Change of Mindset. Hard question explained. Part 1 — Background

For the last years of Scrum/Kanban/XP/etc implementation, that covering the world as a big wave since 2001, the most frequently used word is mindset.

Clearly, we are saying that Agile is changing the mindset. If you visit Certified Scrum Master training you can hear that Scrum implies total change of Mindset.

Is it true? Is it so easy to change Mindset? And what does it mean “to change the mindset”? How can we change mindset inside Team or Organization? Where to start?

Let’s have these questions answered.

What is the Mindset?

Huh, have you ever though deeply what the mindset is about? What is the psychological basement of mindset? When can we say that this particular behaviour is the part of mindset, not just a contingency in a given situation?

Well, let’s start from basic things — what is the Mindset? Wiki saying:

Mindset is a set of assumptions, methods, or notations held by one or more people or groups of people that is so established that it creates a powerful incentive within these people or groups to continue to adopt or accept prior behaviours, choices, or tools

So, scientists identified that Mindset has assumptions, methods or notations as basement.

Basically, standard behaviour of a group or an individual in a given situation is a combination of these 3 basic ideas. By changing any component we actually change the human or group behaviour.

Understanding of Mindset Components

Now we know what was hidden inside the formal word. Let’s make it work together. As we speak about mindset in regards to teams and particular team member, we have next components that construct our behavior:

Country (Society) Culture

Photo by Xicheng Li

Have you ever thought about culture around you? Do you know what is standard for your country and is not acceptable in other? How different are people on the other side of the border? Or in the other city.

What makes people be different is the culture they built. People’s mindset is different in every country, city or even district of a city. We live in society and follow its rules. Social influence is one of the biggest powers nowadays.

Remember Pockemon Go? Game got the the top ranks basically due to social influence — people made it popular and integrated other people into it. In a matter of days millions of people started doing something they had never done before — running through the city and catching virtual monsters. 50 million downloads within 19 days.

Culture around us develops our human behaviour, reactions and lifestyle. This is fundamental part of our mindset.

We all are the small parts of the big picture named as society. Difference is behavior of two social groups we know as cross-cultural differences.

Company (Corporate) Culture

Work life often has its own rules of living. Why does this happen? Due to the fact that people are in same office, they communicate much closer. This communication introduce cultural exchange in a group, that creates new patterns within the group.

Every company during its lifetime develop its own “rules of game”. When you come to the interview you may discover some of them — dress-code, time at office, company structure etc. During your trial period you actually examine company as well: you accept or reject lifestyle; maybe you are okay to live with something usually not acceptable for you?

When you are inside the company’s culture you:

  • Accept it
  • Reject it
  • Intend to change it

Country’s mindset usually replicates in Company. Remember the hard-worker society in Japan? Siesta at Spain? Country’s traditions are reflected at Company’s life.

Team Culture

Team is a small company. When I join the Program Board I spent about one month for observation of life in my teams: how do they make regular duties? In 4 teams I did not find similar approaches. Don’t misunderstand me, on the high level they all use Scrum. But the devil is in details, isn’t it?

Most of the time this is the level when we see something we would change. This is level where most of us can show results.

Personal Mindset

Your mindset builds your world. The world you would like to have around you, world you accept. Your mindset is the main measurement tool of what is right and what is wrong in your world.

The who we are is the result of components we’ve discussed above. We are the key in change on different levels, we are the ones who can support or reject change, the ones who can approve them or block.

Let’s say you got your management position. This is new experience for you. In some point in time you will find that your social life has been changed: now you are more organized, structured, you see bigger picture.

As the accumulative level of cultures, personal mindset is the big weapon. We use to search for the people with same mind as we have and used to fight with opposite mindsets. This is a theory of conflicts, this is Environment Appraisal, Self-Determination and Mindfulness — all we will speak about in next articles.

To be continued…

This article is the part of series of articles about Mindset.

Subscribe & Stay tuned! Continuation in a week…