Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Digital Master Tuning #114: Three Mentalities Enlarge Digital Gaps

One of the most influencing aspects of people's psychology is how they perceive the world around and how they relate to it. 

Businesses and the world are hyperconnected today, the oceans, mountains, and deserts can no longer divide us, however, there are still walls in people’s hearts, and there are gaps in people’s minds. here are three mentalities or thought processes which enlarge digital gaps, and stifle digital flows.

Silo thinking: Silo mentality is a common challenge for lots of organizations. Are silos a mere product of organizational design? Or is their nature tied to a deeper level: the humankind's nature? Although many organizations are on the digital journey, try to form away from the traditional rigid hierarchies managed through command and control to more fluid and responsive network forms. Yet many business managers still apply old silo management mindsets to new ways of organizing and this legacy of the old economy limits many digital organizations to unleash their full growth potential. Despite the mountain of evidence pointing the detrimental effects of these silos, they still seem to be quite common in organizations. Silos are a method of containment and storage: bounded groups or insular tribes are evidence of silos, and silos are reservoirs for homogeneous thinking, finger-pointing, unhealthy internal competitions, and limiting the organization's creativity and innovation. It is the responsibility of the leaders to initiate his or her team to break the silos to realize the common goals or strategy which are far more important than the personal and departmental goals. Fostering collaboration is the key to creating a seamless organization when in pursuit of a strategy. In essence, with silo mentality, organizations lose their collaborative advantage as they are being over managed and under led, remain disconnected, hoard knowledge and power within silos, and do not have the competence to collaborate in the long term.

Bipolar thinking: The digital world is nonlinear and ambiguous, also multi-dimensional and colorful. However, many leaders and business professionals still keep the old “bipolar thinking” habits at the industrial age, for many of them, people are either good or bad, friend or enemy; things are either right or wrong; win or lose; the state is either blue or red, and the world is either black or white; there are no shades in between. Either you call it “extreme thinking,” “binary thinking,” or “bipolar thinking,” such mind is too rigid in the outlook; too judgmental in managing relationship; too static to sense the change; too silo to think the big picture, and too linear to fit in the non-linear digital world. More often, the binary thinking just focuses on the symptoms, and lack of systems thinking and interdependent thinking capability, only catches the conventional understanding of content, not the contextual insight beneath the surface; in addition, group level binary thinking is caused by the homogeneous team setting, from the industry study, group polarization means that a group of people can make a more extreme decision than an individual. You'd think that a group would tend to democratize the diversified viewpoint and to moderate individual points of view. In fact, the opposite often occurs: In a phenomenon known as group polarization (the group of people more often “think the same,”), deliberation can intensify people’s attitudes, leading to more extreme decisions.

Bias thinking: "Don't judge a book by its cover," we are all familiar with this mantra, but, unfortunately, we do live in an increasingly "profiled" world that does judge a book by its cover. Due to the cognitive gaps and cultural limitation, in all fairness, we are all biased in varying degrees and sometimes, we aren't even aware of our own biases, it seems people all over the world are wearing “blinders,” each person’s myopia shuts them off from a reality to some degree. The labels and judgments we place upon each other, are nothing more than barriers that keep us disconnected from one another. Workplace management is a microcosm of the larger society and that we are participating knowingly or unknowingly of the perpetuation of our biases and prejudices, the stereotypical thinking and conventional wisdom. Remove the old thinking habits, and add the new thinking ingredients, to overcome superficiality. Superficiality means to focus on just symptoms, not root causes; only catch the conventional understanding of content, not the contextual insight beneath the surface; the quantity over quality; the close-mindedness, the stereotypical thinking or pre-conceived ideas about how things should happen; or to put simply, it's just skin deep. To cure superficiality, the old cliche comes to mind: two sides to a coin; one complements the other. All wisdom has some paradoxical theme. The depth of perspective and the strength of character is what we need today to deepen the mind, not more of the same old paradigm. We can do better. There is no magic “thinking sauce” to make one’s mind profound, but learning, delearning, relearning; and continuous learning are the healthy cycles to make one’s view fresh and keep one’s mind sharpened to adapt to the digital speed of the changes. To overcome the common challenges and advance human race, we have to really dig beneath the superficial layer, see around the corner and transcend the interdisciplinary knowledge, to get to the heart of the matter; not just watch, but perceive; not just listen to what’s been said, but pay more attention to not being said; be critical and creative at the same time, to break through your thinking ceilings.

One of the most influencing aspects of people's psychology is how they perceive the world around and how they relate to it. This is a function of things like intelligence, basic mental framework, and the collective psychology shapes the culture of organization, how people think and do things in the organization, by understanding the proving psychological concept and practicing them, businesses can instill the positive psychology to their workforce, build culture of learning and innovation, close the gaps created by outdated mentality, and ultimately achieve high performance result.

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