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Embracing the Serving Mindset for Career Success: Advice from Farnoosh Brock

Farnoosh Brock

Farnoosh Brock

Business & Leadership Coach

Key Takeaways

  • Shift from Selling to Serving Mindset: Transitioning to a serving mindset in business involves prioritizing understanding and aligning with others’ goals, fostering deeper trust and more impactful relationships.
  • Job Seeking with a Serving Mindset: Embracing this mindset in job hunting establishes immediate trust and portrays a mutually beneficial approach, differentiating candidates in a competitive market.
  • Integrating Serving Mindset in Job Search: Starting with a change in thought process, this approach involves asking insightful questions and positioning oneself as a value-adding candidate in job interviews.
  • Serving Mindset in Career Development: Adopting a serving mindset can significantly enhance professional image and trustworthiness, making candidates more appealing to employers seeking healthy workplace cultures.
  • Networking and Personal Branding: This mindset encourages a more open and trust-oriented approach in networking, aiding in the development of an authentic and intuitive personal brand.
  • Serving Mindset in Leadership and Team Dynamics: In leadership, fostering a culture of serving can improve team dynamics, enhance communication, and resolve conflicts, beginning with leaders themselves modeling these values.

How + Why to Go from Selling to Serving Mindset at Work

Have you ever wondered how a shift from a ‘selling’ to a ‘serving’ mindset can revolutionize your career approach? Farnoosh Brock, a renowned coach and trainer, introduces this transformative concept, emphasizing its impact on professional growth and team dynamics. This Q&A delves into Brock’s insights, exploring how adopting a serving mindset can reshape job hunting, personal branding, and leadership, ultimately fostering more meaningful and effective workplace relationships and cultures.

First, before we dive in, what is the “serving mindset”?

“Everyone in business has a ‘selling mindset’. It is our agenda, our objective, imposed on us by our management, customers, peers and selves. It is what we set out to do when we start the day, and it helps keep us focused and accomplished. The selling mindset, however, comes short when we have to build deep trust and strong relationships which are necessary to help us influence and lead and have a higher impact. The serving mindset is a shift in how we view our own goals and how we need to develop understanding of the goals and priorities of others. This shift first happens in our thinking and then in our expressions and communications and actions and decisions. It is powerful beyond measure and allows us to go well beyond the selling mindset.

In a summary, the serving mindset puts People before Projects, People before Profits, and in this manner, when people thrive, projects and profits grow exponentially, but truly putting People First takes a shift in mindset and execution that is still not the norm.”

“This mindset will immediately make a different impression on everyone they interact with in that job seeking process. Because they will establish trust and communicate from a place of mutual benefit, they will speak a different language. For instance, I stop a job seeker soon as they dive into their long list of accomplishments and teach them how to phrase their story in a way that goes from isolated – one entity (them) vs. the other entity (the employers) – to a unified story. They do this by understanding how to relate and connect on potential value, impact and contribution.”

“Glad you asked, because everyone wants to know “OK great, what do I do then?” And first, you have to ask, “OK great, but how do I think differently?” However, that takes a deeper dive into my work as a coach and trainer for which you can book a chat with me. Let’s give you one question that you need to ask before telling recruiters about yourself: “{insert name|, would it be alright for me to share how I can bring value to this role you have posted?”. Asking permission is not about politeness but about ensuring that you are already valued as someone who is inquiring, that you are confident, that you know your own value and are looking for the right fit. From there, be sure to position yourself well, which is a whole other topic we could delve into in one of my sessions.”

Applying the Serving Mindset to Career Development

“Instant trust and respect. They will come across as someone who is a professional and knows how to conduct themselves and is also confident enough to do so in a mature way. So you make the highest impression on character and that is a currency that is always and especially right now of great value for the right employer. If you are, however, shopping around for the next highest paid gig, the selling mindset will match you for the right environment more quickly. The serving mindset is for those who are not only looking for very well-paid positions but also a healthy environment, a culture that appreciates them, a workplace that nurtures great relationships, and a leadership that resonates with the serving mindset too.”

Picture of Farnoosh

“So once you establish the mindset, you will speak a different language. You will be curious, and thus more open in expanding your horizons. You will have clearer boundaries and not be a people pleaser but also not alienate others. My one tip for you is to ask yourself how you now approach your networking. What is your current approach to building like and trust and do you even think of it in those terms? Your job is to journal on how you do it currently and how you can bring an intuitive aspect of trust building to your dialogues early on.”

“I teach my clients and students the Unique Serving Proposition or USP. Note the use of the word serving in lieu of the word “selling” because you are not selling yourself in this mindset. You are aiming to serve powerfully for mutual benefit of both sides. One pillar of the USP which demonstrates your unique value is your character, which very few bring to the job interview. So, think of the character trait that most exemplifies you and then insert that in your story. Start there. Position yourself in an authentic way by thinking it and expressing it in a mutually beneficial way. See if that alone helps you language your phrases and advocate for your value better.”

The Serving Mindset in Workplace Relationships and Team Dynamics

“I have actually seen how the serving mindset has impacted teamwork and culture in my years of training companies and leaders. First, there is a pause in ‘we’ve done it this way all the time’ which encompasses many of the failed attempts at true leadership. Second, there is a higher desire to put People First, and it has to begin with management, and it has to be role modeled so that then people can put each other first in teams and peer relationships. Once this People First becomes a core value of the culture, relationships improve, tensions ease and individuals feel more comfortable sharing mistakes or asking for help or bringing ideas to the table and so much more.”

Could you give an example of how this mindset might help resolve conflicts or manage a team?

“In one recent senior leadership training, I helped the small team of executives understand that the core of this on-going conflict and ever-present tension across their teams does not fall on the teams, but on them as leaders to resolve. And it begins by having hard conversations. So stop avoiding the hard conversations and address the issue in a compassionate but clear way, establish lines of communication between conflicting teams, and lead those conversations. These are skills that need to be learned in having a good hard conversation which is beyond the scope of our article here, but it is not, as most assume, “comes easily to some but not to me.” There is no such thing and having more hard conversations with the serving mindset is at the heart of thriving cultures.”

What advice would you give to leaders wanting to foster a culture of serving within their teams?

“I would say to leaders to develop their own skills first. Going to a training session and coming back to repeat the same behavior does not constitute the necessary changes. Going to training sessions and coming back with changed habits in mindset, behavior, action and approach, now that is how we elevate leaders and their cultures.

If you’d like to learn more about my work with companies and universities on The Serving Mindset around Leadership and Communication and EQ, reach out.”

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