Carol Dweck, world expert on Mindset, interviewed workers from America’s top fortune 500 companies. Through a series of questions, designed to determine Mindset, Dweck found that the feedback from employees were consistent within each company, meaning that they were either a Fixed Mindset or a Growth Mindset company.
What’s important is that Dweck discovered that the Growth Mindset Companies, were also the most successful companies.
When she delved deeper, Dweck found that the Growth Mindset Companies scored higher for innovation, creativity, risk-taking and agility. So, what is Mindset and what characterises a Growth Mindset Company?
What is Mindset?
Carol Dweck describes mindset as ‘the self-conceptions (or mindsets) people use to structure the self and guide their behaviour.’ She classifies mindset as being either Fixed or Growth – explaining:
‘In a fixed mindset student believe their basic abilities, their intelligence, their talents, are just fixed traits. They have a certain amount and that’s that, and then their goal becomes to look smart all the time and never look dumb.
In a growth mindset, students understand that their talents and abilities can be developed through effort, good teaching and persistence. They don’t necessarily think everyone’s the same or anyone can be Einstein, but they believe everyone can get smarter if they work at it.’
Where a person with a Fixed Mindset might be more likely to be rigid in their thought patterns and give up at the first sign of challenge, a person with a Growth Mindset is motivated by competence, mastery and views failure as an opportunity for learning and growth.
Mindset is linked strongly with motivation – people with a Growth Mindset are motivated to find solutions, try new things and persist in the face of challenge.
What is a Growth Mindset Company?
Growth Mindset companies have a culture of continuous learning and growth for all its employees, not just the chosen few. Employees are encouraged to take risks and learn from their mistakes. Failure is viewed as an essential step on the road to innovation. Hard work, endeavour and perseverance in the face of setbacks are valued over perceived talent or genius. Growth Mindset Managers in Growth Mindset companies see the potential in all and support their employees to continuously progress and improve.
What are the benefits of fostering a growth mindset culture in your company?
Employees have greater trust in the company. When people trust, they feel safe. When they feel safe, they perform better. They rise to challenge, take more (appropriate) risks and respond productively to feedback. Dweck found that in these environments, employees communicated a strong sense of loyalty to the company meaning that they were willing to work hard for the shared goals and vision.
Growth Mindset Companies also have better staff retention. Employees demonstrate a greater commitment to staying with the company for the long term. Given the financial and intellectual costs of high staff turnover, developing a Growth Mindset will pay off in retaining a company’s most valuable asset. Growth Mindset Companies are more likely to invest in professional development for staff which is key factor in retention.
Dweck found that employees in Growth Mindset Companies expressed more commitment to their teams and were more willing to go the extra mile when needed. Simply put, they work harder for longer because they believe that they play an active part in the success of the business.
4. Innovation and Creativity
Being more ready to take appropriate risks, try out new ideas and think differently, are all linked to having a Growth Mindset. In cultures where people feel safe – where failure is seen as an essential step towards success – there are higher levels of innovation and creativity.
Growth Mindset Companies have higher levels of Resilience. Having a resilient workforce brings three main benefits for companies. People are more able to bounce back after setbacks, sustain effort during difficult periods and learn from challenges to enhance growth. Dweck found that in the Growth Mindset Companies, employees were much more able to reflect on challenges, failure and setbacks and extract lessons which enhanced future performance.
Another important feature of Growth Mindset Companies is an enhanced level of collaboration between individuals, teams and departments. In a culture of curiosity and learning, employees are less defensive and more able to see others as a source of support rather than competition. Rather than feeling threatened, employees find lessons and inspiration in the success of others.
Finally, fostering a Growth Mindset in companies, has a positive impact on motivation on all levels. People feel that they have control over their own learning, development and progress. A sense of control is an essential condition of motivation. What’s more, when staff feel their contribution is important and valued, they will be more motivated to work hard for the success of the company.
A Growth Mindset Company has threads of curiosity, openness and a passion for learning through challenge, woven into its very fabric. If truly adopted into a company’s culture and belief system, a growth mindset is a recipe for success.