Bringing a Growth Mindset into Your Organization

Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve been talking about a growth mindset, starting with the difference between a growth mindset and a fixed mindset.

As a reminder, here’s the difference:

  • Growth Mindset: believing that with time and experience we can all learn, grow, and become smarter
  • Fixed Mindset: believing that we are who we are

The exciting and sometimes difficult shift to living a growth mindset involves working toward seeing challenges as opportunities to learn rather than as threats.

People who see challenges as learning opportunities are more resilient, agile, and innovative – qualities that are important to us personally and to our organizations.

There are three steps
to getting started on weaving a growth mindset
into an organizational culture:

  1. Define the ways you can name and claim a growth mindset day-to-day in your work, teams, and organization. While there are a number of ways to talk about this mindset, the most successful organizations talk about it regularly and in a consistent language:
    • Some organizations talk about becoming a learning organization or creating continuous improvement.
    • We teach leaders about creating a culture of leadership and engagement where every single member of the organization owns their leadership, regardless of their role or title.
    • In business, people may be respected for holding a growth mindset, but they also need to be able to take action from a growth mindset in a way that furthers the mission and vision.
  1. Define the core behaviors that you’d expect to see if people are living a growth mindset. While behaviors are specific to an organization there are some that all organizations committed to a growth mindset share:
    • There is an expectation that all members of the organization seek feedback and gratefully accept it – from the CEO, to the middle managers, and to the line staff.
    • There is recognition and respect for exploration and reasonable risk/failures are celebrated when done in an effort to learn.
    • “Yet” has become a part of the approach to solving problems, as in, “We aren’t there yet, but we’re getting closer.”
    • People evaluate their successes and challenges and explore ways to become more effective rather than only discussing these things at an annual review.
  1. Track quantitative and qualitative indicators of increases in growth mindset. Provide recognition when people are showing a growth mindset and provide coaching support when they’re falling into a fixed mindset. Here are some examples of what organizations are doing:
    • Use employee satisfaction and/or engagement surveys to assess growth mindset.
    • Track the willingness of employees to share their unique perspectives and to take risks as they learn and grow.
    • Build growth mindset stories into newsletters, emails from leaders, and presentations at organizational meetings. Success stories that come from having a growth mindset help people start to understand how to translate it into successful implementation.
    • Track how much collaboration (genuine, struggle-through-different-perspectives-together collaboration) is happening at various levels throughout the organization.

Remember, people will discard this as a flavor of the month exercise; especially if leaders themselves don’t really have a growth mindset. Leaders need to be willing to embrace a growth mindset and some of the more challenging aspects of it – like seeking feedback gratefully. Remember, what we say is not nearly as important as what we do!

Spend some time this week considering how you can bring a growth mindset to your own life and to your work.

We would love to hear how you’re weaving a growth mindset into your organizational culture!

If you’d like 1:1 support in
putting a growth mindset into practice,
contact us today about our Executive Coaching.

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