Your staff are all good at some things, bad at others and that’s just the way it is, right? Actually, it’s just the way it isn’t. Yes, but surely some people are limited in their scope for development; some are destined to be leaders, others are intrinsically followers. Wrong again; that’s a fixed mindset; a rigid viewpoint that can adversely affect your organizational growth.
Embrace the power of a growth mindset
The concept of a growth mindset was pioneered by renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck and has led to substantial increases in motivation and productivity in workplaces adopting its principles. With a fixed mindset you’re likely to view talent as something you either have or don’t have, yet a growth mindset proves that latent and new talents can be developed in anyone; all it needs is the right attitude. A growth mindset means today’s ‘Joe Average’ can be tomorrow’s star performer. A growth mindset means today’s failing math student can be tomorrow’s math professor or, to be more positively lateral, tomorrow’s renowned artist. .
A growth mindset means thinking outside the box
And by box, I mean pigeonhole, because that’s what we tend to do: we employ people based on a resume and background and we pigeonhole them according to their abilities. But what if that person peered out of their pigeonhole and started climbing into others, discovering new interests, new abilities and unexpected new gifts? That’s what happens when you and those around you operate with a growth mindset. How many stars is your organisation hiding behind rigid job descriptions right now? Free them to find their true calling by giving them the chance to grow into new areas.
A growth mindset gives everyone an opportunity
By adopting a growth mindset, Microsoft have completely rethought their employee development program. One innovation is an annual ‘hackathon.’* This gives every Microsoft employee, no matter what their position, the chance to generate ideas for any internal business sector they choose. If their idea is adopted, Microsoft funds it and a team is established to put it into action. Not only has a latent leader been found, but Microsoft has a hot new project.
A growth mindset recruits from within
It makes sense. As an organisation, you build a culture and team camaraderie based around people who know and trust each other. There’s a shared, well practiced understanding of your methods and ideals. So while a fixed mindset instinctively hires from outside because they believe talent can’t be developed in their existing staff, a growth mindset promotes from within. A growth mindset recognises latent talent, passion for learning and overall potential. Not only does this give people working for you unlimited scope for growth, it builds powerful loyalty and employee engagement.
A growth mindset ignores qualifications
Well, not entirely, but how many times have you seen a job application saying ‘Must have university degree.’ Such demands can be associated with fixed mindset thinking. On the other hand, a growth mindset will be more interested in capable, independent thinkers and learners with a hunger for self-improvement. Free thinkers with passion and drive can often be your key drivers for success.
A growth mindset starts at the top
It has to. While many of your staff will be hungry for self-development, plenty won’t. In fact they’ll resist it for their own reasons. But to maximize personal and professional growth, we all need to get out of our comfort zones. We need to stop clinging to the tried and true and grasp the untested. We need to try new tasks, new skills and new techniques. Above all we need to accept growth as a process, expect to have a few failures along the way and be fine with that. A growth mindset liberates minds and frees entire organisations to be whatever they want to be.