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Monday, September 24, 2018

This Will Blow Your Mind(set)

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged about one of my favorite business concepts: mindset. I know when that term first lodged into my thinking. It came via one of my radio associates in Dallas who, in turn, learned the importance of mindset from one of the radio legends, Ron Chapman. I’m sure Ron learned it from somebody else.

Many articles have been written on the topic. There’s even a website for seekers— In the most basic of definitions we can say that mindset is the established set of attitudes held by someone.

It shouldn’t take much to understand how this plays out in the workplace. My wife and I enjoy a remarkably inexpensive meal option (okay…cheap) at Taco Bell. The other day on a visit, we saw the all-male cast of very young workers, each doing their “job.” Very few customers were in this location. Several tables needed to be cleaned. Napkins and other waste was on the floor. And in the quite visible kitchen area, there was a LOT of food droppings waiting to be cleaned up. Apparently, no workers had the mindset of cleanliness.

Or take my recent car experience at a local auto dealership. One of our vehicles needs some work on the electrical system. The service manager offered me an estimate—which I promptly rejected to pay since we have the full coverage option on the vehicle. He said he needed to check on our coverage but could not do so on the weekend. He would need to check on Monday. And he would call. And he didn’t. So I called. And he did not call back. And I emailed him. And he did not respond. Clearly, the mindset of the service manager does not really focus on service. He needs a tuneup.

Virtually all employees show up on the job with a mindset. It’s not always so critical that we know what their mindset is. It’s vital, however, we lay out very clear expectations that reveal what the mindset of leadership is all about. AND… how the employee mindset needs to be adjusted so that employment will continue.

A world-renowned Stanford University psychologist, Carol Dweck, takes credit for researching and developing strategies on this. She wrote the book MindSet, which came out in 2006. However, I was learning about this twenty years earlier.

Here’s a bit of Carol’s thinking: “In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort. They’re wrong.” Read the book for a more complete perspective on this.

You should also check out the recent article, “These four small mindset shifts will make you more productive.” (link below) To save you time, the four are:

To move…
  1. From chaos to choice
  2. From “to-do’s” to agreement
  3. From performance to outcome 
  4. From urgency to impact

If you are wondering why productivity gets stalled in your workplace, or why you personally are not making much progress, consider studying up on mindset.

The life of Jesus of Nazareth is a remarkably good example of mindset shift. The Jewish people were promised a Messiah for centuries—one who would be their champion and raise them up as a people of greatness once again. In their minds, they expected a kind of king—of royalty.

Jesus arrives and explains that His Kingdom was not of this world. Every step along the way in His earthly life, Jesus offered a new way of doing things. He challenged both the experts and the common people to think differently. Live differently. That is exactly what a great leader will do. His followers are expected to do this. As you come to faith in Jesus, the mindset shift journey begins.

One final thought. The messy fast food restaurant and the non-servicing service manager go beyond the problem of a poor worker mindset. They reflect management mindset. And that…is when leadership fails us.

That’s The Way WE Work. Click on the link to the right to connect via Facebook.

Let’s Talk with Mark Elfstrand can be heard weekdays from 4-6 PM Central. To listen outside the Chicago area, tune to for live streaming or podcasts, or download the AM1160 app.

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