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Why Mindset is so Critical to Effective Leadership & Change?

Death and taxes are the only certainty in life. Do you agree?

Well, we agree and would like to add that there is a 3rd certainty in life and that is CHANGE.

Life is in a constant state of change, without change, life withers and dies. Everything changes every day. The planet and universe is constantly changing. Covid-19 is a major change that has disrupted the whole world. When there is change, people will usually resist because of the perceived discomfort of change. This is what makes it hard for individuals, teams and organizations to change and adapt.

The key to effective and sustainable leadership and change is the Mindset. Our mindset is our way of thinking, our attitudes and beliefs about ourselves and the world. Our mindset drives the way we look at situations, other people and life in general. Our mindsets drive our behaviors, how we talk and interact with others. This in turn has an impact on ourselves, other people and the organization at large.

It is important for leaders to have good self-awareness of their own mindsets and blind spots because it has a significant impact on how they relate to others and to situations, and in turn how they are perceived by others. Leaders have a larger circle of influence and their actions (driven by their mindsets) have a greater impact to other people and the organization. Therefore, it’s absolutely critical for leaders at all levels to have a good degree of awareness of their own mindsets and the impact of it on others.

In the context of organizational change, understanding the mindsets of team members and employees, and working to help them shift their mindsets is the most effective approach to successful and sustainable change.

All this sounds good, but how can mindset shift be achieved? Can this actually be achieved?

The answer is yes, and there are 3 critical elements to focus on:

1. Mindset Awareness

2. Mindfulness Muscle

3. Change Strategies

Mindset Awareness

This can be accomplished through a questioning process or assessment process as part of a workshop or through the use of a mindset measuring instrument like a VQ (value judgment quotient) profile, which can reveal our biases and strengths.

Mindfulness Muscle

Mindfulness is about maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment. When we practice mindfulness, our thoughts tune into what we're sensing in the present moment rather than rehashing the past or imagining the future. This act of tuning in to what is present in the moment allows us to sense when we are being triggered by our biases.

Change strategies

One of the most effective strategies is the use of reframing. Reframing is achieved by looking at a situation or challenge in a different way. For example, if a leader has a “critic” mindset and is often critical of his/her subordinates work, the person can reframe how he/she looks at the situation by asking him/herself “what is this other person experiencing and what is it like in his/her shoes?” Looking at the situation this way can help the leader see a different perspective and exercise empathy in the moment. This will then lead to a different orientation and way of handling the situation.

In conclusion, if these 3 elements are applied, mindset awareness and mindset shift will happen and it will stick. We can train people with more knowledge and skills and even EQ (emotional intelligence) skills, but if they still operate from the old mindset, all the EQ, knowledge and skills training is not going to last or be sustainable. The KEY is to equip leaders and employees to be aware of their mindsets and to learn how to shift them.

Learn more from Chris Chew and the rest of our speakers in our upcoming Global Leadership Summit. Register now to avail of the Early Bird Discount until 31st January 2021 at

About Chris Chew

Chris Chew is an experienced learning & organization development practitioner who helps individuals and organizations achieve sustainable performance by focusing on mindset mastery and change.

Chris has more than 20 years of experience working in large multinationals like Shell (covering retail, commercial, manufacturing, IT) as well as top Singapore institutions such as SIM (Singapore Institute of Management), where he has led initiatives such as organizational culture transformation, change management, talent & succession management, employee engagement, leadership development and corporate learning & development.

Chris was the lead adjunct lecturer in Organizational Development and Change at SUSS (Singapore University of Social Science). He is also a certified Neuro-Axiology coach, DISC, I-OPT facilitator, Results Coaching System Coach, AEP professional, ACTA certified trainer and adjunct facilitator at IAL (Institute of Adult Learning Singapore).

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