Team

You are a state of mind PDF Print

Nadeem Chawhan, Navitus
September, 2011

Organizations comprise of people who are loosely placed in structures created to fulfill some chosen strategic objective. When management decides on what sort of people to hire, they search the candidates for pre-determined technical and behavioral competencies, and then try to see if they are the right fit. In theory this makes sense, and to a certain extent companies are successful in screening out people who do not fit the corporate culture. But it remains a challenge to differentiate the ‘good’ from the ‘very good’. The difference between “wow” hires and those that are just “okay” cannot be fairly assessed without clear performance metrics and close observation.

So many times you and I have made friends and have had great feelings about the relationship, only to realize later that it was not compatible. This could be for a variety of reasons like, different states of mind, or expectations, or circumstances, or general hygiene. Whatever the cause, it takes time and effort to effectively assess people and their fit with you as a friend. Think about it. If one individual’s assessment can take so much time, how can organizations that are hiring hundreds of people annually on behalf of a group of people for a specific well defined purpose, do it easily?

The act of hiring the right fit is difficult at the best of times. At least that is what most HR professionals will tell you, particularly when you ask them for their percentage of “perfect” hires. In their defense, most HR professionals try to institute the best possible methodologies like case studies, structured interviews, well crafted assessment centers, psychometric profiles. But by their own admission, they find that such measures don’t capture the true state of mind and potential of candidates.

There is no such thing as a ‘perfect hire’. Organizations often utilize their organization’s culture, processes and traditions to help new joinees adjust and become good fits. This would make sense if organizations could figure out what each person’s reaction would be to the same stimuli or how variations like different roles, different bosses, different environments, different lunch menus would affect each person.  Every individual that joins an organization goes through unreplicable emotional experiences and perceptions.

In the morning today, manager X got no breakfast because he was expecting his wife to make him some. The night before they had an argument in which he was accused by her about his callous and uncaring attitude. He insisted that he was empowering her and didn’t interfere with her domain. She felt he was hands off and uncaring. The mindset that this situation would create could easily create different stimuli in different situations in life and work. Manager X has a subordinate come up to him and ask for time so that he could explain the exact expectations he has from an upcoming project. Manager X, on a hungry stomach, easily snaps and starts explaining in painstaking detail how his management philosophy is about people finding their own way and how he doesn’t like interfering. I’m sure that the subordinate in such a situation would have very colorful descriptions for his meeting. The point is, every person has a different day, every day, and hence a different set of perceptions, which impact their day to day actions, and variances in behavior.

With such a wide array of perceptions, reactions, experience filters and backgrounds, each person would, on a day to day basis, have a different “mindset”. A mindset is generally the predominant pattern of thinking or context with which people are experiencing their day to day existence.

What is your typical mindset? Do you perceive the world in a way that gives you hope and motivation to deal with situations or are you on the other side of the spectrum? Do you focus on things around you that help you build your resilience for the tough times and motivation in normal times to differentiate yourself as a winner? What about your people, generally what state of mind do you see them in? Can you control your state of mind?

Yes you can! And it all starts with your ability to master yourself and your emotions. Consider a three step process described below:

1.      Charge yourself up. Even if reality is different from what you expected and things not looking up, you always have something to be thankful about. You always have something to laugh about. Use these things to create the mindset that is most productive at any given moment of time. Don’t let moods control you, control your moods.

2.      Start formulating a discipline plan. Once you have the right mindset start planning on small bite-sized actions that will help you create an upward spiral and get you out of depressions and low points. This helps if you feel you are in a rut.

3.      Overexcite yourself with the possibilities. Once you have started helping yourself up in terms of controlling your mood, and subsequently the positive results you achieve, start imagining where this new trajectory will take you, and how things will change for the better in your life will change.

There is no set formula for having and managing a successful state of mind as different things work for different people. You need to develop your own personal strategy and start working on it.

The three steps I have described above have helped me personally many times and on occasions they have also failed. They have helped some and not others. You can try these steps and see if they work for you. Maybe something else will work for you, but one thing is for sure: You are the master of your fate, and it all starts in the mind.

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