Team Member Mindset Can Make or Break Transformation

By the expert team members of Lexico

Team member mindset shifts are needed to ensure successful transformations.

Lexico Experts Discuss Team Mindset Shifts

The success of any transformation comes down to execution, which is driven by teams. And the most successful transformations are executed by teams with the appropriate mindset, one that is agile and growth-oriented. This mindset is arguably the most critical determinant for transformation success. 

The Lexico team has seen the most successful transformations from organizations that inspire and empower their teams to deliver on the myriad of projects involved. Teams can make or break a transformation, and it starts with the team’s mindset, which is nurtured in a safe and supportive environment.

The second in a series on mindset in transformation work, we’ve asked our experts to share their insights on the importance of team members’ mindset in driving a successful transformation. Here are their answers.

(These interviews have been edited for clarity.)

There are critical mindset attributes in being a transformative team member.

One needs psychological safety and trust that they have ‘air cover’ from their leadership, allowing them to take risks.  And they must have a willingness to challenge the status quo. – Andy McCarthy, EVP Solutions & Services Delivery

You must have the resilience to change, be open to working with ambiguity, and a broad understanding of business value. – Dan Misich, Advisor

The mindset of the team members mimics those attributes of the leaders. Specifically for team members, the need to look holistically at the transformative work to be done is important, since often team members are focused only on their area of work. Transformation work is a complicated web of interdependencies. If team members understand that and can shift to a mindset that it’s everyone’s responsibility to understand how all the pieces fit together, even ones they are not responsible for, it will help them make better-informed decisions. – Cynthia Short, Co-Founder & Chief Experience Officer

The team member must be oriented toward experimentation, solutions, and results, collaboration, creativity, and open-mindedness. – Damani Short, Co-Founder & CEO

There are shifts in mindset that teams need to make to be successful.

The biggest mindset shift for a team to be successful is one of openness to share individual goals so the technical skillsets can be tailored to the team’s and the company’s goals. Rather than a top-down mandate, the trust that a bottom-up collection of motivated individuals can have the highest return. – Gus Lara, Advisor

It is critical for the team member to shift from acting as an individual contributor to a team contributor, by encouraging and supporting the efforts of each other to promote teamwork. They need to go from “I’m too busy” to “What can I do to contribute toward the cause?” From “value for me and my team” to “value for the overall organization” and from needing to know all details to working with ambiguity and making the best decisions based on information available.Dan Misich, Advisor

A key mindset shift for a team member is to embrace collaboration and teamwork. Transformation projects are not the time to operate in a top-down manner. All team members should have their voices heard, whether it be an idea for how to deliver better or to raise a red flag if the vision is at risk. The sense that one’s efforts are in service of the team and the greater organization will be more motivational than personal objectives. – Janna Roze, Advisor

You know a mindset shift is happening when you see people helping team members with their needs so they can continue before focusing on their own work. – Tom Winter, Advisor

Mindset is key in delivering transformational work.

I see a healthy mindset serving as an evangelist and a lobbyist. When thinking the right thought, the team member can share why change will bring dramatic results, how it will happen, and the benefits you’ll receive. When staff sees the vision for themselves, changes stick and are sustained by the evolving culture. – Chris Cabezas, Advisor

In a volatile, highly uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world, it is not enough to speed up transformation with more resources. To ensure transformations last and have an impact, fundamental mindset shifts are required from every team member and the leaders. Servant leadership, diversity and inclusion, and elevated innovation are just a few of these shifts. – Gus Lara, Advisor

Transformation is first and foremost about the people and culture. In nearly all cases, the technical and process challenges to transformation are fairly straightforward (while still complex); but the people and culture aspects are where transformations typically fail. – Andy McCarthy, EVP Solutions & Services Delivery 

Without a shared belief in the objectives, the team is unlikely to work together to realize the result. Transformation is hard. The team must ‘get it’, ‘want it’, and be willing to ‘do it.’ Happy are those who dream dreams and are willing to pay the price to realize them. – Johan Sauer, Advisor

Mindset can impact delivery of transformation to the organization.

Without a shift from a transactional to a transformation mindset, the transformation will fail. Andy McCarthy, EVP Solutions & Services Delivery 

It changes the thought process in a positive manner to what’s important to the organization to drive success. Additionally, it helps the organization transition to capitalizing on value opportunities. Individuals expand on their skill sets, which adds not only marketability/growth for individuals but the organization ultimately prospers. – Dan Mishich, Advisor

Mindset can become a self-fulfilling prophecy for the transformation. Transformation efforts are hard and attitudes are contagious. If members of the team have a can-do attitude, the work is more enjoyable and efforts are spent on overcoming obstacles rather than complaining about them. Likewise, if members are negative because something like this has never been successful before at the organization, it is more likely to fail. – Janna Roze, Advisor

It’s easy to overlook the soft stuff. Without an aligned mindset, the journey will most often fail. – Johan Sauer, Advisor

Final Thoughts

Our Lexico experts agree on the following:

  • Culture plays a huge role in fostering the appropriate team member mindset critical for a successful transformation.
  • Attitude is everything and attitudes – good and bad – are contagious. Cultivate wisely.
  • Embracing collaboration and teamwork is a visible sign that the mindset shift is taking hold in the teams.
  • Having a shared understanding of not just what, but why and how each team member’s work first into the big picture is a necessary and often overlooked factor for a successful transformation.

In order to get the most of a transformation effort, team members must feel safe in their culture to make the mindset shift necessary to execute the transformation. They must believe and buy into the leadership vision and take the leap into the unknown. Furthermore, understanding it’s about “we” and the outcome the team is working toward, rather than about “me” and the singular output of the individual’s work alone is a critical pivot. All of these factors will ensure any new endeavors and solutions are being implemented in a way that supports the business objectives of the organization while at the same time, ensures maximum value creation.

It’s almost 2021 – change starts today. To learn more about cultivating the mindset for a successful transformation, contact Lexico.