Polarity, division, anger, and pain…

by Gillian Campbell in Uncategorized

12 Nov, 2020 at 5:07 pm

There are so many examples in our lives right now of where there is division, polarity, anger and pain about other’s views, choices, actions, and thoughts. Where one person, group, political party, economist, scientist, Dr, or team believe they are right and that others are wrong. The divide seems impenetrable.

If we stop for a moment look at the division, I believe 9 times out of 10 this division is caused by fear.

Anger from division, is an emotion where we blame someone else or something else for what is happening to us. It strips and drains our sense of responsibility, choice, and accountability, that creates a sense of powerlessness, something we all innately fear.

We all fundamentally want the world to feel safe, known, certain for us and those we love, we all want to protect ourselves. We do not notice that from our world view we also create rules, binary right or wrongs, things that are ok or not. We also don’t consciously feel ‘unsafe’ but our control patterns mean through our lifetimes we build a series of rules or ‘must haves’ to make our world become safe and we become afraid of people who might make the world ‘unsafe’ or different.

What we can’t see from this view is that the ‘other side’ want the world to be ‘safe’ too, yes their version of safe, maybe not the right one for humanity or society in our view, bur still it’s the same goal as us- a shared goal!

In our need to keep our safe and stop theirs and their potential call to do the same what do we get? More anger, blame, division and fear and a sense of having lost any choice, power, or responsibility…the very opposite of what we are trying to achieve. In fact, in time proving them wrong can become more powerful than any of us being happy or creating what we feel is right for us, humanity or society.

The Outward Mindset asks us to step back and see our fear, see our self-deception and rules see how we feel that our justification for objectifying and creating enemies of others is valid as we are trying to ‘save the world’. It asks us to see the people around us and together look outside of our world view to start to see an unlimited series of options and goals that we can find together as people.

Whenever we see any situation boiling down to right and wrong unless it is a binary problem, we are restricting our ability to see the countless opportunities to create collaboration, healing relationships and an abundant series of choices within the complexity of all wanting and aiming for peace. If we can turn outward and start to see the shared needs, goals and opportunities that mean we can see different ways, all our needs can be considered. Most importantly we can stop needing to feel ‘safe’ as we realise, we are creating more of the danger in ourselves by not standing in our own choices and responsibilities. Why does this change anything?

Because we always have the power to choose how we see the world. We may feel powerless but to see that other’s actions are their need to find safe we can respond, yes have different views YES ACT! But from peace not fear! That is the antidote to division, polarity, fear, and pain. That, we each, can do!

What is the Outward Mindset?

by Gillian Campbell in Uncategorized

12 Nov, 2020 at 5:06 pm

In a nutshell.

Have you ever wanted to change something about yourself or achieve a personal goal?

My guess is you set a goal, changed your behaviours and habits, and moved toward the change…

I hear you, tried that, done it, nothing new. Stay with me! Often when we create a change at a behavioural level we can get started or even get close to goal and realise that we have fallen off track, we lose momentum or willpower and we revert to old habits. Maybe we got to the goal, but not felt how we hoped we would. 

This disconnection comes down to our mindset, the way we see. Because it is how we see ourselves, our relationships, our work, our bodies that ultimately drives our level of connection to new behaviour despite how SMART our goal or determined our beliefs can be.

Why is that worth looking into? Well our mindset has been created by our life’s journey, our lived experiences, and our views of life. Basically, it has been with you all of your life. What we teach at The Arbinger Institute is a way to examine your mindset and shift it in some simple strategic ways to increase your chances or achieving your goals whilst dramatically improving your influence and relationships. We have a website full of individuals and organisations sharing how they have been able to do just that.

A typical example: Imagine you want to lose weight; you stick to a healthy eating plan and exercise more and for a good period of time it creates change. But then the change slows or peters off, maybe you have carried the weight for a long time, your identity is tied into it. Maybe you sustain an injury, or a challenge appears in your life and food is your comfort, your support system. Suddenly a disconnect is happening between your behavioural goal and the way you see yourself and others. You start to disconnect from the new goal you have set and start to revert to old patterns of behaviour. Your mindset may see; “It’s too much of a sacrifice, its genetic to be overweight, I’m under a great deal of stress right now, I need the energy for my life…I’ll try again later.”

It is the same for a business, a team, or a leader. How often have you seen a change programme brought in only for people to disengage completely or start off strong and then revert back to their old ways of working, or at least the old attitudes. For example you might have people who initially do all the right behaviours  to achieve collaboration, agility, authenticity, but if in their mindset, the way they see themselves, their role, their team and others comes from a background of  competing, survival of the fittest, dog eat dog, that mindset will take back control of people’s behaviours and choices.

The Outward Mindset work is a set of in-escapable real, incredibly logical tools that let everyone see their deeper mindset view space. It is not invasive, it is not deep root canal introspective navel gazing its simple human nature examined within a logical, simple framework of psychological safe models that just show us a new view. It gives us a roadmap and all the tools you need to create change from the inside that lasts.

Do not take it from me. This is a Global shift in mindset. This work changes lives, communities, organisations, teams and people. Sign up for a taster of our Netflix documentary style online training programme or our webinar and hear from the 100s of leaders, businesses and individuals who have seen and experienced this change. 

Arbinger UK – Launch of Outward Mindset Online

by Alec Grimsley in Uncategorized

14 Oct, 2020 at 12:41 pm

An important day for us at the Arbinger Institute (UK). We are proud and excited to announce the launch of ‘Outward Mindset Online.’ Drawn from the experience of our clients worldwide, based on 800 hours of client interviews, Arbinger has created a Netflix documentary-style learning experience, that’s ideal for online and virtual leadership and team development. Designed to strengthen resilience, alignment and collaboration in the face of disruption and distributed working. We think the production quality is awesome and the learning is compelling. Click here to see access a free sample and summary.

A really quick technique to try for an Outward Mindset in practice

by Gillian Campbell in Uncategorized

19 Aug, 2020 at 2:57 pm

Today I am working at my kitchen table, I have client commitments to complete, emails to answer and this blog to create. In addition, I have four 10-13-year-old boys playing with water balloons in the garden just outside that I am responsible for today (two of them mine).  I am writing with one eye and ear on them and one on this text.  I can feel my mindset turning inward at the juggle and challenge.  When I feel that pressure rising, I have one instant technique I pull out of the Outward Mindset coaching practices; I shift my thinking that is inward called ‘I have to’.

From ‘have to’ work can feel a grind. The in-box pinging is a stress, the customer work I am completing is ‘hard’!  I have to (see it!) dig deep for every word as if it weighs heavily on me.  If the customer happens to call, I will answer professionally but I feel like I see them as a ‘have to’ pressure, an obstacle to me.  If one of my colleagues inadvertently asks for something, they might get an annoyed look and a martyr filled sigh as my overworked ‘have to’ turns to seeing them as an obstacle to my progress.

When I feel I ‘have to’ watch the boys, they are noisy, inconsiderate, they have no idea how much work I have to do.  I have to compromise my work experience to juggle their needs and it is so hard! In this version of reality, the boys are a hinderance, obstacles to me and my needs.

With a one-word shift; I ‘get to’ watch my boys laugh…a lot!  Yes, they are loud but if I need them to quieten down, they will with a clear request.  I get to honour the friendships and the outside fun they are having, something that when they are stuck on screens, I wish they would do.

And I remember, I get to do the work I love whilst being a parent, a part of my life I cherish.  I get to have my in- box pinging with new opportunities.  Post Covid19, or at least in this lull I get to try new ways of working. I get to challenge myself in completely new ways and the customers around me, my partner, my team, and my children remain people to me.

A tiny shift, but today try using ‘get to’ instead of ‘have to’ and see how the way you see those around you might turn.

As some people missed the offer, my best-selling book is FREE for one more day on Amazon TODAY, Wednesday 8 July ONLY

by Alec Grimsley in Uncategorized

8 Jul, 2020 at 9:51 am

We recently offered my best-selling book, Vital Conversations, FREE for 4 days to download on Amazon.  We have been contacted by several people since advising that they missed out so we have decided to offer it for FREE  again for one more day and you can download it via Amazon TODAY ONLY.

The links to download the free UK and US Kindle versions of Vital Conversations are below:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B004U6JBLE (Amazon UK)

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004U6JBLE (Amazon US)

For 17 years Alec Grimsley has been developing and supporting leadership teams to face into their most challenging conversations


Please could you help me to help other people – My best-selling book is free on Amazon today and until Friday 26 June

by Alec Grimsley in Uncategorized

23 Jun, 2020 at 7:58 am

In these challenging and stressful times, we are all needing to look after our key relationships and are likely to face difficult conversations.

Please could I ask you to post this on your LinkedIn page so we can help as many people as possible.

The links to download the free Kindle version of the book are:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B004U6JBLE (Amazon UK)

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004U6JBLE (Amazon US)

For 17 years Alec Grimsley has been developing and supporting leadership teams to face into their most challenging conversations.


Our goal is to help 50,000 people over the next 4 days.

Our deepest thanks.

We are making one of our best selling books free during these challenging times

by Alec Grimsley in Uncategorized

19 Jun, 2020 at 8:34 pm

Free to download at Amazon from 23 June to 26 June 2020 

Free to download at Amazon from 23 June to 26 June 2020:

UK download – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B004U6JBLE

US download – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004U6JBLE

At Optimus, given these challenging times, we have been wanting to do more to help others, and where possible at no cost to them or their organisation.

So, after many emails back and forth, Amazon has agreed to make our best-selling book ‘Vital Conversations’ FREE to download between Tuesday 23 June through to Friday 26 June.  

It feels like the right thing to do as right now, people are dealing with a great deal of uncertainty, especially around job security, personal finances and key relationships.

The book is a reassuring guide, with practical tools that can help with reducing stress, maintaining good relationships, and handling important conversations both at work and at home.

This book is relevant and helpful to everyone so, please do feel free to send to your organisation’s internal comms or HR team if you think it would be useful to others.

We will also be scheduling three free webinars. These sessions give specific help re the mindset and skills needed to reduce stress, maintain good relationships, and handle tough conversations. Further details to follow soon.



The importance of genuinely validating others in the new world of remote working (2 min read, and worth it ?)

by Alec Grimsley in Uncategorized

19 Jun, 2020 at 11:28 am

Let’s blend the ingredients of an extended period of remote working with the relentless uncertainty of how COVID-19 will impact the fundamental areas of our lives, including job security, finances, and our loved ones. It’s a recipe for insecurity and stress.

From an early age we have been seeking validation, we looked into the eyes of our parents or carers and scanned for verbal and non-verbal cues that we were “Okay”, “Seen”, “Loved.”  Oprah Winfrey, who across 5,000 episodes interviewed over 20,00 personalities including presidents, criminals, survivors, and celebrities shared something she calls the common denominator.  At the end of every interview, (off camera) everyone asked her the same question “Did I do okay?”. At a deeper level, I think the question they really wanted answering was “Am I okay?”

So, in these times of distributed remote working, and increased insecurity we need to pay more attention to the human need for validation. The need to hear from others that I am okay.

There are two places we can do this from; one is using an inauthentic behavioural technique where we trot out pre-rehearsed lines like “I hear what you’re saying” or the now infamous swapping out of the word ‘but’ for ‘and.’ This approach portrays itself as being others orientated, but, in reality it’s more self-beneficial in nature.  It is often used to become more likeable and trusted to further our own outcomes.

The other place is from a mindset where we validate the other person by truly seeing them as a person. We see their need to be seen, heard, validated just like we need to be seen, heard, validated. We may end up using similar words to the inauthentic self-beneficial approach, but this time when we say, “I can see why taking that approach is so important to you.” Or “I can now see how confused my decision left you” we genuinely do see and care about how they feel. This is authentic validating. Of course, validating does not mean you necessarily agree with their solutions, opinions or requests. Still, the genuine validation and affirmation that they have been seen and heard will make all the difference to how they feel, their fears, and the quality of the conversation. It usually strengthens the relationship too.

Of course, the other person might not validate your feelings, thoughts, and needs, but let’s talk about how we handle that for another post!

Stay well and safe.


What is the impact of an ‘I deserve’ mindset and thoughts?

by Gillian Campbell in Uncategorized

24 Apr, 2020 at 1:31 pm

When the world feels like it does right now, how many of us feel like we deserve something to distract us or make us feel better?  Or is it only me?

I have been eating too many of the foods that add kgs and not necessarily nutrition.  I know this because my clothes are telling me.  Now, it ‘should’ be easy to just step out of this habit of comfort, stress or boredom eating and be responsible, hold myself accountable and make healthier choices…so why am I finding it particularly hard right now.

One of Arbinger’s styles of justification that hides itself very insidiously in my mindset is the ‘I deserve’ space.  Especially when so many things can just now feel; restricted, difficult, and lacking.

My ‘I deserve’ self-justification sounds like this…

“Come on Gill, unprecedented times what’s a little chocolate after the day/week/month we’ve had?”

“Hey, I’m not eating takeaway or eating out! I am the chef day after day surely a few food treats are the least I have earned?”

“I am baking homemade sweets and cake, so we don’t have to shop, that’s a good thing…right?”

Can you hear my need to convince you?

Not only that, I mentally gather allies and think “Well everyone says they are eating more…it’s not just me!”

What I am ultimately saying is; “I deserve to have something else, something; good/nice/a treat in this horrible time…”

You can see the insidious nature of my inward mindset because there is truth in this justification.  Of course, caring for ourselves and others with food can be positive.

Except, the key thing is this…I am not at peace with this eating.How do I know? Well becauseit is accompanied by loud, incessant mind chatter and self-justification, it is me facing inward, blaming the world for my eating choices.  Why does this matter?

  1. Well fundamentally, blaming makes me grumpy!  I am grumpy that I am betraying my own sense of what is healthy for me.  Not someone else’s view, mine! I am not honouring my health on my terms and values and that makes me grumpy with EVERYONE around me, because I am actually grumpy with me.
  2. So just imagine what I am like if anyone else notices my eating, or heaven forbid happens to mention me eating the 6th cookie?  If my unsuspecting son happens to ask, “Where did all the cookies go Mum?” I do not gently laugh and share that I ate them, I lie, defend, deflect, or hide from my actions.  Leaving him confused, uncomfortable and unsure where the cookies keep disappearing too?!?

Of course, the eating per-se is not the issue.  It is my relationship, my narrative, my mindset in relation to eating that impacts on me and those around me. Some people can peacefully eat 6 cookies and because they balance their exercise, their view of themselves and food in different ways to me, it is not an ‘I deserve’ trigger.

So, how do I turn my mindset outward in relation to my eating choices?

Step 1. I spot the ‘I deserve’ style of justification.

Step 2. I gently remind myself that when I don’t honour my sense there is a consequence.

How I show up in my relationship with unhealthy eating is how I show up in my relationship with others, and myself ‘

Seeing this and the impact I am having on others when I choose to eat more that I sense is healthy for me I can start to make choices from an outward mindset. I can honour my sense to take care of my health…because it is actually what the people around me and I, from an outward space truly deserve.

Do any of you have an unhelpful ‘I deserve’ justification right now?

If you are interested in learning more about Arbinger Outward Mindset, please drop me a line.


No comparison! – “They are so much better at isolation than me!”

by Gillian Campbell in Uncategorized

8 Apr, 2020 at 1:48 pm

How many of us have seen posts on social media, heard people on the TV or spoken to friends and asked ourselves if we are better or worse than them at coping during the COVID-19 situation?

Why might we be compelled to compare, measure, set expectations and judge ourselves against some imaginary standard or winning post?  

When our lives change beyond recognition and beyond our control, our reactions are unique.  There are some for whom this is a calling, an awakening, a drive to be new.  For some, we grieve the future experiences we expected to have, income and freedom we have lost.  There may be a powerlessness, restriction and isolation we don’t enjoy.  Some grieve for people we’ve loved and have lost, or we hope or pray for those who are ill.  The cycle of this grief of this change is multifaceted and most importantly unique.  It is NOT a competition to see who wins!

For us all it will look different; right now, controlling our unhelpful thinking, catastrophising or anxious thoughts is harder to manage because there actually is danger.  Possibly at times we try to escape from having to think or feel at all.

Maybe we escape into things that we feel actually ‘do good’.  Proactivity, action in our work, with our teams, our children or partners.  This can feel positive and yet in some ways we may sense it is a running away, a being seen to be doing the right things.  We can become overwhelmed, exhausted or run out of things to ‘do’ and feel lost, helpless, inadequate or even notice others can feel overwhelmed or immobilised by our activity for them.

Possibly we escape into social media, Netflix, sugar, alcohol, chocolate or inactivity.  This is also not necessarily ‘bad’, but you can see that in 3,6,12 weeks that strategy may have unhelpful consequences, both for us and those we love.

Maybe we find ourselves judging and blaming our government, our community, a culture our neighbour or our family.  Measuring and judging other’s reactions and comparing them to ours or even measuring ourselves and blaming us.  All of this creates a disconnection from the fact we are all people.

In the next few months, we may all lose people we love; we may all be frail in the wake of this virus.

Fear can create an inward mindset; self-preservation, self-protection, this is not ‘bad,’ this is human.  If we catch the comparing, escaping, judging and blaming we can see that this is us caught up in …well us.

We can see these behaviours, be kind to ourselves as people and then choose to turn to see others as people.

Where is there someone who needs us?  Can we call someone we know is alone and just be there for them, ask what they need? Honour our sense to hear someone else’s fears, their coping strategies, their pain and hold ourselves out of our judgement or fear that we can’t mend, salve or take any of this away from them… or us, as we do the one thing we can do.

We can keep seeing people

I guess I ‘should’ be an expert at this and yet I am escaping, judging and comparing at times.  I’m still catching myself and with self-compassion turning to see the faces of the people around me.  To reach out, to take one more step in connection, through fear.

Even if you are not one of my clients, or are not needing a coach, or a mindset programme, please if you feel you would like some mindset help, ideas or just to talk, contact me and together we can find you or someone you love the outward mindset resources that may help.


What fear can look like in those we love – How to see the person behind the behaviours through family isolation

by Gillian Campbell in Uncategorized

26 Mar, 2020 at 3:29 pm

As I write the world is battling COVID-19.  My son is throwing a basketball at the outside of the house and every bang reverberates around the walls.  I’m spiky, unsettled, short tempered and exhausted.  It would be so easy to snap at him, allow my frustration at the world to be thrown at him for a moment.  Better still I could throw a spiked invitation of combat to my partner to ‘sort out the children!’, ‘Can’t you see I’m working!’

BUT I know my need to fight is not about them.  It’s about me.  My fear.  My powerlessness.  My overwhelm.  My inability to know what to do or when it will be over.

As I breathe, I can see my son is outside in the fresh air, not staring at a screen and he is healthy.  He is playing ball alone to manage his sadness and bewilderment.  He misses his friends; he’s bored because I am working and nothing in his life feels quite the same to him right now.  I can let the sound of the ball fade and see him and his needs.  Maybe I’ll play with him when I have finished writing, maybe my sense is to play now.

Because, that is the thing; fear and sadness don’t show up as a neatly identified package of tears or a need to talk.  They look like sulking, snappiness, arrogance.  Constant barbs, or attention seeking, even a banging ball.  A refusal to answer a question or a spiky rejection.  Our partner’s fear and sadness might look like withdrawal, apathy, critical coldness, sarcasm, or spotting only the things we miss or get wrong.  Trying to start an argument or even full-blown anger.

Being outward does not mean we accept these behaviours and negate our needs, but it can show us how we find a way through together and re-set some boundaries if required. Stop us falling into collusive patterns or combative behaviour.  Avoid venting our frustration, pain and fear at those we can objectify around us because momentarily the blaming makes us feels better.

So, in service of those we love, for our families, for us; we breathe, we pause, we seek the outward view, a place of understanding, love and re-connection to the person behind the behaviours that are driving us mad.

Ask; what are they afraid of?  What might be making them feel powerless, out of control, lost in uncertainty or just alone?

When you see the person you love behind the behaviours, your way of being with them will naturally follow.  Maybe you do, with compassion, re-set a boundary that you need.  It could be you have a sense to find a way of either being in a different physical space to them for a while or request a conversation about both of your fears.

Or maybe you just ask how they are feeling and listen.  Be there for them, now.

Together you can allow the emotion to pass and start to glimpse some hope again. Plan again or and I am British; make them a cup of tea.

We are all scared, none of us can fully know what to do and we are all facing loss to one degree or another. If we can hold the humanity of others in our hearts through that, we can even, if in only this one way, be at peace in moments through this.

Wishing you all good health.


What if?…

by Gillian Campbell in Uncategorized

6 Mar, 2020 at 2:59 pm

As I write today it seems Coronavirus is impacting on people across the globe and each client I speak with is trying to calculate, predict and plan options around a variety of unknowns.

As human beings ‘not knowing’ can ignite a plethora of inward mindset boxes, and often unhelpful thinking patterns can emerge.  Today I thought I would share some of my unhelpful thinking styles and how I’m realising my inward focus actually makes me less resourceful and far more stressed than is useful, at a time when rational thinking is needed.

  • The Mental filter: This is me metaphorically putting on completely opaque sunglasses which filter out rational thinking.  I start to only notice what my ‘emergency’ filter wants me to, and I dismiss anything that doesn’t fit.  This filter strips away rational, systemic, practical thinking and replaces it with stress filled, panic based thoughts.  I become suspended in a space of overwhelm and unknown and stop actually moving forward resourcefully. I get caught in the media stories, the what ifs, all the unresourceful evidence to ignite my fears…

Alternatively, I can take a breath and ask; Am I only factoring in the bad things?  Am I filtering out the facts?  Am I purely focusing on the bad things for me?  If I take off the doom and gloom glasses and stop seeing how bad it is for me can I see differently? Can I see the global/systemic/ external implications and needs?  Can I see people who going to be far worse off than me that may need help?  Can I see a more realistic picture that will bring more resilience and peace to me and those around me?  But most importantly can I also see how I can help.

  • Catastrophising; This is when my imagination becomes a disaster movie script writer. I imagine and believe that the worst possible things will happen.  Now when a government says plan for the worst it is important to think through the practical and rational elements of the situation.  However, if I allow my mindset to move to ‘catastrophic’ before there is a true emergency all I will spread is a sense of panic and disaster.  What am I like to live and work within this space?  What are my clients, team, my family picking up from me?  Am I recruiting others into my catastrophising box maybe just so I feel justified for being in there?

Actually, in this moment, can I stop and see the impact of my disaster movie thinking. Can I move back into the reality of right now and then think through options.  Can I stay responsive to collectively support anyone around me who is genuinely unable to feel safe? Can I climb out of the disaster movie and live in life able to see just what needs to be done?

  • Binary thinking: I feel that in times like these I can slip into a way of thinking that paints everything or everyone as either bad or good, right or wrong, safe or dangerous moving my mindset to exaggerate extremes.  I see me become competitive, combative, me vs. others in my need to protect me and all that matters to me. Others become threats to my plans, my safety, my needs, or they have something I need, and they are useful to me.  But what are the consequences of me potentially alienating, manipulating or creating foes from those around me? I disconnect, separate myself, I isolate myself in every sense of the word.

If I pause, remember that each person around me is unique and complex.  They have their own needs and are probably already out of their own comfort zone finding their way in this uncertainty. Seeing them as people again, I can reconnect to the fact that we are facing this challenge together, surely better united than separate or competing and alone.

If I can ignite curiosity towards my own unhelpful thinking patterns and the way I see behaviours in others, maybe I can find compassion and understanding in their actions before I judge and separate. If I can suspend my unhelpful thinking patterns and keep myself responsive, maybe in a global moment like this I can stay responsive, collaborative and care for those I love whilst in turn seeing where I can help others.

If you turn outward to this global crisis, how might you be able to help too?

Will psychological safety and mindset be the silver bullet for organisational transformation in 2020 and beyond?

by Alec Grimsley in Uncategorized

6 Feb, 2020 at 1:06 pm

As we enter 2020 and the beginning of a new decade, will there be a silver bullet that enables leaders to navigate the challenges and opportunities that lie within their disrupted industries?

Over the coming weeks, I will pen a series of articles exploring how ‘Mindset’ builds or reduces psychological safety and the influence that has on a leaders ability to play their part in creating a culture that supports transformation at pace.

An organisation’s greatest enemy

Unless you’ve had your head in the sand for the last 20 years, technological and regulatory disruption has been forcing leaders to build more responsive and adaptive organisations. Yet having spent millions or in some cases billions of pounds on technology, consulting services and restructures many organisations have not seen the hoped for gains. In some cases, the C-suite eventually arrive at the haunting realisation that their people and culture have become more rigid and inflexible, creating a net increase in governance, silos and protectionist behaviour. Why might this be?

The great enemy of organisational agility is FEAR. Fear is a strong word, but leaders I work with share that they are struggling with the complexity or transformation, especially around how to deliver objectives that require significant cross-organisational collaboration. 

Expectations on leaders are high, but often the organisational culture doesn’t have the psychological safety to allow for vulnerability. It’s usually not okay for a leader or those further down the chain of command to say “I’m struggling with is, I need help, is anyone else struggling?”. Hence, to gain some confidence back and a sense of making progress, they usually go back to a comfort zone of delivering in a siloed way. Inevitably the leaders fear siloed response gives other leaders justification to also work in the ‘old way’, and the organisation cannot transform and certainly not at any pace that keeps them competitive.

Another fear generating factor is uncertainty. In large complex organisations, there is no road map for significant cross-organisational transformation. Leaders will need to encourage a “Test & Learn.” philosophy where project teams can find a path through the complexity. This type of culture requires a high level of trust and psychological safety to foster an experimentation mentality. 

Fear drives what the Arbinger institute describes as an ‘Inward Mindset’ This mindset drives a behaviour that is either self-protective or self-advancing. If an Inward Mindset takes hold during complex transformation a vicious cycle begins to occur as different parts of the organisation that need to be collaborating, become increasingly protective and disjointed. The lack of alignment reduces progress and belief in the vision. The lack of progress creates fear at the highest level of leadership, which usually results in applying more pressure which further encourages a defensive siloed inward mindset across the organisation.

This all too familiar scenario sends a challenge to leadership. Leadership must create the conditions for a psychologically safe culture. Over the coming weeks I will explore various factors that build or undermine psychological safety, including how leaders shift their thinking from an ‘Inward’ self-protective mindset to an ‘Outward’ mindset where building trust, alignment and collaboration are valued and rewarded.

Alec Grimsley is the founder of Optimus, a consultancy that supports leadership to change mindset and foster a psychologically safe culture.

What will people think?

by Gillian Campbell in Uncategorized

31 Jan, 2020 at 2:30 pm

‘The must be seen as’ box in Arbinger’s Outward Mindset work is an insidious beast.  How can it be that I may have a sense of the right action to take or thing to say and yet sometimes I have to overcome a fear of voicing my idea or thought with a transient flash or catastrophising premonition of what people might think of me.  My need to be seen as not upsetting anyone, not rocking the boat, not being against the body of opinion, moves me to silence my sense.

The stifling effect of my concern or insecurity and the powerlessness of placing others view of me over the potential idea, thought or action can impact on my ability to see the people around me as people.  They feel dangerous, judging, the competition.  Contestants in an imaginary competition that I have to win…not a great way to live or see the world!

But what actually is the risk in mindset terms?

If I don’t follow my sense and I hold off from sharing what I see, what’s alive in me, the sense of what is useful, then an internal dialogue begins where I have to justify myself for ignoring the sense. I experience a constant dull niggle, an internal dialogue of ‘should’ s’ and ‘shouldn’t’ that I know are not true, but they might just feel real enough to lower the volume of my own disappointment. I know I’m not living my truth.  An ill-ease descends and a knowing doubt that I am not who I would like to be, I am afraid of people and I have handed my power to an imaginary foe.

Forty odd years of slowly recognising the weight of how ‘the must be seen as box’ weighs me down and now I recognise that honouring my sense creates resilience.  I can share how something looks to me, my thoughts, my truth, calmly without any need to be right.  By contributing what feels useful by speaking up or even just acknowledging my truth even if I quietly without fear sense it is not right, or not kind or useful to share. I know I have stood in the responsibility of who I am and although my views may not be approved of, or liked, by honouring my sense or speaking up brings a place of peace, a tranquillity.  From this stillness my fear recedes and the people around me are people again, probably all overcoming their own doubts and fears too.

Next time you have a sense to speak up about an idea you have, maybe try overcoming the maelstrom of justification and any fear of what others may think of you and see what happens…

Turning 2020 outward, one relationship at a time

by Gillian Campbell in Uncategorized

8 Jan, 2020 at 1:42 pm

We have just experienced a time of potentially sharing our time with others and reflecting and enjoying the spirit of our respective beliefs and traditions. For some this is a time of great connection, light, love and joy, for others maybe some sadness and loneliness, frustration and annoyance. For some the ‘expectation’ to be happy, connected to others and fulfilled, can bring pressure and disappointment.

Whatever your experiences were, we now move towards the closing of 2019. The gift of letting go, putting things to rest, closing the year and the chapter. The chance to create the possibility of new beginnings, hope and relationships.

Could a part of the new beginnings include a resolution to see those closest to you in a more outward way? Even just one step on the mindset continuum towards outward?

Could you reflect on the year and think about those closest to you. Those with whom maybe your relationship was not where you hoped it would be through the holidays or the year. Maybe someone who you no longer wish the relationship to be where it has been in the past and you would like to feel more at peace with how they are in your life.

Could you spend five minutes re-seeing the person they are behind the behaviours you are impacted by?

  1. Seek to see the person behind the behaviours. What fears, challenges, needs and pressures may have caused them to act in the way they have?
  2. In what ways may we have increased their fears, their vulnerability or amplified their need to act out their doubts in the ways we find uncomfortable.
  3. Have we ever been afraid or vulnerable and acted in ways that may annoy others?
  4. Where could we seek within ourselves; curious enquiry, compassion, acceptance and understanding when others display ‘interesting behaviours’?

Finding greater depths of tolerance, understanding or just curiosity for the people who we are in key relationships with does not make us victims, it does not allow them to win. This is not necessarily choosing to forgive and forget. This is seeing their fears, their pressures their needs, seeing them as people. No more or less human than us, and then responding, acting on what we see in the light of this clear sight.


If in 2020 if we can build a practice of curious enquiry when the closest people around us share ‘interesting’ behaviours, or perhaps we choose more often to talk only when speaking will bring us and others peace. If the conversations we have are person to person, having backbone with heart. If we seek to see the person behind the behaviours, see their vulnerability, fears and needs and honour them and ourselves with peace, compassion, curiosity and act in the light of that seeing… what could the change be?

What could finding a space to bring light to the world and to turn the world outward bring if, as we go into 2020, we all turn outward, one relationship at a time?

Have a peace-filled, loving New Year.

Gill, Arbinger UK.

How might mindset be relevant on how agile your project is?

by Gillian Campbell in Uncategorized

13 Nov, 2019 at 1:51 pm

In the latest State of Agile report, the survey responses indicate that organisational cultural issues remain the leading impediments to adopting and scaling agile. General resistance to change, and organizational culture that is at odds with agile values rank as two of the top challenges.

So, which of the key AGILE values might mindset be relevant to? Well our mindset can be resistant and inward or responsive and outward, so mindset can impact on how we respond to change over following the plan.

If change happens our default setting may be to turn inward, we may worry about the impact on us, the consequences for us. Will we know what to do? Will we have the skills required? Will we be ok?

I remember when a new team member joined us, they were coming in to perform a lot of the tasks that I had previously done. I had moved into a new role that I knew could bring a lot of value with but still as the new team member started, my focus turned to me;

What if they are instantly better than me?

What if everyone likes them more than me?

What if they are ambitious and better than me, and more popular…what could happen to me?

In that mindset, what might my behaviours have been to the new team member that was freeing me to undertake my new role?

What could the costs and consequences of my mindset have been?

All this focus is on self…this limits our ability to think outward and respond in the moment to what needs to be done.

If we are outward in the face of change, we can clearly ask ourselves how we might be a problem for the change. Focus on the needs of others and the organisation we work for and the customers or stakeholders we work with.

In that mindset we can stay agile and responsive to whatever the right thing to do.

Coaching is to fix, mend or improve, and I am not broken and I’m doing ok…I don’t need a mindset coach

by Gillian Campbell in Uncategorized

13 Nov, 2019 at 12:41 pm

I don’t believe I, my clients or any person has a broken mindset, or even a damaged way of seeing. I do believe however, we can put blinkers on at times, often to feel safe in the moment, and we forget to take them off and this alters our view. We just don’t realise that we are seeing in this filtered way. Outward mindset coaching is time to share a space where there is a chance of seeing every situation through a different lens, to see a new view and take off the blinkers we may have picked up on the way.

Why?  Well because we are in relationship all the time, be it with our family, colleagues, friends, and how we see them, how we see the world reflects how we see ourselves.  Everything we do is influenced by how we see this connectivity and these relationships.  

I am in relationship with these words as I type, I could share these words worrying about how you may see or view me.  Write driven by my fear that someone may use these words to judge me, measure me, dislike me.  Should I write to make me seem ‘nice’, kind, a good person?  Maybe I could write to impress you, to choose eloquent words from a thesaurus of my own pomposity to show you how much more I know than you and therefore how I am better than you and you need my help, my coaching services for you to be better too…Or, alternatively I share with you how hard my life has been and how I have earnt your understanding, pity even and admiration. None of these views are true, but they may feel real to me on some level.

I believe that if I wrote to meet my need for you to like me, be impressed by me, admire me or buy my coaching services, you would feel that as you read.  You will form a relationship with me, you will see me, through my words and feel the disconnect.

But most importantly on some level I know I would feel the disconnect too, I would know I was self-serving and this would sit with me and it would draw me to see myself and my relationship with all of you in a blinkered light. In addition, I could then believe I need to live up to the image I had created…

So, for me, Outward Mindset coaching sits in the space of philosophy, a way of seeing, choosing how we live, not about looking at what is broken and fixing it.  We are all whole, but at times we stop seeing all our connectivity.  The blinkers don’t break us or destroy us; they just separate us from being wholly at peace with how we sit in relationship, with ourselves, others and the world.

So, outward mindset coaching is not to mend, it is to see.

What do you think?

Why would anyone undertake outward mindset coaching?

by Gillian Campbell in Category1

17 Aug, 2019 at 11:15 am

Some of my client’s equate mindset coaching to endurance training, not always entirely pleasant but they come out the other side, more at peace with themselves, more agile and ultimately more resilient. They can recognise their self-deception and start to see choices and decisions more clearly.

For most of my clients the recognition is that as their influence increases, they are required to grow systemically with the level of relational complexity that the organization operates within. The changes required of them are no longer just ‘motivate, task, result,’ based, they are being asked to manage their own internal reality; their cognitive, psychological and conscious development, their mindset.

One way of thinking of this is that each human being has an operating system, their life has lead them to a default ‘way of being’, and seeing the world, challenges opportunities and so on. However business complexity and human dynamics today need an upgraded operating system, one equipped for the complex ask of partnering  and sharing collaborative relationships with a talented diverse range of peers. This shift in operating system at times can sit at odds to the way these leaders achieved the level of success they have achieved so far. The inner development of how any of us see self and ‘choose’ to change comes from two things;

  1. A recognition that they we in fact operating from an outdated operating system, in turn often seeing that we are unconsciously impacting on others in a way that contravenes our own core values.
  2. The recognition that the behaviours that got us to where we are now, are not necessarily the way we can maintain our role as a more senior member of the team.

So how is mindset coaching different?

Arbinger is based on a unique IP and approach that helps people to see in a different way – to see problems differently, conflicts differently, challenges differently, opportunities differently, each other differently. Until someone begins to see differently old problems remain and opportunities are missed.

Traditional Coaching

I need to discover the gap between where I am and where I want me to be and then fill the gap.

Arbinger coaching

Arbinger coaching also discovers and fills the gap.  Where it differs is; the client is coached to see where they may be self-deceived about their behaviours and therefore their reality gap. It also allows them to discover why they have not bridged their gap already or why they self-sabotage attempts to do so. It allows insight into the self-deceptions we are all unable to see.

Traditional coaching

The objective is; what do I want to achieve for me from my coaching time?

 Arbinger coaching

The objective is; what would those around me; my organisation, a new organisation, my customers, my direct reports, my peers and other people in my key relationships want me to achieve from my coaching time and how does relate to the way I currently work?

The results, well let me let one of my clients tell you;

 “I would consider myself a fairly self-aware person but even from the first session Gill helped uncover some habitual ways of thinking which were not helping me. She has a knack of getting under the skin of things in a way that makes you feel supported, listened to and excited about how change is possible. I’ve left every session feeling more empowered and more aware of how the things I do can impact other peoples’ reactions and ways of working with me. I would thoroughly recommend Gill to anyone and everyone lucky enough to have discovered her!”
Commercial Director, Retail Organisation

Turn the World Outward

by Gillian Campbell in Category1

3 Jul, 2019 at 2:10 pm

What an inspirational Arbinger 2019 Summit!  A week of ideas and discussion, learning and passion, a collective of people from so many different walks of life coming together in their hope for a more outward mindset in the world.  We witnessed moments of pure brilliance and heart soaring awe. There were speakers from a Cyberspace operations squadron, a Professor of surgery, Chief of staff at Washington State alongside the passion and commitment of the winners of the Turn the World Outward awards,  senior leaders, facilitators, people, all who aim to see people as people in even the most challenging of circumstances.

I had the honour to open a discussion of Outward coaching in the face of complexity and agility, looking at perceived fear and its impact on mindset and culture.  There were questions, and thoughts and discussions that created so much new thought and passion and a new agenda for change through mindset coaching.

And, do you know what?  The week has given me hope!  A sense of excitement and optimism, courage and faith.  At a time in humanity’s journey when so much seems to be out of focus and complex, there is a force of change, of peace, of love that is not driven by a need for self or personal gain, it is about seeing life through seeing others. Right now, the force of # Turn the world outward feels like a new start. Watch this space !

Do You Assume Too Much?

by admin in Uncategorized

1 Feb, 2017 at 1:15 pm

Do you test assumptions?

 If you assume something, you may be taking for granted that it is true without checking in with the other person.

How do you know if you are making an assumption?

How do you know whether someone is making assumptions about you?

It’s easy to clarify and confirm your assumptions with the other person but only if you first notice that one has been made.

Do you infer meaning to others’ words or actions without questioning?

 If you infer something you draw a conclusion about something you don’t know by drawing on knowledge of what you do know. Are you able to see that you may have assigned meaning to someone else’s communication either written or spoken, without clarifying their reasoning and intent?

Part of the mindset of Vital Conversations is catching yourself applying your own thinking, experience or potential bias to the conclusions you draw from the data others give you.

Are you needing to have a conversation with someone where you can see that you have made assumptions or drawn inferences?

Download our  conversation planning tool, challenge your own thinking; see things for what they are by challenging your story about the situation and the person.  Get back to the core data or if you prefer the non-emotional reality of what needs to be addressed and plan for the conversation.

Then embark on the conversation and lead yourself again by utilising 2nd generation mindset staying curious about possible assumptions and inferences.

If during the conversation or email exchange your “assumption antennae” twitch, then there is a reason – pause – take a breath, try to step one rung down your ladder – and then ask a question.  “I’m wondering if either of us might be making assumptions here – can I check this with you?”

Nigel Singer Mediator