Thursday, 16 August 2012

Why Mind Fitness is Essential in Uncertain Times

Where are we now?

All economies and businesses go through cycles of decay and rebirth. This means that the natural tendency to plug away at doing the same stuff in the hope that the familiar old reality will return, whilst comforting, is ultimately futile. The old rules don’t quite work the way they used to.
Part of the problem of the recession is that the nature of business decay has been disguised by artificial and unsustainable levels of government borrowing that created an artificial boom in growth that has become seen as a normal state.

Innovate or Die

The current economic climate is unpredictable because cash-rich businesses are holding on to their money and not investing it, because they cannot predict where the market will go next and how low customer demand may fall. And yet we know that the old trick of manufacturing products or delivering services that people actually want to buy still works under most conditions: the long-delayed but welcome success of the British Automotive industry says it all, JLR is having problems meeting global demand. Apple is having dip in analyst expectations because its customers are not buying the current iPhone because they know that the replacement will be available in November. What marvellous challenges to have to face in a global recession!

Do the Right Thing

There’s a great quote from Warren Bennis to the effect that: “Managers are people who do things right. [whilst] Leaders are people who do the right thing”.
Under stress, organisations and individuals tend to do 2 dangerous things: firstly they focus on hygiene behaviours (tidying or focusing on cosmetic issues – hence “re-arranging deckchairs on the Titanic”) that comfort with familiarity instead of coming to terms with the new situation.  This tidying behaviour under pressure often takes the form of ensuring that “things are done right” are done properly even when they are not solving the real problem that needs to be addressed. The second dangerous behaviour is the tendency to work on solving the problem they are already familiar with, which is usually not the problem that needs working on.

How Mad Do You Have To Get Before You Want To Change?

There is an old definition of insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” attributed to Benjamin Franklin, Einstein, and Rita Mae Brown. How much insanity can we afford? 
Mind Fit is about learning to face your current reality and deliberately changing your thinking approach in order to succeed, by learning to pay attention to new variables that determine success in a changed situation or a situation you want to change by changing your performance.

Just as Lean Thinking was a response to the 1973 Oil Crisis, a systemic methodology that focused on waste reduction by identifying forms of waste that were an accepted cost in the automotive industry and eliminating them, Mind Fit is about recognising forms of behavioural waste in your current situation, confronting them and reducing them drastically to release energy to innovate.

Mind Fit awareness is the equivalent of an athlete learning to change the self-imposed rules of performance by removing an invisible rucksack full of rocks that a careless coach made them wear, and learning to run faster, different races without it. Mind Fit is about giving yourself the freedom to innovate personally, in your relationships, and in your organisation.

As Ghandi said: be the change you wish to see in others.