By: Brandi Hunter-Davenport, Senior Associate, Triad Strategies
A few months ago, I shared the start of my Arbinger Institute journey. Since beginning the learning and working through the applications, COVID-19 hit and interrupted life as we knew it. I went from a routine that had pretty much been standard for years to adjusting to working from home while providing support to my children and their new cycles of being in school… from home.
You can imagine the emotions and psychological impacts that hit with all of that in those very early days. (Heck, if I’m being honest, we’re still dealing with those aspects today.) While we are several months in and we’ve adjusted as a family, we are still living through a pandemic and the life challenges remain. I think what has changed for me, and likely many of you, is how I approach life today is not the same as how I approached life a year ago.
I began realizing a lot of this has to do with perspective or mindset. I had to be open to the new normal. I had to be open to life as once known being no more. I had to step into my power and say, I got this. But getting there is not an easy task. And as I continued navigating my own path, I kept thinking maybe others are also looking for the path to help them embrace the new normal as well. Could I apply the lessons gained from Arbinger?
Over the summer, our president and managing partner, Roy Wells, and I introduced Team Triad to the full suite of Arbinger’s Outward Mindset tools via the Developing and Implementing an Outward Mindset training modules. We set up four virtual sessions between July and August and took a deeper dive into mindsets and behaviors.
Initially, I was concerned how the material would be received and whether the team had time to fully digest everything with all we were doing at work and just living our individual lives in a pandemic. What I didn’t expect was how these in-depth discussions and review of the modules would provide greater discussion and connection amongst us as a Triad family.
It’s natural to turn inward when facing life challenges or unexpected obstacles. It’s natural to feel disconnected from your team when you’re unable to engage as you typically would. Arbinger reminded each of us that there are tools in place to alleviate those feelings of isolation and frustration and mechanisms to keep us united, even during these trying times.
We worked through tools that allowed us to examine the roles we played in tense situations. We talked through having difficult, but necessary conversations. We explored how to hold ourselves accountable and what it means to intentionally work to build and sustain relationships. We talked about how to work toward success – not just for ourselves individually, but to help one another achieve success.
I asked a few of our team members to share their thoughts from our time spent together – or as Roy and I like to say – drinking the Arbinger Kool-Aid. Here’s what they had to say:
“I went into this training with an expectation of how things would flow and what the material would cover. What I gained was not what I initially imagined, but more. Arbinger spoke to tolerance and patience and how these elements connect to situational perceptions. These also directly tie to the two mindsets and behaviors. There was a time I can say I didn’t know how to identify inward versus outward mindsets in professional or personal settings. I’m now more attuned to when I have been in the box toward someone and when that person may have been in the box toward me. Here we are participating in a collusion and I didn’t even realize it. So, I’d say there were various aspects – the videos, the modules, and the tools, along with the subsequent conversations that positively informed my perspectives and approaches to working with and interacting with others.”
"As our nation has reached a point of such astronomical politicization, I think our Arbinger training came at a perfect time. From a broad perspective, having an outward mindset allows us to see people as people, therefore having an inward mindset controls us to focus on our own needs and concerns. When we turn on the news today, we see people lost within an inward mindset, focusing on the issues that they want to discuss, while turning their back on issues that others think are important. I am proud that the Triad Strategies team is undergoing this training to further our success and to further our knowledge."
“Arbinger has taught me to be more curious when working both inside and outside of our team structure. I believe it all comes down to recognizing the internal (inward) versus external (outward) mindset. To transition from the inward to the outward mindset approach, we have to be curious and ask questions that would allow us to peel multiple layers of the onion, at one time. This allows us to go deeper and achieve real understanding between ourselves and others. For instance, instead of getting angry at a teammate for being late with a project task, pause and ask him how he’s doing. Delve further to find out if there is more going on with him that’s impacting his piece of the project. Ask if you can do anything to assist him with his project workload or other aspects of his overall work. Treat your teammate as a person versus an object or a means to an end. This approach leads to a more fruitful experience and blameless problem-solving for everyone involved.”
“Going through the Arbinger training was an eye-opening experience. I feel like I’ve been forced to see the world differently and I am a better employee and person for having the educational opportunity. I am thankful for the lessons I’ve learned and am eagerly applying the skills to all facets of my life—personal and professional—to more effectively find solutions to everyday scenarios.”
Not only did the full team drink the Kool-Aid, but they wanted more than just the red kind. After each session, we offered debrief sessions to take deeper dives and further explore the tools and lessons learned. Each of these sessions had nearly full participation and engagement.
None of us know what the remainder of 2020 will bring or what the landscape of 2021 will be as the pandemic continues. But maybe adjusting our mindsets will make the continued transitions a little easier to digest. And for me, this process has assured me that joining Team Triad a year ago was absolutely the best call. Cheers to turning the world outward, one mindset at a time!