How Do Employees Develop An Agile Mindset?

Hospitals and nursing schools have to get out of their rigid corset – and develop into agile organizations. For this to succeed, however, an agile mindset among employees and students is required. But the teachers and managers are also in demand: They act as role models and have to use “agile leadership” to spread the new guiding principles in the organization.

From The Fixed To The Agile Mindset

Mindset is understood to mean ways of thinking, beliefs, and behavioral patterns. Often the attitudes of the staff of a clinic or the teachers and students of a school are similar. It is the unwritten laws. The lived organizational culture and the “desired” behavior that is reflected in the mindset. Healthcare facilities in particular often remain in the so-called “fixed” air: Their thinking is static. Learning takes place based on extrinsic incentives, mistakes lead to repression, exposure, or devaluation, and changes are often viewed with skepticism for fear of new things.

However, to do justice to the rapidly changing framework conditions in the VUCA world, a paradigm shift must urgently take place, away from the fixed and towards the “growth” or agile mindset that knows no development limits but is characterized by a climate of curiosity and a thirst for knowledge. These two characteristics form the basis for the permanent striving for further development – of one’s abilities and the entire organization. Employees, students, and teachers understand mistakes and constructive feedback as valuable sources of learning.

A Question Of (knowledge) Culture

How agile an organization is can be determined using five values:

  • Flexibility and willingness to change
  • Willingness to learn and tolerance to mistakes
  • Team spirit
  • Respect and trust
  • Focus on customer and patient needs

They are the heart of the Agile Manifesto and can also be found as central elements in the definition of a lived knowledge culture.

What Can An Agile Mindset Achieve?

An agile mindset releases innovation and improvement potential. It increases employee satisfaction and makes employees more productive. They bring themselves and their ideas to bear more, act more productively, and thus demonstrably contribute more to added value, which means that each individual sees himself as an essential part of the overall organization. Appreciation and meaningfulness of one’s work increase the emotional affiliation with the company. This increases employee loyalty and decreases fluctuation. In schools, an agile mindset means that students learn better and on their initiative. The goal is not the degree but the learning process itself.

How Is An Agile Mindset Created?

Of course, there is further training on agile (project management) methods. However, less external methodological knowledge is required for an agile mindset. Instead, what is needed is a cultural change that allows open, cross-hierarchical communication, feedback, and error culture as well as an appreciative togetherness to become the “new normal.” The management team can trigger such a change process. So very classic: top-down. However, the change cannot be prescribed but must be actively exemplified. Only when employees and students have experienced several times that their opinion is valued, mistakes do not have negative consequences and – also critical, but always constructive – feedback is expressly desired,

Agile measures can support the change, such as introducing task boards, daily stand-up meetings, burn-down charts, osmotic communication, and planning poker. These methods give the change process a face and lead to actively applying the new mindset.

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