Leading Blog






03.27.17

The Outward Mindset: Seeing Beyond Ourselves

Outward Mindset

A
N OUTWARD MINDSET will greatly impact how we negotiate our world and the impact we will have. An outward mindset helps us to see the world as it is and not how we imagine it to be. Our age increasingly requires us to collaborate more and more with others. An outward mindset is essential.

An outward mindset doesn’t come naturally. We have to consciously change how we think about others.

In The Outward Mindset, the Arbinger Institute reports that “the biggest lever for change is not a change in self-belief but a fundamental change in the way one sees and regards one’s connections with and obligations to others.”

People and organizations get stuck when they have an inward mindset because when we are focused on ourselves and our needs, our reality becomes distorted. An inward mindset limits our possibilities and negatively affects our behavior and thus our relationships.

Arbinger reminds us that an inward mindset and introspection are not the same thing. “One can introspect in a self-centered way, which would indicate an inward mindset. However, a person also can introspect about one’s connections with others, which is the very essence of what we are calling outwardness. Sometimes it is helpful to look inside to see how one is connected with what is outside.”

Moving from an inward mindset to an outward mindset is more that a surface adjustment or behavioral change alone. It requires a change in how we see and thing about others. How we see and respond to others is not so much about them as it is a reflection of what is going on inside of us. We often fixate on other’s shortcomings so we don’t have to deal with our own.

Inward-mindset people and organizations do things. Outward-mindset people and organizations help others to be able to do things.” It is possible to be a inward-mindset person or organization masquerading as an outward-mindset person or organization if you aren’t paying attention to the needs, objectives, and challenges of those you are supposedly doing the work for. Whose needs are your primary focus?

Arbinger has discovered that those who consistently work with an outward mindset follow a pattern. They:
  1. See the needs, objectives, and challenges of others (Create opportunities for people to see each other so they can begin to talk.)

  2. Adjust their efforts to be more helpful to others (“Real helpfulness can’t be made into a formula. To be outward doesn’t mean that people should adopt this or that prescribed behavior. Rather, it means that when people see the needs, challenges, desire, and humanity of others, the most effective ways to adjust their efforts occur to them in the moment. When they see others as people, they respond in human and helpful ways.”)

  3. Measure and hold themselves accountable for the impact of their work on others (“Measuring one’s impact requires nothing but a willingness to stay in regular conversations with others about whether they feel one’s efforts are helping them or not.”)

An outward-mindset begins with you. “While the goal in shifting mindsets is to get everyone turned toward each other, accomplishing this goal is possible only if people are prepared to turn their mindsets toward others with no expectation that others will change their mindsets in return. This capability—to change the way I see and work with others regardless of whether they change—overcomes the biggest impediment to mindset change: the natural, inward-mindset inclination to wait for others to change before doing anything different oneself.” This of course, is true leadership.

To begin:
  1. Start with mindset. Apply the outward-mindset pattern: see others, adjust efforts, and measure impact
  2. Don’t wait for others to change. The most important move is to turn your mindset regardless of whether others change theirs.
  3. Mobilize yourself and your team or organization to achieve a collective goal. Each person is oart of a larger whole.
  4. Allow people (beginning with yourself) to be fully responsible. Own your work—your plans, your actions, and your impact—and position others to own theirs.
  5. Eliminate the unnecessary distinctions that create distance between yourself and others.
  6. To the extent that you have the authority to do so, rethink systems and processes to turn them outward; create an organizational ecosystem that energizes people rather than manage objects.

Take the Mindset Audit online.

Outward Mindset

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 03:21 PM
| Comments (0) | Personal Development



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