(Part 1 of a 3 part series. Part 2 available in November)News Alert! Remember Betamax tapes? Betamax companies are out of business!
Is this a surprise? Of course not! Betamax manufacturers unable to transition to making DVDs are not around anymore…
However, you may be a Betamax company if you, your team or your organization does not have the mindset to swiftly and smoothly handle change and progress. If your mindsets are not right for the rapidly accelerating world, you may be the Betamax manufacturer of the 21st century. Even if you know how to manufacture DVDs, do you know what is next and is your team learning how to make the change over to the new generation of video streaming services that will replace DVDs?
We believe that there are 11 critical mindsets and that if you, your team and your organization have them, you will never become irrelevant and your work environment will support a great quality of life for all of your most important relationships!
What I want you to do . . .
Every day I have conversations with people of all ages and from all walks of life. Whether they verbalize it or not, they are running from something or running towards something. Our job is to help them identify the most powerful actions to escape what is chasing them and to get them to their preferred future vision.
In reading this, you must have a desire for a better future. By helping you to act in new and powerful ways, we are helping you to get better results. If you always do what you have always done, you will get what you have always gotten.
As you read this, I want you to consider “What new powerful action will propel you to the future you desire?”
The 11 Mindsets Summary
The 11 Mindsets Summary
1. Focus on the heart!
The logic of what you are doing is less important than getting to the heart of those that make it happen.
2. What is the wisdom?
Having more information is not as important as having a process to screen for the critical wisdom and a mechanism to capture it.
3. Test that they know the wisdom!
Packaging your own wisdom so it is transferable and consistently transferred to new hires and existing employees will cement your foundation.
4. Is your team incredibly better this year than last year?
Increasing capabilities must occur while using existing strengths. Every member of the organization has to be willing to improve and learn over time.
Creating the Strategy
5. Have a road map to balance short-term results with long-term investment!
Use a five year strategic plan to bring your team together in a way that creates more powerful actions every week!
6. Getting a result is what matters, not working hard or smart!
You need to do whatever it takes to get the result.
Building Leaders and Teams
7. Interaction and teamwork are the tools that allow leaders and followers to win!
Dictator leadership is the past; participative leadership and teams are the future
8. Your best way to market and sell yourselves is yourselves!
What is on the inside and what is on the outside need to be in alignment to attract the best opportunities.
9. Values give you a strategic advantage.
Values in actions are the most important capability.
Managing External Factors
10. Understanding the interrelationships and correlations of a bigger world are required.
You will be forced to play in a bigger game with less influence. (e.g. ship in a storm, complex vs. linear systems).
11. Get your common processes standardized so that you can focus on your best opportunities!
Clear, transferrable processes allow you to produce quality for a lower cost so more resources are available for your highest value opportunities.
Mindset #1: Focus on the heart!
The logic of what you are doing is less important than getting to the heart of those that make it happen. I am tired of data and information. Every time I ask a question, I get lots of information, but what does the information mean? How do I and/or others take action based on that information?
What happens when you do not use this mindset: I had a meeting with a company comprised of four different businesses. Two hours was invested discussing what they were doing and how they were doing it. As I listened, I was amazed at the unassailable logic being laid out before me in terms of their business strategy. Working at the strategy over the last five years, they were still getting little improvement. If they could truly enact their strategy, their acceptable results could become stellar.
Normally I can ask some questions in a two hour meeting, but, in this case, everything had been so thought out and there was no room for questions. While the leaders I was talking to had set the company direction, it was obvious they had been working for five years to achieve goals where they did not have the employees’ hearts. We suspect the plan was easy to talk about and made it easy to point to everyone else as the problem. Based on their actions, we could tell that the plan was not even in the leaders’ hearts.
What happens when you do use this mindset: In a reverse example, an organization ran into some very difficult times. Customers began to slow pay and competitors began to force down prices. To survive, the owners went to the employees and requested ideas on how to survive. The owners brought up pay cuts and other tough measures to reduce costs. They discussed how the extra support from everyone could make a big difference.
While there was obviously no pleasure in making these tough choices, almost every employee agreed to reduced pay and putting in extra time, energy, effort and creativity to reduce variable costs and overhead. Communication was strengthened through weekly “All Hands Meetings”. In two years, the business rebuilt its volume with financially stronger customers while increasing its internal efficiencies. Pay, benefits and “normal” operations returned and the business was more powerful by going through the challenge.
In this case, it was obvious the employees’ hearts were in the business at all levels. They wanted it to work for themselves and, more importantly, for each other. Instead of pay cuts, they could have voted to lay off some employees to retain current salaries for the survivors. In acting for the greater good, the employees voted to take a pay cut.
Example of how you can use mindset #1: Many of the people we work with are very smart. However, we have learned that sometimes their smarts work against them because they will figure out a tactical or strategic problem before sharing it, as in our first example above. It was a situation where logic ruled and no hearts were pulled into the process. It is much more powerful to take a problem to a wider audience and get feedback before you decide on the answers. Engage in dialogue. You will spark creativity you never had before. This is also creating a training tool where others have to think broader and deeper. They come to realize it is an expectation that you have of them.
If I am faced with a 100% perfect idea that I or one member of my leadership team have put together, I will always choose to follow an 85% idea that many others have bought into and feel is the best route. In this way, I know that I have their hearts. Remember, the best creativity is not logical and buy-in is a valuable part of the equation.
Without the heart, the logic does not matter!
Mindset #2: What is the wisdom?
Having more information is not as important as having a process to screen for the critical wisdom and a mechanism to capture it. Similar to mindset #1, this has to do with information. We need to know what practical actions to take based on information. Additionally, we need to share this information easily with other people. The right information needs to be able to be easily found again in similar situations that we have in the future. To do better, we need to be clear about what is most important. Just like in the movies, the water is rising inside the boat and we need to do something to save the day, even if it is unconventional!
What happens when you do not use this mindset: A group of engineers would meet. Lots of wonderful information and examples were shared with each other. However, with all the information and examples exchanged, very little actionable results came from the meeting. They were all getting smarter and having an interesting time noodling around possibilities, but it was hard to break out of the exchanging information mode. There was lots of “googling” going on, explaining past events and attempting to predict outside external influences, but trying to find the internal, controllable game changing behavior went against the habits that this team had built in working together. The leader was concerned about trying to “change” his people and did not want to upset them; he still wanted them to be “engineers”. They were getting smarter, but going nowhere.
What happens when you do use this mindset: With this group of engineers we decided to focus on having data exchanged before the meeting. The request was made to Google, read, and produce even more data than before. They had to share the data with the other team members ahead of time. A goal was set for the meeting. In the meeting, the meeting leader limited examples and detailed explanations to situations where there was disagreement. He also learned to use the question, “and so what will you do now?” Every meeting was required to have three actionable items to be completed within a week.
Another client uses the rapid prototyping concept for meetings. Instead of a two hour meeting, everyone exchanges data before the meeting, reads it, and then uses a 30 minute set up meeting. That is followed by six daily 15 minute meetings. While the same two hours are used, he gets much more valuable and powerful action taken with this format. Obviously, you can’t do this for every meeting, but for the right topic, the information has to be handled the right way.
This business leader also asks that any research include a one page summary with the top three actions that should be taken based on the information attached to it. This has created an environment where the focus is on “wisdom that is useful for action”.
Example of how to use mindset #2: When you prepare for meetings, have a clear goal for the meeting and exchange data 24 hours before the meeting. Do NOT spend the meeting going over data that can be read. At the end of each meeting, identify on a flip chart or white board at least 3 SMAART Actions to be taken. Email meeting notes and actions within 24 hours of the meeting.
Another approach many clients use is to have an employee read a book. Instead of asking them what they thought, the employee is required to type one page with seven sentences. Each sentence is one actionable item they learned from the book. The reader must share that page verbally and in writing with at least 10 people. If done right, the page with seven sentences is the distilled down version of the book and it is getting out to 10 more ambassadors inside your organization!
Mindset #3: Test that they know the wisdom!
Packaging your own wisdom, so it is transferable and consistently transferred to new hires and existing employees, will cement your foundation. We pay our closest people to build people through the entire organization. As leaders, we coach the coaches who then coach the players. Depending on how big your organization is, it is necessary to teach, train and coach in a manner that results in everyone’s thoughts, feelings and actions being at a higher level.
What happens when you do not use this mindset: Many times we see wisdom explained verbally. The employee goes off to do their work and does it nothing like what was discussed. What happened? The information did not take root. Ugh! We see so many leaders give up engaging a person or their team because what was said does not take hold. One leader was coaching his sales team and the team did not follow the coaching. The result was that they lost their biggest customer for the wrong reasons. While the team should have listened better, the leader did not coach in a way that got a change in his team’s results. The wisdom he was selling did not get bought. Knowing this leader, I believe it was because he was “telling” and not “selling” (asking questions, telling stories, role-playing and getting buy-in etc.) He did not get buy-in and lost his audience. The buck stops at the leader!
In the same way that actors in a play are looking for an ovation to know they were successful, the leader needs to see his audience perform at a higher level to know if what he was selling got bought. Unfortunately, the leader in the above example failed miserably.
What happens when you do use this mindset: This mindset is the logical extension of mindset #2. Because of the way our brains work, we need to hear or do something a number of times to learn it. We may also need to see and visualize it while having a story attached to it. We need to “fire peoples’ neurons” to get the teaching to stick. Some need to read information. Others need to have it delivered in several different ways. And then…it needs time to become a habit. We have to provide an engaging, emotional experience in a way that gets the person to make the wisdom their own. One client would have breakfast each week with a different member of his leadership team to informally mentor and coach them. Often they are in situations where they remember something Joe told them during these breakfasts and use that to get a better result. He is planting ideas in ways that stick before they are needed.
In another example, a client has a written “Values in Action Statement” that is used with each potential hire at orientation and in employee evaluations. He also has a “Fresh Eyes Report” that is done by new employees 45 days after the hire date. By using these tools, he has dramatically recruited and retained some of his best employees because at recurring intervals, he is teaching and reinforcing everyone to a higher level of performance. More than ever before, he receives positive comments about his team from customers and prospects.
Example of how to use: Another client built a “university”. Along with the required safety and the technical training, soft skills have been added to the curriculum. Two employees recently volunteered to teach a 45 minute “How to make the best choices” course to other employees. They volunteered because they realized employees were doing by habit rather than thinking about the task or project ahead of time and preparing to do it the right and best way the first time. At the end of this “soft skills course” there is a written test that each employee must pass to demonstrate that they have learned the lesson.
Mindset #4: Is your team incredibly better this year than last year?
Increasing capabilities must occur while using existing strengths. Every member of the organization has to be willing to improve and learn over time. Fixing the bicycle while riding it in a race! What a crazy picture that makes in my head. As I think about it, this approach seems risky, but what is the alternative? There is no time to take off for a month, figure it out and then implement it. We need to swiftly brainstorm ideas, test them and then refine them. Over time this creates an unbeatable team with continuously improving habits!
What happens if you do not use this mindset: A man who has run a successful business for 30 years has seen the change incrementally over 30 years. The equipment used to produce his product got old. There were no tight financial controls on his business. He had built a comfortable net worth outside the business, however, he was also dependent on 30% of his income from the business. His team (a son and three key people) were hard workers, yet they did not have his strategic perspective. They followed in his footsteps and did not stray off of the path very often. Recently, he came to the realization that he needed to invest large amounts of money and time into the business to modernize and update the physical capabilities. If he invests the money, it will risk his retirement and cause he and his wife to be more dependent on the business.
The team does not have the financial capacity to invest or borrow capital for the business (they had not been building their financial strength for eventually handling the business). The team is unsure they should do it since it would create a whole new business (they had not built a mental and emotional capability to transition and change into a new way of running the business). They want to wait since financially the company is fine right now (they are waiting for the problem to happen instead of getting ahead of it). They are concerned about what the employees will feel and do (they have not built and tested their abilities with the employees, so now that it is coming to a major issue, they are unsure if they will be followed).
How do they run the business well while learning these new capabilities to be able to then transition the business? The odds are not in their favor…
What happens when you do use this mindset: This mindset is an even further extension of mindset #2 and #3. In another situation, an organization has 50 locations. The owner started with one location some years ago and is now into the 2nd generation. As he has grown the business, he has put much of his wisdom into writing. The team has built a library of books that they re-read and share with other employees on a regular basis. Outside training is used for specialized needs. They have written processes and evaluations. Every employee is taught to not only handle their position, but positions around them and above them. This leads to continual improvement, understanding the entire operation and keeps them in a continuous learning cycle.
This business had the opportunity to add an additional 10 locations a few years ago, but the banks would not finance them. The products would be different and the consumer base similar, but with different needs. The 2nd generation was able to step up since they saw a strategic opportunity and were able to finance 80% of the project. While stressful and requiring extra hours from everyone, it was an exciting opportunity for the team and business that strongly demonstrated the power of cross training. This allowed the core business to run smoothly while the new locations got up and running.
Example of how to use: Do a Team Balance Sheet and Profit & Loss Statement for the last year: how have the human, intellectual and financial capital been improved? If you build the “soft” balance sheet and P&L for the team with the team, they will not only focus on hard measurable results, they will also look at the “softer issues” that are needed for true high performance.
Additionally, if every job description has a scorecard and definition of an “A” , “B” and “C” player, it is easier for employees to see that what you are teaching them is directly related to your expectations of superstar results. You can even go so far as to link their pay and bonus to their “A”, “B” or “C” status.
It may be true that the more things change, the more they stay the same…however, the reality is that the world is significantly different now than 2,000 years ago, 200 years ago, 50 years ago, 10 years ago, 3 years ago or even 1 year ago. The rate of change is speeding up and new generations are bringing new energy and life to new methods and new visions. If we do not embrace these changes, our organizations will not survive.
While the physical world had such a strong impact throughout history, our growing ability to manage and control the physical world allows us to become more focused on the mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of what we do. This creates new opportunities for increased angst as well as greater good in the world. What we do with our mindsets impacts whether we get more angst or more good in our lives and of those important people and organizations around us.
Every day I have conversations with people who are all ages and from all walks of life. Whether they verbalize it or not, they share what they are running from and/or what they are running towards. Our job is to help them identify the most powerful actions to escape what is chasing them and to propel them to their future vision.
In reading this, you are indicating some level of need for a better future, but, if you do not act in new and powerful ways, then you are not going to achieve better results. If you always do what you have always done, you will get what you have always gotten.
What new powerful action will propel you to become who you are and realize the future you desire?
One step is filling out the worksheet below. It will help you clarify your strengths and where you need to work on improving your mindsets. Secondly, email your worksheet to us. We will keep your information confidential, but it qualifies you for a complimentary two hour Exploration Session with us.
The Comprehensive Independence Builder
If you are interested in learning more about The 11 Mindsets and how they can help you avoid having no future, please contact us.
You may also wish to learn more about our unique process for leaders and leadership team called The Comprehensive Independence BuilderTM, in which we address all of the obstacles you face and help you use innovative strategies to protect and enhance your organization, improve your quality of life and better achieve your goals.
To schedule The 11 Mindsets Exploration Session or for more information, please contact us at 800-786-4332, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Quality control on this manuscript was professionally provided by Ted and Rebecca Gill.