Framework 110 Five Important Mindsets For Managers


"...managers are told: be global and be local. Collaborate and complete. Change, perpetually, and maintain order. Make the numbers while nurturing your people. To be effective, managers need to consider juxtapositions in order to arrive at a deeper integration of these seemingly contradictory concerns. This means they must focus not only what they have accomplished but also on how they have to think. Managers need various 'mindsets'..."
Jonathan Gosling et al, 2003

NB management is complicated and confusing.

The mindsets can be thought of as mind-sights or perspectives.

The 5 mindsets required for management, especially around change:

i) Reflective mindset (managing self, ie no insight without self-knowledge)

ii) Analytic mindset (managing organisation, ie a symptomatic decomposition of activities)

iii) Worldly mindset (managing context, ie understanding the worlds around the organisation)

iv) Collaboration and Co-operation mindset (managing relationships, ie go beyond yourself to your network)

v) Action mindset (managing change, ie pulls the other mindsets together, eg  yourself, relationships, organisation and context)

NB For effective management, these 5 need to be interwoven

"...everything that every effective manager does is sandwiched between action on the ground and reflection in the abstract. Action without reflection is thoughtless; reflection without action is passive. Every manager has to find a way to combine these two mindsets - to function at the point where reflective thinking meets practical doing. But action and reflection about what? One obvious answer is: about collaboration, about getting things done cooperatively with other people......another answer is that action, reflection, and collaboration have to be rooted in a deep appreciation of reality in all its facets......Finally action, reflection, and collaboration, as well as worldliness, must subscribe to a certain rationality or logic; they rely on an analytical mindset..."
Jonathan Gosling et al, 2003

However, too much of any of them,  like obsessive analysing or compulsive elaborating, can have a negative impact.

Yet we all know of organisations, or parts of organisations, that are

- good at planning and organising but are slow in implementation, etc or

- quick to respond, implement and/or execute but slow on reflection on experiences so that they build a capacity for action that is careful, thoughtful and tailored to local conditions and needs

More details on the 5 mindsets

1. Reflective mindset (managers need to stop and think, to step back and reflect thoughtfully on their experiences (including relating to general patterns);

"...unless meaning is understood, managing is mindless......reflection to be that space suspended between experience and explanation, where the mind makes connections..."
Jonathan Gosling et al, 2003

You need to reflect on your own reaction to different situations so that it becomes a learning experience for you.

"...You have opened a space for imagination, between your experience and your explanation. It can make all the difference..."
Jonathan Gosling et al, 2003

Reflection makes you receptive to new ideas, ie is there a better way of doing this?

At the same time

"...Organisations do not need 'mirror people', who see in everything only reflections of their own behaviour. But neither do they need 'window people', who cannot see beyond the images in front of them. They need managers to see both ways......attention turns inward so that it can be turned outward. This means going beyond that you can better see out in order to perceive a familiar scene in a different way - a product as a service, a customer as a partner..."
Jonathan Gosling et al, 2003

In summary.

"...reflective managers are able to see behind in order to look ahead. Successful 'visions' are not immaculately conceived; they are painted, stroke by stroke, out of the experiences of the past. Reflective managers.....have a healthy respect for history - not just the grand history of deals and disasters but also the everyday history of all the little actions that make organisations work......You must appreciate the past if you wish to use the present to get to the future..."
Jonathan Gosling et al, 2003)

2. Analytical mindset (analysis involves breaking complex phenomena into workable components; good analysis provides a language for organising as it allows people to share an understanding of what is driving their efforts and provides measures of performance; an organisational structure shows the division of labour; need to get beyond the superficialities of obvious analysis to the essential meaning of structures and systems; need to go beyond the hard data to the soft data like values underlying decisions, ie

"..analysed the analysis of others- where these people were coming from, what data and assumptions they were using. They dug out other sorts of information that didn't make it into the conventional analysis and found limitations in the techniques used...... they recognised biases in their own thinking. As a result, they saw things differently, encouraged others to change course, and helped resolve reflective analysis..."
Jonathan Gosling et al, 2003

In summary, there is a need for less conventional analysis and more quality analysis.

3. Worldly mindset (have an appreciation of what is going on outside your organisation; there is not homogeneity of behaviour in the outside world; need to get a better understanding of other people's circumstances, habits, cultures, etc so that understand your own world better; have a global mindset or perspective; to manage context is to manage around the edges, between the organisation and the various worlds (cultures, industries, etc), ie

"...seeing differently and to reflect differently in......worldly mindset puts the reflective one in context..."
Jonathan Gosling et al, 2003

Difference between global and worldly views

The Global View
The Worldly View
"...What matters is generalisations about markets, values, and management practices What matters is attention paid to particular responses to specific conditions
Local consequences are of less importance than overall economic performance. Global companies are not really responsible for local consequences Local consequences are a key indicator of performance, which has to add social as well as economic value. Companies are responsible for the local consequences of their actions
Traveling around the world we see a blur of differences
By landing in different places, we join the plurality of worldviews
The world is converging towards a common culture
This world is made up of edges and boundaries like a patchwork..."                                                    Jonathan Gosling et al, 2003


4. Collaboration and co-operation mindset (managing is about working with a wide range of people (stakeholders) from customers, staff at all levels, partners, colleagues, etc, ie it is about relationships with people; it is beyond empowerment and into engagement and commitment, ie

"...engaging managers listen more than they talk; they get out of their offices to see and feel more than they remain in them......they foster collaboration amongst others. And they do less controlling, thus allowing other people to be in greater control of their work..."
Jonathan Gosling et al, 2003

Sometimes this is called 'leadership in the background'.

Western economic theory focuses on

"...see people as independent actors, detachable human 'resources' or 'assets' that can be moved around, bought and sold, combined, and 'downsized'. That is not conducive to a collaborative mindset..."
Jonathan Gosling et al, 2003

There are two extremes of management ie heroic and engaging

Heroic Management (based on self) Engaging Management (based on collaboration)
"...Managers are important people, separate from those who develop products and deliver services
Managers are important to the extent that they help other people do the important work of developing products and delivering services
The higher 'up' these managers go, the more important they become. At the 'top' of the corporation is the chief executive An organisation is an interacting network, not a vertical hierarchy. Effective leaders work throughout; they do not sit on top
Down the hierarchy comes the strategy - clear, deliberate and bold; emanating from the chief, who makes the dramatic moves. Everyone else 'implements'.
Out of the network emerge strategies, as engaged people solve little problems that grow into big initiatives
Implementation is the problem because, while the chief embraces change, most others resist it. That is why outsiders must be favoured over insiders
Implementation is the problem, because it cannot be separated from formulation. That is why committed insiders are necessary to come up the key changes
To manage is to make decisions and allocate resources - including human resources. Managing those means analysing, often calculating, based on facts from reports
To manage is to bring out the positive energy that exists naturally within people. Managing that means inspiring and engaging, based on judgement that is rooted in context
Rewards for increasing performance go to the leaders. What matters is what's measured - shareholder value, in particular
Rewards are making the organisation a better place for everyone. Human values, many of which cannot be measured, matter
Leadership is thrust upon those who thrust their will upon others
Leadership is a sacred trust earned through the respect of others..."                                                   Jonathan Gosling et al, 2003                         

In summary

"...Leaders don't do most of the things that their organisations get done; they may not even make them get done. Rather, they help to establish the structures, conditions, and attitudes through which things get done. And that requires a collaborative mindset......To be in a collaborative mindset means to be inside, involved, to manage distribute it so that responsibility flows naturally to whoever can take this initiative and pull things together. Think of self -managing teams..."
Jonathan Gosling et al, 2003

 5. Action mindset (engage in opportunities for action; in the business world, there is an unfortunate emphasis on action at the expense of reflection; change is not new; many things are not changing yet we focus on the things that are changing; need to mobilise energy around those things that need changing, while being careful to maintain the rest; managing both continuity and change are difficult;

"...Change has no meaning without continuity......a name for everything changing all the time: anarchy......change is a learning process..."
Jonathan Gosling et al, 2003

"...This mindset involves more than deliberate strategies, careful planning, systematically managed sequence of decisions, etc..."
Jonathan Gosling et al, 2003


"...change, to be successful, it cannot follow a mechanistic schedule of steps, formulations followed by implementation. Action and reflection have to blend in a natural flow......we had better be respectively collaborative, as well as analytically worldly, if we wish to accomplish effective change..."
Jonathan Gosling et al, 2003

You need energised action to remain curious, alert and experimental in your approach.


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