To achieve organizational goals, the executive team needs to perform at a higher level. As an Executive Coach and a Leadership Development Consultant, I often have conversations with executives about their development goals for their teams. These discussions usually involve concerns about what is holding the organization back from reaching the next level of performance. The most common concerns include team members relying on the leader to solve their problems, a lack of cross-functional collaboration, a focus on individual results instead of strategic thinking, and a failure to lead and facilitate success.
To elevate a team’s performance, it is essential to address the underlying factors that drive behaviors, which are the individual members’ mindsets. A team’s performance is a result of its members’ behaviors, which are driven by their thinking, which, in turn, is driven by their mindsets. Therefore, the key to improving team performance is to help leaders reach the mindset level. As leaders’ mindsets improve, their thinking, behaviors, and performance improve, and these improvements trickle down to the team.
To begin the development process, leaders must acknowledge the role of mindsets in performance and pursue vertical development, which focuses on elevating leaders’ abilities to make meaning in more cognitively and emotionally sophisticated ways. Leaders and teams’ mindsets must be assessed to establish a baseline and provide direction on the mindset shifts needed to operate at a higher level.
Assessing mindsets can be done through vertical development and mindset assessments. The information obtained from these assessments helps create a development plan to build new neurological connections in support of more productive mindsets. The plan may include reading books and articles, watching videos, listening to podcasts, and engaging in discussion, meditation, and journaling, all focused on elevating mindsets.
To take an executive team to the next level, it is essential to focus on mindsets. The pyramid structure described in this article provides a framework for understanding the importance of mindsets in performance, and assessing and developing mindsets should be a foundational component of any leadership development program.