by Mark Samuel
I recently talked to a frustrated senior leader who said…
“I’ve communicated the new picture, why we need it, and how urgent it is to our success. In our meetings together, the facts are clear and everyone nods their head in agreement, but as soon as they leave the room, everyone goes back to their old behaviors… AS IF NOTHING NEEDS TO CHANGE!”
Have you ever seen this happen in your organization?
Just giving people the intellectual information supporting your vision never creates breakthrough results or the behaviors needed to support it. You have to change their mindset first or they stay stuck in their old habits – stuck in their “A State.”
Launching a B STATE Transformation
Part 3: Creating a Mindset Change that People Can Act On Immediately
A person’s mindset involves their way of thinking, attitudes, and beliefs. Focusing on results and actions are the primary focuses of most change efforts. The problem is that if you take action on change with the existing, or old, mindset, you will likely recreate the old results. For instance, if you have a mindset or belief that the current procedure couldn’t be better, how do you think that might impact you when you “try” to implement a newer version of that procedure?
One organization wanted to improve their Safety record. They rolled out a new Safety program for leaders and line workers. They placed “Safety-First” and “Safety is our #1 Priority” posters in all of the buildings. However, the mindset of leaders didn’t change, so in meetings, after the 1 minute “safety moment” the entire focus was on increasing production. Safety didn’t improve.
Three Steps to Creating a New Mindset
A new mindset can begin with a new philosophy, a new set of principles, or a new set of core values. However, they seldom translate to a new mindset that people can act on. There are three primary steps to developing a B STATE Mindset.
Step 1: Clarify Your New Expanded Role
Ever since you were born, you have been on a constant journey and adventure of growth and expansion. This translates to learning new technology, new equipment, new processes, and other indicators of your evolution. As customers, we desire new and improved everything. Better service, faster equipment, and more “bells and whistles.”
The human pattern of growth, evolution, and expansion translates to the constant need for organizations to evolve and expand as well – constantly doing more, and most of the time, with less resources. This isn’t bad, just a reality that pulls us forward to being more creative, adaptive, and responsive.
Questions for Clarifying Your Expanded Role:
- How will your role and responsibilities need to expand as the organization evolves based on the External Drivers identified to create your Picture of Success?
- How will your role become more strategic, innovative, and collaborative in the future to contribute to your Picture of Success?
Step 2: Expand Your Relationships
As your role evolves and grows, it’s important to think differently about your relationship with others in the organization. While it could mean having a different role with your functional teammates, it usually means reaching out to people in other parts of the organization for expanded teamwork. Thinking differently about your relationships involves several areas for improvement:
- Resolving breakdowns and poor coordination between functional areas
- Improving communication and information flow
- Learning more about the working of other functional areas
- Developing trusting relationships for more responsive problem-solving and support
Questions for Expanding Your Relationships:
- Who might you need to work with in your organization aside from your current colleagues?
- What information will you need to share with others that wasn’t part of your previous role?
- What information will you need from others based on your expanded role in Step 1 above?
- Who would benefit from being proactively included when you are making plans that impact other areas?
Step 3: Raise the Bar on Performance Expectations
One of the greatest errors people make when they are hired is thinking that the role they are hired for in the organization will remain constant as long as their title and job description remains the same. But this doesn’t account for the constantly increasing demands of customers, changes in technology, and the threat of increased competition. The organization can’t keep up with those increasing demands for higher performance while everyone maintains their existing level of performance.
A medical center went through a major culture and performance transformation. One of the leaders of that transformation was a Director who was more skilled and had a more visionary mindset than his peers. He was relied on to support others in making the necessary changes. Unfortunately, because he was so advanced compared to others, he didn’t develop himself any further. Why would he? He was the top performer. However, within four years, the organization’s performance surpassed his maintained level, and he was struggling just to keep up with his peers.
Questions to Raise the Bar on Performance Expectations:
- In what ways can you be kinder, more helpful, and more understanding of your internal or external customers?
- How can you be more proactive and/or strategic in your role so that you are anticipating needs and challenges ahead of time?
- In what ways can you learn more about your business or other functional areas to better understand how your role impacts others?
Regardless of how you answered the questions above, a B STATE Mindset involves replacing any mindset of internal competition, threat of being replaced, and fear of change with increased cooperation, openness to new ideas, and desire for change.
What to learn more about Launching a B STATE Transformation? Read about Part 4:
If you missed Parts 1 and 2 of Launching a B STATE Transformation? Click links below to catch up:
- Part 1: Creating a Compelling Picture of Success
- Part 2: Communicating Your Picture of Success – Your New Reality