I read this paper by Microsoft, and it was this piece by Carol Dweck which stood out for me:
I like the way it is simple and to the point. Are you a fixed mindset person or do you have a growth mindset.
Having spent the last 15 years or so of my career inside a corporate machine, and then the last 12 months on the outside looking back in to the fishbowl, it gives you a very different perspective on this.
There is the whole Culture Eats Strategy for breakfast addage by Peter Drucker, and yes, in order to engage in any form of change in an organisation, you need to bring your employees along with you. No easy task in a democratic world, or in a world where people live by the mantra – “but we have always done it this way.”
Be curious, be learning always
I believe I am of the growth mindset, and have always been that way. Always fascinated by the latest technology, new ways of doing things in a more efficient way, be that through a change of process or new technology. I am always curious and wanting to learn, either by myself or through others. Maybe I am lazy, but then again it was Bill Gates who once said :
“Hire a lazy person to do a difficult job. Why? Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.”
That said, I did not understand why some people were so stuck in their ways, but that was because I had not understood this idea of the Fixed Mindset or Growth Mindset. Looking back through my career, the lion’s share of people I worked with and for were of the Fixed mindset. Think those that do not want to let go of their blackberry for a smart phone. This is not a negative in any shape or form. It is partly a generational thing, partly to do with the culture of the entire organisation and partly to do with what just what makes them, well them.
As Carol Dweck points out, this does not mean that they won’t change. Things can be unlearnt. As long as you can engage with them positively they can evolve. As I reflect on this, I must have been a real pain for some of the senior management I worked for. I would grow frustrated at times when I felt that my voice and reasoning was not being heard. However, I now recognise that I probably wasn’t ‘aligned’ with their mindset, and they weren’t aligned with mine.
Make it a great place to work
In my most recent role, I had to convince the UK board that engaging with social and social selling was the way forwards. This had never been done before and it took two board meetings. However the support from the board was phenomenal. Which was also why it was such a great place to work. In the Microsoft report, they also cite Accenture research:
When there is support throughout the layers of management, the research shows that transformation is far more likely to succeed with better results.
I appreciate there is a lot more to this when transforming an organisation. People are emotional creatures and sometimes this can lead to irrational behaviour or paralysis by analysis because we are risk adverse. However, what I will say is take a look at yourself and ask what type of mindset are you? What type of mindset are your team, management, even your board? There is no right or wrong answer here, much like Myers Briggs or similar personality tests; it will help you understand how to approach the conversation around transformation, be it through technology, process and even bringing in new people.
The decisive point to consider is that if you truly want to undertake transformation then you will understand that this means fundamentally changing how you do things.
This is can be a hard experience, but the result is a far more agile, dynamic and beautiful experience.
You can download the full report here, I suggest you do.
Alex is the Digital Leadership Associates sales navigator and ABM specialist, read more of Alex’s thinking here – A Rose.
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