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Jason Furness


Four States of Mind, Part 2

Getting to productive and profitable

Published: Tuesday, July 18, 2017 - 11:02

Following on from yesterday’s column (which can view here), we explore the right-hand side of the diagram below and see the outlook you can adopt that is the most productive for you personally. Transitioning the thought processes of your team to this ideal quadrant is a necessary and highly productive way to approach leading your organization forward.

Bottom right

The bottom right quadrant is where we combine a very clear mind, and a state of fear. Here we are absolutely clear on what we need to do, and why this action is sensible and appropriate. Yet we are still afraid. Here is the domain of the paralyzed!

The procrastinator, the academic, the slight modifications insisted upon as a means of delay. “Waiting for the time to be right” taken to the nth degree. A failure to act is one of the four killer mistakes I see when I am looking at why organizational change programs have failed.

Most of us have done this. Most of us will do it again in the future.

“The whole purpose of planning and preparation is to mitigate the uncertainty, to take the fear out of it so there’s not chaos.”
—Frances Townsend

Top right

The top right quadrant is where we have both clarity and confidence. This quadrant is where we want to be! When we are in this quadrant as individuals or as an organization, we are highly productive and at times we are unstoppable.

Transitioning yourself, and then your team, into this quadrant should be your goal. Then you can easily move them to take action.

“You’ve done it before, and you can do it now. See the positive possibilities. Redirect the substantial energy of your frustration and turn it into positive, effective, unstoppable determination.”
—Ralph Marston

How it works

In reality we are all moving in and out of these quadrants continuously. As individuals and as organizations, we will be in different quadrants on different issues at the same time. No one person or organization can always be up there in the top left at all times, on all issues, in all situations.

The beauty of using this model is to assess where you are personally placed on an issue or occurrence and then assess where your team is collectively, as well as the position of key individuals. You can then adapt your communication and leadership style to best help the team progress into the productive quadrant of the model.

Open discussion of this model has proven to be very helpful to assist people to self-assess where they are and give them insight into why they may be reacting in the manner in which they are.

Play with the model, plot where you currently sit on issues facing your business. Plot where you think key team members are sitting. You may gain some excellent understanding about why things are not moving as fast as you want them to, as well as some ideas on how to approach things differently in order to get the outcome you are after.

This is an excerpt from the book, Manufacturing Money (Amazon Digital Services, 2015) by Jason Furness and Michael McLean. See article on Manufacturship blog.


About The Author

Jason Furness’s picture

Jason Furness

Jason Furness, CEO and founder of Manufacturship, is an executive coach who provides lean manufacturing training and lean consulting in a pragmatic, hands-on way that gets clients results in a fast and sustainable manner. Furness oversees the development and delivery of Manufacturship’s curriculum, leads the mentoring of business owners and managers, and sponsors all client projects. During his 20-year career he has led 30 transformation projects for small and medium-sized enterprises. Furness is the co-author of Manufacturing Money: How CEOs Rapidly Lift Profits in Manufacturing (Amazon Digital Services, 2015).