Mindset matters: Burden versus opportunity

Article first appeared in the Charlotte Business Journal

Mindset matters. It might be the single most influential factor in how we go about our daily lives. It affects our energy, approach, focus and ability to manage stress. The aforementioned all play a pivotal role in our effectiveness as business leaders.

With that said, let’s focus on a key question where the answer can make a profound impact: Are you looking at your current scenario as a burden or an opportunity?

Here are three business scenarios that might play out quite differently depending on your mindset.

Scenario 1: One of your key players is not realizing their potential.

Burden mindset response: What’s wrong with them? Don’t they understand the opportunity they have here? They won’t find another workplace with the freedom and experience we provide. I don’t have time to deal with this. I wish everyone were as driven as I am.

Opportunity mindset response: I wonder what’s going on with them. There must be something else at play that’s affecting their drive and focus. I am going to make sure to check in and have a conversation ASAP. This could be a great time to introduce some additional professional development options. We’ll get them back on track!

Scenario 2: Your people want another new tool to manage projects.

Burden mindset response: Here we go again. They constantly want something. Does the solution always have to be a new toy rather than human ingenuity? It’s going to cost more than our current setup, which does most of what we want it to do. And a new tool will disrupt current workflow and take considerable time to implement.

Opportunity mindset response: Technology and needs change. We should always be assessing what’s best for the organization and our partners. It’s great that my employees are bringing a possible solution to the table. We’ll have to make sure to thoroughly talk through the short- and long-term benefits before deciding, but this is a great opportunity to discover and implement something together. This could bring the team closer.

Scenario 3: It may be time to upgrade your space.

Burden mindset response: Wow. The cost on this is going to double what we’re spending now. It’s just space. Most of our people aren’t here at one time, so I’m not sure it’s worth it. What if people decide they would rather work from home? I know our current space isn’t ideal, but I am struggling to see the benefits.

Opportunity mindset response: Wow. What an exciting situation! We have the chance to turn a new space into exactly what we want. We have grown into a space before and we can do it again. If we go where we’re planning to go as a company, we’ll be just fine. The new space will be the centerpiece of our operation and a great place to welcome clients. We can always find some creative ways to share space if we need to soften costs.

In closing.

Let’s be completely honest with ourselves: We all have a tendency to drift into the burden mindset, even if only for a moment. But it can lock us down mentally and emotionally, while cheating our people out of opportunity. That doesn’t mean we should skew reality with an embellished view of the current state of affairs. It simply means that no matter what, we should focus on making the best of a situation.

As Verne Harnish, founder of Entrepreneurs’ Organization, says, “You’re either winning or learning.” But those two outcomes only happen if you go about your business with an opportunistic mindset. That’s defintely worth fighting for.

Businessman opening door entering office cabin

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