Let’s be honest, your mindset matters every minute of your day. Whether you’re brushing your teeth or gearing up for a huge presentation, your mindset will be in the background.
Today we’re looking specifically at how your mindset affects your work experience - and how it impacts your employer too.
The difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset
Look at this first set of statements:
- “I’m either good at something or I’m not.”
- “I give up.”
- “I’ll stick to what I know.”
- “Criticism and feedback are personal.”
- “My potential is predetermined.”
Now look at this second set of statements:
- “I can learn to do anything I want to do.”
- “I like to try new things.”
- “My attitude determines my ability to do new things.”
- “Other people’s success inspires me.”
- “Failure is the opportunity to grow.”
These two sets of statements are speaking about the same things, i.e. personal ability, feedback, success and failure, but couldn’t be more different in their approach.
This is the difference between a fixed mindset (the first set) and a growth mindset (the second set).
At its most stark, a fixed mindset believes that intelligence is something you’re born with and you can do nothing further to enhance it. You get your quota at birth, and that’s it.
In its simplest form, a growth mindset believes that you have the ability to enhance the natural talents you inherently have. They do not believe that intelligence and ability is fixed, but rather something that can grow throughout life.
How to create a growth mindset
Various factors contribute to building a growth mindset, both within yourself and in teams that you manage.
The first step is to truly internalise that your ability and intelligence is never a finished product.
That’s a mindset shift in itself. Not only will this perspective lay the foundation for continuous learning throughout life, but it also removes the sting of failure. You and your team members will come to understand that failure is simply another step on the way to success.
A growth mindset takes into account the unique makeup of each individual. This makeup is a combination of biological factors, such as DNA, and environmental factors, such as education.
All of us have some inherent ability to do things. One person may handle stress very well, but be a poor timekeeper. Another person may never be a minute late but quickly find themselves overwhelmed if their “to do” list gets too long.
This is fine; people’s strengths and weaknesses are more than accounted for within a growth mindset.
Where a growth mindset differs from a fixed mindset is that an acknowledgement is made that people can grow. So the poor timekeeper can learn how to be better in this area, and the stressed person can find strategies to better cope with deadlines. A fixed mindset person would simply believe that they’re bad with time or can’t cope with stress.
Think about this in the context of leadership. Some people might well and truly be born leaders, but leadership is a skill that can be learnt. Anyone who is willing to put in the work and effort required to become a more effective leader can do so.
Many professionals fall into the trap of believing that talent wins in every scenario. They either have the ability to do the job or they don’t.
Talent definitely counts, but it’s simply one part of an overall package.
Have you ever heard the saying that “your attitude determines your altitude”? Well, that saying gives a clue as to what the biggest part of the package is. Your attitude or your mindset. Cultivate a growth mindset and the sky truly is the limit.
How mindset can power company growth
Large corporates and SMEs alike are discovering that a growth mindset can be the power that creates growth within their organisations.
One of the biggest case studies in this regard is Microsoft. Satya Nadella became CEO in 2014. He immediately set to work to create a growth mindset culture within the global firm. Tactically, this has even included “evaluating employees’ performance based partly on how much they help their colleagues succeed”.
While Microsoft’s example has grabbed the headlines, it’s not the only illustration of organisations focusing on growth mindsets.
LinkedIn too has identified building a growth mindset culture as the key to achieving company-wide KPIs.
One of the ways the global social media giant is doing this is by encouraging a learning culture within the company. This learning approach is not a tick box exercise so that employees fulfil criteria to get their annual bonuses. Rather, it’s a culture that encourages learning and development through employees’ own natural curiosity.
Senior Director of HR EMEA at LinkedIn, Wendy Murphy, says, “We want people to learn the most they can and be the best professional they can be so that when they make the jump, they jump for the right reasons. We like people leaving. We are not afraid of it.”
Commit to a growth mindset today
A growth mindset has the potential to pay huge dividends. Trillion-dollar dividends if we look at Microsoft’s case!
For an individual, the payoffs can be as significant. Growth mindsets can lead to wonderful new career opportunities, increased earning capacity and a vibrant work-life.
Best of all, cultivating a growth mindset doesn’t take much to begin.
Follow the 1% rule to make a small improvement every day in your life. Maybe it’s how you approach a problem, or how you cultivate a response to a challenging email.
Or maybe it’s how you work with time! Small changes lead to big results.