Last night I was reviewing the Design School Boot Camp Bootleg, an interesting document put out by the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford. In the opening of the 36-page PDF is the “Design Mindset” or “D. Mindset” (supposedly because everything looks cooler when you shorten a word to one letter and add a period). As I read them again, I started to wonder if they couldn’t also apply to leaders. The D. Mindsets are as follows, with my leadership commentary below:
Show, don’t tell
We all know how frustrating it is to receive “orders” from a leader who is solely focused don telling, especially if what we need is to see the action, behavior of value from the leader first before engaging in it ourselves.
Create Clarity from Complexity
Much of the role of leadership is sense-making, reducing the complex system they view to a tangible action or behavior that followers need to understand. Leaders make sense.
Be Mindful of Process
While making sense of complexity for followers, leaders also have to juggle their attention on the overall process of their objective. In addition, leaders need to know that their development and the development of their followers is a process.
Collaborate across boundaries
In most organizations, the leaders who get things done are often those who step outside the lines of hierarchy to do so. Collaboration is becoming increasingly more vital…and that doesn’t even consider the effects of globalization.
Take Bias toward actions
In the end, leaders influence others toward action. Leaders who can get to that action the quickest (with sufficient background knowledge) are of distinct advantage.
Get experimental, and experiential
As the literature on innovation grows, our understanding of the need to experiment grows with it. Leaders need to let followers experiment, and experiment themselves. In addition, leaders ought to consider the experience of what it is like to work on their team and build a positive experience.
Focus on human values
I’d love to think this one is obvious, but many “tactical” or “transactional” leaders are focused on accomplishing the objective first and appealing to human values second. While this may work in the short-term, it is not sustainable.
Seven mindsets billed as required for engaging in proper design. Still, I can’t help but wonder if they ought to be re-billed as the “L. Mindsets.
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David Burkus is the editor of LeaderLab, a community of resources dedicated to promoting the practice of leadership theory. He is a consultant, a speaker and an adjunct professor of business at several universities. David focuses on developing leaders putting leadership and organizational theory into practice.
David is a graduate of Oral Roberts University and holds a Master of Arts in Organizational Dynamics from the University of Oklahoma. David is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Strategic Leadership from Regent University. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.