Thursday, April 22, 2010

Shifting the Mindset of IT to Cause Transformation in Business

The title for this post came from a speech presented by Steve Rosenthal, Vice President, Gap International, you can read his Bio here.

Shifting the Mindset of IT to Cause Transformation in Business

While I was at the east coast Midsize Enterprise Summit in Boca Ration, Fl. Steve presented this topic. Here is my perspective on his presentation.

Steve began by sharing that his goal for this session was for the IT leaders in the audience to discover at least 1 thing about themselves or their IT. The problem of course is that we need to be aware that we learned something which was a point that Steve addressed later in his presentation.

The Three Questions

To initiate this process Steve asked the audience three important questions. In order for the process to work you must think about each question and have answered before you go to the next question. The three questions are:

1. What is the specific value I provide to my company?

2. If I could provide greater value to my business, industry, community, planet: what would that be?

3. What barriers are in your way?

It was interesting to hear that during the session a lot of CIO's mentioned that others in their business are barriers, to which Steven confirmed that the goal will be to change their minds.

Changing a Mind

Steven went on to discuss what is a mindset and defined a mindset as a "Fixed mental attitude that determines responses....." I took some editorial license on that as Steve's definition was much longer.

So the key to changing ones mind was to change the fixed mental attitude.

Steve also let us all in the BIG secret, we Can't change anyone's mindset but our own.

Why Change, I like it the way it is

Steve presented a number of stories to reinforce his point that by being satisfied with the status quo can be dangerous for business and why then changing ones mindset was very critical.

One statistic that Steve shared was the fact that studies show CIO's spend about 20% of their time getting buy in from others. Or as I call it selling idea's

It was very poignant when Steve related the 10 year stock price fall of Kodak due to the fact that their business executives had a mindset that digital photography wouldn't hurt them for at least another 10 yrs. when the business executives did focus on digital photography and made millions upon millions of strategic investments, their stock price returned. A very hard lesson to learn.

Change your Own Mindset

Since Steve had already set us up to know that we must change our own mindset in order to be able to change some else's, he elaborated on that point. He explained his study of the brain with neuroscientists and the like. The brain is a system and must be tuned. Of particular note was the fact that each part of the brain had an ability to carry out instructions it had learned and using his own personal study of a bicycle accident when he was younger the fear part of the brain kicks in every time it is at the top of a large hill on a bicycle because of his accident when he was younger. BUT the secret is that the Frontal Cortex can override every part of the brain. But to make it work you must "Think about Thinking".

Break Through Performance

Steve shared that in order to create the ability to change your predetermined responses in your brain, you must use your Frontal Cortex to create new rules. The most effective way that Steve found was to "Think about Thinking" when you wanted to think about something new. It sounds very odd but being conscientious about the act of thinking, creates the ability to think new thoughts.

Not that strange if you agree with the premise that our current way of thinking gives us current results. If the current results aren't satisfactory then you must find a way to think differently. In order to get breakthrough performance you must have break through thoughts. Steve summarized the process this way:

In order to have Extra Ordinary Outcomes, they are derived from Extraordinary Actions. These actions originate from Extraordinary Thinking.

So the 3 step process to "think" about is;

> Extraordinary Outcomes

> Extraordinary Actions

> Extraordinary Thinking

Closing Thoughts

Wow, what a topic. To think that Thinking about Thinking will result in extraordinary outcomes is very exciting to me. I found his presentation powerful and uplifting knowing that we have techniques that can be used to help us advance our business and ourselves. What Steve didn't cover here were tactics to learn to think about thinking when we aren't used to it. Thankful the journey with Steve didn't end here as he invited all of us to join him for a webinar June 2, 2010 at 11:00am ET. Goto this link to get more information

"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." - A.Einstein

And as always, Thanks for listening . . .

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