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Cultivating a Growth Mindset in Business

Getting ahead in life and in business is sometimes about perspective and attitude. It takes a special kind of grit, determination and foresight to really get ahead and scale at just the opportune time... or does it?

At Focused Energy, we believe that great companies and leaders are not born, they are built. The person that adopts a belief in their ability to work through challenges and develop their skills can position themselves to thrive. This is referred to as a growth mindset. It's a powerful concept shaping the way businesses and their leaders look at the world -- and it can help your business get ahead.

Growth vs fixed mindset

There are two types of mindset we can cultivate: one that embraces problems as opportunities to learn and one that avoids them, often out of fear to fail.

These perspectives have a significant influence on our ability to learn, grow and achieve goals.

Fixed mindset tendencies:

  • Believe the basic qualities like intelligence or talents are fixed traits.
  • Avoid conflicts.
  • Promote a culture of fear.

When it comes to a business environment, these attitudes can trigger a defensive, finger-pointing culture. This, in turn, makes for added negativity, miscommunication, and stress in the workplace.

Growth mindset tendencies:

  • Believe that new abilities are developed through practice and effort.
  • See problems as interesting challenges.
  • Foster grit and feedback.

In comparison, these attitudes promote learning, experimentation and accountability.

Leveraging a growth mindset for business

Research by Dr. Carol Dweck, who coined the terms, shows that anyone can be better and do better with a growth mindset. 

A simple switch in how we view a situation mean a world of difference. Cultivating this mindset can open new doors in life and in business. Kicking the fixed mindset can help people:

  • Recognize failing is part of learning.
  • Solve problems and persist despite obstacles.
  • Feel inspired rather than threatened by other’s achievements.
  • Invite collaboration, innovation and communication.

It's not surprising then that modern businesses are looking for these perspectives in their hiring, and developing in their leadership team. They are more tenacious, less likely to cut and run, and also more likely to see opportunities for their organization or team members – even during times of crisis.

Effective leaders also cultivate and encourage a growth mindset in others, further helping a business achieve a growth-oriented culture and teams.

Related: Value of organization alignment

It's not surprising, however, that developing this perspective is hard work. It involves being mindful of snap judgements and pushing against inner thoughts & triggers.

Be mindful, as well, that transforming from a fixed mindset or more traditional management styles into a growth model involves significant changes. Managing this transition is delicate, and it's natural for many to even resist or feel threatened.

Related: our proven process for change management

It's a tough process -- but it can change everything. And any worthwhile endeavor requires perseverance and belief in oneself for lasting success.

How to begin the journey to a growth mindset:

  • Open yourself to failure and constructive feedback.
  • Recognize that you have a choice in how to interpret setbacks.
  • Talk back to that inner voice making snap or defensive judgements.
  • Celebrate others successes and achievements.
  • Look at your (and others) deficiencies as opportunities.

It's all about continually advancing, expanding and seeing the potential in every moment, person or failure.

By consciously adopting these practices, leaders are open to new perspectives and opportunities without being held back by fear of failure.

Better yet, just as individuals can cultivate a growth mindset for themselves, business leaders can develop these perspectives as a company culture. Leveraging a growth mindset will move your business forward and set it up for future success.

Need a hand identifying areas holding you back or transitioning to a growth mindset? We are experienced operations experts who can help -- let's chat.

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