There is a good chance that what has worked for you over the past 20 years is not going to work in the future. For the next 20 years, you are going to have to have to move into a different era that requires a different way of positioning yourself, of communicating and a different way of leading. Growth mindset leaders have to move away from information alone towards creating more meaning and insight for people. This means creating space for others to explore. Because when you get space to think, feel and try something new without fear, then a whole new world opens up to yourself.
Fear has been a huge driver in the history of mankind to control others. The new leadership of tomorrow asks you to become more human and show up as your full self. Dare to be you!
What is your story?
When you meet someone for the first time, the question people tend to ask is: “What is your name?” Instead of simply asking someone for their name, which is less exciting, how about you find out their story? Everybody has a story to tell.
My experience is that when you ask about the story behind their name, people are at first puzzled. Here in Germany, we like data, numbers and facts. Asking a manager of a technology company such a question can be uncomfortable to them at first. And that is exactly where the conversation starts to become interesting. Why? Because data alone will not make you memorable. What makes others remember you is your story. Do not get me wrong. We do need data. We do need facts and statistics and ratios to evaluate businesses. Yet this alone is not going to help you create a bigger impact in the new era.
Growth mindset leaders engage others
Growth mindset leaders do not simply tell. Powerful leaders engage others with their big ideas. The most effective way to create buy-in for an idea is not through explanation. It is through illustration, and an effective story does that.
The next time you draft a presentation to the board of your company, try out something new. Instead of adding slides after slide with details, facts and figures, try to tell a story. A story is when you are able to show the change of hope and despair, the frustrating things and the highlights. Think of it like a wave or a sound. It is the obstacles that lead to success, the difficulties and struggles that lead to a growth mindset.
Your audience wants to feel what you feel, and see what you see. Go beyond the obvious of figures and share something deeper than that. Engage your audience in your journey.
Growth mindset leaders build deeper relationships
As a leader with a growth-mindset, you need to focus on growing yourself and others to their full potential. By gaining insights into people’s stories behind their name, you start to connect in new ways and build deeper relationships. At the same time, when someone asks for your name, think of what your story is behind those letters and words. Adding sensory details and showing others more than the blank eye can see is a tool you can use to engage others. Growth mindset leaders have understood that using stories is a way to make your message sticky. When your message is sticky, you become unforgettable.
How to make your message sticky
Stories are a great tool to bring information alive and to immerse your conversation partner, listeners or audience into your happenings. Stories however do not fully benefit you if it only incorporates vivid details, a journey, lows and highs. Something else needs to happen. Growth mindset leaders need to have a bigger message behind their story to evoke feelings, and to make an impact. Your story needs to have a point. That means, your story needs to get your audience to reflect. What is the bigger message that you are trying to convey? Give them something they can walk away with. The point elevates your message and makes it meaningful.
Leaders of tomorrow focus on technology with purpose
As a growth mindset leader, you need to become comfortable sharing your own vulnerabilities. People do not only want to hear about your successes. They want to feel your struggles, and your hardship as well. It is showing those hardships and challenges that will make the other side feel your struggles. At that point, you, as a leader, become human again. Yes, technology is important, and technology with purpose matters as we move into this new era of the “fire element”. However, for this immense transition to evolve into something “good”, we need to become better. Imagine we have technology without a purpose? The world becomes disastrous.
In a recent article interview of Roland Busch, CEO of industrial giant Siemens said that it is going to leverage its technology portfolio. By doing so it plans to support the public and private sectors in the digital transformation of industrial operations, transportation and healthcare, while offering innovative solutions to transition into a carbon-neutral economy.
Technology without purpose can be disastrous
Technology is only helping us as long as we become wiser, more thoughtful and more human. By being human, I also mean that we need to focus on technologies that create sustainability for our society and economy. Technology needs to have a bigger purpose for our society. Technology without purpose can be dangerous. The key for us as growth mindset leaders is to become more conscious of our thoughts, beliefs, ideas and innovations. How will your innovative ideas impact your future customers?
Growth mindset leaders believe in people and their potential
As we create a new era, we as leaders need to think in new ways. I remember the year 2006, it was the time when I got the opportunity to lead an audit team in Hong Kong and China. We Germans like facts and figures, but soon enough I noticed that business in Asia is all about building relationships first. So, when I arrived in China with my Hong Kong team, the first thing that I did was connecting with my diverse team members. Some of them, I met for the first time. So, each day, I made an effort to learn something new about their culture while on this project.
Asian people say yes when they mean no
My curiosity helped me get to know my Chinese team better and soon enough they enjoyed to teach me about their culture. I learnt about Chinese New Year while in China, the meaning of red envelopes and family. Co-workers were seen as an extended family. No surprise when I found out why they like to go out even after work to have dinner together. Of course, there were times when I was very frustrated because everything took much longer than expected during those audit projects. Clients said “Yes of course” when they actually were not ready with their deliverables and timelines. Because Asians want to save their face, they said yes, when they meant to say no. That was one of my key lessons while doing business in Asia. I also learnt to become very patient and I was struggling at times. What took my US teams 2 weeks to finish an audit, took my Asian team 6 weeks. Once, I had the back of my team and connected with them, there was nothing that could stop us. Hierarchy did not matter. I learnt that Chinese people wanted to learn. That was my first wake up call: Give the the opportunity to learn and grow!
Be like a tree gardener and plant seeds for growth
I have never known how driven people can be if you allow them to make mistakes, if you are willing to share, and if you give them opportunities to grow. Like a tree gardener, you need to nurture others, strengthen their confidence, and give them opportunities to branch out.
Believing in the good in others is the first step towards developing others and their true potential.
When we believe in others, we can create space for others to explore what else might become possible.
“Like a tree gardener, you need to plant the right seeds and give people the space to branch out and try something new! “– Sue
Growth mindset leaders focus on outcome and not hours
Because I believed in my team’s potential and coached them, they developed new practices and SOPs to audit more efficiently.
Roland Busch, Siemens CEO stated in a recent article that he and his company are creating a new leadership style, one that focuses on outcomes rather than time spent at the office. It does not matter how many hours you spend at work if you do a lousy job. What matters is the outcome of your work and the value you create for others. Mr. Busch emphasized how we need to create trust in our employees and people we work with in order to empower them to shape their work and to achieve the best possible results.
Unity matters as we create our future
After having lived and worked with managers and leaders in Asia, USA and Europe, I gained a deeper understanding of what else might become possible. I knew that if I combined my experience and insights of the East with that of the West, I would be able to consult in new ways and therefore create more conscious leaders of the future. We need both: 1) To understand different cultures and the value of building powerful connections and relationships as well as 2) The power of data, facts and figures. When we can combine data with a deeper human connection, we become more valuable and are able to make a bigger impact. This meant for me to even go deeper than that. While I was in Asia, I learnt that it is not only what we see, tough or feel that helps us make decisions, but often what we cannot see. Learning about the over 5000-year-old Chinese science of Chinese metaphysics helped me deepen that understanding.
Growth mindset leaders build bridges
When I was a child, my intuition helped me find clues, understand people and places and guide me. It opened me up to opportunities to work in different parts of the world and meet people that later on would have a big impact on my journey. Only in hindsight do we often times understand the true meaning of such encounters. In this new and upcoming era, Period 9, you need to re-learn to develop your intuition again. Growth mindset leaders of tomorrowbuild bridges. Bridges between East and West, between information and intuition, and between people to create a more conscious future.