A Borderless Mindset

| By TMA World

It takes more than the right tools to gain a competitive advantage in today’s work place.  How do you measure up in terms of agility?

It takes more than the right tools to gain a competitive advantage in today’s work place. How do you measure up in terms of agility?

Yes, we have the technology that allows us to work and collaborate across company and geographical borders.

Yes, some of us have developed processes that help us work across borders efficiently and effectively. Yes, some of us have even integrated competencies for working across borders into our performance management systems.

Isn’t this enough?

They are all good enablers, but the foundation on which borderless working is built is the borderless mindset. The need for employees at every level to develop a borderless mindset has never been more urgent, whether they are working across a matrix organization or within a virtual team having members distributed across a city, across a country, or across continents.

As we transition into the digital era, a major challenge is that organizations are often changing faster than the thinking behavioural habits of the people within them.   Which is your most dominant side in the following chart?  It will be obvious which is the more controlled and which the more agile or borderless set of mindset characteristics, but be honest with yourself.  This is not a test.  You don’t need to share this with anyone.  Afterwards, just reflect on areas where you might need to work on if you are to develop your borderless mindset.  Which individual statements in the A or B column do you most identify with?

A B
I tend to avoid situations that are ambiguous, e.g. having unclear work boundaries and reporting relationships, or with unclear tasks.
I tend to see ambiguous situations at work as interesting challenges to overcome.
I tend to be more stressed in getting things done when working with colleagues from different parts of the organization.
I tend to be relaxed in getting things done when working with colleagues from different parts of the organization.
I tend to be uncomfortable sharing my knowledge and ideas with people I don’t know.
I tend to be comfortable sharing my knowledge and ideas with people I don’t know.
I tend to be more stressed collaborating with colleagues  who work a long distance from me. I tend to be relaxed collaborating with colleagues who work a long distance from me.
I tend not to seek solutions outside of my immediate work group. I tend to look for solutions within and outside of my immediate work group.
I tend to be more stressed and less effective working with colleagues from different cultures. I tend to be relaxed and just as effective working with colleagues from different cultures.
I tend to avoid networking with people I don’t know. I actively develop my network with people I don’t know.
I tend not to seek learning outside of my immediate needs and interests.
I actively seek learning beyond my immediate needs and interests.

 

If you identified more with the majority of statements (indicators) in the A. column, you lean towards having a controlled mindset, whereas if you identified more with those in the B. column you lean toward an agile, borderless mindset.

Companies that continue to emphasize borders – vertical, horizontal, geographic, internal-external – will become increasingly dysfunctional.  Speed and agility will be lost, talent and knowledge will be under-utilized, work will be fragmented, creativity and innovation will be stifled, change will be tortuous and trust and cooperation will be at the mercy of turf boundary politics.

To fulfill their potential, individuals must integrate a borderless mindset into their mental models and organizations must embed it into their cultures.

Our e-book series explores the borderless workplace providing people at all organizational levels with a map for navigating the changing world of work. The first e-book in the series – The Borderless Workplace presents an overview of how globalization and digital technologies are transforming where, when and how work gets done. Click here to view.