Monday, October 3, 2016

The New Book “Thinkingaire” Introduction: Chapter 11 Anti-Digital Mindset

Technology shift is perhaps momentum, but mind shift is more fundamental to drive changes and sustain progression.

Digital Transformation requires mind shift. In additional to set point change, transformation requires first shifting mindsets, and then building new capabilities and skills, reinforcing and embedding new practices and reflexes. With the increasing speed of change in the hyperconnected digital ecosystem, some industrial mindsets with “status quo” types of thinking, authoritarian attitude, and bureaucratic decision-make, are outdated, turn to be a "dragger" of the business innovation and a laggard of the digital paradigm shift. More specifically, what are those anti-digital mindsets, and how to shift them to digital thinking styles?

Silo Thinking: Silo is a universal problem facing businesses, especially large, established companies and our society today. But most people don’t realize how much pain it is causing or the cost to the organization. Though back to its root, the purpose of the functional silo is to achieve the certain level of efficiency, but often silo thinking causes negative internal competition. At its heart, silos are not a structural issue, they are the result of poor thinking, or more precisely, lack of holistic thinking, systems thinking, and strategic thinking. From a business perspective, silos are nothing more than the barriers that surface between departments within an organization, causing people who are supposed to be on the same team to work against each other. For example, people are focused inward, protecting budgets and power structures rather than focusing outward on customers and problem solving. Silos cause slowness and small-thinking. Whether this phenomenon is called departmental politics, divisional rivalry or turf competition, it is one of the most frustrating aspects of life in any large organization.

A Stereotyping Mind: Stereotyping is when you judge a group of people who are different from you based on your own opinions or encounters. Stereotype as a word has a negative connotation. Many times, the mind can and will play tricks on you, based on past experiences only or outdated perception. Even two people from the same family could be totally different, thus, stereotyping is a type of superficial thinking lack of in-depth understanding. Stereotyping one another is a human issue - one that you need to keep weeding out of the culture. To fix such an outdated mindset, perceive each other with insight, not just a superficial outlook. Our minds are not a blank sheet of paper but filled with all kind of information as part of the socialization process. The key to diversity is inclusiveness beyond what is commonly understood by it. To truly break down stereotypes, knowing that you are conditioned to stereotype others is a good start, and you have to make a concerted effort to know and understand each other from the mindset level, and give each other the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise. Practice critical thinking to understand things deeply, and be open minded to catch up the digital speed. Apply wisdom to break down any superficial, stereotypical and other negative mindsets, and to equip yourself with a learning, growth, adaptive, and highly mature digital mind.  

Command-Control Mind: We are in the age of information abundance, with all kinds of knowledge only clicks away. Knowledge workers are purpose driven and self-managing. Therefore, collaboration, openness, sharing, and integrity are fundamental for joyful and productive teamwork. This is radically different from the command-and-control (C&C) style of management of the industrial age. The issue with “C&C” thinking is that it’s process driven, and does not begin with the end in mind. The point is you can control people’s behavior, but not their mind. Though from conventional wisdom, management’s job is to control the work by commanding the people. The problem is that tools are often used inappropriately, and command is a skill, not a right. Even worse, “C&C” type managers blindly make decisions without understanding the real problems. “C&C”style is ineffective if you are excluding things like listening, accepting feedback, and no wonder it is often used as a euphemism for “bad, authoritarian management.” It is important to shift to digital styles of leadership for establishing the environment of autonomy and self-accountability and to encourage innovation and mastery.

We list many other types of anti-digital mindsets in this chapter of the book "Thinkingaire," the intention is not just about criticizing, but to brainstorm the better way to think, make sound judgment and effective decisions, and to lead digital transformation effortlessly. As the saying goes: The quality of life depends on the quality of your thinking, be a high-quality digital leader/professional with high-quality thinking, and be a digital "Thinkingaire"!

Thinkingaire" Book Chapter 12 Mind vs. Mind Introduction


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