27 September 2023

Planning in the pandemic: The value of sticking to the path

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Michelle Bakjac* says that in these difficult times it’s all the more important for leaders to stay on track with a mindset fixed on future growth.

Leaders in organisations have a significant responsibility right now.

Many organisations have had to adapt rapidly and as a result their staff have needed to do the same.

When a big storm blows up, the boats in the harbour drop anchor. If they don’t, they’ll get swept out to sea.

Of course, dropping anchor doesn’t make the storm go away, but it can hold a boat steady in the harbour until the storm passes.

Leaders have a real opportunity to be this anchor for their staff.

In this current state of significant volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity, we need organisations capable of adopting a growth mindset.

However, leaders also need to cultivate this same growth mindset and believe that strengths can be developed.

Talent can and should be developed in everyone, not viewed as a fixed, innate gift that some have and others don’t.

Developing a growth mindset from both a leadership and organisational perspective takes hard work and dedication.

Some perceive it is all about constantly rewarding and praising effort, but effort alone is not always desirable if the outcome is unproductive.

Leaders who embrace a growth mindset know that both learning and progress are just as important as effort.

So they don’t get bogged down by their shortcomings or those of their staff, instead they encourage themselves and others to learn from their experiences.

They have the opportunity to apply their collective knowledge and use it to avoid making the same mistakes in the future.

It’s often easy to experience insecurity when a challenge seems daunting.

However, an individual with a growth mindset has an opportunity to acknowledge these internal self-doubts and then reframe and counteract to get back on track.

Leaders who embrace a growth mindset demonstrate flexibility.

When you take time to develop your growth mindset, you start to see opportunities around you and as a result you can start to seize them.

When you see a staff member demonstrate strength in the workplace, you can work to adopt a strategy to maximise their potential.

When you attend a new webinar and gain new insights, you are motivated to maximise your learning and implement the new strategies back into your workplace.

Your goal is also not only to maximise the strengths of your staff and your organisation, but also to maximise your own potential.

You have the opportunity to develop the character strength of love of learning, and soak up opportunities that reading, internet search and webinars provide.

Leaders who adopt a growth mindset recognise the substantial gains they can make through hard work and dedication.

They are committed to goal setting and they typically have ‘stickability’ to those goals.

As a leader it is often easy to become distracted.

Putting out fires right now might seem like a full-time occupation and a leader can feel that they are bogged down by urgent, but not important tasks.

A leader with a growth mindset will develop a plan for tackling these issues and stick to these chosen methods to allow an outcome to occur.

Their goal will be to nip issues in the bud, allowing staff to focus on goals and output.

Individuals with a fixed mindset are often threatened by other people’s success.

However, a leader with a growth mindset is eager to celebrate the successes of his/her staff and recognises that cutting down tall poppies is completely unproductive.

They do not feel threatened by successful staff members and can reflect on the fact that a staff member’s success is also their success and the organisation’s success.

A growth-mindset leader can look at the success of others and gain inspiration to better understand how to fire up their own personal motivation and initiatives.

They value the efforts and ideas of others and can incorporate these into their own personal and organisational goals.

This brings with it an appreciation for collaboration which in turn inspires others.

A growth mindset leader recognises that failure is not a reason to punish a staff member. FAIL stands for First Attempt In Learning.

When a leader has the opportunity to reframe struggles as learning experiences, they become more patient and understanding.

As a result tighter bonds tend to be formed with staff and a greater level of trust and respect is formed.

Leaders often stress over attempts to ensure that everything is perfect.

As a result they often waste a lot of time and effort perfecting things that don’t need to be perfected.

Leaders with a growth mindset recognise that it is unproductive to stop every five minutes to ensure that every step of the way is perfect in its outcome.

They recognise that progress is better to celebrate than perfection.

*Michelle Bakjac is an Adelaide-based psychologist, organisational consultant, coach, speaker and facilitator and a Director of Bakjac Consulting. She can be contacted at [email protected].

This article first appeared on the Bakjac Consulting website.

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