By SPECIAL TO THE NATION
Dr C Terry Warner, the founder of The Arbinger Institute in the United States and a former psychology professor, author, influencer, and speaker, is a prominent figure behind studies of mindset and his study reveals two distinct mindsets from which people and organisations operate—a self-focused inward mindset and the inclusive outward mindset, and the path to sustainably changing mindset and results.
According to Dr Warner, changes in mindset can be compared to a change of lens each person uses to perceive his/her true self, others, and the world. This change can bring harmony and happiness in every aspect of life — personal or work.
Arinya Talerngsri, chief capability officer and managing director of SEAC - the region’s leading executives, leadership and innovations capability development centre, proudly presents the programme “Outward Mindset” in Thailand. The programme is now being offered in more than 20 countries across the globe such as China, Korea, Australia, and New Zealand and it is a required course for staffs and executives of many widely-trusted corporations including Apple, IBM, Google, Harley-Davidson Motor, Nestle, Intel, Nokia, Panasonic, Nike, Unilever, Microsoft, FedEx, Boeing and Shell, among others. As the age of disruption is looming, businesses cannot avoid unexpected changes and challenges, so they need to shift their mindsets and quickly and effectively adapt themselves to pursue their envisioned goals.
When people shift mindset outward, they will see things with a broader perspective and focus on the objectives and results of others. Essentially, outward mindset creates an environment where people are inspired to be more responsible, considerate, and helpful towards others. However, shifting from inward to outward is almost equal to when you first wear your new pair of glasses, it will take some time and constant practice for you to adjust yourself seeing things from these new lens or perspectives.
The adoption of outward mindset is crucial for survival, happiness, and achievement in this age of disruption. However, businesses will only see the results when their executives know and understand that they must, first, shift their mindsets. When leader operates with an outward mindset, he or she will become truly accountable on objectives and results of the organisation as a whole, be able to remove possible conflicts from blaming culture, promote self-awareness to lead the outward mindset example by becoming more effective in every moment and situation, and eventually bring out true potentials in themselves and others.
Microsoft, an IT giant, is one of the companies that adopts outward mindset and here is their case. Once the company has been hit hard by unprecedented disruptions from new ventures—both in the same industry and outside the IT sphere, leaps in innovations, and developments in AI. The Redmond-based company thus needed to keep its presence amid of intense competition; hence, they see the need to change in perception. They realised that their leaders and staffs must change how they see the world and not rely on past successes as they can no longer guarantee future accomplishments whereas the blame game would do more harm than good.
The whole firm, then, was greatly transformed through outward mindset with a culture of collaboration, mutual respect and shared objectives which allowed them to stay relevant in the competition.
On the other hand, the recent rescue operation of the “Wild Boar” youth football team stranded inside a flooded cave can also be highlighted as a clear and perfect use of “outward mindset” approach in which every rescuer came together with the sole intention of saving everyone trapped inside the cave showing that they focused on the objectives and results of others.
In the business context, when companies obligate their staffs to undergo behavioural training, follow new rules, adhere to change in processes, and deliver on individual KPIs, it’s human nature to shift inward. Most organisations are set up in a way to make people concentrate on themselves rather than organisational results. Outward mindset is a programme which can unblock these problems and lead to breakthrough sustainable results.
The “Outward Mindset” programme can be applied to both daily life and at work. “For example, let’s imagine when you board any public transportation and you see a standing elderly man. Initially, you consider offering your seat to him but on a second thought, you did not with an excuse of being too tired or you, too, had a long way to go. This excuse happened when you operate with an inward mindset. And only when you shift outward that you will start realising his challenges and needs; hence, you will not hesitate to offer him your seat,” said Dr Siraya Kongsompong, senior consultant of SEAC.
In conclusion, mindset is at the foundation of all that we do and shapes how we do it.
Shifting to an outward mindset is the one change that most dramatically improves performance, sparks collaboration, and accelerates innovation which are the key factors to withstand challenges in the 4.0 Era in which disruptions can happen every second.
Contributed by ARINYA TALERNGSRI, chief capability officer and managing director of SEAC