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
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.
Creating the Strategy
Mindset #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. “In the old days, AAA would give you a map when you went on a trip. You told them your destination and where you lived. They would provide you a map that had a yellow highlighted line for the correct roads to travel. Part of their recommended route was based on roadwork and detours. It was also based on if you wanted the “fastest” or “most scenic” route. Part of the confidence inspired by those maps was that it was easy to see where all of the others roads were so you had options. Estimated times (milestones) were clearly indicated. Your team is on an even longer journey and without confidence that the map is complete and includes current and potential conditions, they may not be willing to get in your vehicle and go with you!
What happens if you do not use this mindset: In our newsletter The Bear Report, we recently did an article about organizations focusing and investing too much in either the short-term or the long-term.
Focusing on the short-term can increase efficiency tremendously and feel good. In fact, those with a strong work ethic have a tendency to produce large amounts of task results and can power through the bottlenecks. Without this ability, a company can fail since it cannot generate the short-term results needed to feed the external customers, internal customers and suppliers.
On the other hand, without feeding the long-term needs of the business, the markets can slowly change and one day the business wakes up and realizes that markets, customers and/or competition is putting them out of business and there is no time to respond. Incrementally, they were selling Betamax, and one day the DVD arrived. Too many businesses, especially with today’s fast pace, realize too late they did not make the necessary changes along the way. Sometimes I meet people that still do not like computers! Wow! The fact is, they are here to stay. We all need to find a way of using technology for a better future; there is no substitute. In each area of our business are tools or factors, like computers, that we need to engage with or eventually we will no longer have product or service we can sell.
Some leaders of organizations I meet are extremely forward-looking and are too invested in the future. One business kept growing the business for 20+ years. His team, his wife and we kept asking him to slow down, reduce some debt etc, but he would not do it. He was so excited about and invested in the future, he was not using short-term management tools to temper his future focus. He almost did not make it when the bank pulled their line of credit. For three years we have fought this battle with the bank, but with his new understanding of balance, he is now moving forward again with much safer and more solid successes.
What happens if you use this mindset: We have a forward-looking client in a heavily regulated industry. In North Carolina alone, the amount of companies that do what they do has shrunk by 75% and is expected to shrink even more. They have used their capabilities and invested heavily into the future. They almost invested too much and might have not survived. When we first began working with their team, we focused on getting the daily tactical capabilities refocused, reduced their employee turnover and got their people, teams and locations truly communicating, brainstorming and implementing on a daily basis. Monthly, the Leadership Team meets to monitor their results and make adjustments needed to their short and long-term investments for a better future.
Example of how to use: Building a true strategic plan with a leadership team takes about 28 hours. Moving from the Vision to 5 Key SMAART Goals, thinking through the obstacles and opportunities to arrive at potential strategies and then choosing the best 2 or 3 strategies for each goal with metrics is important. It is essential for the team to learn how the different parts of the business interact and affect each other; we call this “ownership thinking”. Whether it is with an existing team or for developing The Next Generation, this is one of the best mindsets to finding a balance between immediate results and investing for the long-term.
Mindset #6: Getting a result is what matters, not working hard or smart!
You need to do whatever it takes to get the result. Too many ideas are brilliant logically and yet no one is excited. There is no buy in. The best idea, without any heart behind it is just empty words. Like the saying goes, a great idea is worth $1. A good idea implemented is worth millions! The response must answer the call to action with passion and willingness to persist. It usually takes working hard and smart, but what really matters is “are you getting your desired results?”
What happens if you do not use this mindset: Sitting and listening to the boss…boring! I have watched too many MBAs, armed with all the data in the world and a long drawn out slideshow that do not cause anything to happen. The audience is somewhere else even if their bodies are in the room.
This also shows up when a hard worker tells me they are working all the time, including weekends. While I am glad they have a good work ethic, it truly makes me feel they and their boss are not very smart. The other extreme is when someone shares with me ideas that are great, but they are waiting around at their desk for someone else to make it happen. I like the smarts, but we need action and push.
What happens if you have this mindset: An organization we work with was about to go out of existence. They were losing members and were not differentiating between themselves and other organizations. A long running lawsuit had eaten up much of their capital. Leadership was tired. Whatever it took, they needed to get much better results!
Instead of trying to look like other organizations, they went another route. They determined what they were great at: the wisdom of how to survive and do well in their industry. They set out to do The Book of Wisdom. They ran a number of meetings in each of their key districts and wrapped each meeting’s logic into an agenda that included success stories and games. This captured attendee’s hearts at the beginning of the meeting and the good feelings to continue after the meeting. It reminds me of the saying, “they will not remember what you say, they may not remember what you did, but they will remember how you made them feel and then based on that, they will or will not get you your results”.
We have moved from the focus of our world culture being the Information Age to the Age of Creation and Empathy. If people are not allowed to be creative, have a voice and feel part of something important and bigger than them, we may get their bodies, but we will not get their minds. We as leaders need to bring out creativity and do it with a culture of empathy, understanding and being a second family.
Example of how to use: In every meeting we run, I tell at least two stories to keep what we do memorable, fun and motivating. I also try to give at least one worksheet or assignment for homework so that results are achieved between meetings. By focusing on the “experience” of the people in the meeting and having tools to drive results between meetings, we get dramatically better results with less time and energy cost. We have found this format works with most organization leaders who are trying to get their people to do what they have never done before and achieve at higher levels and consistently improve their output.
Building Leaders and Teams
Mindset #7: Interaction and teamwork is the tool that allows leaders and followers to win!
Dictator leadership is the past; participative leadership and teams are the future. I love John Wayne movies, but in the real world today, followers want to be with leaders that understand what is important to them and allow for more creativity in their work. Understanding the bigger game and being able to learn new things while feeling part of a 2nd family or team is what “A” players are looking for. A leader that knows it all and “tells” followers what to do, brings limited value in this day and age!
What happens if you do not use this mindset: We see situations with brilliant leaders that are so smart and are able to tell others what to do, but remove the leader, and watch what happens. Typically, the tactical day-to-day work goes on, but as larger unexpected obstacles appear, the team and situation starts to unwind. Since most leaders that take this approach realize the risk, they stay very closely involved with their team and continue directing what tasks need to be done. The leaders get tired and begin to burn out. They realize that what they are doing is not sustainable. Recently, one brilliant leader hired us. He was telling everyone what to do to keep everything on track. He used anger as a management tool. He was tired and burnt out. Employee turnover was high. He had to change his initial reactions and habits dramatically. Now remove the leader, and watch what happens!
What happens if you use this mindset: In the situation above, we got the owner to start asking “why?” A machine broke down. In the old days he would say “call Charlie to fix it”. Now, he says, “why did it break down?” We are not checking our machines. Why? We do not have a system in place of checking machines. Why? Charlie does not have a system in place. Why? When we hired Charlie, that was not the expectation. Why? Our hiring process is not clear on expectations and reinforcement through feedback as the expectations change.
A great leader would ask these questions of the team and work with them to fix all levels of the problems that are illustrated by the “why?” question. If you have a choice of only fixing one of the areas, fixing the hiring and evaluation process would over time create the best results. However, the best leaders focus on the “now need” (have Charlie fix the machine) as well as the “long-term investment need” (improve the hiring and evaluation process).
The client above quit reacting so quickly and began to ask questions of the team. The team rose to a new level of high performance results. In a few short years, they are one of the leaders in their industry.
Example of how to use: Teach how you think to others. Help them to understand. When we interview leadership teams, most often the main reason they stay with a company and are motivated is that they feel part of the team and learn a lot. The main reason that leadership teams break apart is they do not feel like a team and they are not developing as people. Use questions and stories to get introspection and make your teaching interesting.
In my own case, I have learned to tell and use stories although it does not come naturally. I needed to increase my patience. Now we allow time for our team to research and check what we think we should do. Many problems and opportunities we never hear about since our team uses the mental models we have taught to eliminate or reduce the problems and to take advantage of opportunities. This has allowed our Leadership Team to focus on our larger quality opportunities.
Mindset #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. We see many situations where a company is great at marketing and getting opportunities, but they are unable to persistently deliver what is promised; these companies lack substance. We also see situations where a company has a tremendous amount of substance, but there are few opportunities where they can use their substance to the full extent. They have substance but lack marketing and sales capabilities.
When you do not use this mindset: The problem here is that if your image is not aligned with your substance, there will be a mismatch. One way to check is to see if your public image has personality and is unique. If you are willing to share it and take criticism for it since it is really you, then you may have a great combination. Many companies dumb down their “value proposition” so it is boring. There are so many companies that “produce quality products and deliver them safely and on time!” Ugh! I never want to hear those words again.
In their hearts, they may feel they are unique, but the website is not up to date, the words are the same ones the competitors use and their employees are not sure how to easily explain how they are unique. Often we interview employees and they do not know or appreciate how they are different from the competition, but they know they are on time, safe and on budget! This can lose quality customers, suppliers and employees. It can also prevent you from getting relationships with the best customers, suppliers and employees.
When you have this mindset: We have a client that has been maligned in the general media. They have also been held up as an answer for the future. Which is which? Regardless of which it is, this company celebrates their uniqueness and is willing to share it. This has given them countless opportunities around the world. They are not boring. Their employees have a vision, they talk about the vision and they strive to achieve the vision. They are open to new ways of doing things. In all that they do, they strive to bring a unique perspective and experience to every project for themselves, for their customers and their suppliers. Because they are in alignment, they come across as genuine. This attracts those they want to attract and pushes away opportunities that do not match their value system.
An example of how to use: One of our clients is not big on words and analytical pieces. Instead, we put together a pictorial white paper showing photographs of what they do and why they are better than the competitor. Because this piece fits more with who they are, the audience is better engaged and our client is attracting bigger and better opportunities.
In another situation, when our client meets someone new, whether it is a potential supplier, customer or employee, they will share their one page written “Values In Action.” Then after the meeting, with their team, they evaluate if the relationship has the potential to be an “A”, “B” or “C” relationship based on the common Values In Action. One of the criteria is the perceived values of the other person or organization. Based on the rating, they determine how much to invest in terms of resources. This is a high level of alignment that provides confidence in decisions and an intentional allocation of resources to the best relationships and opportunities.
Mindset #9: Values give you a strategic advantage.
Values in actions are the most important capability. Attitude has always determined altitude! Even more so in the future, being able to meet challenges with a flexible mindset, swiftness of action and keeping our actions within our values and beliefs will be the key to riding the waves of change that come at us.
What happens when you do not use the mindset: We know a business leader that kept talking about communication, trust and integrity, etc. Everyone was sick of hearing about it. While the words were well meant, it was not clear what actions would support the words. The “meaning” that got attached to the leader talking about values was “you are going to have a difficult next 6 weeks marked by confusion, frustration and beatings!” High turnover became a persistent factor. The leader’s heart was good, but he never asked questions about the problem and kept trying to fix problems that were not there. To this day, he does not seem to understand that his flexibility and swiftness, as well as company results were being hampered by unclear expectations. His work force, instead of choosing to be there, were there because they must have a job.
What happens when you use the mindset:
A manufacturing company completed their Values in Actions. Every month they highlight a different value and reward 3 or 4 employees for actions that demonstrate their values with a $50 gift card. Rather than the word “integrity” being fuzzy, this company was clearly defining and redefining who and how this value is used in action.
While this organization has had some challenging times, they also had much fun by rewarding this behavior. This allowed the open hearts of their employees to make changes very quickly to product runs and be willing to learn new skill sets. Part of the tactical byproduct of the openness is that a skills matrix has been developed with employees names on one side of the axis, while the other axis lists all of the potential tasks that can be learned by employees. This has motivated high quality cross training producing a higher level of employee satisfaction while creating a more flexible and swiftly flowing business. By causing more positive change on the inside than there is negative change on the outside, this company has made themselves much more sustainable.
An example of how to use: If you email us, we will send you a list of over 200 values. Ask your leadership team to narrow down the values and then define them in terms of visible actions and behaviors. Use the definitions, teach them in the hiring process and use them in employee evaluations. Put the simple version on the back of your business cards.
Another tool to use is a skills matrix. Check off the boxes, as in our example above, as employees are trained and become proficient at a skill. It is one of the easier ways to motivate your “A” players and to know who your “C” players are. Having this sheet visibly posted creates a positive pressure for continuous learning. It motivates employees towards your values.
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.