Tag Archives: Mindset

Are You Testing Your Intuitions?

Are You Testing Your Intuitions?

GUEST POST from Dennis Stauffer

Do you trust your intuitions? When you have a hunch, do you go with it or hold back? There’s been a long-running debate about which is the better strategy.

Some have claimed that top executives are at their best when they “go with their gut” or “follow their instincts.” They can give examples of when that’s turned out well for them. But what we don’t know is how often other intuitions may have turned out badly.

Trusting your intuitions can sometimes keep you safe. Some research has found that firefighters are well-served by their intuitions, because it helps them avoid danger. Women who are uneasy walking alone at night are advised to follow their intuitions.

That makes sense when you’re crossing a dark parking lot or at the scene of a fire. Being cautious when there might be no threat is better than being careless when there might be one. But that doesn’t mean those intuitions are accurate.

Innovators also have intuitions—and need to. Hunches about the value of an idea, or a sense of how customers will react. For an innovator, asking whether you should trust your intuitions is the wrong question. What needs to be asked instead is: How can I test my intuitions? What can I do to find out whether those feelings are reliable?

That’s one reasons innovators have a bias for action. Because acting on their ideas—in ways that will test them—is how they find out whether those ideas will work. That’s not only a more prudent approach than just following hunches; it’s excellent practice at evaluating the merits of your ideas. So over time, you become better at forming those hunches. Because you know how well it worked in the past, and maybe where you might have biases.

If you want to enhance your intuitions—and your innovativeness—don’t trust them or distrust them.

Test them.

View this post on video here if you prefer:

Image Credit: misterinnovation.com

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The Emotions of an Innovator

The Emotions of an Innovator

GUEST POST from Dennis Stauffer

Your emotional state has a lot to do with how innovative you are, especially when those emotions are negative. How willing are you to act in the face of uncertainty and take those risks? How comfortable are you with new ideas and interpretations that may conflict with those you have? Can you overcome your biases to gain a clear-eyed understanding of the challenges you face? The fears and prejudices we all have can undermine our ability to find solutions.

Take a few moments to recall some of the negative emotions you’ve experienced in your life.

Things like:

  • Frustration
  • Disappointment
  • Jealously
  • Resentment
  • Annoyance
  • Anger     …and that’s just the short list.

One thing they all have in common is that they make you feel bad. They undermine your happiness. They can also hamper your ability to innovate.

Now ask yourself: What prompted those emotions? I suspect you think of something that happened or that someone did that upset you, but there are deeper reasons for these emotions. They form when something isn’t what you expect or hope for. Someone isn’t doing what you want, or that you think they should. You think something needs to be corrected. You already have some outcome you’d prefer, an expectation that isn’t being met.

That’s your mindset—your beliefs about how things should be—beliefs that generate those expectations. You may think someone is doing something wrong. Perhaps they’re being mean or rude. But that means you have an idea in your head of what’s right—how you think they should behave. Or, something may not have turned out the way you hoped. Maybe you didn’t get the promotion you wanted. But that means you think you should have been given something you didn’t receive.

Change those expectations and your emotional response changes. What’s happening in your head has just as much or more impact on the emotions you feel, as whatever is happening around you—and that’s empowering. When you blame your emotions on what others do, you hand them control over your emotional state. They determine how you feel.

When you realize that your beliefs and expectations—your mindset—primes you to feel those emotions, you gain control over how you feel. Instead of anger, you can substitute curiosity about why someone would behave that way. Instead of annoyance at someone’s missteps, you can choose to be amused. Instead of disappointment, you can shift to resolve to learn from your setbacks. Instead of embarrassment, you can choose to feel humility. Instead of feeling the urge to punish someone, you can choose to feel compassion and understanding.

External events may not have changed. Those are things you don’t control. What changes is your mindset—something you can control. When you realize that you create your own emotions and take steps to create fewer negative ones, you increase your own happiness—regardless of what life throws at you. Skilled innovators have a mindset that minimizes their negative emotions. Because instead of focusing on what needs to be corrected—to restore the status quo—they focus on what can be improved. That enhances their capacity to enhance. Enhance a product or service, enhance their community and the larger world, and enhance their own lives.

Here is a video of this post if you prefer:

Image Credit: Pixabay

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What’s Your Mindset?

What's Your Mindset?

GUEST POST from Dennis Stauffer

Your mindset has a powerful influence on how you think and behave—including how innovative you are. You have the power to shift your mindset to become more innovative. However, to do that effectively you need to know what your mindset is now, and it’s mostly subconscious.

I’m going to show you how to measure your mindset, by surfacing some of those hidden assumptions. To do this, you’ll need some way to jot down four numbers and make a simple calculation.

You may have heard about the work of Stanford University Professor Carol Dweck and her distinction between a growth and a fixed mindset, which is what I’m having you measure. It’s what Dweck calls your Theory of Intelligence.

For each of four statements, I’d like you to write down a number between 1 and 6. One indicating that you strongly disagree with that statement, and six that you strongly agree, with increments in-between.

  1. Strongly Disagree
  2. Disagree
  3. Slightly Disagree
  4. Slightly Agree
  5. Agree
  6. Strongly Agree


  1. __ The first statement is: Our intelligence is something about each of us that we can’t change very much. Give that number between 1 and 6, depending on how strongly you agree or disagree with that statement.
  2. __ The next statement is: We can learn new things but we can’t really change how intelligent we are. Give that a number from one to six.
  3. __ The next statement is: No matter how much intelligence a person has, they can always change it quite a bit. Give that a number 1-6
  4. __ And the final statement is: I can always change how intelligent I am. Give that a number.

To score your results, add your first and second answers together to give yourself an “A” value, and add your third and fourth answers together to give yourself a “B” value.

If your A value is the larger of the two, that indicates that you favor what Dweck calls a fixed mindset—that you believe intelligence is largely fixed and unchanging.

If your B value is larger, you favor a growth mindset—defining intelligence as something you can change and grow.

The larger the difference between those two numbers, the stronger your preference.

In her research, Dweck has found this simple distinction has all sorts of ripple effects especially on how students perform. Students with a fixed mindset, may be quite smart, but they’re afraid to challenge themselves and try new things because if that reveals any intellectual deficits, they don’t believe they can do anything about it. Students with a growth mindset believe they can get smarter by working at it, giving them a strong motivation to work hard, learn and overcome setbacks. They tend to become the high performers.

You may never have given much thought to your personal theory of intelligence, but you almost certainly have one and it’s one of many hidden assumptions that make up your mindset. Dweck has found that those hidden assumptions impact your beliefs, behavior, motivation, competitiveness and ethics. Other researchers have found that mindset even impacts how your body functions.

Your mindset also impacts how innovative you are, and that can be measured too. Instead of the growth vs. fixed distinction, measuring your innovativeness involves a range of other tradeoffs. Things that impact how imaginative you are, how willing you are to take risks, how you make observations and how open you are to new insights and ideas.

A growth mindset makes you more willing to accept and push through failure, being ready to learn and discover. An Innovator Mindset is about how you go about doing that. How you can systematically find solutions and make improvements—including improving yourself. Being able to adapt and learn and make discoveries has many benefits in all aspects of your personal and professional life.

If you’d like to measure your innovativeness, across twelve dimensions, and receive detailed personalized feedback on how to improve it, go to Innovator Mindset where you’ll find links to take the Innovator Mindset assessment, or enroll in Mindset Trek elearning—which includes the assessment—to get in depth mindset training.

Here is a video version of this post:

Image Credit: Pixabay

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Mastering Your Innovation Mindset

Mastering Your Innovation Mindset

GUEST POST from Dennis Stauffer

Mindset is quite a remarkable thing. It can be an invisible hindrance, or a tremendous asset when you know how to manage it. Mindset is your often subconscious beliefs about how the world works. It’s your mental frame, your personal paradigm. It has a huge impact on your ability to innovate and drive effective change.

It may have never occurred to you that when you observe something, what you see and experience is just as much in your head as it is out there. Your brain just gives you its best interpretation—using some innate processing, and based on those often-unconscious assumptions and beliefs that make up your mindset. To a great degree, you shape—or your brain shapes—what you experience.

It can be a little disturbing to realize that your brain is deciding for you what you believe is real—and not warning you about it. For a vivid illustration of just how much influence your mindset can have over you, watch this brief video.

But here’s the good news: you can learn to consciously shape your mindset, to reshape how your brain subconsciously processes what you experience.

As you discover your own unconscious assumptions, you reveal choices you didn’t know you had. You can then shape a mindset that gives you greater control, self-awareness and personal effectiveness. You can become more creative, imaginative, resourceful, open and observant–more innovative.

Innovation tools and change management strategies are important, but your mindset determines how effectively you apply those tools and strategies. It’s your default way of thinking and engaging. The key to your effectiveness is getting in front of your mindset. You need to be intentional about the beliefs you want to have, so you’re able to control your mindset, rather than letting it control you.

That’s how you become someone who creates exceptional value in your life and makes the world better—by innovating yourself.

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Reverse Innovation

Reverse Innovation

GUEST POST from Mike Shipulski

Innovation is a result of accumulated knowledge acquired over decades that is made manifest with mundane means.

It can be helpful to understand the required mindset by working things backward.

If you want innovation, solve new problems.

If you want to solve new problems, wall off design space responsible for success.

Block the team from reusing the same old recipe for success so there will be discomfort.

Without discomfort, there can be no innovation. Seek it out.

Prohibit solutions that live in familiar design space to demand the product or service do new things.

When the product or service must do new things, new lines of customer goodness must be created.

To create new lines of customer goodness, you’ve got to look at new facets of the customers’ lives.

To look at new facets of the customers’ lives, look more broadly at the jobs customers want to do.

You can ask customers what new jobs they want to do, but they won’t be able to tell you.

When you want to understand which new jobs will change the game, watch the work.

When you watch the work, watch more than the work. Watch everything.

When you come back to the office with new jobs that will disrupt the industry, you will be misunderstood for at least a year.

Misunderstanding is a precursor to innovation. Seek it out.

Misunderstanding blocks support for new work, but at least you’ll know you’re on to something.

When you get no support for the new work, do it anyway.

Rinse and repeat, as needed.

Image credit: Pixabay

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Changing Your Innovator’s DNA

Changing Your Innovator's DNA

GUEST POST from Arlen Meyers, M.D.

In their book, The Innovator’s DNA, the authors identified 5 parts to the secret sauce of innovative business success:

In thinking about how these skills work together, they found it useful to apply the metaphor of DNA. Associating is like the backbone structure of DNA’s double helix; four patterns of action (questioning, observing, experimenting, and networking) wind around this backbone, helping to cultivate new insights. And just as each person’s physical DNA is unique, each individual we studied had a unique innovator’s DNA for generating breakthrough business ideas.

Associating is about pattern recognition, connecting dots and seeing what others don’t see.

 These business school professors describe the creative mindset that they believe executives must embrace.

So, A stands for Attention, which is about noticing problems or opportunities that you and others previously missed by changing where and how you look.

L is for Levitation, which means stepping back to gain perspective and make sense of what you’ve seen to reflect on what you need to do differently.

I stands for Imagination, which involves connecting the dots in new and interesting ways to create original and useful ideas. Learn something new every day.

E is about Experimentation, which is about testing your promising idea and turning it into a workable solution that addresses a real need. Here is the value to experimentation in innovation.

Finally, N stands for Navigation, which is about finding ways to get your solution accepted without getting shot down in the process.

Here is another take on the theme

Innovation starts with mindset. Most scientists, engineers and health professionals don’t have it. However, there are ways to develop and change the gene expression by practicing epigenetic exercises. In case you missed that biology class, epigenetics literally means “above” or “on top of” genetics. It refers to external modifications to DNA that turn genes “on” or “off.” These modifications do not change the DNA sequence, but instead, they affect how cells “read” genes.

So, if you want to unlock your innerpreneurial genes, try :

  1. Associating, by realizing that sickcare USA cannot be fixed from inside.
  2. Associating by practicing open innovation
  3. Associating by thinking twice about thinking out of the box
  4. Questioning by being a problem seeker, not a problem solver
  5. Questioning why not instead of why and getting to why
  6. Observing by learning to see around corners. Avoid having to say “I didn’t see it coming” :

Look ahead of the curve – Track the trends and pay greater attention to the external environment. Beef up your information diet and endeavor to “get informed” rather than passively “be informed.”

Think ahead of the curve – Take the time to connect the dots, look for patterns of change, and emerging opportunities. Ask: where will this trend, technology or Driving Force of Change be in 10 years and what might I need to do in response?

Act ahead of the curve – Don’t wait for a trend to overwhelm you, take responsive action today. Disrupt yourself. “We must be willing to learn, unlearn and relearn to get ahead in this fast-paced digital world,” notes Jeff Thomson, president and CEO of the Institute of Management Accountants.

Here are 10 strategic trends that will drive data management. Did you see them coming?

  1. Observing by looking for the clues, not the roadmap
  2. Experimenting by using the business model canvas instead of writing a business plan
  3. Experimenting by applying your clinical or scientific mindset
  4. Networking by building robust internal and external networks
  5. Networking the right way when coldLinking
  6. Networking by learning how to meet up at a Meetup
  7. Networking by growing and engaging your alumni network

David Epstein explains in his book. Range, that specializing and practicing repeatedly works in environments that are “kind”. Tiger Woods excelled because he started young and engaged in a task and tried to do better. There were clearly defined rules and immediate outcomes that provided feedback. Doctors are also in this category and the educational establishment picks medical students who demonstrate narrow and deep thinking.

On the other hand, in “wicked” learning environments and domains, like entrepreneurship, the rules of the game are often unclear and incomplete, i.e. there are VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) conditions, there may or may not be repetitive patterns and they may not be obvious, and feedback i often delayed, inaccurate or both. Sometimes, you have to make up the rules as you go along and they are not necessarily transferable from one industry to the next because of the differences in industry ecosystems and cultures, like sickcare. That’s another reason why the clinical mindset is different than the entrepreneurial mindset and why it is so hard to find doctors with both.

Here are some more ways to sharpen your entrepreneurial skills.

Doctors have the potential to make great entrepreneurs because they have the DNA. No, they are not lousy business people. Downstream gene expression, though, is often a problem.

Image Credits: Pixabay, Design Council

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The Entrepreneurial Mindset

The Entrepreneurial Mindset

GUEST POST from Arlen Meyers, M.D.

Most doctors, scientists, engineers, business school grads and lawyers I’ve taught don’t have an entrepreneurial mindset. There are lots of reasons why, some of which have to do with how they are chosen by their respective educational establishments. After all, you don’t get accepted to medical school because of your intense creativity. You get accepted, primarily, because of your GPA ,your performance on a standardized test, the MCAT, and how you perform in your scripted interviews.

Here are some mindset maps from Kevin Johnson:

  1. All risk isn’t risky. Entrepreneurs surely understand the high probability of failure, but they don’t necessarily like to gamble. Instead, they take calculated risks, stacking the deck in their favor. They must have enough confidence in themselves, supplemented by expert knowledge, solid relationships, or personal wealth, to see the risk as near zero.
  2. Business comes first, family second. This view isn’t a selfish one, but a recognition by serious entrepreneurs that family well-being is dependent on the success of the business, not the other way around. This is why airlines ask you to put on your oxygen mask first. Should you forego closing a million dollar deal to attend a ball game with your son?
  3. Following your passion is bogus. Look for a good business model first. Your passion may be for a good cause, like curing world hunger, but it may not be a good business. In any young business, you inevitably find things that are not enjoyable, but need to be done, like cold calls or firing unproductive employees. Just doing fun things is a myth.
  4. It’s not about being your own boss. Great entrepreneurs aren’t interested in being bosses at all. People who crave the freedom to do what they want when they want generally make terrible entrepreneurs. In order to be a successful entrepreneur, discipline is a must, and accept your new bosses as investors, partners, and customers.
  5. Fire your worst customers. We have all had customers who take advantage of us, to the detriment of other good customers. The best entrepreneurs are quick to make the tough decisions to bypass bad customers, with proper respect, to minimize frustration, resource drain, and reputation loss. You can’t please everyone all the time.
  6. Ignorance can be bliss. It’s great to be highly familiar with the industry in which you plan to compete, but many times people see too many challenges, and never start. In other cases, entrepreneurs are opening up new business areas, so no one yet knows the challenges. Serious entrepreneurs trust their ability to beat a new path to the opportunity.
  7. You’re in no rush to get an MBA. If you are already an entrepreneur, more education, including an MBA, will only slow you down. Consider it a waste of time. If you plan to become an entrepreneur, and already have business experience or an undergraduate business degree, skip the two-year delay and cost of the MBA.
  8. You are odd, and it’s OK. Entrepreneurs, especially those in technology, usually don’t start out as well-rounded, well-adjusted leaders. In fact, being odd is quite the norm. According to other studies, attention-deficit disorder (ADD) is common, as well as host of other personality disorders. It’s actually cool to be a geek in this lifestyle.
  9. A check in hand means nothing. Every entrepreneur remembers their naïve days when that first customer check bounced. When you receive a new purchase order, a check, a verbal agreement, or even a written agreement, don’t get too happy and excited. Save the celebration until you have cold cash in hand, or the funds are verified.
  10. There’s no such thing as a cold call. If you are an elite entrepreneur, you don’t go into anything cold. With the Internet and a plethora of other resources, you can warm up any call quickly, and not waste your time or theirs. Doing your homework first is one of the best ways to get an advantage over your competition.

Instead, when it comes to innovation and entrepreneurship, they have this kind of frame of reference:

  • They don’t acknowledge they don’t know what they don’t know
  • They don’t understand the difference between a scientific or clinical mindset and an entrepreneurial one
  • They take no for an answer
  • They are insecure and lack self esteem when early in their careers and therefore feel obligated to compensate with dysfunctional behaviors, often encouraged by the culture of their training programs
  • They don’t take personal responsibility for their mistakes and , therefore, don’t learn from them
  • They think that what got them to where they are now will get them to where they want to go
  • They don’t think networking is important, so, they don’t do it
  • They are not politically savvy
  • They lack entrepreneurial courage
  • They lack access to mentors, knowledge, education, resources, peer to peer support and career development guidance.

The entrepreneurial mindset is a state of mind interested in the pursuit of opportunity with scarce, uncontrolled resources. The goal is to create user defined value at various multiples of the existing competitive offering through the deployment of innovation.

Some describe “character” as a combination of personality, which is mostly fixed at a certain early age, and mindset, which is malleable. Character is fate.

Attitudes and motivation are what separates someone with an entrepreneurial mindset from another. The field of postive psychology has shown with overwhelming evidence that happiness creates success, not vice versa. Shawn Achor, in his book The Happiness Advantage, gives us a guided tour of the postive psychology field. noting that happiness is a positive emotion in three measurable components: pleasure, engagement and meaning. He states that happiness is the joy we feel striving after our potential. More imporantly, mindsets can change in humans from negative to positive. Consequently, happy people are primed for creativity, imagination and innovation.

Innovation starts with the right mindset and happiness makes it easier to see things clearer as well as the possibilities.

Some have described the Innovator’s DNA. Here are the amino acids that make up the genetic code.

Others note characteristics of the entrepreneurial mindset:

  1. Personal growth relates to the size of the challenge, not the size of the kingdom. What motivates real innovators is the more exciting challenge, not the number of people reporting to them. The ‘size of the difference’ they will make is more inspiring than the ‘size of the business.’ They relish getting out of their comfort zone, and into the unknown.
  2. The new direction is the challenge, not the destination. The challenge is the transformation vehicle for true innovators, and not a performance goal. They focus on legacy creation, not legacy protection. They ignore failures and are constantly looking at the progress made. They treat innovations reviews like performance reviews.
  3. Be an attacker of forces holding people back, not a defender. Real innovators start by questioning the world order rather than conforming to it. They begin by confronting the forces holding everyone back, rather than living with it. The forces include mindset gravity, organization gravity, industry gravity, country gravity, and cultural gravity.
  4. New insights come from a quest for questions, not a quest for answers. This discovery mindset searching for new questions drives real innovators away from more of the same. They fundamentally become value seekers; they look for value in every experience, in every conversation. They don’t seek prescriptions, they seek possibilities.
  5. Stakeholders must be connected into the new reality, not convinced. True innovators tip stakeholders into adopting and even co-owning the orbit-shifting idea. They go about tipping the heart first, assuming the mind will follow. They seek smart people, who openly express their doubts, and then collaborate to overcome them.
  6. Work from the challenge backward, rather than capability forward. Overcoming execution obstacles is combating dilution, not compromising, for these innovators. Their mindset is not ‘if-then’ but ‘how and how else?’ They convert problems to opportunities, and often the original idea grows far bigger than the starting promise
  7. Getting rid of your victim mentality.
  8. Having the discipline to practice the discipline
  9. You relish the role of leading the charge. Being a visionary or an idea person is not enough; you have to be anxious to jump in and get your hands dirty. Most success stories in business are not about envisioning the next big thing, but about making that change happen. Investors and strategic partners look for entrepreneurs who can execute.
  10. Able to balance right-brain and left-brain activities. Most technical entrepreneurs are left-brain logical thinkers, even perfectionists. Yet every business today needs a focus on visualization, creativity, relationships, and collaboration, which are normally in the domain of right-brainers. Successful and happy entrepreneurs have that rare whole-brain focus.
  11. Enjoy being outside your comfort zone. New businesses are an adventure into the unknown. You need to be mentally prepared to enjoy the roller coaster ride, rather than face it holding your breath with your teeth gritted at every turn. Only then can you enjoy the thrill of victory when you survive a major turn, and be energized for the next one.
  12. Proactively seek input, but make your own decisions. Great entrepreneurs seek out critical customers and industry experts, and actively listen, but are not afraid to trust their own judgment as well. Ultimately they accept the responsibility of “the buck stops here,” meaning they live by their own decisions, and never make excuses.
  13. Willing and able to do a little bit of everything. Technology experts tend to have a very deep level of knowledge, but not very wide. If your real interests are not very broad, then building a business will likely be frustrating and expensive. Startups have limited resources, so the founders have to enjoy trying things, and learning from their mistakes.
  14. Viewed by others as a successful problem solver. The best ideas for a new business are solutions to a real customer problem, rather than great ideas looking for a market. Creating a new business means tackling one difficult problem after another, until success suddenly appears. Entrepreneurs see problems as milestones to success, not barriers.
  15. Don’t demand or expect immediate gratification. Seth Godin once said “The average overnight success in business takes six years,” and he is an optimist. For some entrepreneurs that success is financial, and for others it is a legacy of good deeds. Because it takes so long to get there, it is important to be happy with the journey.
  16. Having a growth mindset. That means experimenting and letting your passion find you instead of finding your passion. Here are some tips on how to develop your growth mindset-think like employee #3 at a startup.
  17. Optimism Research suggests that optimists earn more money, have better relationships and even live longer. And the thing is: Optimism can be learned.

Here are the 8P’s of the Entrepreneurial Mindset:

Eight P's of Entrepreneurial Mindset

Lately, the term “grit” is popular and describes the combination of passion and perseverance. The growth mindset is driven by curiosity and self-compassion.

Here’s how the entrepreneurial mindset differs from the clinical mindset. There are also age and generational variations, e.g. how to deal with ambiguity.

Entrepreneurial mindsets derive from entrepreneurial behaviors that are part of an entrepreneurial culture. Consequently, finding entrepreneurial champions to demonstrate the mindset to others is an important tactic in changing a culture.

True innovation in sick care is rare. Ideas and inventions rarely create substantial multiples of user defined value and can be counted on one hand. Antibiotics. Anesthesia. Clean water. Transplantation.

Here are some ways to look at the world through an innovative/entrepreneurial mindset:

Wonder about inconsistencies and anomalies instead of dismissing or explaining them away.

Wonder about coincidences that seem promising.

Give freer rein to curiosity, spending more time speculating about implications of events or ideas that aren’t on the main path we are pursuing.

Be alert to unexpected connections between ideas.

Notice leverage points that might help when we get stuck – alternative ways to move forward when our usual problem-solving methods aren’t working. Instead of simply making sure projects are progressing at a satisfactory pace, supervisors can ask employees more in-depth questions: How has your understanding of the project changed? What has surprised you? Are you tempted to change the project goals? If the employee responds that nothing has to be rethought, this may indicate that the person isn’t adopting the In/Stance. Confusions and conflicts may offer opportunities for gaining insights. Employees may have misconceptions of different ideas about how things work– Investigate these inconsistencies, as they may lead to insights.

Learning is about unlearning. Like every change, it requires unfreezing , changing and refreezing.

Of course determining how many of the roughly 900,000 active docs have an entrepreneurial mindset depends on how you define it and the instrument you use to measure it. Since few, if any, have done that, including search and placement firms, there is really no valid way to know.

Here’s an article that covers the landscape and attempts to measure the entrepreneurial mindset. Basically, personalities are fixed, but skills can be learned.

Personality Scales

Independence: The desire to work with a high degree of independence (e.g., I’m uncomfortable when expected to follow others’ rules.)

Preference for Limited Structure: A preference for tasks and situations with little formal structure (e.g., I find it boring to work on clearly structured tasks.)

Nonconformity: A preference for acting in unique ways; an interest in being perceived as unique (e.g., I like to stand out from the crowd.)

Risk Acceptance: A willingness to pursue an idea or a desired goal even when the probability of succeeding is low (e.g., I’m willing to take a certain amount of risk to achieve real success.)

Action Orientation: A tendency to show initiative, make decisions quickly, and feel impatient for results (e.g., I tend to make decisions quickly.)

Passion: A tendency to experience one’s work as exciting and enjoyable rather than tedious and draining (e.g., I’m passionate about the work that I do.)

Need to Achieve: The desire to achieve at a high level (e.g., I want to be the best at what I do.)

Skill Scales

Future Focus: The ability to think beyond the immediate situation and plan for the future (e.g., I’m focused on the long term.)

Idea Generation: The ability to generate multiple and novel ideas, and to find multiple approaches for achieving goals (e.g., Sometimes the ideas just bubble out of me.)

Execution: The ability to turn ideas into actionable plans; the ability to implement ideas well (e.g., I have a reputation for being able to take an idea and make it work.)

Self-Confidence: A general belief in one’s ability to leverage skills and talents to achieve important goals (e.g., I am a self-confident person.)

Optimism: The ability to maintain a generally positive attitude about various aspects of one’s life and the world (e.g., Even when things aren’t going well, I look on the bright side.)

Persistence: The ability to bounce back quickly from disappointment, and to remain persistent in the face of setbacks (e.g., I do not give up easily.)

Interpersonal Sensitivity: A high level of sensitivity to and concern for the well-being of those with whom one works (e.g., I’m sensitive to others’ feelings.)

It would be interesting to apply this to a physician population and compare to the general one.

Teaching and learning entrepreneurship is as much about nudging students to adopt an entrepreneurial mindset as it is teaching skills, particularly if they are narrowly focused on creating a business.

But, how do you reframe a mindset? Here are some tips on how to do it.

If we are to innovate our way out the the current “health” care system mess, we need to identify those with an entrepreneurial mindset and turn them loose on the most wicked problems that beset us. Marginalizing, stifling or channeling them into a limiting culture is a terrible waste of a mindset.

Image credits: Nina Angelovska, Pixabay

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Why Most Corporate Mindset Programs Are a Waste of Time

What to Focus on Instead

Why Most Corporate Mindset Programs Are a Waste of Time

GUEST POST from Alain Thys

You may know that I’m hunting for a Transformation Algorithm

Its goal is to help us move beyond the >70% failure rate of corporate transformations and create transformative experiences for employees, customers and society. Ambitious? Moi?

To get there, I’m walking around the problem.

Looking at it from all perspectives (Japan style). So without claiming expertise in any domain, I’m blending systems thinking with neuroscience, behavioral psychology, philosophy and my background in experience design. There’s even a little math (I couldn’t resist .

It’s a work in progress, but I’m getting there.

Meanwhile, here are some more thoughts as I put together the puzzle. The article starts a bit gloomy, but it ends more upbeat… I promise.

It’s all work in progress in which I’m still improving both language and content.
So don’t hold back on comments, compliments or corrections.

These days, every company wants to see a ‘mindset change’.

People need to be customer-centric. Digital. Agile. Sustainable. Innovative. More in love with the color blue. After all, the consultants, executive trainers and software vendors say this is the future. Not to mention Mark’s metaverse:

To make this happen, organizations unleash a barrage of initiatives

They do enthusiastic presentations. Introduce new KPIs and dashboards. Launch internal communication programs and training academies. Create new journey maps. Introduce AI. Get some fancy software.

Some even call me (obviously the smartest ones ).

At first, the signs are good.

After all, with enough pressure, you can get water to go uphill. Also, any decent third-party consultant or vendor will make sure that employees leave those workshops with a smile and some quick wins. Especially those that show progress in pretty graphs and numbers.

But then – one by one – the ‘old ways’ assert themselves

They raise dozens of practical, budgetary, emotional and IT concerns which are all valid and require the change program to be calibrated. After all, leaders need to be pragmatic. These thousand slight cuts erode the big transformative vision and expectations get lowered. Things might even become as they were.


What if we were aiming at the wrong target?

If you look up mindset in a dictionary, you find it is a mental attitude or inclination. The combined set of assumptions, methods and notions with which each of us approaches problems and the world at large (our perspective). Something rooted in the way we view the world and our perception of reality (our paradigm).

This means that every mindset change is in fact a change in perspective or paradigm.

Let me illustrate with a consumer electronics company that wanted to go from product- to customer-centric value propositions. Digging deep, we found that from the engineer’s perspective, the requested mindset change meant letting go of their long held belief that as the world’s best technical experts they knew how to make the best products on the planet (and had the awards and accolades to prove it).

Instead, they had to embrace that the customer knew better what great looked like and their opinion didn’t matter as much as they thought.

If you’ve worked all your life to become that smart and esteemed technical expert, this is an existential pill to swallow. Especially if the only rationale from the top is that “our Net Promoter Score should improve”.

These shifts in perspective lurk in any transformation

Being agile means seeing that we live in a chaotic world where we can never really be sure of our best next step. True sustainability means accepting that there are limits to growth, also ours. Going digital means letting go of activities we have long considered to be uniquely human (ours?). Innovation requires unlearning the orthodoxies and beliefs we may have held since childhood. And so on.

For some people, these steps may be easy. But for most, they can challenge the core of who they are (even if they may not admit this to themselves).

Ignoring this deeper reality can doom your transformation from the start.

If the new KPIs, processes, systems and incentives you introduce do not match the worldview of the people you target, they will reject them. Sometimes they rebel. Sometimes they stand in the way without realizing it themselves. Either way, your culture will eat your strategy for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

So what to do instead?


If you want mindset change, focus on the paradigm shift first.

Before you expect people to approach problems differently (mindset), work on the way they perceive these problems and their context. Clearly describe the required paradigm shift in a FROM… TO… statement and make it as compelling as possible. All while acknowledging the uncomfortable bits head on.

Then, give people opportunities to embrace this new narrative through experiential programs (remember: the old brain doesn’t do PowerPoint).

Once they see the world with fresh eyes, the mindset and changes will follow.

Or as my ultimate change guru Antoine de Saint-Exupéry used to say: “if you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.”

But always remember that your perception as a leader is flawed too.

When you say: ‘I want a mindset change’, you are actually saying: ‘I want you to see the world as I do’.

This is often a big ask, as chances are you live in a world that is more affluent, more educated and more informed (I won’t mention diversity … oops, I did). You probably have a different education, live in a different social media bubble and even shop in different stores. You may even have the freedom to make your own decisions.

Seeing life your way, may not be as easy for someone who has grown up, works and lives in a different context (no value judgment here, just observation).

Inversely, unless you’ve done their jobs and lived their lives, you will have difficulties to imagine the world through the eyes of your people. No matter how you try.

So before you talk about mindset change.

Understand and start from your people’s perspective and then expand it in the direction you propose. And if the gap between the two is too big, consider adapting your strategy.

Perhaps your world view and sense of possibility need an update too.

Image Credits: Pixabay

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Developing a Design Thinking Mindset

A Step-by-Step Guide

Developing a Design Thinking Mindset

GUEST POST from Art Inteligencia

Design thinking is a problem-solving approach that focuses on empathy, creativity, and teamwork to develop innovative solutions. It has gained popularity across industries for its ability to tackle complex challenges and foster a human-centric mindset. This article provides a step-by-step guide to developing a design thinking mindset, highlighting its practical application through two case studies.

Step 1: Empathize with Users

The first step in design thinking is empathy. Designers must immerse themselves in the users’ world to understand their needs, motivations, and pain points. This involves conducting user interviews, observations, and gathering qualitative data. In the case of a healthcare app, for example, designers might interact with patients, doctors, and caregivers to gain insights into their experiences and identify opportunities for improvement.

Case Study 1 – IDEO’s Redesign of Shopping Carts

IDEO, a renowned design consultancy, applied design thinking to solve the common problem of inefficient shopping cart designs. To empathize with shoppers, IDEO’s team embarked on store visits, observed customer behavior, and conducted interviews. They discovered that shoppers often faced challenges, such as difficulty maneuvering through narrow aisles and juggling items while shopping.

By empathizing with users, IDEO gained valuable insights that guided the redesign process. They created prototypes, tested them in real environments, and iterated their designs based on feedback. The result was an innovative shopping cart with improved maneuverability, additional storage space, and features that made the shopping experience more enjoyable and convenient for users.

Step 2: Define the Problem

Once empathy is established, designers must synthesize their research to define the core problem to be solved. This step involves identifying patterns, uncovering underlying needs, and reframing the problem into a clear and actionable statement. By defining the problem accurately, designers can focus their efforts on finding relevant and meaningful solutions.

Case Study 2 – Airbnb’s Neighborhood Support Project

Airbnb faced a challenge with hosts not receiving sufficient support from their neighbors in some communities. To tackle this issue, Airbnb’s design team defined the problem as “How might we foster positive relationships between hosts and neighbors?”

With a clear problem statement, Airbnb gathered feedback from hosts and neighbors to identify pain points and potential solutions. Through community workshops and collaborative discussions, they developed a range of initiatives, including hosting local events, highlighting host contributions to the neighborhood, and fostering open dialogue between hosts and neighbors. By redefining the problem and involving stakeholders, Airbnb was able to address the issue effectively and strengthen its relationship with the communities it operates in.

Step 3: Ideate, Prototype and Test

In the ideation phase, designers brainstorm potential solutions, encouraging wild and diverse ideas. Quantity and diversity of ideas are emphasized over quality, fostering a creative environment. Once ideas are generated, designers create prototypes of the most promising concepts. Prototypes can be simple sketches, physical mock-ups, or digital representations, allowing designers to gather feedback and refine their ideas further. And then you must test, test, test, ideate, prototype, and test again and again.


Developing a design thinking mindset is crucial for organizations aiming to create innovative and user-centered solutions. By following the steps of empathizing, defining, ideating, and prototyping, companies can overcome challenges and deliver meaningful experiences to their users.

The case studies of IDEO’s shopping cart redesign and Airbnb’s neighborhood support project demonstrate the practical application of design thinking principles and the positive impact they can have. By embracing a design thinking mindset, businesses can cultivate a culture of creativity, empathy, and collaboration, ultimately driving innovation and creating solutions that meet the needs and desires of their users.

SPECIAL BONUS: Braden Kelley’s Problem Finding Canvas can be a super useful starting point for doing design thinking or human-centered design.

“The Problem Finding Canvas should help you investigate a handful of areas to explore, choose the one most important to you, extract all of the potential challenges and opportunities and choose one to prioritize.”

Image credit: Pixabay

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The Eight Change Mindsets

“While there is risk to change, just like with innovation, there is often potentially more risk associated with doing nothing.” – Braden Kelley

The Eight Change MindsetsIf your organization is seeking to create a continuous change capability, it must have a strong focus on increasing its organizational agility.

As you use the Change Planning Toolkit™ to kick off your next project or your next change initiative, keep thinking about what the minimum viable progress (MVP) might be in order to maintain momentum. This is very similar to the idea of a minimum viable product, a key lean startup concept popularized by Eric Ries, author of the bestselling book, The Lean Startup.

Minimum viable progress means that for change initiatives and projects to be successful, it is mandatory to have a successful planning session where strong buy-in is achieved at the start. It is equally important at all stages of the process to show a level of progress sufficient to maintain the momentum and support for the project or change initiative you worked so hard to achieve at the start.

This is where the agile principles highlighted later in this article come into play. The goal of our change or project planning efforts should be not just to prototype what the change might look like, but to also build a plan that breaks up the work into a cadence the organization can cope with and successfully implement into a new standard operating procedure. Many thought leaders extol the virtues of quick wins, but I believe structuring your project or change effort into a series of similarly sized sprints will give you a sustainable flow of wins (and thus momentum) throughout all of the transitions that will lead to success. In the end, momentum wins.

Quick Wins versus Momentum

One of the ways to create sustainable momentum is to take an agile approach to change and to segment your overall change effort into a series of work packages that you can properly staff, execute, and celebrate. Many projects and change efforts get off to a roaring start, achieve a few quick wins, but stall when longer, more substantial pieces of the work must be completed, often with only limited communication and little visible progress.

The change initiative then begins to lose the support of key stakeholders (and potentially resources) as members of the change leadership team begin to lose enthusiasm, break solidarity, and withdraw support. This dooms the effort, preventing it from ever being completed as intended.

Momentum beats quick wins, and engaging in a more visual, collaborative, agile change planning method like the one described in my book Charting Change will lead you to more successful change efforts because these methods can help you maintain momentum. The Agile Change Management Kanban is a useful tool that toolkit buyers can leverage to visualize and track change effort progress.

Building and Maintaining Momentum

There are many different reasons why people will do the right thing to help you build and maintain the momentum for your change initiative and to help you achieve sustained, collective momentum. The key to building and maintaining momentum is to understand and harness the different mindsets that cause people to choose change; these include:

1. Mover ’n’ Shaker

  • give these people the chance to be first

2. Thrill Seeker

  • these people like to try new things and experiment

3. Mission-Driven

  • these people need reasons to believe

4. Action-Oriented

  • these people just want to know what needs to be done

5. Expert-Minded

  • teach these people how to do it, and they will seek mastery

6. Reward-Hungry

  • these people want recognition for adopting the change

7. Team Player

  • these people are happy to help if you show them why the change will be helpful

8. Teacher

  • show these people how to get others to choose change

Change leaders and project managers should read through this list and imagine what might happen if you don’t address any of these mindsets in your change plan. In doing so, you might find yourself quickly identifying eight potential explanations for why people may be resisting your change effort. If any of these mindsets are playing out in the negative, then you must try and identify ways to turn these individuals back toward the positive as you work through the different phases of change.

Please include attribution to BradenKelley.com with this graphic.
Embed code available below (click here to request a PDF download)
Eight Change Mindsets Infographic

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Bringing More Elements of Agile to Change

As you begin to move from the widespread chaos-driven change management model (“we do it differently every time”) to using the concepts presented in my book Charting Change and reinforced through the use of the Change Planning Toolkit™ to spread the knowledge of how to use the collaborative, visual change planning process, you will crave a more coordinated approach to change readiness evaluation. Instead of looking at change readiness on a case-by-case basis for each individual project or change initiative, you will quickly find yourself considering the use of a more agile approach to managing change readiness. You may begin asking yourself these ten (10) questions:

  1. Is it possible to have a change backlog?
  2. Do we need a burndown chart to measure how quickly we are burning through our backlog?
  3. Is it necessary to begin prioritizing the change backlog in order to phase in change into different parts of the organization at a pace each part can absorb?
  4. Should we carve up our change initiatives into a predictable series of sprints with a regular cadence?
  5. How long should our change sprints be?
  6. How much of the change initiative can the organization absorb at any one time in order to maintain forward momentum?
  7. Is there a need for periods of settling in (scheduled periods of equilibrium) between change sprints?
  8. Is there a need for the status of various projects and change initiatives to be visible throughout the organization?
  9. Is there a need for a business architect to build a business capability heatmap that highlights the amount of change impacting different business capabilities?
  10. Do you have a business capability map? Do you have business architects in your organization?

If your organization is trying to become more capable of continuous change, then answering many of these questions in the affirmative and taking appropriate action will result in an accelerated change planning capability and faster change absorption.

An Appropriate Pace of Change

For your change effort to be a success you need to find the appropriate pace of change. Finding the right pace of change is very similar to trying to fly an airplane: Go too slow and your change effort will stall. Go too fast and you will face an increasing amount of resistance, potentially depleting the support for your change faster than expected.

In many cases, using up the energy for change too fast may prevent you from reaching your intended destination. One other danger of trying to change too fast, especially if you are trying to run too many change initiatives (or projects) at the same time in the same areas of the company, is that you may run into issues of change saturation.

The key for you as change leader is to identify a regular cadence for your change initiative (or project) that is comfortable for the organization as a whole. That cadence must be slow enough so that the incremental change can be readily adopted and absorbed but fast enough so that your positive forward momentum, executive sponsorship, and overall support are maintained. The pacing and the approach must ultimately help enlist the broader organization in the change effort by reducing feelings of uncertainty, reinforcing that the change is a team effort, and accumulating reasons to believe in the change outcomes and so that people choose change.

Finally, you must have a plan for harnessing each of the eight change mindsets in your organization and leveraging them to advance your change effort, otherwise these mindsets will occupy themselves in negative ways and actively resist your change initiative or project. So, harness these mindsets, leverage the infographic and link back to this article using the embed code, and get yourself a copy of the #2 new release on Amazon for Organizational Change, my new book – Charting Change.

Thank you for your support and Amazon reviews are always appreciated! 🙂

Get the PDF version of the Eight Change Mindsets framework:

Eight Change Mindsets to Harness for Success PDF

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