As we set out to organize we naturally try to cover as well as tend to leave open some possibilities for uncertainty. In all acts of human organizational planning, gaps can be found for which no provision has been made. Thus it becomes necessary to introduce and initiate organizational self awareness practices to enhance organizational capability to address uncertainties.
All acts of organization are also practices in committing ourselves to fixed mindsets and all mindsets are by nature restricted and restrictive. Even what we label as a growth mindset should be practiced with mindfulness to maintain a real growth orientation. What the Stanford psychologist, Carol Dweck, who founded the concepts of fixed and growth mindset, has to say about a true growth mindset (while distinguishing it from a false growth mindset) in an interview with the Atlantic, is relevant for all, individuals as well as organizations: “…nobody has a growth mindset in everything all the time. Everyone is a mixture of fixed and growth mindsets. You could have a predominant growth mindset in an area but there can still be things that trigger you into a fixed mindset trait.”
In times of uncertainty and crisis we need to realize the limitations of even a growth mindset as a mindset. It’s like a transparent glass-door to be crossed with ultra alertness and vigilance.
At every major level of an organization provision should be made for organizational self awareness practices. Such practices can be observed first in well designed (collective introspective) sessions. Their purpose will be to make it a general practice to stay aware of what they are organized to face and handle and what are their limitations. It would help them not to get confined to restricted mindsets and especially their restrictive nature. It will not only help them stay aware and open but also thereby stay creative and innovative and prepared to face any uncertainties.
Systemic self awareness can be cultivated as a part of organizational self awareness. What our systems are well-equipped and designed to face and handle and what are their limitations. In the times of AI we can greatly cultivate such open and creative awareness.
Organizations have organized mindsets embedded within systems of their own. This very fact reinstates restrictive tendencies in the very nature of organizations. Enlightened or mindful organizations will have meditative-introspective or collective self awareness practices embedded in their system and structure at every level. This is indispensable even for the organizations which have earmarked themselves as organizations with a growth mindset.This will not only help them stay aware of their limitations as an organization and system but also help them grow in their higher humane sensibilities like compassion.
It will also help them explore their collective powers. Mindset awareness practices at organizational level could help organizations emerge into novel collective creative-innovative practices. This is also the urgent need of the moment. As in the context of business, the World Economic Forum states in its COVID Action Platform, “the sum of many individual actions will not add up to a sufficient response. Only coordinated action by business, combined with global, multistakeholder cooperation–can potentially mitigate the risk and impact of this unprecedented crisis.”
An organized mindset is as much a source of inertia as that of efficiency. With the activities and action plans wellset in mindsets embedded in an organization there is little or no room for creative and innovative energy. With collective self awareness practices, with specially designed practice sessions, inbuilt in organizational leadership as well as the rank and file, organizations will grow in collective creative and innovative capabilities and energies.
With mindset awareness practice, organizations and their leadership can ensure growth in a crisis as they test their mettle and resources in the course of facing the severe challenges a crisis presents.
Not only as individuals, as organizations also we have patterns of worry which can be clearly perceived especially in times of crisis and uncertainty. These patterns of worry point to the organizational sense of self an organization comes to develop in the course of its evolution and growth as a distinct entity with a specific vision for progress.
Thus as individuals as well as organizations, especially in times of crises and uncertainty, the worrier-self within us tends to get deeply caught in the inertia of the crisis-ridden sense of self and its tendency to brood. The knack lies in turning the individual as well as the organizational worrier-self into a vigilant warrior-self by infusing the power of self awareness or presence or mindfulness into it. As the energy of self awareness flows into the repetitive brooding thought patterns, the blockages built up in the free flow of creative and innovative thought processes give way and a free flow of fresh energy and novel thoughts and ideas can be felt gradually surging up.
Thus self awareness practices at individual as well as organizational levels can be of immense use in crisis and uncertainty. Collective self awareness can muster the power of collective positive energies and are sure to help organizations break free from the blockages fixed mindsets build up and naturally mould them into true growth mindsets. This would also help turn false growth mindsets into true growth mindsets as we as individuals as well as organizations must realize that even a stamp of mental recognition on the individual or the organizational self as ‘possessing’ a growth mindset tends to turn it into a false growth mindset. A growth mindset is not something to possess by claiming to have it, it has to be lived by practicing it with self awareness all the time just as we cannot muster the force and power of life-breath by claiming to have it, it is to be replenished every moment by a continual process of breathing.
Thus some major advantages that organizational self awareness practices would help organizations achieve are:
* Developing sound capabilities to make real value addition to the broader social set up rather than just getting confined to self survival strategies.
* Developing unfailing positive orientation and motivation for higher personal and organizational growth and not to slide into and get arrested in depressive phases in dearth of them.
* Developing infallible capabilities to utilise the opportunities for growth in terms of self advancement in spiritual and human values a profound crisis with stupendous uncertainties offers and which are sure to greatly add to the development of a global holistic ecosystem congenial to the growth of a global holistic economy.