When it comes to utilizing the power of open talent there is a paradigm shift coming. However, when it comes to solving business problems it can’t be done single-handedly. Business problems require whole teams to change their frames, and it is leadership that drives the process. Just slightly shifting the angle of a frame can make all the difference. It’s like trying to get a view of the moon when you are in the forest at night. A few steps here, a few steps there, and suddenly it emerges through a break in the branches. One way to drive a shift in perspective is by changing the emphasis, from one true thing to another. A famous study showed that doctors were far more open to a new treatment protocol that 90 percent of patients emerged from successfully than one that had a mortality rate of 10 percent. They were the same programs but seen from different angles.
Framing and reframing is not just a leader’s responsibility, in many ways it is leadership. Changing your people’s frame not only helps them see new opportunities, but it also helps your firm make the necessary shift from the location-dependent systems of the past to the global systems in which, like it or not, we are all embedded today. Social media, mobile technologies, cloud services, big data, and more have changed the world and changed work. Rigid organizational boundaries and entrenched processes hold companies back from embracing the opportunities that they provide; it is up to leaders to open them up.
Agility is key
The role of the networked leader is not just to be agile themselves, but to develop a global workforce that is light and fast, agile in both thought and action. Agility is measured by how quickly an organization can respond to challenges and iterate its way towards success. Leaders who are willing to introduce new talent processes, technologies, and ways of working create a path for others to follow. Some may fear that the introduction of those ideas and practices could result in changes that are not entirely predictable or beneficial, but those are the risks they must take.
Networked organizations are environments in which employees are empowered to pursue new challenges and opportunities, whether they find themselves or hear about them from customers, partners, suppliers, vendors, or anonymous crowds. Their leaders understand that the war for talent cannot be won but only adapted to. No one firm can beat out all their competitors for all the right talent — but by extending their network outward, they can tap more skills and knowledge than they ever could before.
The mindset that’s needed to move companies forward on the path toward open talent is open rather than closed, and growth-oriented as opposed to fixed. People with closed mindsets believe that intelligence and creativity are innate and fixed. Avoiding failure at all costs becomes a way of preserving their identity as smart people. But avoiding failure is not the same thing as pursuing success. People that resist change are too complacent about their deficiencies, they may rationalize their failures or deny them instead of learning from them. Post pandemic, many of us remain locked into a fixed mindset. The desire for safety and security is understandable, but an excess of caution can lead to paralysis.
People with growth mindsets believe that their talent, creativity, and knowledge can be developed, through education, training, coaching, and most importantly, the learning that comes from asking questions and experimenting. Having a growth mindset means that you recognize that chaos and organizational discomfort can be precursors of innovation.
You can also drill down and apply the Open and Closed Mindset frames to work and talent models.
Organizations and the Closed Mindset
Leaders and organizations with closed mindsets believe they should “own” all of the smartest people. Everyone outside the organization is seen as either a threat or an inferior and so unworthy of attention. to the systems and people that exist inside the organization and thus not worthy of attention.
Ecosystems that have open mindsets benefit from the network effects that come with adding more participants. They believe their resources are dynamic, and that it is possible to build relationships that benefit both sides. This in turn creates a flywheel effect in which learning and performance improve. In the words of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, “The learn-it-all does better than the know-it-all.”