Mindset management: reinventing change management

Why "new" change management is about transforming mentalities

By David Reyero

Photo: Olga Klebanov

Change management has been a classic management concept since the publication of the famous book Leading change by John Kotter over 25 years ago. However, the issue is today more critical than ever, and failures in change management still predominate.

What are the reasons for this low level of effectiveness?

There are many explanatory factors, such as not creating a sense of urgency, poor internal communication, lack of staff involvement and support due to an overly top-down hierarchical style, lack of management vision and leadership, or failure to anchor changes in corporate culture.

In short, change remains desirable at a group or theoretical level, but does not generate cohesion or personal enthusiasm.

Today the best change management approach focuses directly on changing personal mentalities

Today the best change management approach focuses directly on changing personal mentalities by exciting and involving each employee in the need for change. This model combines a top-down approach with a more participatory process.

Success is about people: individual and collective commitment, enthusiasm, maturity, and openness to change beyond processes predefined by others.

What is mindset management?

Our mentality is a set of attitudes, values, beliefs, and outlooks on life that we have forged over the years and make us unique. It is also one of the great predictors of personal and professional success and happiness, and determines our daily habits and work performance.

That is why "new" change management is about transforming mentalities. Our results and potential are based on our mental attitudes, and these can accelerate or slow our performance and development. This sum of factors may seem unchangeable to us, but mentalities can evolve if we find the right approach and motivation.

Mental attitude at work
Our mental attitudes can accelerate or slow our performance and development (Photo: Sandi P./Twenty20)

Mindset management is based on aspects such as our "mental plasticity," that facilitate continuous learning, and our innate ability to evolve to face risks and exploit opportunities.

This approach also appeals to our maturity and ability, if necessary, to change profound aspects of our personality. Mindset management offers a combination of emotional and rational tools to achieve success and these resonate with very distinct personalities.

Our results and potential are based on our mental attitudes, and these can accelerate or slow our performance and development

Coaching shows that the most solid, agile, and sustainable personal change "begins from within." This is the complicated, yet exciting, challenge of working with people. Without an individual connection, change management would continue to be a frustrating, tedious, and costly process with mediocre results in the medium term.

Fortunately, "command and control" is less effective every day. Successful companies today accelerate their changes with involvement, complicity, and collective understanding of the need for change. These elements are accompanied by strong communication and a progressive approach: initially involving a small group of "ambassadors," and then the whole organisation. In this way, aspects as complex and susceptible to internal resistance as a new way of working, or a new strategy, can be consolidated.

Our future is now "inventable" rather than inevitable, as Iñigo Manso (expert in mindset management) explains in this excellent article.

Let's take advantage of the current situation to improve traditional change management. We can achieve this by working at the deepest and most powerful level: that of each person's mentality.

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