The Only Difference: Mindset

by Michael Graber

The Only Difference: MindsetThe same truths not brought into action present themselves as lessons, on-going themes. This one rings with more truth every time I encounter it. Mindset is the real pivot point, the only true sustainable, competitive advantage (other than exclusivity, which is always temporary) for organizations that want to flourish.

Mindset permeates corporate cultures, whole regions, and serves as a leaping off point of positive influence for social movements. Indeed, perspective is everything.

On a recent trip to Nashville I met with some very bright and inspired entrepreneurs, from all corners of the globe. There is a palpable buzz about town that is met with an infrastructure (co-working spaces, programs, access to capital, and a critical mass of talent). Several meetings were held in coffee shops where every table was filled with an emerging business plan or business model canvas sketches. In every part of town there are signs of resurgence: start-ups taking over old buildings and houses, creating communities, clusters of focus and energy.

Then, I come home and compare it to Memphis, where we have some noble efforts (Forge, Start Co., BioWorks, Co-Work space, the new Eco-System, Emerge, the Studio’s efforts, to name several), but no boiling over into a movement. The energy stays, if I am to be honest, fragmented and the same groups tussle over the same finite set of resources and talent. Most tragically, there is access to capital. Even more tragically, the mindset never gets to the point where you feel a sense of everything clustering together, converging into a cultural movement where the air seems pregnant with possibility.

Things just seem harder here, other than traffic. Then again, a little more traffic from more talented people moving here to start companies would not really be a notable problem.

Say it with me, Memphis. We can. We are outstanding. Change the mindset to one of risk taking and opportunity. Step up and invest in a local company. Get on a board and demand transformation, insist on growth and innovation. Do your part.

Be the growth by cultivating a growth mindset. It is a magnetizing principal. Just look at Nashville, or Austin, or Palo Alto, or what is happening in Downtown Los Vegas now. Invest your time, your talent, your energy, and your capital, but most importantly, invest your open mind to the possibility of positive change and growth. The potential is here, but it is up to you (and I mean you, personally) to manifest it. The region needs you. This is your call-to-action. Be the catalyst or we’ll all be forced to move. Create new avenues of growth. It’s all in the mind, after all.

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Michael GraberMichael Graber is the co-founder and managing partner at Southern Growth Studio, a Memphis, Tennessee-based firm that specializes in growth strategy and innovation. A published poet and musician, Graber is the creative force that complements the analytical side of the house. He speaks and publishes frequently on best practices in design thinking, business strategy, and innovation and earned an MFA from the University of Memphis. Follow Michael @SouthernGrowth

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