Mind over Matter

How Mindset and Culture Will Help Your Team Flourish.

As a graduate student, psychologist Carol Dweck began observing how children flourished in failure. It seems like an oxymoron- how can you flourish when you’ve not succeeded? Psychologically, it appears that we can.

Dweck continued her research and later established the ‘fixed mindset entity theory’, which highlights the way in which people with a ‘fixed’ mindset tend to focus on talent as qualities they either have or don’t have; whereas people with a ‘growth’ mindset enjoy the challenges and opportunities associated with developing skills, which they may not have yet mastered.

Recently Dweck has begun applying her knowledge of ‘growth’ mindset to business, taking a diverse sample of employees at seven Fortune 1000 companies to help inform her latest research. Dweck’s findings suggest that each company had a consensus about mindset- that is to say, the organisation’s culture, ethos, levels of collaboration, innovation, ethical behaviour, and work satisfaction seemed to correlate to whether their employees had a ‘fixed’ or ‘growth’ mindset.

So, what does it mean for us, as Leaders and Managers?

Well, managers with a growth-mindset have significantly more positive views about their employees, compared with those with a fixed mindset, making for stronger teams and better collaboration. Leaders with a growth mindset also acknowledge that their team member’s strengths are not fixed and can grow and develop in the correct environment.  How refreshing to think that the idiom ‘a team is only as strong as their weakest link’ can be seen as a statement of growth, not of limitation.

Her research uncovered that employees in a “growth mindset” company are:

  • 47% more likely to say that their colleagues are trustworthy
  • 34% more likely to feel a strong sense of ownership and commitment to the company
  • 65% more likely to say that the company supports risk taking
  • 49% more likely to say that the company fosters innovation.

It takes dedication and hard work to embrace a growth mindset in business, calling for Managers and Leaders to drive this change, refining company values and culture. Most interestingly, though, companies which have a ‘growth’ mindset are more likely to promote employees from within their organisation, valuing potential and passion for learning as indicators of prospective success; rather than relying on pedigree, experience, or past accomplishments.

The great news is that mindset comes for free and percolates within a team when it comes from above. The benefits are significant and long-lasting. As a leader, the choice is yours.