Let’s talk fitness.

Physical fitness builds a strong body, endurance, and stamina. Commitment to training goals ensures athletes will push through training challenges – each achievement creating more energy, focus, and confidence.

In my work leading agile transformation for Cisco’s Customer & Partner Experience Engineering (CPXE) organization, I have seen firsthand how the concept of fitness translates to organizational health, too – I call it transformational fitness.

Transformational fitness is the ability to sustain energy and focus in the face of challenges, over time. It requires the same heart, stamina, and endurance an elite athlete needs to run a marathon. And like that athlete, building transformational fitness necessitates commitment and practice. In this three-part series, I’ll share strategies & resources to understand the concept and build the muscle memory & stamina to be fit for transformation.

Just like physical fitness, transformational fitness starts with mindsets. Minds are a powerful override when we experience fatigue or frustration. On the opposite end, if we’re committed to something, regardless of how difficult, our mindsets will help us see the benefit & outcome of the work. A growth mindset focuses our energy on learning & embracing challenges– demonstrating these qualities can be a powerful influence on team motivation.

I love Carol Dweck’s TED talk, connecting a growth mindset to the possibilities of improvement. Nurturing a growth mindset ignites engagement & motivation to pursue a path, especially when it’s challenging. In our transformation efforts, we model a growth mindset through three key behaviors for exactly that reason. Key examples include:

  • Fail forward to accelerate mistakes and subsequent learning, adapt quickly and keep moving,
  • View feedback as a gift so constructive & positive feedback are encouraged & actioned,
  • Embrace non-linear paths to unlock and develop individual & team potential.

Adopting a growth mindset and demonstrating behaviors such as these will perpetually build & enhance confidence across the organization, ensuring we persevere when the going gets tough. Just like that marathon runner.

In my next article, I’ll shed some light on cultural conditions that hinder, or enable teams undergoing transformation to build confidence throughout the journey.

If you’ve ever connected the importance of physical fitness and transformational fitness, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.


Additional Reading:

How Retrospectives Build a Growth Mindset at Microsoft


Marcy Pawlak

Head of CX Cloud Transformation

Customer & Partner Experience Engineering