The way we manage and work is always changing and it is up to the team leaders and their members to be mindful of this flow in order to reap the benefits of change in the workplace. In life, nothing is static. It was Heraclitus who was quoted to have said that “all entities move and nothing remains still” because a man cannot step into the same body of water in the river twice. We do not like chaos. We detest confusions and embrace order, predictability and tradition. Life is generally like a wheel that turns and turns forever. This is change, and it is the craving for change that constitutes the basis for innovations and creativity.
In the office, change about transformation: a different way to look at and do things. It is about a modification in the thought process; a departure from the old order; a break from the past; a separation from what is obtainable to what can be done differently. It typifies new, a breakaway from established norms and culture. It is an entirely different way of looking at things or doing things. It is a paradigm shift from the point of order to a fresh outlook and new perspective.
Irrespective of the initial disruptive nature of change to the order of things, it always turns out to be altruistic and benevolent. In a recent class when I was teaching managers on change management, some people argued that all change is not beneficial but I advised them that whichever way it turns, change always produces results that make the recipients better off than they were if the recipients open up themselves to the change. The world of work has been transformed over and over again because of change, and it will continue in its strides as long as entrepreneurs, team leaders and members embrace change in their lives and works.
Everything evolves in the workplace. The way we work. The way we organize work. The way we make and keep customers. The way we interact with employees. The way we compensate and motivate employees. The way we communicate. The way we interact with leadership. The list is endless. Everything changes. Any organization that does not change risks becoming a relic.
We agree that we should change. We realize that we need to see change in our offices and professional careers. We expect people around us to respond positively to change. The problem with us is not that we do not want to change, but we are unconsciously resisting change because we are not ready for it. Change, therefore, is not about refusal to change but readiness to embrace change.
Change begins with people. Any change management programme that is designed to target any other transformation without the people will fail over time. The promoters will only succeed in building a workforce that responds negatively to change. Change occurs in the workplace only when people change. It is when people change that their culture, work method, productivity and profitability change.
People change when they have the right mindset that promotes change in the workplace. The mindsets of workers in the office are sacrosanct to the process of change management. This is where organizations miss it. They invest lots of money to change their processes, technology, infrastructure and even their workforce but forget to realize that people are products of their mindsets and unless these mindsets are properly aligned, the desire results of change cannot be obtained.
Mindsets cannot obstruct change; they cannot inhibit change from occurring. We have already established the fact that all things flow. What mindsets do is to divert the outcome of change from the desired plans and expectations of the promoters of change. In order to prevent a waste of investment on change management programme, entrepreneurs and team leaders must realize that the first thing to transform in promulgating change management programme is the mindsets of their workforce. Workers themselves should realize that so much is dependent on their mindsets when it comes to promoting personal and career changes.
It is not out-of-place to add to the body of knowledge that all changes take place in its right context and deliver on target when the mindsets of stakeholders have been properly aligned alright.
Mindset is a set of beliefs or a way of thinking that determines one’s behaviour, outlook and mental attitude. Mindset constitutes the basis for values, ethical behaviour and decision-making in life. People’s mindsets explain the reasons for prejudice, stereotypes and biases we have. Mindset influences our choices, values and behaviour. In order to change your employees, the way they think and behave, change their mindsets. Employees cannot change the way they are until you change their mindsets. They cannot change the way they think until you change their mindsets. They cannot change their behaviour until you change their mindsets.
Essentially, mindsets are belief systems. The mindset of typical individuals will reflect their beliefs about themselves and most basic qualities such as personality, talents and intelligence. There are two types of mindsets. There is the fixed mindset. The second type of mindset is considered growth mindset. Fixed mindset is retrogressive whilst growth mindset is germane, open to learning and willing to grow. Individual with fixed mindset are not open to learning anything different from the information already acquired. Such individuals are conditioned and set in their ways.
People with fixed mindset believe that their basic qualities are simply fixed traits. These people will rather spend time polishing or admiring their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They believe that they are smart and that is all they need to become successful at work. They are good at what they do, so they can command change to occur and it will.
People with fixed mindset believe that they do not require any effort, learning, collaboration and consideration to achieve any meaningful project in the workplace. They are self-sufficient. They are self-conceited. They cannot be taught. If they are supervisors, they bully their workers and no worker’s idea is good enough to be forwarded for management’s consideration.
People with fixed mindset are self-centered. It is only the things they do or create that are good enough. They run down other people’s contributions or opinion. When they are in meetings, they steal the show and talk down everybody’s ideas. You are likely to have problems with people with fixed mindset when you present them with new set of knowledge or information because they are not willing to learn new things.
They are simply traditionalists who are contended doing it the ways it has always been done, and see no need to change or learn new ways of doing things.
On the other hand, people with growth mindset believe that they have new things to learn. They believe that their basic abilities can be developed through learning, hard work and collaboration. They believe that their talents and intelligence present a point to start and a means to an end instead of an end in itself.
They crave for learning. They are resilient. They want to learn, and learn new ways to improve themselves and contribute meaningfully to their organizations. They consider learning as a lifetime experience that requires dedication, devotion, passion and practice. They believe that excellence can be achieved through lifetime learning. They do not compromise on learning. Learning forms the basis of their motivation, productivity and relationship building. They keep on learning, growing and cultivating new ways of enriching themselves, their relationships and organizations.
The workforce is divided into two sets of people. There are people with fixed mindset and those with growth mindset. Organizations peopled with workers with fixed mindset have to retrain these workers and transform them into people with growth mindset. Without this, these organizations will fail. They will not be able to achieve their targets for initiating change simply because the workers with fixed mindset do not have the capacity to understand and embrace change. These fixed mindset workers will even kill the change initiative from the onset such that it will not see the light of days. Organizations must realize that it takes workers with growth mindset to transform their corporations. Organizations with growth mindset workers become a learning institution where knowledge thrives and change is accomplished with zero resistance.
It is the responsibility of entrepreneurs and team leaders to classify their workforce and identify those with fixed mindset with a view to training them and changing their mindset to growth mindset before attempting to introduce any change management programme into their organization. There are resources and tools available to change the mindset of fixed mindset workers and team leaders should avail themselves of such resources for the benefits of their organizations.
Author: Babatunde Fajimi
This article was originally published in The Union Newspaper on October 12, 2014