Over the years, having a Growth Mindset has become one of those things people throw around when they want to motivate leaders to do better or push their organisation further. Although this is a wonderful piece of advice, no one goes on to explain what it actually means to have a growth mindset and what exactly a growth mindset is. Having a growth mindset is a positive thing and a step in the right direction. But then, what does it mean in actual terms?
Questions such as, “How do I know if I have a growth mindset? What will I see happen when I have this mindset?” may cross your mind often.
Leading an organisation or heading a team means you have to always think two steps ahead of your competition and even your followers. It’s like playing a game of chess: every move counts. However, making a move isn’t all the game is about. It’s about making moves that push your organisation forward, one step at a time. This is what the growth mindset is about: the belief that talents and innovations from you and your team can be developed and utilized to achieve a multiplying effect. This means there is no end to how much you can achieve, to how far you can go. You keep putting in the effort and getting the result. You keep pushing your organisation forward. There is always more, there is always room for growth. There is never a time when you relax and settle. It’s a marathon. While you may take a break to catch your breath, you are always reminding yourself that there is more and you can achieve more.
At the core of this thinking system is the belief that as an individual (and even a team) your intelligence and talents are not fixed or cast in stone. This means they can be developed, enhanced, built on to achieve maximum effect. People who have a growth mindset believe in the existence of ‘more’ and the possibility of achieving ‘more.’ This mindset is what pushes them to reach higher at their place of work and even propel those they lead to aim for more.
Carol Dweck, an American psychologist, says there are two different types of mindsets: a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. Those who have a fixed mindset believe their talents and abilities are innate and therefore permanent and rigid. This means their intelligence has reached or has always been in a state of permanence such that it cannot change or be improved upon. This thinking system leaves no room for growth. It does not even believe in the possibility of growing one’s intelligence, skillset, etc.
However, the growth mindset states that an increase in intelligence and abilities is possible through hard work and resilience. This thinking system often translates into actual growth, not only for the person who has it but also for the organisation they lead or work for. The compound effect of having a growth mindset is incredible.
One major reason why having a growth mindset is very important for you is that it gives you the ability to face problems head-on. While those with a fixed mindset will say, “Oh, this isn’t meant for me. This isn’t my thing. I don’t know how to do this therefore I can’t do it.” The person with a growth mindset believes in the ability to increase and know more so they don’t just acknowledge that they are out of their area of expertise when facing a unique problem. They also acknowledge that this is room to learn and know more. They understand that their intelligence has no limit and isn’t fixed. So they can grow it. They can widen their horizon and increase their area of expertise.
Another benefit of having a growth mindset is that it allows you and your company to reach your full potential. It is not possible for someone with a fixed mindset to reach their full potential. This is because their thinking system already puts them in a place of negative comfort so they believe they are at their best already. They are confident in what they have achieved and they are not interested in knowing more. However, for the person with a growth mindset, they are always interested in knowing more and this pushes them to explore every creative side of them that they may not even know existed. The growth mindset puts an insatiable desire to be better and to increase their intelligence in them. And this allows them to stretch themselves and learn more, thereby tapping into their previously unknown ability and creativity. And also reaching their full potential.
When the growth mindset is adopted by a company or an organisation, an astronomical increase is often recorded. This is because every employee and team member is now reaching out of their full potential and raising the standard of what can be done. And the positive effect is reflected in the organisation when you look at the big picture.
More is possible. More can be achieved. Aim for more, for growth, and let the words of Ray Davis guide you: “A challenge only becomes an obstacle when you bow to it.”