Do you know what the mindset of your team is right now? Are those mindsets aligned? If they are aligned – are they set in the right direction? If they aren’t , what are you as a leader doing to help shift those mindsets in order to transform the performance of your business?
Mindsetting is the art of changing the mindset of your organisation.
Great leaders are able to build healthy mindsets in both themselves and their people. A healthy mindset – aligned on beliefs, values and habits can be the single greatest catalyst for transformation for yourself and your business.
In this article we will explore the art of mindsetting, and what you can do to help transform the mindset of your business.
What is a mindset?
A mindset is a mental model of how we choose to see an aspect of the world around us.
One mind will have multiple mindsets. These mindsets vary across worldview, perspectives, principles, practices, skills, systems, behaviours and activities. In an individual, mindsets can either align or conflict (so imagine how many mindsets can align or conflict within teams and organisations!).
As humans, we typically bury the conflict until something happens that forces us to react. These reactions are driven by ‘reflexes’ built into the muscle of the mind. Not surprisingly, negative reflexes compound at a higher rate than positive reflexes. Negatives reflexes have a ’long tail’.
A little on Mindset Theory
Mindset Theory (MT), suggests that people basically hold one of two predominant mindsets about human intelligence:
a) an entity or fixed mindset, or
b) an incremental or growth mindset.
“[Fixed] Mindset theorists view intelligence as a fixed trait that is predetermined by nature. On the other hand, incremental theorists perceive intelligence as a malleable and expandable trait that can be developed.” (Dweck, 1988; Dweck, 2020; Dweck & Legget, 1988).
Growth Mindset Theorists, believe that our own beliefs about our intelligence “influence motivation, attitude, and behavior; implicit beliefs about intelligence can have a profound influence on motivation to learn.”
In other words, someone with a growth mindset values effort, attitude and behaviour because these things ultimately effect outcomes.
What is mindsetting?
‘Mindsetting’ is a verb we’ve invented. It is the purposeful creation of new mindsets, or the art of intentionally building a mindset for yourself, your team and your organisation.
Good leaders build mindsets – in themselves and in their people.
‘Mindsetting’ is like breathing. We don’t learn to breathe, we just do it, and we don’t learn how to create mindsets… we do it involuntarily on a daily basis by osmosis, without ever intentionally thinking about it.
The problem is that we can build mindsets that are untrue, unhealthy and unhelpful if we are unintentional about the mindset we are building.
Charlie Munger of Berkshire Hathaway talks about the lattice of facts upon which we can build ideas. It describes very well the underlying framework of how mindsets are held together.
Building a lattice
“Well, the first rule is that you can’t really know anything if you just remember isolated facts and try and bang ’em back. If the facts don’t hang together on a latticework of theory, you don’t have them in a usable form. You’ve got to have models in your head. And you’ve got to array your experience both vicarious and direct on this latticework of models. You may have noticed students who just try to remember and pound back what is remembered. Well, they fail in school and in life. You’ve got to hang experience on a latticework of models in your head.”Charlie Munger | Berkshire Hathaway
So how do we effectively build this ‘latticework of mindsets and models’? How do we take control of them and manage them effectively?
The 5 responsibilities of a leader
In all leadership contexts, the very first person we lead is ourselves.
Many leaders, however, never graduate beyond the capacity to lead themselves.
Whether you’re leading yourself, leading others, leading leaders, leading leaders of leaders, it really doesn’t matter. You need to step through these five responsibilities – sequentially, allowing each to build upon the previous step.
Waymaker’s 5 responsibilities in the role of a leader are:
Let’s step through each of them to see how you can start ‘mindsetting.’
John C. Maxwell once said that when we think, we connect facts with feelings.
The truth, or the reality of a situation, is the intersection of facts and feelings. Feelings aren’t always true, and often the facts when interpreted incorrectly aren’t true either.
We need to pursue the truth, objectively, with facts and frame our feelings.
Take the 2022 Australian Tennis Open final between Rafael Nadal and Daniel Medvedev. Nadal was two and a half sets down. If he just took that window of two and a half sets, he could tell himself he’s was a loser. At that point, based on the fact that he was losing, he could reinforce a negative mindset – “I am a loser.”
Or …he could step back and say, “No, I’m a 20-times Grand Slam winner. I just happen to be losing right now.”
That’s a different way of reframing the situation.
It creates a different mindset.
That’s balancing facts and feelings.
We must not let feelings dictate what the facts tell us about the situation.
A great example in a business context might be: Last month was an amazing sales month, so we are sales rockstars. But this month? Hmmm. Let’s not talk about this month.
The facts dictated a false sense of security.
Our feelings suggested we are great sales people, but that’s not necessarily true.
So we must balance facts, we must let facts inform our feelings.
We need to let our feelings be deconstructed by facts, and alternatively let facts rebuild feelings.
This process of critical thinking can be broken up into 4 steps.
- Identify the mindset
- Identify the practices or habits that feed the mindset
- Identify the triggers to those habits
- Identify when the triggers happen
You can listen to our explanation of these 4 steps below, starting at about 24 minute mark.
The planning phase is where we connect possibilities with practicalities.
The possibilities are the things that could be. The practicalities are the reality of what is and needs to be. Knowing what is possible is the first step towards success. Knowing what is possible allows us to making incremental changes towards our ideal goal.
The practicalities might be: “We’re not big enough to compete on that playing field right now.” This may be true. But a possibility mindset is that one day we could.
We need to take from our thinking the habits and practices which build the negative mindset and replace them with new habits and practices.
We need to identify what triggers certain behaviours and isolate those triggers.
We need to plan ahead. We need to connect the possible with the practical.
We know in the moment of crisis that character will not be formed, rather it will be revealed. Our planning helps us plan ahead to determine how we will think and act when the critical moment occurs.
Rafael Nadal will have trained mentally to be 2 sets down. He will have intentionally developed a set of thoughts and behaviours that can lift him out of a negative mindset into a reframed positive mindset.
So let’s identify the practical steps to help us reach our goals.
Inspiration is where we take the current state and build a new picture of the future state.
If we are leading ourselves, we need to inspire ourselves with the vision of the future state. We need to get clear on where the right mindsets can take us. It also helps to know where the wrong mindsets can take us.
Building the new mindset is going to take persistence to establish the habits and the practices. That’s hard work.
We need to be brutally clear on the pay off.
Equipping is the process of replacing old skills with new skills and old systems with new systems.
We equip our future state with the plan and the skills that build up the new habit and break down the old habit.
This is the process of building skills that remove triggers and new systems that reinforce the triggers to build a new mindset.
We may need to build a playbook of skills to develop at critical moments in time. For example, a sales playbook of objections and how to respond to them will strengthen the mind of the sales team, equipping them with the real answers to customer objections. This will lead to confidence and a mindset of strength.
Finally, we empower ourselves through ownership, accountability and responsibility.
Own the journey to the future state.
Ask someone to hold you accountable to getting to the new future state. Holding yourself accountable is the weakest link. Ask a mentor, business partner or someone else to. hold you accountable to the plan you’ve put in place.
Take responsibility for the actions. Schedule the work to be done. Take time. Invest in it.
When we bring this whole process together, we transform ourselves through the renewing of our mind.
We lead ourselves first and we lead ourselves first through our mind.
If you want transformation in your organisation, start with your mindset. Learn to lead yourself, then learn to lead others to new and positive mindsets.