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Posts Tagged ‘mindset’

You know the feeling… everything seems to be going according to plan and then all of a sudden you discover you have a problem. Something unexpected happens and you’re thrown off course.

Situations such as these have the potential to seriously affect our ability to perform. We often lose our focus. We rant and rave and complain. We throw our hands in the air and wave them furiously. You know the story…

A consistently effective way to react when a problem suddenly arises is to ask yourself this simple, yet powerful question:

What’s good about this problem?

This question reframes the problem and enables you to see a way around it. It also keeps you in a good state, which is essential for being able to perform at your best!

Try this for yourself and let us know how well you get on…

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In the latest edition of Coaching for Performance the author John Whitmore, who is one of the leading pioneers of coaching, says the following:

“Throughout this book I more often use the masculine gender, not because I am sexist, which I am not, nor because I abhor the literary clumsiness of “he or she” and “his or her”, which I do, but because it is men who need to heed its message most. On the coaching courses my colleagues and I run, women have consistently shown more natural ability to adopt a coaching philosophy. It is more in line with their style.”

What do you think?

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In his 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, the late Stephen Covey (RIP) wrote about being proactive. He pointed out that despite our prior “programming” in life we always have a choice point between stimulus and response should we choose to choose it!

To the degree that you choose not to exercise your choice point you become reactive… you let events and the world outside you determine your destiny. In effect, you surrender your personal power!

Are you a prisoner of your own thoughts?

A problem many of us face is that we are not taught that we have this choice point. There are many others, particularly those in authority, who prefer that we don’t exercise our choice point for obvious reasons. Thus, many people are unhappy because they don’t feel that they have control over their lives and, worse still, they don’t believe that they can have control over their lives. Sadly, they become a prisoner of their own thoughts. Covey refers to Viktor Frankl’s remarkable survival in a prisoner of war camp during World War 2 as an example of someone who chose to exercise his choice point.

We’re curious about what you think and first we suggest you watch this clip of Covey being interviewed as he explains this Choice Point…

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The Map is not the Territory

The phrase was coined by Alfred Korzybski in the 1930s. In other words, the map (our language) is not the thing mapped (our experience). Words are not the objects they represent. Words only indicate the structure of the experience. Words are far more limited than the experience itself and mistaking the two can lead to pain and frustration.

Source of conflict

Confusing the map with the territory is a major source of conflict in the world. Korzybski maintained that humans need to be properly trained in the use of language to prevent unnecessary conflicts and confusion that arise from confusing the ‘map’ (words) with the ‘territory’ (sense experience).

A useful way to try this on for yourself is to think of the times you’ve gone to see a movie with some friends. You leave the movie theater and your friend says: “That was a brilliant movie… I loved every minute of it” and you’re thinking “That was one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen… I didn’t enjoy that at all.”

The movie is the “territory”, your and your friend’s thoughts about it and the words you use to describe it are two “maps” of the “territory”.

In organizations it is useful to appreciate the variety of “maps” or mindsets that are describing your “territory”. Another interesting thing is to look at the collection of maps (often referred to as the Culture) and review how these are referencing the territory.

A map can never be true, only more or less useful.

Appreciating difference

By accepting these first 3 Empowering Beliefs it means that you can easily begin to understand and respect difference. Often this is referred to in organizational life as diversity.

Just imagine a world where people are more tolerant of differences, learn to accept and live with them and look for and appreciate similarities. How many less conflicts would we have? What would the news headlines be like?

For the next week, begin to appreciate the richness of the territory and look, listen and feel for ways to enhance your awareness and expand your map…

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How to Change MindsetsWhich of the mindsets/conversations is your dominant one at work?

Read each of the following statements and decide whether you mostly agree with it or disagree with it.

1. Your intelligence is something very basic about you that you can’t change very much

Mostly Agree / Mostly Disagree

2. No matter how much intelligence you have, you can always change it quite a bit

Mostly Agree / Mostly Disagree

3. You can learn new things, but you can’t really change how intelligent you are

Mostly Agree / Mostly Disagree

4. You can always substantially change how intelligent your are

Mostly Agree / Mostly Disagree

5. You are a certain kind of person, and there is not much that can be done to really change that

Mostly Agree / Mostly Disagree

6. No matter what kind of person you are, you can always change substantially

Mostly Agree / Mostly Disagree

7. You can do things differently, but the important parts of who you are can’t really be changed

Mostly Agree / Mostly Disagree

8. You can always change basic things about the kind of person you are

Mostly Agree / Mostly Disagree

We’re curious to receive your comments…

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Mindset and Change EffortsCurrently we’re talking about Mindset and how this affects your change efforts. Twice per week, we’re going to cover what we consider the bedrock of how to create a Mindset for Excellence through a series of Empowering Beliefs that will always serve you well in whatever situations you find yourself in be it at work, at home or in life in general.

You can think of these Empowering Beliefs as convenient beliefs, which if we act AS IF they are true enable us to get better results for ourselves and better results when working with other people. Now, we’re not actually saying that these Empowering Beliefs are true. What we’re saying is they’re convenient beliefs, which when we adopt them enable us to get better results. We strongly suggest that you at least try these on and test them out in your daily life because, in our experience, people who’ve adopted these and integrated them into their behavior are the people who consistently get the best results in everything they do.

So, let’s get started with Empowering Belief #1

Everyone has a Unique Model (Map) of the World. 

All our information comes in through our 5 senses and then its filtered to create our own unique model of the world.  Typical filters include: time, space, matter, energy, language, memories, decisions, beliefs, values, metaprograms, attitudes…

Every single one of us has had a different past and every single one of us has interpreted our own past in different ways. So, we all have different ideas about time, space, matter and energy. We have different ways of using language. We have different memories because we’ve had different lives. We’ve all made different decisions. We have different metaprogram preferences. We have different values and beliefs and we have different attitudes about things. What this means is that every single person has their own unique model of the world. There is only one thing that you can absolutely guarantee and that is no-one has the same model of the world that you do.

Your unique model of the world conditions how you perceive “reality”. In effect, we actually respond to our experience not to reality.

As a change leader this can be liberating because you can change your perception and in the process enhance your mindset. However, just as a ship can run aground with a faulty map, being aware of the limitations of your own map or model enables you to do something about it.

So, for the next week become more aware of how your perceptions shape how you experience reality. When you form an opinion, ask yourself:

“How do I know that is true?”

“What else could this mean?”

and notice the differences in your thinking…


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When we are discussing change with senior executives the topic of mindsets frequently comes up. They often say things like: “our people need to change their mindset”. Leaders seem to struggle to see how to bring about a mindset change. Like all change you want to see, it starts with you… as a leader.

Change conversations

A useful starting point for thinking about mindsets is to think in terms of the conversations you are having. You can think of there being two major world views each of which has its own characteristic conversation and each of which generates very different results. We’ll come back to the specific language of each conversation in future posts.

The downward spiral

Change conversations: The Downward SpiralThere’s the world of what we can call the downward spiral. This is the world of complaint, of no choice, of fault and blame:  “it can’t be done, it’s difficult, the resources aren’t there, other people are doing better,  it’s hopeless” – it appears as a world with a fixed reality.

You might recognize this as: black & white thinking, absolutes, linear causality, blame, win/lose, polarization, duality, dichotomy…

Possibility & Opportunity

Change Conversations: Possibility & OpportunityYou’ll be relieved to know that there’s another world, which is the world of possibility, of opportunity, of creativity and innovation, of exploration and expansion:  “how can we do this, what difference will it make, how can we add value”; it’s a place of growth, of learning, of generative change.

You’ll recognize this perhaps as: analogue, emergent, context dependent, complex causality, flexible, I’m alright/you’re alright, 3rd point thinking, shades of grey, middle way, sliding scales, balance, Yin/Yang, relativism

Build your energy

These two conversations in themselves are neither good nor bad… they’re just different. Try on some of these phrases and those of your own and notice which of these conversations builds your energy, motivation and commitment and which one drains your energy, leaving you feeling deflated and demotivated?

Create greater choice

Just imagine what difference it makes when you have the skills and ability to influence the conversations that you are having and the results you are creating. Being aware of which of these conversations you are involved in is the first step in creating greater choice.

So, for the next few days pay attention to the conversations around you… and notice how they are different.

And, we’re curious to receive your comments…

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