By Verena SebestikIn Culture30.03.2022

Here’s why we all need that “impossible is nothing” mindset

“But that won’t work” is probably the most common response we get when presenting ideas and suggestions. The question is: Do we have utopian ideas? Or does our counterpart simply not have the mindset to be open to change?

 

When everything was still possible

As children we learn that we can become anything and write down our dream jobs in friendship books like astronaut. To sum up, the world is at our feet, no one dares to limit our visions. When our parents do housework or handicrafts, they always ask if we can help them. Or they know what to do next. If we step on the too-long carnival custome and the fabric tears, we are assured that there is a solution. If we wish for a tree house and there is no space, the living room is turned into a pillow-castle. In short, as children we grow up with the ideal mindset—anything seems possible!

 

Thanks for your input, but …

Admittedly, as adults the illusion is gone and we realize that our parents could have weighed the flour themselves. Nevertheless, they encouraged us to think and saw the sparkle in our eyes when we achieved something. As a leader, of course, it is not so easy. After all, leaders are not dealing with children but with independent, adult people. Consequently, why do we let children immerse in a limitless world and often reject the suggestions of colleagues? After all, our colleagues are professionally trained and experienced individuals with lots of know-how. Therefore, at least in theory exactly the right people to talk to when it comes to innovation, ideas and finding solutions. In short, if they make suggestions, they also have the right mindset.

 

Is it really impossible?

Rather than pondering over the fact that our own mindset, and the mindset of many other leaders might not be the right one, we should do something about it. If young colleagues bring in new ideas that they picked up in their studies, we should not call them naive. Colleagues who have known the company well and are proposing process optimizations are not trying to make themselves important. These people get involved and have a genuine interest in positively influencing the organization and ultimately the achievement of goals. Accordingly, we should see our colleagues as “intrapreneurs” and appreciate their entrepreurial and innovation-oriented behaviour: Being open to new topics, listening, evaluating and not immediately rejecting ideas. Subsequently, the “intrapreneurs” show proactivity and can support implementation with motivation, which does not require the resources of the manager.

 

There is always a solution

The pandemic has been on our minds for 2 years and there are still companies that resist home office. “You can’t do that!” because “employees don’t work when doing home office”. People who utter such statements are very far away from a so-called growth mindset and limit themselves to what is familiar and known. Of course, the transition is not always easy and it requires appropriate home office equipment, digital collaboration tools and much more. But the many positive aspects that come with home office, which we will discuss in more detail in another post, definitely outweigh all the initial effort. The bottom line of this example: there is at least one solution to every challenge. Of course, this requires openness and the understanding that every change needs it resources, but can lead to a sustainable improvement.

 

“Impossible is nothing”

In our blog post “Bye bye, pandemic blues! Why now is the time to take charge” we stated that there was no reason to postpone things — it is time to face challenges. At the same time, we have to admit that the pandemic hardly brings surprise effects and that we can dedicate ourselves to those topics that had to take a back seat for the last years. Most importantly, process optimizations, product developments and also (digitally) growing as a team. So, get out of the “that’ won’t work” trap. Work on your mindset and start tackling the important issues: create a vision, actively involve colleagues and set achievable goals (OKRs are of great help here). Wherever the shoe pinches, we can promise by quoting one of sports giant adidas’ most iconic slogans: Impossible is nothing! And when things have worked out, your eyes will sparkle again.