How to Develop a Change Mindset

August 31, 2022

How to Develop a Change Mindset

“There can be no life without change, and to be afraid of what is different or unfamiliar is to be afraid of life.” — Theodore Roosevelt

In a world that is constantly changing, we need an overhaul of our mindsets when it comes to change. Being agile, adaptable, and resilient are principles a lot of companies have in their core values statement, but most of them fail in the face of seismic and prolonged change because their mindset is in the wrong place.

Take a second to ask yourself this question: In the face of change and uncertainty, how do you feel? Excited? Hopeful? Or fearful and anxious?

Your answer to that question makes all the difference.

Entrepreneurs are familiar with change management. After all, we go into a business knowing that things will be changing, and we want to be equipped and ready when the changes we anticipate arrive. While managing change is an important strategy, we also need to take a look at our state of mind when making decisions to “manage” these changes.

Our ability to make decisions is greatly influenced by how we feel about a situation. Consider the most recent significant change you had to deal with and decide on. Would you have reached a different decision if you felt differently about the situation?

The way we think and see things affects how we act. That’s why changing our mindsets about change is crucial. We need a mindset that is ready to embrace change and be active agents of change instead of just passively reacting to it as it comes.

How do we develop this “change” mindset?

One way would be to reframe how we see control. According to the law of reversed effort, the more we try to control things, the more we feel that we are out of control. As entrepreneurs, we need to make peace with the fact that we won’t always know everything, and we won’t always be able to get the outcomes we envisioned or hoped for. Instead, April Rinne, author of Flux, says we should instead “seek clarity of vision rather than certainty of outcome.” It also doesn’t hurt to ask for help and input from others—this fosters more agency, diversity of thought, and creativity.

“The word flux is both a noun and a verb. As a noun, it means constant change. As a verb, it means to learn to become fluid,” writes Contributing Editor, Marcel Scwantes, Inc., in one of his articles. We, as entrepreneurs, need to change how we look at, think of, talk about, and act on change.

It is also not enough for a leader to be the only one who develops this kind of mindset toward change. In order for the business to thrive in a “world of flux,” the whole team has to have the same entrepreneurial attitude towards change.

As leaders, it is our responsibility to raise our team as leaders in their own right.

“Leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders.” — Tom Peters

Another way we can develop a change mindset is to hold onto our past glories loosely. We hear the phrase "back in my day" far too frequently, and perhaps we have even used it ourselves. While it's important to remember and celebrate our past accomplishments, we also need to be able to separate ourselves from them. Treat it more like wisdom and advice for what we have to deal with in the present.

“When you become a keeper of the past without adapting on some level to the present and future, you slowly become fossilized in your thinking and processes.”Christy Geiger

Keeping an open and engaged imagination is also necessary. Be receptive to new ideas, remain curious and approach every conversation from a learner’s perspective, but don’t forget to imagine new ways of solving things and try to see new perspectives.

Ask new questions to new people and include your team in some brainstorming exercises and “what if” scenarios. This helps everyone learn new skills and exercise their critical and analytical thinking. Try new things, dare to fail, and always look for inspiration.

As Ben Dean, Chief Data Officer of RevLocal wrote, “At the most basic level, meaning is the realization that what you do matters. Inspiration then is the realization that because what you do matters and is personal, it is worth giving your best and making your best better.”

“As an organization changes, your mindset as a leader also has to change. This becomes the lid to your organization. Whenever my organization starts to settle, I believe I have to lift my lid, my capacity… I have to think and act in a different way to achieve different results.”

— Craig Groeschel

Keep inspiring yourself and the people around you. Let them know how meaningful their work is to you and the organization, and maybe even to society. 

Thank you for reading A Brilliant Tribe.