Limitless Leaders™ Connection: Creating a Gift Mindset Culture

Many organisational cultures do not encourage or condone the sharing of challenges or failures and even sometimes the sharing of successes. Culture is about the shared beliefs, values, customs and social behaviour of a community. Therefore, if the culture you work within is against sharing lessons it may be something that never enters your mind, especially if that organisation is all you have ever known.

In our home life, this is the same. If you are bought up not to share failures and to just suck it up and get on with it then chances are this same behaviour will play in your life. If you are encouraged to share successes and challenges at home, at school and amongst your social network, you will be more likely to be open to The Gift Mindset®.

Not everyone works in an organisation that is open to the idea of being reflective – something which can be particularly difficult to do in the workplace. When there is a lack of support from management who don’t see the reflective practice is important, then being open and sharing your lessons can go by the wayside and be challenging to navigate. I come across companies like this, not too many which is a great thing, but enough to know the challenges people face within them who want an open, self-reflective and sharing culture.

As Gandhi said, “You must be the change you want to see in the world.”

Sharing is caring

Think about the return on investment and start small. Maybe initiate small activities at team catch ups to share wins and/or challenges. Maximise online platforms such as Zoom, Yammer and Teams to create space for sharing. Cultural change takes time as it starts with the people.

Shadowing and sharing the best practice of success and lessons learnt from challenges is one way to promote gradual cultural change to adopt The Gift Mindset®. This can also be done by not just talking and/or observing someone but instead really encouraging interactive conversation and questioning. What this does is allow the learner to understand the underlying reasons behind someone else’s actions, making it easier to adapt what’s learned to a new situation or task.

Involve and discuss

There was a study done in May 2012 that found that pharmaceutical development teams were better able to translate and learn from another team’s past experience when they invited members of the other team — the “sharers” of knowledge — to actively participate in their discussion and problem-solving (vs. a “learner” team simply identifying the “sharer” team’s knowledge and then trying to replicate it on their own).

Expectations create reality

Remember that our expectations can create our reality and the stereotypes we hold can directly impact our behaviour and therefore impacts culture. Psychologist call this process “stereotype threat”.

Imagine you are running a session at an SLT (Senior Leadership Team) meeting for the first time. Your manager has stressed the importance to get it right and the impact on your leadership brand, team and so on if you don’t. You are aware of the stereotype “new kid on the block” so anxiety arises about potentially making a mistake. Your manager even introduces you by reinforcing this is the first time you have presented at this level. You get distracted from your focus to present an effective presentation and instead focus on the technology not working, not coming across clearly or having your message diluted by nerves.

This is a basic demonstration of how stereotypes have the power to impact our behaviour. This means that if we place concern on a situation such as a culture that doesn’t encourage sharing of success and/or challenges we are confirming a negative stereotype. This will disrupt the ability to focus on a particular task that will lead to adopting a Gift Mindset and sharing best practice across the business.

How can you instil The Gift Mindset® in your organisational culture today?