How To Develop A Growth Mindset In A Company
“Watch your thoughts, they become your words; watch your words, they become your actions; watch your actions, they become your habits; watch your habits, they become your character; watch your character, it becomes your destiny.” ~ Lao Tzu
If you launched your company intending to remain in perpetual startup mode, stop reading right now.
As the above quote from the Tao Te Ching (The Way and Its Power) demonstrates, your mindset creates the foundation for your actions and future reality. However, a growth mindset involves more than just unleashing the power of positive thinking.
What is a Growth Mindset?
The term growth mindset was first used by psychologist and motivational researcher Carol Dweck to describe a state of mind that’s expansive and full of potential.
When you see the world through eyes that focus on progress and growth, the way your brain functions changes as well. You become motivated and enthusiastic, you feel more capable, and your overall attitude improves.
Consequently, the way you run your business will benefit as well. Let’s look at some ways a growth mindset can transform your business.
How Cultivating a Culture of Growth Helps Your Business
Everyone wants to feel that they’re part of something vibrant and expansive. People in dead-end jobs or companies that are stale and dated lose interest in their work. They become unproductive and detached.
Tardiness and absenteeism rates rise, and employee churn means positions are left unfilled or manned by a constant stream of trainees.
This, in turn, begins to affect customers. It also affects your bottom line when you’re constantly attracting and training new hires or overworking existing staff to compensate for gaps in leadership, salesforce, or production.
The result is a downward spiral of lackluster performance that seeps into every aspect of your business.
When one’s mind is open and inquisitive, however, problems become new challenges to overcome, and setbacks seem temporary.
They’re opportunities to learn and evolve as circumstances change.
That type of mindset also seeps into every aspect of your business. It’s contagious and exciting, and it inspires the rest of your team to aim for the stars along with you.
Such a mindset allows you to focus more on the process than on outcomes. If the process is enjoyable and productive, results will come.
However, if people feel limited in their potential and uninterested in outcomes, it will adversely influence decisions and performance, and even favorable outcomes are diminished.
Developing a culture of growth and productivity helps reduce staff turnover by making your employees feel engaged in their work and invested in the future of your company. Their success becomes your success.
It all begins with leadership.
Managers with a growth mindset are better able to hone in on fact-based details and information. They have more consistent interactions with staff, are more prone to challenge biases, and make better decisions.
When a leader is closed and static in their attitudes and behaviors, they’re less likely to provide appropriate feedback, spend less time one-on-one coaching and encouraging staff, and are unable to accurately identify and manage potential issues on the job. They tend to view staff members as less competent, which affects their morale and performance.
Nurturing a Growth Mindset at Your Company
Creating a growth mindset at your company should be every bit as much a part of your business strategy as marketing and customer outreach. Companies with high growth potential have teams that are:
- Motivated to improve by constructive feedback
- Able to learn and adapt skills in response to challenges and opportunities
- Inspired by the success of others on their team
- More willing to share knowledge and work with others to achieve company and team goals
The first step is to develop self-awareness. Develop a level of mindfulness that allows you to understand when you feel challenged and your response.
Are you approaching situations with a closed mindset? How does that affect your response and the outcome? Do you become defensive when you make mistakes, are you open to feedback, even when it’s negative? How do you create learning experiences for yourself? How do those you admire handle such situations?
Now, take that assessment outside of your own actions and apply it to how you lead your team by asking yourself four key questions:
- How do I behave toward others in my organization?
- Am I ‘fixed-minded” and focused more on my own power than on my employee’s well-being?
- Do I affirm my own status by demeaning or marginalizing others?
- Do I feel threatened by high-performing staff members or the success of others?
These are the kinds of attitudes that hinder growth.
You can turn that around by changing your own attitudes and behaviors, providing opportunities for learning and improvement on the job, and valuing the unique talents and perspectives that each member of your team brings to the table.
Demonstrate The Importance of Continued Learning Over Ready-Made Talent
Few people get it right the first time or every time. Employees should be given the space to fail and encouragement – even courage – to strive for improvement in the face of adversity.
Provide your team with opportunities to learn through continued education, mentoring, workshops, and apprenticeships. Share your own stories of courage or overcoming challenges on the job. Delegate tasks and give your team members more autonomy when it comes to making some decisions. Provide feedback in a way that’s constructive rather than critical.
Promote From Within
In business, stories abound about employees who give up after being passed over for promotion time and again in favor of some outsider. A study conducted by the Global Talent Monitor found that 40 percent of those who left their job cited lack of future career development as the primary motivator for quitting.
If you want a team that’s invested in the success of your company, be willing to invest in their success by promoting from within.
Change the Nature of Goal Setting
Progressive leaders focus more on creating development goals rather than performance goals, which rely more heavily on assessing things that an individual already knows how to do.
Try to establish a balance between assessing performance and encouraging individual and team development. Celebrate successes and find the lesson in setbacks.
Growth is necessary for all living organisms to thrive. Cultivating and nurturing a growth mindset at your company will allow you to weather bad times with optimism and action and leverage momentum in times of prosperity.
The result is a happy, engaged staff, higher productivity, improved retention rates, and a thriving, progressive company that can weather almost any storm.
Heather Redding is a part-time assistant manager, solopreneur and writer based in Aurora, Illinois. She is also an avid reader and a tech enthusiast. When Heather is not working or writing, she enjoys her Kindle library and a hot coffee. Reach out to her on Twitter.