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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Today in EPISODE SIX of Ask the Consultant, host Braden Kelley shows you how to take advantage of an amazing new Zoom feature that lets you easily create compelling videos with PowerPoint slides over your shoulder in the background.
This is a way better method of presenting slides than having your camera on and sharing your screen.
This video is itself an example of what you can do with this new Zoom feature (currently in BETA) and inside I’ll show you step by step how to do it.
This zoom tutorial will help all of the following people be more efficient and effective:
It shows how to simply do what previously took third-party apps like mmhmm or post-production video editing knowledge and lots of time to achieve. It’s so easy that I can finally get around to recording Change Planning Toolkit™ eLearning and certification programs.
So, stay tuned!
Surprise people the next time you present on Zoom or record more compelling instructional videos and e-Learning to power your business or engage your students.
Now would be a great time to hire me to do a virtual keynote for your organization to empower your employees with greater knowledge and capabilities around innovation, change, transformation or design thinking.
Quick Reminder of Steps to Create Over the Shoulder Slides in Zoom
Create a new PowerPoint (13.33” x 7.5” works well)
Choose a Background for your Zoom slides
Fill default wide-screen format of all slides
Copy slide from source presentation and paste it as an image onto one of your new background slides
It means that for the greater good, I am now providing all of the tools that you need to conduct a Nine Innovation Roles workshop or team meeting inside your organization to enhance the success of your innovation teams – for FREE.
Some people think I’m crazy to help people not hire me, but because of my collaborative and people-centric approach to innovation I would like to give everyone five free gifts:
The Nine Innovation Roles themselves
Downloadable Nine Innovation Roles presentation for team meetings or workshops
Downloadable Nine Innovation Roles Worksheet for gathering data on team makeup
Downloadable Nine Innovation Roles card deck design that I use with Fortune 500 clients
Nine Innovation Roles video for use in team meetings or workshops
The Nine Innovation Roles is one of the most requested workshop topics in the keynotes and masterclasses that I conduct for companies all around the world, and comes directly from my popular book Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire, that is being used by universities like Creighton and companies like Microsoft and AB Inbev to help establish a common language of innovation.
Here is an excerpt from my book that talks about The Nine Innovation Roles:
“Too often we treat people as commodities that are interchangeable and maintain the same characteristics and aptitudes. Of course, we know that people are not interchangeable, yet we continually pretend that they are anyway — to make life simpler for our reptile brain to comprehend. Deep down we know that people have different passions, skills, and potential, but even when it comes to innovation, we expect everybody to have good ideas.
I’m of the opinion that all people are creative, in their own way. That is not to say that all people are creative in the sense that every single person is good at creating lots of really great ideas, nor do they have to be. I believe instead that everyone has a dominant innovation role at which they excel, and that when properly identified and channeled, the organization stands to maximize its innovation capacity. I believe that all people excel at one of nine innovation roles, and that when organizations put the right people in the right innovation roles, that your innovation speed and capacity will increase.”
I hope you take the time to download and learn and utilize these FREE Nine Innovation Roles resources to improve the success of your innovation efforts and of the innovation teams in your organizations.