The Strategist

Open mind: why it is so important for any business

06/19/2017 - 16:00

There are two types of thinking - open and closed. The first type helps in development, the second - slows it down.

Tawheed Manzoor
Tawheed Manzoor
Closed mindset is a way of acting that is directed primarily at personal interests or interests of the direction in which a person works.

Open mind, on the contrary, helps to focus on a collective goal.

Note that people think differently and behave differently depending on the type of thinking. Closed thinking forces us to act in our own immediate interests. With open thinking, people are able to reason and act in a way that will benefit the team.

With open thinking, people are really open to the needs, goals and concerns of others and are interested in them. They see others as equals. With closed thinking, people lock themselves in and see others not as people with their needs, goals and problems, but as objects that will help them to solve their own problems. Those who can help, are consider a means. Those who can complicate the situation, are regarded as an obstacle. Those, who have no influence on my affairs, do not matter.

The danger of closed thinking

In the context of closed thinking, a person focuses his attention on what he needs from others to achieve his goals. He is more interested in the effect that others are having on him than on what effect he himself has.

Since people who are guided by closed thinking ignore concerns of others, they focus on their own circumstances and work so that it justifies their focus on themselves. However, individual people are not alone in the passion for closed thinking. Sometimes this attitude attracts whole organizations, which leads to disastrous results.

What is closed thinking? When people concentrate on themselves, and not on their impact, a lot of effort is spent on unnecessary. Lack of cooperation entails low rates of innovation. And employees lose their motivation because of boredom, characteristic of closed thinking and unreasonable work.

Open thinking and motivation

Remember when you felt most interested and motivated. On whom and on what were you focused in these minutes - on yourself or on something more and including others?

Captain Rob Newson, a Marine who for a long time headed the special operations unit, shared an interesting opinion on this issue. He described the difference between those who successfully complete the training course of the Marine Corps, and those who are being eliminated. Candidates can leave the course at any time, notifying everyone of this by ringing a bell in the training area. Captain Newson says: "I can confidently judge when exactly people who want to leave make their first steps to the bell: as soon as they stop thinking about the task and begin to care mostly about themselves. While their attention is focused on performance and on others, they can go through everything. But as soon as they think how cold and damp they are and how tired they are, the question is not whether they will ring the bell, but when they do it". 

The ability to focus on the task and the surrounding is an open mindset.

Switching open thinking on

Here are three principles that will help you think openly:

1. See needs, goals and problems of others.

2. Make efforts to help others.

3. Understand impact of your actions on results of others and take responsibility for it.

This is a practical step-by-step approach to introduction and maintenance of open thinking in action. This scheme can be remembered through three simple qualities - seeing others, application of effort, assessment of the impact.

Softness and hardness

There is one reason why people do not want to change their mindset. They believe that open thinking will make them too soft, so they will not work hard, if necessary. However, this assumption comes from misunderstanding. Such thinking makes people not soft, but open, observant and understanding.

Similarly, closed thinking does not make a person rigid. Moreover, often behavior of people practicing this outdated paradigm is milder than necessary. Wanting people to think about them well (frequent motivation with closed thinking), people often forgive or condone them, while it would be more useful to start immediate actions. On the contrary, parents and leaders who have taken the responsibility to help grow and improve themselves by others can behave more rigidly with open thinking.

Why? Because sometimes help is not softness. The fear that open thinking will make a person excessively mild is caused by a lack of understanding of human essence.

The most important step in changing the type of thinking is to make the first move that you expect from the other. Remember the main principle: "The problem is in yourself." You have to start with yourself. The reaction of others will mainly depend on what they see in you.

based on "The Outward Mindset. Seeing Beyond Ourselves", The Arbinger Institute

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