January 16, 2018
Skillset vs. Mindset

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Yesterday, as one of my clients introduced me to a roomful of people attending a leadership development workshop I was facilitating, something she said caught my attention: Innovation skills. That's what she was telling the 41 business leaders of the future they were going to learn from me.

Yes, it was true. I was going to help these people learn and practice some new skills. But that was only half the story. Actually, less than half. Much less.

If there's one thing I've learned these past 28 years of working as an innovation provocateur, it's this: mindset -- not skillset -- is the name of the game in business these days.

When a person's mindset (i.e. receptivity, curiosity, adaptability, enthusiasm, focus) is in the right place, skillset becomes secondary.

Is acquiring new skills useful? Of course it is. If you're about to have surgery, you want to know the doctor with the scalpel knows what he/she is doing. But all the skills in the world become useless if the mind of the physician is cloudy.

I'm talking attitude. Viewpoint. Approach. It's not what you look at, it's what you see. Psychologists have boiled down the phenomenon to three words: "Motivation affects perception".

If you're driving through a town and are hungry, what do you see? Restaurants. If you're running out of gas, it's gas stations you notice. And if someone you love is dying, you become suddenly amazed at how many funeral parlors there are.

Bottom line, if you want to jump start innovation, begin paying more attention to mindset. Be willing to make the effort required to help yourself and others enter into the frame of mind most conducive to innovating. Because in the end, it's less about where you're going, than where you're coming from.

What can YOU do, on the job, to keep yourself in an innovation mindset?

Idea Champions
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A simple way to enter into the innovation mindset

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at January 16, 2018 11:35 PM

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