How is success measured in your organisation? Is it the results/ performance? Or is measured against the effort your employees put in?
I want to give you some tips on how to create a growth mindset for your employees but before that I want to distinguish what a fixed mindset is.
A ‘fixed mindset’ is when people believe their talents; skillsets, abilities and intelligence are just fixed traits. They have a certain amount and that’s it. Other people who have a growth mindset believe their talents; skillsets and abilities can develop over time through life experiences, mentorships and learning from others. They aren’t worried about what they look like, how smart they are and what mistakes will mean. They challenge themselves and strive towards consistent improvement.
People with a fixed mindset tend to think how they can be smarter and have something to prove to themselves. Psychologists Carol Dweck and Claudia Mueller carried out research involving 128 ten to eleven year olds that was split into two different groups. Each of the groups was ask to solve a number of mathematical problems that were hard. One group was praised for their charterstics (you did great- you must be really smart) and other groups was praised for their effort (you did great-you must of put a lot of effort into that). This was followed by a second test that was much harder than the first, it was so hard not any of them got a question right. They were all told they did worst than the first time. When they did the third test with an easier set of questions the group that was tested on intelligence did 25% worst than the group that was praised for work ethic. The intelligent group blamed their own inability to complete the questions and gave up more easily compared to the work ethic group.
Professor Carol Dweck at Stanford University has also found the achievement of success is down to the importance of improving in our abilities rather than our intelligence. Her latest research concluded that these beliefs in our organisations, and shape the ability to be innovative, creative and healthier/happier employees.
When organisations only measure our results, Dweck suggests this creates a ‘fixed mindset’ culture, where the smart and talented is prized above the other behaviors. When we become worried about the outcome, it seems we will do whatever it takes to get achieve the results including lying to colleagues and clients, stealing other peoples ideas and blaming others when things go wrong. This ‘fixed mindset’ also causes further culture damage by ignoring and avoiding opportunities for growth, innovation and learning.
Dweck research suggests we should all make embrace a ‘growth mindset’ culture of development and that it is our working to our best efforts and giving it our best shot that counts. She says we are most confident when we can solve problems and challenges and deal with setbacks. The ‘growth mindset’ also provides benefits such as less stress and anxiety and more self-esteem and generally in better health.
So how can you embrace a ‘growth mindset’ culture?
Take a look at Zappos, they went from a struggling online footwear company in 1999 to selling to Amazon for $1.2 Billion ten years later, they still exist today as a separate entity to Amazon and the big reason for their large organic growth was the mission and core values that made up the DNA as a company. In Tony Hsiehs book ‘Delivering Happiness’ employees reveal real life experiences that are based on Zappos core values.
Mindset profoundly shapes key business practices:
Relationship-building: The fixed mindset culture is if I win, you lose, it fosters conflict and mistrust, relationships are governed by power, domination and ego. A growth mindset fosters a culture of working together, we can create more value than if we work individually. By working together through collaboration fosters trust and build flourishing relationships over time.
A great example of an organisation embracing this growth mindset culture is the ‘Association of Extraordinary Pa’s’. Their mission is to create extraordinary pa’s (personal assistants) through the power of recognition and growth. Their core values and ethos is ‘Together Helping Personal Assistants Become Great’. They offer exclusive events to assistants on the first Thursday of each month.
Here are a few more tips for creating a business culture that creates a growth mindset.
1) Don’t hire people who just have the academic achievements, hire people who have great level of optimism
2) Get rid of negative people, negativity will affect mindset, productivity and performance of the your working environment
3) Support your staff’s goals, dreams and ambitions provide them with the tools to succeed
4) Know what an individuals ‘hot button’ is, what is their why and purpose in life and what motivates them?
5) Praise employees efforts when faced with a challenge, give feedback and reward people in engaging in the process not just the outcome
Now, if your reading this article and your saying to yourself, I have this growth mindset all covered then I’m going to respectfully suggest you question that statement. If there were one thing you could do to cultivate a growth mindset for yourself or team, what would it be?