Something on your mind?

Mindsets – set ways of thinking about things. How many managers would describe themselves as open minded? Possibly most. Yet is anybody really open minded? All of us carry around in our mind a set of images – our store of life experiences and imaginings. Images about ourselves, our boss, our employees, our colleagues, our customers, the organisation, what’s right, what’s wrong, what makes sense to us and what doesn’t. These are deeply held beliefs or mindsets that govern our behaviour. Often our mindsets will limit us to comfortable ways of behaving – saying and doing things within our comfort zone. Many of the problems in the workplace are related to the differing perceptions held by the various stakeholders. What we perceive in any given situation is dictated by the images and assumptions which are set in our mind or which we make about the situation.What we say is often very different from what we are really thinking. But it is what we are really thinking which will dictate our behaviour. Obviously, if what you are really thinking is counter-productive to the situation then keep it to yourself. If you really don’t like your boss, it would probably be considered as a career-limiting move to bring that to his or her attention. But be aware that, just because a person appears to go along with what you say, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have their conviction. If you are attempting to persuade somebody to your point of view so that she or he is genuinely convinced of the course of action you are proposing, try some of these things:Declare your own assumptions about the situation and seek to compare them against the known facts.Ask the other person to do the same with any assumptions they might hold about the situation.As the discussion brings out information about the situation, try to separate facts from opinions or inferences. Discuss why and where your assumptions and their assumptions have come from. If you have pre-conceived ideas about the situation or the other person(s), state them as notions you hold which you are willing to have challenged. Ask the other person(s) to do the same with any pre-conceived ideas that they might hold. If it is not counter-productive, tell the other person what you are really thinking and feeling about the situation and let them know that this is really what you think. If you can’t do this honestly – don’t do it. Encourage the other person to tell you what they are really thinking by letting them know that it is important for them to do this and that you are sincerely interested. Let them know that, even if what they are really thinking is something unpleasant for you, you would rather know than not know.Ask them to describe the consequences of the situation on other stake-holders. Ask them to consider whose best interests are being served by the current situation or the proposed situation.Ask them why they feel unable to change.Ask them what it is that they are afraid of happening. What is it they are fearful of losing.Show them how what you are proposing benefits all stakeholders.Discuss with them any negative aspects of your proposal and the consequences on all stakeholders. Ask them to describe the negative aspects of your proposal from their perspective and then explore with them the reality of these things actually happening. Ask them how they feel about things now that we have explored the situation in greater depth. Ask them what their level of conviction and commitment is to your proposal.Ask them what they will do as a result of this discussion. “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still” Abraham Lincoln.• From the international best-selling books, ‘You Lead, They’ll Follow. How to inspire, lead and manage people. Really.’ Volumes 1, 2 and 3 by Daniel Kehoe published by McGraw Hill. for on-line orders. Daniel Kehoe provides a range of innovative tools for leadership, people management and business improvement to small, medium and large organisations including the You Lead, They’ll Follow Experience® and Systematic-Innovation® - one of the best ideas management systems on the planet. See T 08 9477 1135 E

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