Workplace: Moving Out of the Box

Moving Out of the Box (Kemp, Jana; Stanford University Press; 2009; softcover) was born from a horrible meeting that was what I call a “sit-and-spin” meeting in which participants repeat themselves and no decisions are made. While in that painful late 1990s meeting, I doodled some tools that I thought could be used to urge decision making.

The results of the doodling and decision analysis led to the five mindsets of decision-making about which I am now asked to deliver workshops, breakout sessions, and keynote presentations. Here’s the gist of it:

  • Against This…Believes this will be the death of us; against everything. The strength of this mindset is that it can provide important insight about past failures and harms. The limitation: the person with this mindset could work against us and even sabotage the project.
  • Boxed-in…Knows the rules, regulations, deadlines. This mindset can help protect us and keep us in compliance. The limitation: this mindset seems closed-minded.
  • Neutral…I may or may not care/I might be persuaded to help or not. If you answer their questions, you may find a champion and doer. If questions are not answered, this person might work against you.
  • Engaged Enthusiasm…Ready to support ideas and take action. The strength of this mindset is that supportive action is a commitment and sound questions about work completion are asked. The limitation is that the immediate YES to projects may prevent enough questions from being asked.
  • Extreme Excitement…everything is a YES! This mindset provides a great champion of ideas and projects. The downside is that this mindset is not one of getting work done – others will have to get the work done.

Each mindset has strengths to draw upon and limitations to work with to learn what needs to be overcome. Each mindset contributes to best-possible decision making because of the information, ideas, and actions that are brought to projects and work accomplishment. Invite questions. Listen carefully for the information being shared. What the team discovers is that every mindset, even the frustrating ones, has a valuable perspective.

Moving Out of the Box also speaks to the needs of government and businesses, as well as nonprofits, to have leaders who are both collaborators and commanders; both consensus builders and directors of action; and equally task and people focused. Today’s world needs leadership of the highest order and of honorable intentions and actions. Our world depends on leadership, positive problem-solving that considers the greatest good for all concerned, and respectful actions and implementations that lead to goal accomplishments.

What can your team do to improve decision making? What can you do to improve your leadership skills?

Purchase Moving Out of the Box at:

Workplace: Managing the moments of our day-to-day business lives takes work. Together, let’s explore what issues and activities affect us every day (or some days) that we go to work. – Jana

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