When on autopilot – is this how you think?

It’s nice to discuss conventional and positive mindsets, but you’re probably so busy that you don’t normally think about your mental map. When you are busy and functioning on autopilot your conventional mindset is probably the navigator. Does this sound familiar?

You hope for the best but prepare for the worst. You are behaving as a Taker, or a Matcher at best. You’re weary of your competitive colleagues. You don’t trust your boss. That we are connected is a beautiful ideal but you have to take care of your family because no one else will pay your bills. You need to be right and you can’t accept mistakes to be eligible for that promotion. Non-judgment is for saints and your boss just looks at the numbers. Dream on!
You need to solve problems and return to the normal situation. You identify the problems, analyze the causes, analyze solutions and implement an action plan.

You have been trained to look for problems, to solve them and return to normal. You have adopted the engineering managerial mindset. In engineering, there is one correct answer. The world is controllable and linear. The organization is a reliable machine, probably manufacturing goods. The people are human resources. They should leave emotions and spirits at home and deliver their output as agreed. Employees are motivated by status and salary. Work is not supposed to be fun. They can have fulfillment in the weekends. Managers need to control and check their work.

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There is one leader on top of the hierarchy. From his windowed corner office, he has the best view of a rather predictable market and he can see change coming from far away. He will tell the others what to do, as the world is ruled top-down. The authority figures, the leaders, priests, fathers, police agents, teachers, consultants and other experts, know best. The people can rely on these wise, powerful, paternal figures. Just be a good employee or citizen.
The top positions are scarce. Positions yield power. The goal is to climb up and gather both status and material wealth so you’ll be safe in this competitive, hostile world.

Do you recognize any of this thinking?

And then came change
But while you were busy, mankind developed the Internet, and smartphones, and powerful computers, faster transportation, nanotechnology, biotechnology. The new sciences presented us with quantum physics and chaos theory and tickled the collective imagination. Your kids are growing up in relative wealth, with the world at their disposal on the screen, liberated from the stifling norms that you have been brought up with, full of self-confidence.

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You find yourself in the service economy that is complex and fast – with demanding customers, global competition, and swift technological changes. Your market has become volatile and chaotic because everything’s connected and there are so many actors and factors interfering. Your organization needs to be agile and is using temporary project teams and freelancers.

You have to adapt to new situations all the time. There is no longer one correct answer. The world is uncontrollable and non-linear. The organization seems a moving organism with a will of its own.
The people represent the true power of the organization. They bring their emotions and spirits and intuition to work as well, they contribute their purpose, passion, creativity. They have to collaborate intensely (people skills are vital in ever-changing teams) and are motivated by shared, purposeful goals. They prefer to contribute to the common good. Work is a way to express yourself and develop yourself. Motivation comes from deep within and no boss can check your progress – every employee is a professional and responsible for their own work. There’s peer support.

It is time to upgrade your mindset

Sometimes there is one leader on top of that old-fashioned hierarchy – but that status is no longer sacred or absolute. No leader can know it all and see change coming – as it is so fast and approaching from many directions. The formal CEO needs the eyes and ears of every organization member to stay informed and to interpret that information. Information flows in all directions as does authority. Leadership may rotate depending on competencies.

No one will tell the others what to, as the world is diverse and participatory. There are role-models but no one knows best about everything as there is no longer one absolute truth in an interconnected, complex world.

People rely on their own wisdom and judgment and agency. A good employee or citizen thinks for him- or herself and feels responsible and responds before the opportunity is gone. It’s faster to apologize afterward if things go wrong than to ask permission in advance.

Top positions may still be scarce but no longer everyone’s desire. Individuals have their own power and freedom to work and contribute. The goal is self-actualization and to be happy. That can be done in many ways as the middle-class cultures in the West become more permissive (and less prescriptive and judgmental).

Is it time to upgrade your mindset? In the next post, let’s see how you could change.

This is book post #25 – ME

Here‘s the earlier post
Here‘s the next post

If you’re confused – please start with post #1 or check the Positive Power overview and read the Positive Agent Manifesto.

Leaders, employees, consultants, citizens – everyone can make a positive difference from any position, without needing permission or resources from others. This blog will help you see positive possibilities and (re)claim your positive agency. Unstuck yourself and engage others via your interaction and actions. Transform into a positive organization where people and performance thrive.

I’m blogging my next book: “Positive Power at Work – How to make a positive difference from any position.” Your feedback is appreciated!

You can help me by liking, sharing, and commenting.

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This Post Has One Comment

  1. K. Daley

    I appreciate the detail in this article. Well written and too the point!

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