February 5, 2018

Changing our mindset from Me to We

In today’s fast-changing world, business leaders are all about keeping up with change and disruption to stay relevant. There are so many ways we can approach this in order to get ourselves and our organisations “disruption-ready”. Stepping out of our comfort zone is one way, while learning from our mistakes and failures is another.

However, before we can even begin to develop ourselves and our organisations in order to rise above disruption, we must be willing and ready to accept the changes that may be required. The key differentiator in this case begins with our mindset.

I have previously shared in another article some observations about the “learning trap” from David Covey, the author of Trap Tales: Outsmarting the 7 Hidden Obstacles to Success. In this article, I will touch on another concept that David shared which is related to our own mindset and our relationships with others: the relationship trap.

Our conventional way of approaching relationships is compared to the concept of a “married single”. A married single is someone who has a superiority complex. They operate as if they were still single, regardless of their now married status. Instead of two people uniting as one, there is a divide as the married single assumes his or her superior view compared to the other person involved.

The married single concept can be applied to the business context where the marriage means the relationship you have as a leader with the people in your organisation.

But you can overcome the relationship trap by embracing an unconventional way of learning, establishing a shared vision of goals and changing the mindset from “me” to “we”.

The relationship trap is rooted in our mindset, which relates to a concept developed by the Arbinger Institute, which describes two types of mindsets — inward and outward. The inward mindset is similar to the married single’s “me” approach. On the other hand, the outward mindset adopts a “we” approach where the goals of others are as important as our own.

You might say that it is easier said than done, and I would have to completely agree with you. However, even if it seems difficult, working towards getting out of the married single mindset is possible and also essential.

So, how do we actually begin to effectively change our mindset?

The first and possibly crucial step is to be aware of the state of our current mindset. This is an important first step as being aware of your own mindset allows you to understand what possible roadblocks you may be subconsciously putting in your way.

A great way to understand our own mindset is through honest reflection on our actions towards other people. We can do this by asking ourselves questions of reflection.

Did I think only about my own goals? Did I quickly dismiss ideas suggested by my team without considering them first? Did I immediately assume that my ways are better than those of anyone else in the organisation?

Questions like these help you unlock valuable and honest answers about your mindset; if your answers were “yes” to the questions above, you could be a married single. The shift towards developing an outward mindset is difficult, but being aware of your mindset is the very first step you need to take.

The next step is to nurture and practise the right mindset. When you understand and are aware of your own mindset, you will see a clearer path forward for further steps that may you need to take.

The thing about nurturing the right mindset is that it will not only influence your way of thinking but also your behaviour. When you are consciously practising ways to apply a better mindset, this affects your behaviour in a positive way.

A great way to practise the right mindset is to make smaller changes each day. Whether it is making time to understand your people or considering those ideas your team suggested, these small changes strengthen the right mindset.

In our world today, focusing so much on changing your mindset sounds time-consuming. However, it is important to keep in mind that without the right mindset, stepping out of your comfort zone or learning from your failure will not be possible either.

Ultimately, as business leaders, you also have to develop your organisation and not just yourself. Establishing a shared vision and goals can give your organisation direction and help nurture a better mindset for your people. When you and your organisation are on the same page, you can unify to become disruption-ready.

Arinya Talerngsri is Chief Capability Officer and Managing Director at SEAC (formerly APMGroup) Southeast Asia’s leading executive, leadership and innovation capability development centre. She can be reached by email at arinya_t@new.seasiacenter.com or www.linkedin.com/in/arinya-talerngsri-53b81aa

For daily updates, visit www.facebook.com/seasiacenter