What is Growth Mindset and How Do You Achieve It?

by Jason Ogden | Mar 9, 2016

Like many great ideas before it, the concept of Growth Mindset was coined only to be diluted and misinterpreted over time. Carol Dweck, who authored the term, compares it to a fixed point of view. But before the big reveal of what it actually means, it’s useful to first understand how it is misunderstood and what it isn’t.

Growth Mindset (GM) isn’t:

  • Focus on or desire for more revenue and fatter profits. Though these could be goals in a GM oriented organization, they are ultimately results, not the existence of GM.
  • Being open and positive. These are likely fixed attributes of a leader or organization that have always been there. No doubt they’re important, but they shouldn’t be confused with GM.
  • Praising and rewarding. Outcomes matter. Without them, how would you know if you’re really growing? What needs to be rewarded and enforced is the value of learning, making progress (whether intentional or as a result of a mistake) and the process that led to both in the first place. This is what drives individual engagement, not praise and rewards.
  • Found in mission statements. Actually, yes it is. It is found in mission statements but it lives and is alive and real only to the extent it is practiced by every member of the team. Without practice, it is lip service used to decorate the break room walls.
  • Fixed. Some believe their talents are innate and have always been with them. People like that are more concerned about looking smart/talented/strong/creative than actually being and growing in those things. When people of a fixed mindset get challenged or fail they get defensive to protect this position.

Growth Mindset is literally the opposite of Fixed Mindset. It is the deeply founded belief that talents can be developed through hard work, good strategies & input from others. That’s it; that is the mindset. When people and organizations adopt this mindset, their habits, strategies, processes and results are all a reflection of this belief. Not every time, but over time.

Questions for you:
Do your systems foster growth or fixed mindset?
Are you building growth by building it in each individual on your team?
Are you defining growth only by the numbers (results) or by the development of the systems and people that created the results in the first place?

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 by Jason Ogden

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