Schematic illustration of the open mindset

FIGURE 13.1 The open mindset

Source: Jean Gomes

My long-time collaborator, Annemie Ress, believes the idea of a new normal is unhelpful and unrealistic given the realities of our world; ‘there's just new’ she says. ‘We need to build a mindset that stays alert to, and is acceptant of, changes and wicked problems beyond our immediate comprehension’.

Our interconnected and interdependent economies, disruptive technologies, and societal norms changing at lightning speed, can either encourage us to cling to old certainties and close down, or to become a new, more open form of human being. Another counterintuitive and countercultural idea sits at the heart of the open mindset that enables us to progress together in an age of uncertainty. That is to embrace our vulnerability as things change in order to become stronger together.

An open mindset helps us to see how our feelings, assumptions, and frames help or hinder the reasoning and emotional flexibility necessary to adapt together. Human progress is founded on our capacity to work with others and hold some degree of shared understanding of the world. Progress and co-operation, whether it's in a marriage or between teams in an organisation, depends on our ability to change our and others' minds through better listening and argument.

As work becomes more chaotic, our ability to remain composed and engaged ...

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