Your team won’t change their mindset unless you do this first…

You might think you need a session focused on mindset

Sometimes our clients approach us with a request along these lines:

“The problem is … our people need to lift their mindset. I want my team to be ready for whatever this year throws at them. The team is feeling a little overwhelmed by their targets, workload etc. We want our people to be invigorated by the targets and workload instead.”

They think they want me to do a resilience session or a performance mindset of some description.

Firstly I love their optimism, (and maybe their faith in NEP) that in just one session we are going to be able to flick a switch in their mindset to take them from “meh” to “game on”.

Thanks to my dissertation on the effectiveness of mindset interventions in the workplace, I won’t take their money to do a resilience session – wait, what?! Isn’t it ironic that I won’t to talk to them about my specialty area?

Nope, actually it’s because I did a deep dive on the research in this space that I know a session like that won’t work. At best it will seem like another thing to add to their to-do list that they don’t want to do.

Your team really needs this instead…

A lack of a “go get ‘em” mindset is a symptom of their real issue. Treating symptoms are a band-aid approach and won’t create long-lasting change.

The real issue the people in your team have is a lack of energy.

It takes cognitive energy to implement mindset interventions, so if your team members are low to average on energy, they certainly don’t have the cognitive energy required to work on improving their mindset.

Why is energy such a problem now

At NEP we would argue this has always been a problem, but the pandemic has made it an issue people can no longer ignore. In fairness – it’s been a long two years with a few extra things than normal taking our energy…

  • Holiday – what’s that? – Oh that’s thing I get to do now that I haven’t done in 2 years – right! What do I need to do at security? Whoops yes laptops out – my bad. I forgot how to do that for a moment.
  • People have had to spend energy on things they haven’t had to before – home schooling some year 8 algebra anyone? I can’t get toilet paper? What the…?
  • Change takes energy – let’s pivot, and again, and again, and again – oh and yikes I missed a press conference – what are the Covid rules today? So I can dance but I can’t sing in my 5km radius, but contact sports are a go – got it – makes perfect sense!
  • The brain hates ambiguity – plenty of that as we navigate remote working… Why does that person have their camera off? Are they uninterested? Should I take it personally? Did their kid just do a nudie run? Aaargh – What was this virtual meeting about anyway?? Why is my dog barking?
  • I’ll try to answer emails, and look at my phone notifications, all while half listening to this meeting – and I’ll even kid myself that I’m being super productive – neuroscience says you are actually being less productive by the way…
  • And the list goes on and on and on and on…

What to do about this lack of energy?

Firstly realise that lack of energy is the issue. Then understand that there is more to increasing energy than just going for a walk between zoom calls.

Cognitive energy is absolutely a thing!

There is plenty of neuroscience now available, and plenty more coming, which helps us to understand cognitive energy, and to optimise it, especially by spending less of it.

Without a solid understanding of cognitive energy you are no doubt spending way more of it than you realise.

Priorities  for leaders

Get your own energy levels up – if you aren’t at least 8/10 in terms of your own energy – get yourself sorted.  As the airlines say, put your own oxygen mask on first.

Help your team to get their energy up by providing them with frameworks – NEP is here to help if you don’t feel like reading a bucket load of neuroscience research on your own.

Make sure your team realise their energy is also their responsibility to improve and maintain. It’s a two way street. Adding it as a KPI should do the trick – yes it’s that important!

If you would like to discuss frameworks for improving the collective cognitive energy in your company or team, please contact us to book your 45 min complimentary Performance Call.