Lets talk elephants and monkeys and how alike they are to us humans.
The story in the graphic below resonated with me as soon as I saw it, as I think it illustrates really well that animals and humans alike behave based on the mindsets they have developed over time. These mindsets stop us from questioning how or why something is done the way it is and therefore nothing changes - even though change is inevitable and would benefit everyone
The famous story about the Monkeys the Ladder and the water is also a great illustration of the power of mindsets. I found this graphic about it online.
(Apologies to the copyright owner of this image, I couldn’t find who to attribute it to)
Like the elephants and monkeys it is common for humans to go through jobs/careers/life holding on to beliefs that either they cannot do something, or that there is really only one way to do something.
These mindsets are what limit our ability to look for new and better ways of doing things, to change to tackle the challenges of a dynamic new digital age. They are why we do the things the way they’ve always been done. And ultimately all those different mindsets add up to create the culture of an organisation, which then determines its’ success or otherwise.
Breaking down entrenched mindsets is all about challenging "the way we do things round here" - something that requires a structured conversation process that allows people to openly question things and feel encouraged and empowered to start asking “why?” more often. Quite often you'll find out that no-one knows why something is done the way it is in their organisation - it’s just the way it's always been done! The starting point for developing the ‘right’ culture for the task ahead is to create the right forums and conversations where people can ask "Why?" more often.
And if you're wondering why mindsets are so important, well they are what actually drive our behaviour, allowing the important stuff (strategic agendas) to get done. And if you want to align behaviours (e.g. being agile, embrace innovation, work better across teams etc) then you need to work to align an organisations mindsets as well.
Human, Monkey or Elephant we all need to question our mindsets if we want to escape the behaviours that bind us to the past and stop us dealing with the future. And to do that we need to have better conversations. (well the humans anyway)
Take a look at Changing the way we do things around here for some inspiration on changing mindsets or get in touch.
NB: Yes I do realise the illustration in the graphic shows a chain not a rope around the elephants leg. Thankfully it’s hard to find images of elephants tied up!