Imagine a SWAT team busting into a home to arrest two drug dealers. The home is filled with mothers and their infant children. While the arrests are being made, the babies are screaming, not sure what is going on all around them.

In the kitchen, one of the SWAT officers is looking for baby formula so he can prepare milk bottles for the babies. Not something most people would expect to happen during a raid by tough and aggressive SWAT team members.

Now, imagine an organization facing the need to cut $100 million from its budget after being acquired by another company. Faced with this level of cost-cutting, many executives go into self-preservation mode, looking to others to step up to save the organization, while protecting their own turf and resources.

One of the executives at the organization decides to fold his operation under the leadership of one of his peers, seeing this as the best way to serve the broader interests of the organization. This move alone contributes almost 10% of the required reduction in cost.

What is going on here? What drove the actions of the SWAT team member and the executive above to behave in ways many would find surprising?

According to The Arbinger Institute, the explanation for these behaviors is an “outward mindset” as opposed to an “inward mindset”.

When operating from an inward mindset, people behave in ways that are calculated to benefit themselves. When choosing an outward mindset, people consider and behave in ways that further the collective results of their team or organization.

An outward mindset focuses us on the needs, objectives and challenges of others, whether we are interacting with our manager, our customers, our direct reports, our peers or our families. Coming from a place of humility and service, we look for ways to bring about better outcomes, even if it causes us personal sacrifice.

In The Outward Mindset: Seeing Beyond Ourselves, The Arbinger Institute demonstrates how teams can come together to deliver superior results by practicing self-accountability, and how personal and organizational transformations occur when we look beyond ourselves to the needs of others.