive and regard our connections and responsibilities to others.

Usually, people and organisations with an inward mindset get stuck because they are only focused on their own needs, so their reality becomes distorted. As human beings, we often direct our attention to others’ weaknesses or faults so that we don’t have to deal with our own, which only takes you further away from growing toward an outward mindset. For example, when an issue arises in the workplace, it is easy to blame external factors that are outside of our control: “if only this, or if only that”.

These typical complaints are at odds with how the outward mindset views things. In other words, the key to success is how we engage with our surroundings and how we behave in every given circumstance in our lives. Modifying our attitude is one thing but our mindset shapes and informs our behaviour and the way we act toward those around us. Likewise, working to understand our co-workers and the day-to-day challenges they face makes it easier for everyone to feel invested in the business.

Understanding the needs and desires of people only comes when you are able to help others “to do” things. Leaders who are humble enough to see beyond their immediate needs and perceive the true capacities and capabilities of their people are most likely to be successful. These kinds of leaders are true team players, helping each person focus on their goals as a whole, not just their individual impact.

Therefore, it all comes down to how you are able to break down the differences within an organisation or even among your peers. Your mentality plays a vital role in creating an environment where your mindset is allowed to cultivate connections and overcome barriers that prevent you from moving forward. Once a person takes the plunge or has the courage to transform themselves, positive results automatically start to cascade.

Both the inward and outward mindsets play different roles, so it is important for us to understand what it’s like when people operate and live with each mindset. Many organisations fail because their leadership style focuses only on changing behaviour rather than changing what drives the behaviour, which is the mindset.

Being able to shift your mindset is different, and much more complicated, than simply changing your behaviour as it requires more effort, but it is very worthwhile. When leaders have the mental ability to understand the objectives and challenges of their workforce, adjusting their own efforts to be more helpful will uplift the entire team.

Arinya Talerngsri is Chief Capability Officer and Managing Director at SEAC – Southeast Asia’s Lifelong Learning Center. She can be reached by email at arinya_t@new.seasiacenter.com or https://www.linkedin.com/in/arinya-talerngsri-53b81aa. Explore and experience our lifelong learning ecosystem today at https://www.yournextu.com