The most important insight here is that these three mindsets and related skills are interdependent. If even one of the three is weak, it will disproportionately diminish your impact and results—not by a little, but by a lot! This is indeed a very big deal.
Imagine if you simply don't feel able to reasonably act and drive decisions—everything comes to a standstill. Or if you aren't aligned with others on the right thing to do—we'll get chaos, or even worse, embarrassingly bad results. And if you can't partner well with others, you'll either alienate them or, at a minimum, not take advantage of the power of the team.
Stories abound in the news making headlines of the consequences when these three mindsets are problematic. A world-leading aerospace firm has a fleet of jets out of service because its safety mechanisms weren't completely tested, and it was released with a safety package that included (or excluded) optional but critical features.
At the time of this writing, the world is combating the COVID-19 pandemic, and health departments in the United States are struggling to get on the same page to produce arguably the easiest of deliverables: tests for those who need them. The stories are horrifying, and yet on a certain level you understand them, because we've all experienced roadblocks like these to some degree, at home and at work. As you read Work That Counts, you will inevitably see parallels to our global response to this pandemic, and how utilizing these three mindsets could have produced faster and healthier outcomes.
All three mindsets are required to ensure our work truly counts. I like to think of them as a Venn diagram, overlapping in certain areas. I've heard people say, "Well, you can't collaborate if you aren't aligned," almost giving up before even getting started. To which I responded, "Yes, but you can't get aligned without collaboration." And, by the way, don't forget the fuel!
All three mindsets need to be strong and in sync, so that we can make the impact commensurate with our ability—for ourselves, our team, and our organization. And perhaps even more important, so that you and your family can live the kind of life you've always wanted. That's what this book can do: provide a road map for you to get more out of life and work, to drive ever-better results with less frustration, and to form even stronger relationships—at home or in any complex organization.
After being introduced to the Work That Counts training, participants coined the term ACE framework.
It's simple yet powerful.
You can think of these three mindsets as levers—tools that enable you to amplify the effect of virtually anything you do (strategy, skills, processes, etc.), allowing you to significantly strengthen or weaken a result without increased effort.
In the example of a physical lever, think of the ball launcher that many of us use at the dog park. This launcher or lever that you place the ball in gives you much more power to throw the ball a greater distance. As Archimedes said centuries ago, "Find me a lever long enough, and I shall move the world."
Just imagine if you and your organization, routinely, as a reflection of your culture, were effectively empowered with the fuel to take action and drive decisions. Imagine if you were aligned on priorities and goals to do the right thing not just for your immediate team, but for the overall organization, and that you and your colleagues stood out in partnering with others to achieve goals, especially cross-functionally.
People would engage differently, with the bigger picture in mind, drive faster innovation and better results, and build a more collaborative culture. With the skills and insights from this book, anyone in any organization can make meaningful progress toward leveraging your impact both in and across teams. You can make a bigger difference, commensurate with your talent and capabilities, for you, your team, and your organization.
Although ACE is a great way to remember the three mindsets, we're going to explore them in the following order. First, you need to have the fuel to take action and drive decisions, so that's our starting point, the empowered mindset. Then we'll move to the alignment mindset to ensure you are able to choose to do the right thing for your real team. And third comes the partnering aspect, the collaboration mindset, to partner with others in and across teams to achieve your goals. On to the fuel, the empowered mindset. Are there some areas at work or at home that you'd like to be able to take more action or drive more decisions with, or that you wish others around you would?