Building Mobility Mindsets

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving” 

As we continue to navigate unprecedented periods of change, movement is inevitable be it at a global, national or organisational level. Given that mobility is fundamentally about movement, how we help employees to navigate it is vital to both individual and organisational success. Movement however has long been associated with stress because it is about change so how we set about normalising it is critical. Creating mindsets and frameworks that support individual agility and team cohesion during these periods is key if business rhythms and outcomes are to be maintained or enhanced.  

 Whilst mobility has long been associated with global movement, today’s business reality sees the demand for mobility much closer to home. With business merger and demerger activity and organisational and team restructures happening more frequently than ever before, employees are now expected to seamlessly move from one structure to another against a backdrop of uncertainty and complexity. The price of doing business in our capital cities continues to escalate seeing many businesses shifting operations to regional locations, in turn requiring individuals to relocate if they wish to grow their career with current employers. Internal mobility programs have taken on new importance, as employees no longer only seek to grow their careers in a linear path. Where once individuals progressed up the rungs of the corporate ladder, many of today’s employees are seeking to grow their careers by moving in different directions around an organisation. Coupled with the rise of the remote workforce, the demand for ‘mobility mindsets’ has never been higher. Building these mindsets however is no easy task as it relies on a true partnership rich in trust, commitment and transparency from both parties.  

The Four Building Blocks 

In The Four Building Blocks of Change, Tessa Basford and Bill Schaninger’s discuss how positive mindsets and behaviours are built when individuals see their leaders model the skills required to navigate change; understand what is required of them; are able to apply their skills and knowledge confidently to their new role or area; and are well supported by the structures and processes for what they are being asked to move to. In asking people to let go of something familiar and more often than not appears to be working, there needs to be a high degree of belief and support to navigate the unknown, break ties and invest in the energy required to successfully move and change.  

5 Tips to Building Mobility Mindsets:  

  1. Share the vision – In asking people to move, they need to know why. When people understand why, they are more likely to embrace change, look for solutions when the inevitable challenges arise and inspire those around them by doing work they believe in.     
  2. Make movement normal – To normalise movement, we need to talk about it and share ‘whole’ stories that highlight the successes, challenges and ways things have been overcome throughout the cycle of change and movement. Too often the stories stop once the change has been announced or someone has moved out of a team, office or location. We need to be highlighting how movement has benefited individuals and the organisation at large on a regular basis.  
  3. Understand that movement affects everyone – Even if you’re not the one doing the moving, the subsequent changes will still carry impact. Team dynamics, roles and responsibilities, relationships and ways of working can all be significantly impacted with even slight movements.  
  4. Make the process of movement easy and familiar: Given that people invariably move in all different directions within an organisation – up, down, sideways, in and out – the ease in which people do significantly effects efficiency, engagement and productivity. When people know what to expect, they will invariably buy into the process of moving faster and with greater ownership.  
  5. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate: As with nearly every element of business success, communication is the key. Unexpected movement can all too see individuals and teams being blindsided and on the back foot, whereas individuals, teams and organisations that are ‘in the picture’ are better equipped and motivated to deliver on what is required.

Margot Andersen

Margot Andersen is a global careers and talent mobility expert. As the owner and founder of talentinsight Australia and Insync Network Group, she is passionate about seeing individuals confidently owning their careers; and organisations building and leveraging the capability of their people as they move in and around the business and globe.

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