“Whether you think you can or think you can’t — you’re right,” said Henry Ford. I believe Henry Ford was speaking about a term called Mindset: whether you believe that qualities such as intelligence and talent are fixed, or can be developed.
I’ve talked before about Mindset Myths and Strategies for Adopting a Growth Mindset, but today I simply want to highlight the importance of mindset and how it can be highly transformable to any organization.
Renowned professor of psychology, Carol Dweck, attests that people with a Fixed Mindset believe that their talents and capabilities are innate and unchangeable, while those with a Growth Mindset believe their capabilities can be developed and strengthened through hard work and commitment (Dweck, 2007).
This Growth Mindset is something that good leaders have learned to master for the benefit of themselves, their teams and their businesses. Why? Because a good leader knows that mindset impacts not only yourself but everyone around you. What you say, what you do, and how you approach problems will have a direct impact on your team, stakeholders, and anyone else you work with. While it’s important to embrace a growth mindset in your leadership style, it is also imperative for senior executives to instil this type of mindset within their teams — praising employees for learning from their mistakes, and not just for their achievements.
Leaders in the field of organizational change, Keller and Price (2011), say that the highest leverage point for managers’ time and energy is employee mindset, which increases transformation success by over four times. So instead of focusing solely on financial reports and budgets, take a moment to ask yourself the following question: How can I make Mindset a part of my organization’s overall business strategy?
It is my belief that transforming mindset within an organization can deliver transformative and sustainable results in employee performance, and help leaders get the best from themselves and their teams. One such reason for this is because of how important mindset is when it comes to failure in execution.
GROWTH MINDSET MIGHT BE THE MISSING KEY BETWEEN STRATEGY AND EXECUTION.
Dr Srini Pillay (2018) refers to mindset as the psychological medium in which strategy is executed. This is interesting because while most leaders start out with the best of intentions, it is estimated that 90% of strategies fail due to poor execution (Kaplan & Norton, 2008). Though there are many reasons for poor execution, forward-thinking companies and leaders are on to the fact that leveraging a growth mindset mentality offers a significant opportunity to “get back up” and try again; ensuring that the organization and its people are always ready to adapt. While we’ve been taught to avoid failure at all costs, sometimes losing provides us with the perfect roadmap for success.
GROWTH MINDSET ENABLES US TO USE FAILURES AND SETBACKS AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN AND GROW.
As a senior leader, you can assist your team in developing a growth mindset by valuing their efforts, learning and development over achievements, and by praising them for learning from their mistakes. You can begin to model growth mindset in everything you do and make it part of the organization’s culture by talking about mindset, discussing failures, and making it more than ok to fail; by actively celebrating what has been learned from stumbling over roadblocks.
GROWTH MINDSET CAN HELP YOU STAY AGILE AND ADAPTABLE IN A FAST-CHANGING WORLD.
Let’s face it — often there are times when fear of failure or lack of risk-taking prevents employees from getting creative. Mindset matters in leadership because it will help you and your team to leverage challenges and see them as opportunities for growth and creativity. This type of thinking can also inspire teams to work together, to get excited about finding new solutions to problems, and to pursuing innovation.
Elizabeth Reilly is an executive and leadership coach whose work involves helping executives and leaders understand themselves at a deeper level, including the unhelpful patterns of behaviour that hinder their ability to achieve their potential, and how they can change them. To find out more, contact Elizabeth on firstname.lastname@example.org or check out www.elizabeth-reilly.com
Dweck, C. S. (2007). Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. New York, NY: Ballantine Books.
Kaplan, R. S., & Norton, D. P. (2008). The Balanced Scorecard: Translating Strategy into Action. Brighton, MA: Harvard Business Publishing.
Keller, S., & Price, C. (2011). Beyond Performance: How Great Organizations Build Ultimate Competitive Advantage. New York, NY: Wiley.
Pillay, S. (The Power of the Unfocused Mind). (2018, June 19). The Art of Charm [Audio podcast].
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Elizabeth quickly grasps the complexities of organisations and strategic challenges