Reframe Your Core Mindset Beliefs to Meet Digital-Era Demands

Develop a mindset that’s in tune with the changing market realities.

It’s 2020. A CIO walks into a meeting and announces the company is going out of business. What happened?

Now, imagine if the CIO had asked what could go wrong in 2016, instead of what went wrong in 2020.

Mindsets that are not in tune with the changing market realities can derail even high digital acuity leaders.

Mindsets that are not in tune with the changing market realities can derail even high digital acuity leaders.

“Your mind may be wired with deeply entrenched beliefs, but they are just in your mind. And you can change your mind,” said Graham Waller, research vice president, during the Gartner Application Strategies & Solutions Summit in Las Vegas. “All leaders should regularly challenge and invite challenge from others to evolve their mindset assumptions, beliefs and paradigms to ensure they remain matched to their particular marketplace reality.”

Challenge your existing mindset with pre-mortems

The CIO from the above scenario could have helped his executive team avoid problems by maintaining a healthy paranoia and running pre-mortems. During these sessions, the team would have looked at what might affect the company, and what needs to shift in the current mindset in the face of digital disruption.If the company was going out of business in a few years, what could have made the company successful?

Read More: Five Mindset Traits of Disruptive Digital Leaders

Imagine scenarios where well-funded digital companies enter the market or specific trends become digital business must-haves and the best way to respond. During this process, apply the same concept specifically to the IT organization to ensure it remains relevant, vibrant and valued.

Truly challenging core beliefs requires the injection of external and brutally honest perspectives. Find digitally savvy mentors or “‘challenge partners” and give them unbridled permission to challenge your thinking and whether it is attuned to future market realities. Be open to them making you feel uncomfortable and not “letting you off the hook,” as we can all be seduced by what we know. What has served us well in the past can lead to an unconscious bias to repeat past behaviors and find others that agree with us, known as confirmation bias. A challenge partner should be someone who is not an obvious choice, so be aware of biases in selecting this partner.

Reframe your perspective and adopt proven digital leaders traits

By changing the conceptual and/or emotional viewpoint with which you view a situation and placing it in a new frame of reference that fits the “facts” of your future market reality, you can create the new context for the needed change. One CIO changed his perspective on shadow IT based on the new reality of digital disruption, which blurred tradition boundaries and market demands for greater innovation and speed. He reframed shadow IT from something to stamp out to a viewpoint of seeing a business partner with ideas to drive the business forward with technology, backed by a willingness to invest both money and talent.

Learn More: Gartner CIO Hub 

Finally, reserve two hours per week to read or study how successful leaders digitally disrupt, with the intent of applying that thought process to your own situation. Once a month, meet with venture capitalists or entrepreneurial leaders and use these opportunities to understand genuine new customer value, enduring business models and economic architecture underpinnings. Adopt key mindset traits as a way of evolving your own thinking to have a higher quotient of digital acuity — a sharpness or keenness of thought, vision and understanding in relation to digital technologies as a source of competitive advantage.

Reinforce digital acuity mindset with daily routines and rituals

Routines strengthen the brain’s underlying neural networks, which in turn form connections with new experiences and thoughts. Develop, introduce and eventually ingrain in the culture a series of digital beliefs and design principles that reinforce key concepts. Repeated use will enable these concepts to become subconsciously ingrained as a new mindset. This can be as simple as experiencing a new technology each week, such as PokemonGo, a new virtual personal assistant application or virtual reality headset, or model key targeted digital behaviors such as blogging or communicating via video.

Get Smarter

Client Research
Gartner clients can learn more about reframing your mindset in the full research Reframing Your Mindset to Match Digital-Era Reality.

Leadership eBook
Lead your team into the digital world. Download the complimentary CIO Leadership eBook.

Application, customer and employee trends will be further discussed at the Gartner Application Strategies & Solutions Summit 2016. Follow news and updates from this event on Twitter using #GartnerAPPS.

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