There are two ways of looking at employees, and for them to look at themselves, either a fixed mindset where they either possess or lack talent, or a growth mindset, where your team can develop new skills. An article in the Harvard Business Review, “How Companies Can Profit from a ‘Growth Mindset’” by Stanford’s Carol Dweck, shows the benefits having a growth mindset has for your company.
According to Dweck’s research, failure is the end of the world for some people but an exciting opportunity for others. People with a growth mindset enjoy challenges, strive to learn and consistently see potential to develop new skills. Conversely, those with a fixed mindset view talent as a quality they either have or do not have.
In the article, Dweck extends her definition of mindsets from individuals to companies. Dweck and her colleagues found that some organizations believe their people have a certain amount of talent, thus a fixed mindset. Others held the opposite view and those companies were considered to have a growth mindset.
Dweck also found the company mindset had a significant impact on its employees. In organizations with a fixed mindset, employees largely felt there was a handful of “star” employees that were highly valued. The employees who felt this way were less committed than employees at growth-mindset companies and did not think the company had their back. These employees worried about failing so they pursued fewer innovative projects. They regularly kept secrets, cut corners and cheated to try to get ahead.
Supervisors in growth-mindset companies expressed significantly more positive views about their team than managers in fixed mindset organizations. In growth mindset companies, they rated their employees more collaborative, innovative and committed to learning. They were more likely to say their employees had management potential.
How to be a growth-minded organization
Given the benefits to both employees and leadership of being a growth-minded company, leaders should explore how to evolve their company to a growth mindset. As Dweck says, “it takes dedication and hard work.” Top management often drives this evolution. They can focus the organization on maximizing employees’ potential. They can hire more for runway as opposed to pedigree. They can also recruit people who have a growth mindset, whether internal promotions or new hires. Overall, to build a growth mindset, you must recruit the talent that will thrive in such an environment and then focus on growing that talent.
- Individuals and companies either have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. A fixed mindset implies there is a fixed amount of talent and someone either has it or does not. A growth mindset suggests you can develop new skills and expertise.
- Companies with a growth mindset have employees who are more committed to the organization, pursue innovative projects and spend less time on politics.
- To evolve into a growth mindset, the company should focus on its employees’ potential and hire those who have a long runway.