How to develop a growth mindset in your organization..

Every day, 12,000 Google searches are performed for ‘growth mindset quotes’. We like to get inspired, lift our spirits up and find the motivation to propel us to get up and take action.

In this article you will find out:

  • What a growth mindset is
  • What the difference is between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset
  • How you can encourage a growth mindset in your organization by doing these 4 things;
  1. Praising ‘Yet’ — indirectly altering the mindset
  2. Focus on learning together
  3. Create an open communication culture
  4. Promote the sharing of knowledge

As it is with everything, without action nothing happens. Thinking about push-ups and reading about how to do the best push-up a human can possibly do, doesn’t get you in shape. Doing actual push-ups does.

Before we’ll explain how to develop a growth mindset, let’s look at what a growth mindset is.

What is a growth mindset?

It is the idea that people can develop and improve their talents and skills through dedication and hard work. You’ve probably heard of the adage: you become like the 5 people you spend the most time with. While you spend most of your daytime working, look for an organization that fits your ambitions. One that fosters a culture in which all employees are seen as possessing potential, are encouraged to develop and are acknowledged and rewarded for improvement.

What is the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset?

A great example we know to explain the difference between a fixed and a growth mindset is: imagine you have a certain goal you would like to obtain. Be it a good grade for mathematics, closing that deal, realize a certain amount of revenue or salary, it can literally be anything that you aspire to reach.

Instead, you get a bad grade, fail to close the deal and are nowhere near to the salary that you had in mind…

Instead of thinking in either success or failure, think ‘not yet!’.

If you think of failure as a definitive term, you’re nowhere. When you think ‘not yet’ you are on a learning curve. Not yet provides a path into the future, understanding that your abilities can grow. This is what we call a growth mindset.

Carol Dweck, Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, known for her work on the mindset psychological trait, calls this the ‘power of yet’.

The opposite would be that we look at the examples given as a challenge to your core intelligence and ability to perform, translating the results into a definitive failure. Instead of the power of yet, acknowledging the tyranny of now. Studies show that those with a fixed mindset would do things like:

  • Cheat the next time
  • Find someone who did worse
  • Run from difficulty

How can I practice a growth mindset in my organization?

Praising Yet — indirectly altering the mindset

According to Dweck, if we praise people for the process they engage in, their hard work, their strategies, their focus, their perseverance, they learn resilience and what Dweck calls challenge thinking.

Praising talent and intelligence makes them vulnerable. In our current education system, we reward the right answer.

When there is more emphasis on the process and learning curve, thus the use of effort, strategy, and progress the system would instead reward sustained learning and greater perseverance.

Not yet instills confidence and greater persistence.

Adopting a growth mindset transforms the meaning of effort and difficulty.

Failure now means not yet instead of I can’t. It means it IS possible with putting in the effort.

In order to stimulate growth, the focus must be on people and in cultivating the right mindset and the right culture.

Continuous growth in an organization isn’t self-evident. To keep growing as a group, you need to foster a growth mindset.

People in the group will be ready and willing to explore new opportunities without the fear of failure.

They are the ones to do extraordinary things to propel the company forward so the focus should be one of them. Not on numbers.

Focus on learning together

Teaching employees new skills helps them develop new perspectives, gain confidence in their abilities and come up with innovative solutions. Learning a new skill improves engagement and makes work more fun.

This does not mean forcing everyone to do an (often irrelevant or outdated) online course for the sake of ‘training’.

To learn and to improve should be a company-wide goal and be encouraged top down. Learning together in a supportive environment enables you to learn faster, builds relationships and let everyone know that it is okay to ask for help.

Create an open communication culture

Knowledge is power. The more an employee knows about the company, the better their decision making will be. From a certain size, people will be connected to departments, these have a tendency to become isolated from other departments and so blocking communication.

By keeping an open communication culture, important information to better serve the customer will be available where needed.

A first-hand example from a digital tech agency in Amsterdam shows that their open communication culture makes sure marketing knows what message resonates with the prospects that sales talks to, and design knows what kind of creative effects can be realized by the developers to give that website just a little extra.

With open lines of communication and a supportive and encouraging atmosphere, any company can build and foster a growth mindset.

Promote the sharing of knowledge

The goal here is to enable a company to learn from mistakes and keep employees empowered and engaged with the company.

Knowledge sharing is the easy passing of information for the greater good of an organization. Think of knowledge as the currency that makes your internal organization more valuable when it is exchanged freely.

An organization with a strong knowledge sharing culture learns from mistakes, so they can move forward with an improved strategy. This organization also has the ability to build upon what worked, so they can scale success through a systematic approach.

The first step is to get rid of any knowledge silos living within teams, departments, or individuals. Communication needs to flow.

Secondly, provide employees with the tools they need to succeed and grow. Invest in technology and training that supports employees so they can continue their growth path.

An organization actively engaged in knowledge sharing is ahead of the curve. Spending the energy to create this culture of sharing requires a consistent focus that drives employee engagement and empowerment.

Final words

We believe cultivating a growth mindset, employee engagement and the success of business go hand in hand. We live in a changing world where new challenges continuously require new thinking and actions.

A growth mindset, engaged employees and a knowledge sharing culture are the ingredients to a successful business that exists for a purpose.

In our experience, the purpose is becoming more and more important to employees. To see that you are doing something more profound than just selling a product or service, makes you feel important. It’s no longer enough to “just do a job”, we’re seeing that people want to make a difference, to contribute to something bigger than themselves.