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How to Create a Growth Mindset Attitude
Across Company Culture
In a business with a growth mindset, key decision-makers and employees throughout the company accept risk as part of normal life. They don’t take failure as a dead-end. Instead, they treat it as a learning opportunity, and a chance to understand more about their work and do better in the future.
The idea of the growth mindset was developed by Stanford psychology professor Carol Dweck, who was trying to understand the children who coped with failure well, and those who found failure to feel like the “end of the world” — or those with “fixed” and “growth” mindsets.
A “growth-mindset company” is willing to take risks to find success. A “fixed-mindset company”, in contrast, is more focused on playing it safe, keeping everything in place, and avoiding innovation in favor of what’s worked before.
A growth mindset makes it much easier for you and your team to identify potential areas for innovation and expansion and find out which workflows may be holding your business back.
Cultivating a growth mindset at a business can be a serious undertaking. In many cases, it may require you to radically reshape the culture of your business and transform how you make decisions.
Fortunately, with the right steps, it is 100% possible for any business to build a culture of growth — one where everyone, from managers to employees, is willing to take risks, innovate, and speak up about how the company is run.
1. Let Employees Break Out of Their Day-to-Day Routine
A routine is pretty essential to most kinds of work — but sticking too closely to a routine can limit the perspective that an employee has.
If a team member never does anything beyond work that’s directly related to their deliverables and their goals, they may not get a full idea of how their work affects others in the business — and why avoiding risks may be holding other employees and the business back.
Businesses with a growth mindset often create space for employees to constantly be learning more — helping them build a deeper understanding of their own work and the work of those around them.
Ongoing learning courses, for example, help employees step out of their daily routine without requiring a major commitment of time off work.
Having a chance to talk with other employees, collaborate, or engage in team-building exercises can also help employees gain valuable perspective on how the business works outside of their day-to-day work.
This perspective can be a huge boost — giving them a better understanding of how the business as a whole fits together and also what they can do on an individual level to improve their work for others around them.
2. Always Look for Education Opportunities
Everyone has gaps in their knowledge or their understanding of their business. You probably don’t know everything there is to learn about your customers or your competition — or the best strategies for marketing, product design, and logistics.
This can be a source of anxiety. However, it can also represent a serious opportunity — no matter how well you’re doing right now, there’s always room to learn more and develop a deeper understanding of your work.
This knowledge will help you make changes that can boost company performance and drive growth. There’s a huge number of leadership skills, guides, and courses, for example, that can help you develop better leadership abilities, understand your own leadership style, and make changes that help you more effectively manage the workplace.
This applies at the employee level, too. For example, one study on MBA graduates found that alumni of an MBA program, if they made more than $50,000 a year before enrolling, saw an 80% increase in their average salary after graduation.
This is likely because companies recognize the value that this kind of knowledge can offer and are willing to compensate them for it.
Taking advantage of educational opportunities as they become available is a great way to ensure you’re always learning and always finding new ways to improve your business.
3. Cultivate an Environment Where All Employees Feel Valued
In 2010, Carol Dweck decided to expand her research on fixed and growth mindsets by partnering with a consulting firm to examine how the two manifested in the business world.
She found that the way employees felt about their work environment was a key factor in whether the company as a whole was focused on business growth — and all the risk, challenge, and innovation that entails — or safety.
At businesses with more open and collaborative work environments — one where all employees felt valued, not just high-performers or “star” team members — employees felt more comfortable taking risks and speaking up.
Speaking with the Harvard Business Review, Dweck provided statistics from her research that showed the kind of difference this employee culture can make.
Compared to fixed-mindset companies, employees at these growth-mindset companies were 47% more likely to “say that their colleagues are trustworthy.” They were also 34% more likely “to feel a strong sense of ownership and commitment to the company.”
This change in attitude makes a big difference. In that more trusting, open environment, people feel more comfortable suggesting innovative ideas, recommending risky strategies, and having their voice heard.
In contrast, a system that prioritizes the voices of rockstars only runs the risk of losing out on those perspectives. That kind of system may also create a work environment that’s a little colder — one that’s less open and where there’s less trust between employees.
A business culture that instead values all employee perspectives and encourages discussion is more likely to foster a growth mindset company-wide.
4. Embrace Risk-Taking and Failure as Part of the Process
If your employees feel secure in their workplace and know that their perspectives will be valued, they may also be more likely to take risks and embrace failure as part of work.
Taking on challenges also means understanding that failure is a real possibility. Ideally, as a leader, you can embrace risks and prepare yourself for those potential failures.
This will help grow a company culture where employees can also feel the same way and approach their day-to-day work differently — willing to take more risks, face challenges head-on, and accept the possibility that they may not succeed in everything they do.
This Is How Any Business Can Create a Growth Mindset Culture
A business with a growth mindset culture is one where employees and managers aren’t deterred by failure and take challenges head-on. Workers at this kind of company, no matter what role they hold, will be excited for the opportunity to learn more, push their skills, and experiment.
There are a few strategies for cultivating this kind of mindset. Creating room for employees to break out of their daily routines, for example, can help them build relationships, feel more secure in their work, and acquire new knowledge.
Ensuring that all employees are valued can also help ensure their voices are heard. Over time, this can make them more stable when handling failure or facing tough challenges.
About the Author
Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She was the creative director at a digital marketing agency before becoming a full-time freelance designer. Eleanor lives in Philadelphia with her husband and pup, Bear.