You probably know that both people and organizations need to develop the right mindset. With the current social and economical conditions, which call for fast and constant adaptation to them, it’s highly recommended that it be a growth mindset, rather than a static one.
The Mindset Theory, developed by Stanford Psychology professor Carol S. Dweck, was designed to the effects of the beliefs that individuals hold for the nature of intelligence. To put it in a nutshell:
- Individuals with a fixed mindset believe that their qualities (such as intelligence and other personality traits) are “set in stone”– how God made you is basically who you are. One’s traits are fixed — not something that can be practiced or developed.
- Individuals with a growth mindset, on the other hand, believe that effort or training can change one’s qualities and traits.
Needless to say, with everything changing as fast as it does in all industries, a growth mindset is highly preferable. But even more so is the mindset derived from this one and tailored specifically toward dealing with constant transformation: the Agile Mindset.
Characteristics of an agile mindset
Since it mostly has to do with welcoming, embracing, and making the most of change, the agile mindset is itself rather flexible – there are no set-in-stone rules. However, there are a few widely accepted attributes.
Based on team dynamics, organizational culture, and business goals, each company can choose what characteristics pertaining to an agile mindset can help each department or the organization as a whole accelerate delivery.
In the words of Todd Little, CEO of Lean Kanban “The core of Agile is recognizing that we need to get to and maintain an Agile mindset. If I have an organization with an Agile mindset and really rock-solid product management, Agile processes and tools will evolve out of that. If you have the Agile mindset and an awesome connection with your customers and are solving their problems, things will evolve in the right way. You won’t even realize you’re being Agile. It’s just good business.”
That sounds like a correct assumption. When it comes to individual teams, changing the mindset is not as difficult. But when talking about bigger entities, however, it takes a more substantial effort and long-term planning.
Agile values and principles
Here are three basic values and principles that come with an agile mindset:
This the honest belief that there are always areas that need improvement and anyone can freely come up with ideas for change. This is the most positive facet of feedback as it encourages employees to be truly involved and make contributions. Even if not all ideas are deemed feasible, it’s important that they keep pitching them, as one never knows when the winning one will pop up. It’s also a great way to encourage innovation.
This is about more than doing one’s job and working with others when that is necessary. In today’s dynamic business environment, it’s often compulsory to take projects transversally through the organization and people from different departments and sometimes different continents have to pull together to get things done and achieve positive results. Encouraging true collaboration is about eliminating friction by facilitating a culture of trust and communication.
Agility entails the ability to adapt quickly to unpredictable events — a highly recommendable (if not altogether compulsory) ability during the current health crisis and all the upheaval generated by it in all aspects of life and work. Teams and organizations need to be able to quickly pivot into any direction that is considered to be moving things forward. To prepare for this, all processes should be analyzed and if found to be roadblocks they ought to be altered so they provide the necessary flexibility.
How to move towards an agile mindset
Organizational mindset doesn’t just shift on the spot, regardless of how well it is communicated and supported by executives and middle management. The system of values and beliefs has been built over time and it will take some of that to gear it towards the desired agility.
There are a few steps that will speed up and make the process smoother.
The first is to model behavior – employees need to see their team-leaders and managers ‘walk the talk’. That means admitting to mistakes and regarding them as necessary occurrences for improvement, encouraging collaboration, and showing a genuine propensity towards growth.
The second is to learn from other people’s and organizations’ experiences and take small steps. Stories of success (as well as the failures that led to it) are essential in painting a vivid enough picture to get people to desire change, to see it as positive in spite of the discomfort getting to it entails.
Read more: 3 Crucial steps in ensuring business agility
With an agile mindset, organizations can adapt to face all challenges, from shifting market needs to a complete transformation of the business world. By adhering to a positive attitude towards changing perspectives, companies can remodel their culture to encourage collaboration and innovation without fear of failure.
Raluca Cristescu is a Faculty of Letters graduate with over ten years of experience in corporate training, focused mainly on soft skills for customer service and direct sales.