Different Mindsets

Change can engender very different emotions and thoughts. It can drive extremes ranging from excitement to dread.  The type of emotions you feel typically depend on whether you are the person making the change, or having to contend and accept the change.  People can have very different expectations.  Let’s look at two common mindsets.
Mindset group one; Those planning and implementing the change.  This group are often excited and are looking forward to doing new things. They like using new technology and getting to work with new people and teams.  They can’t wait to get started.
Mindset group two; Those that are having to contend with the change. This group on the other hand dread the change and look on with dismay.  They reflect and romanticise the things they like about how things are done today, even though they have complained about numerous things on a regular basis.  Melancholy and doubt often sets in.

The effect different mindsets have in business.

A good example of this is a project where we managed a new system implementation at a very successful, and complex technology company.
People that fell into group one, expected the new system to change things significantly.  They were excited and keen to learn how the system worked and what they could do with it. The CFO fell into group one. He planned the integrations in his head and worked out what he could do with the new data he would have available.
Group two, faced the change with trepidation. Group two were unsure about the need for the new system and how it would work for them.  They faced the change reluctantly, because they liked their Excel spreadsheets. They told me they didn’t need new systems, they could do all of their charts in Excel.  I had to agree, yes they could, but there was a tremendous downside to continuing to do that.
Once they reflected on the why things needed to change, and had confidence that the world of Excel wouldn’t end completely, the reluctance started to subside.
Unless you are new to the planet you will have seen this scene played out many times in various organisations.

But Which is Better?

In my view, both mindsets are needed to make effective organisational change. It’s part of the recipe for success.
It has been my experience that people that fall into mindset group one, are generally receptive, they like to discover new things. They are imaginative and creative. They also bring energy and drive to the project.  Sometimes, the exuberance needs to be tempered, but not discouraged.
Those that fall into group two, are generally reflectors and like to think about impacts and risk. Sometimes that means that greater security and confidence that the system will deliver is needed.  This is a good thing as it brings impact assessment and risk management thinking to the project.
Having both mindsets in play helps realise the best outcomes. As it did in the case of the technology company.  Everyone understood that the existing way of doing things was problematic.  The new system overcame these problems and helped create new value for the business and its customers.
The great thing about mindsets is that they too can be changed, that’s what makes organisational change fascinating don’t you think?
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