You’re probably familiar with the term “growth mindset” thanks to the work of Carol Dweck, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology at Stanford University and the author of the book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.
As she describes on her article "What Having a “Growth Mindset” Actually Means", individuals with a growth mindset “believe their talents can be developed (through hard work, good strategies, and input from others).” In contrast, individuals with a fixed mindset believe their talents are innate gifts—and therefore put less energy into learning or developing new talents.
Nobody is all one or the other. As Dr. Dweck explains in the article, “Everyone is actually a mixture of fixed and growth mindsets, and that mixture continually evolves with experience. A ‘pure’ growth mindset doesn’t exist, which we have to acknowledge in order to attain the benefits we seek.”
Why Develop a Growth Mindset?
The future of work requires that we continue growing and learning new things.
Robert Johnson, the president of Western New England University, explained it this way at the 2021 Leadership in the Age of Personalization Summit: “We're now leading in a world of ambiguity. And from a higher education perspective, we're educating young people for jobs that do not exist.”
The same applies to each of us. We have to prepare ourselves a future in which careers and jobs are changing fast. The only way to prepare for that is to learn how to learn, learn how to change, learn how to evolve. That’s what it means to have a growth mindset. It means we know that we can learn new things. We know that we can grow.
How to Develop a Growth Mindset
One of the most effective strategies to empower people is to help them understand this concept of growth mindset and help them know how to develop a growth mindset for themselves and for those they lead.
This starts with building a team culture where people are continuously re-assessing what they know, what they need to know, and how to gain that knowledge.
You can do this by adopting a practice of assess + interrupt + pivot. This is simply a process for continuously breaking ourselves out of our current status quo so that we never get complacent.
- Assess: For me, my team and my organization to remain relevant over the next year, what skills and knowledge do we need? Consider skills and knowledge we have but don’t use, as well as skills and knowledge we currently lack.
- Interrupt: How can we interrupt ourselves to fill this gap? Maybe we should free up someone’s time so they can put these dormant skills to use. Maybe we need to explore new types of training programs to introduce us to new ways of thinking.
- Pivot: Take action. Too many assessments end with a report that doesn’t lead to action. If we have a team culture that embraces a growth mindset, then we should be primed for action—primed for growth.
As we move into an increasingly uncertain future, it’s more important than ever that we focus on continuous growth and learning in order to stay ahead of the curve. That’s why it’s so important to develop a team culture with a growth mindset.
If you want to learn more about how to create this type of environment for your team, or if you need help convincing your leadership that this is the way to go, contact us. Our keynote speakers can provide valuable insights and strategies for developing a growth mindset culture in your workplace.