But not all weapons are aimed at the flesh. Look around. Home and workplace casualties are everywhere. Bitterness, envy, indifference, resentment - these are the hallmarks of the hot and cold wars that fester in the hearts of family members, neighbors, colleagues, and former friends the world over.
It is only natural when confronting a problem that we try to correct it. Trouble is, when working with people, this hardly ever helps. Further correction rarely helps a child who is pouting, for example, or a spouse who is brooding, or a coworker who is blaming. In other words, most problems in life are not solved merely by correction.
As important as behavior is, most problems at home, at work, and in the world are not failures of strategy but failures of way of being. As we've discussed, when our hearts are at war, we can't see situations clearly, we can't consider others' positions seriously enough to solve difficult problems, and we end up provoking hurtful behavior in others.
We end up gathering with allies - actual, perceived, or potential - as a way of feeling justified in our own accusing views of others. As a result of this fact, conflicts try to spread...So what begins as a conflict between two people spreads to a conflict between many as each person enlists others to his or her side. Everyone begins acting in ways that invite more of the very problem from the other side that each is complaining about.
Cogito ergo sum - or I think therefore I am...You will notice there are big assumptions in Descartes' starting point. The biggest of these is the assumption of the primacy of the separate human consciousness, what Descartes called the I. Descartes' foundational assumption is disproved by the conditions that made it possible for him to state it in the first place.
When our correction isn't working, we normally bear down harder and correct more. And when our teaching is going poorly, we often try to rescue it by talking more and insisting more. That is we drone on in an attempt to correct the problems we have created by droning on!
Make no mistake. The outward wars around us started because of an inwards war that went unnoticed: someone started seeing others as objects, and others used that as a justification for doing the same. This is the germ, and germination of war. When we are carrying this germ, we're just wars waiting to happen.
Justification has some telltale signs?When our hearts are at war, we tend to exaggerate others faults; that's what we call horribilizing. We also tent to exaggerate the differences between ourselves and those we are blaming. We see little in common with them, when the reality is that we are similar in many if not most respects. We also exaggerate the importance of anything that will justify us.
Leaders who succeed are those who are humble enough to be able to see beyond themselves and perceive the true capacities and capabilities of their people. They don't pretend to have all the answers. Rather, they create an environment that encourages their people to take on the primary responsibility for finding answers to the challenges they and their facilities face.
A person whose mindset is outward sees others as people. Seeing them as people, he realizes that others matter like he himself matters. And because they do, their needs, objectives, and challenges will matter to him as well. As a result, his objectives and behaviors will take others into account.
Sustained growth cannot come from expertise that resides outside an organization. While short-term growth sometimes can be purchased that way, ongoing sustained growth cannot be outsourced. An organization will rise only as far as its own people are equipped to take it.
By contrast, a person whose mindset is inward sees others more like objects - like vehicles to use, for example, obstacles to blame, or irrelevancies to ignore. From his point of view, others don't really matter like he matters. He is consumed with his own objectives, and the needs, objectives, and challenges of others don't really matter to him. His own objectives and behaviors become self-focused.
To be outward doesn't mean that people should adopt this or that prescribed behavior. Rather, it means that when people see the needs, challenges, desires, and humanity of others, the most effective ways to adjust their efforts occur to them in the moment. When they see others as people, they respond in human and helpful ways. They naturally adjust what they do in response to the needs they see around them. With an outward mindset, adjusting one's efforts naturally follows from seeing others in a new way.
It will seem risky to manage those they see and treat as objects with systems and processes that are designed to empower people. This is one of the reasons why an outward-mindset approach becomes such a competitive advantage. Those who are unwilling to adopt an outward mindset won't be able to successfully replicate outward-mindset systems, processes, and approaches, while organizations that turn systems and processes outward become positioned to achieve and sustain higher levels of performance.
The way we use the term, mindset is more than a belief about oneself. It refers to the way people see and regard the world - how they see circumstances, challenges, opportunities, other people, and themselves. Their behaviors are always a function of how they see their situations, relationships, and possibilities.
If people see their leader just dipping their toe in, they will think, rightly, that the effort probably won't amount to much. Consequently, the leader sees a lukewarm response in his or her people and on that basis decides it isn't worth the effort. But that same leader is blind to the biggest reason for the observed reaction: the people have a tepid response because they see the leader's tepid response.
Unfortunately, the same principle works as well in reverse. When we interact with someone who is operating with an inward mindset, we may feel that he is failing to consider our views or opinions, and we can see that as an invitation to take offense or withdraw. If we do, we will give back to this person exactly what he is giving to us, and we will become embroiled in an inward-mindset struggle.
Sometimes having an outward mindset is rather easy. We may be among people who care about each other, and it may seem utterly natural and easy to respond to them with an outward mindset. Our teams at work, for example, may be filled with energetic and helpful individuals. Or we may be fortunate to be in a family filled with kind and generous people. In such cases it is relatively easy to maintain an outward mindset. Why? Because we feel so cared for and considered by those whose mindsets are outward toward us that we feel no need or desire to be defensive toward them.