What is a Transformational Mind-Set?

The world is changing, yet many individuals are stuck with outdated ideas. Few don’t understand the nature of their sins to strive to grow virtues; some were corrupted by power, others seduced by greed, and many unable to separate delusions from the truth.

Learn To Be Transformational

“Some men see things the way they are and ask why, I see things as they could be and ask why not.” — Bobby Kennedy, 1961, Former Attorney General of the U.S.

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The Definition of a Mindset

In psychology, a mindset is the total of a person’s worldview. A transformational leader must have this mindset or they will not be able to change either themselves or others.


What’s scarce in the world today is not knowledge, it is wisdom. Discover more about what of the most important cognitive processes you can ever develop if you want to lead. After all, who want’s to follow a fool?

Learning Lessons From Life

You might ask, what does rock climbing have to do with a transformational mindset? Quite a lot it turns out.

It turns out that the rules defining success in one endeavor can be used in another. In this case, the heuristics that work in a sport also work in leadership. A heuristic is just a fancy word for a rule of thumb–in this a fuzzy rule that works most of the time but not all of the time. And it works in many situations or not all. So it is not like a scientific law, a formula, or an algorithm.

For example, we have all heard metaphors saying you must, “Climb to the top,” and “Work your way up.” This video really describes a set of rules for getting from here to there.

 A Transformational Philosophy

All great transformational leaders (the ones worthy of following) have a transformational philosophy they follow.

A Set of Beliefs

I remember an organizational behavior professor talking about change as a rational process—something that you can manage. You have seen it before in PowerPoint slides and white reports. We know it as the Stair-Step Model—something always starting at Step 1 and going to Step . . . . Yes, if you are changing a tire, I can see how this can be a logical, rational process.

However, when it comes to changing anything involving people, the process is not so neat, not so orderly—if you think you will succeed by only managing change, you will likely fail.

Here a psychologist has an advantage over the manager—the psychologist knows that the Stair-Step Model is often illusory, change really functions more like finding a Path to the Mountain Top. You are likely to find dead-ends, will fall, will at times take two steps back for every step forward.

Despite that weakness, Stair-Step Models are helpful. The transformational mindset here is a summary from John Kotter’s book on “Leading Change.”

An Efficient Use of Time

Do you wisely use time or does it slip away from you, like trying to hold water in your hands?

The other day, I spent an hour with an organization president who was leaving the organization to go on to new and better things. What was so sad about the conversation, was that 80% of it was about the past, there was almost nothing about the future.

This is the case with many, while living in the present they keep reliving the past; and so, in effect, have no future. If you don’t learn how to use time better, someday day you will realize the truth of Shakespeare’s quote, “I doth waste time, now time doth waste me.”

To discover whether you have a present, past, or future orientation.

Take this free assessment

Thinking About Time: Past, Present and Future

Zimbardo is a true giant in the field of psychology. By listening, you will discover the details on seven major time orientations:

  • 2 about the past,
  • 3 from the present, and
  • two about the future.

Case: The Transformational Mindset of Steve Jobs

This was the case with Apple’s Mac, iMac, iPod, iTunes, and iPhone. For example, the iPhone made it difficult for competitors in two ways. The first way was the design and feature set of the phone itself. And the second was the thousand of apps that you could buy on the apps store.

For insight into the thinking of a very transformational CEO (and college dropout), be sure to listen to the video of Steve Job’s commencement address delivered at Stanford in 2005.

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