We can all learn to have a growth mindset. World-renowned Stanford university psychologist Carol Dweck has spent years researching achievement and success. The bottom line is that people with a growth mindset, approach problems in a ‘can do’ way and learn from their mistakes. People with a fixed mindset believe when they have failed, they will be doomed to failure in the future. They are also far less likely to try new things, they believe in the power of natural talent and abilities and tend to blame others when things go wrong.
Without knowing it I was fully supporting Dweck’s theory with my own hiring practices as CFO. I would always hire for attitude rather than skill. If a person showed the right - can do, willing to challenge, willing to adapt and learn attitude - I would rather hire them than someone far more qualified from a skills perspective. This is because my belief was that I could train the skills. I would always look for someone with a 50-60% fit from a skills perspective, with loads of eagerness and the right attitude. This process always served me extremely well, especially in creating high performing teams.
Our mindset can be holding us back from growing and developing. If we have a fixed mindset we might believe that we can’t grow, change and move forward. In contrast people with a growth mindset see problems as a challenge and an opportunity to learn. Have you met people in your office always looking back to find out who was to blame; engaging all their energy in trying to find out who did it wrong? Our energy is better spent looking forward, towards the solution and how we can improve things next time. Unless the past helps you to understand the future there is no point in looking to the past.
Teaching and adopting a growth mindset can increase productivity and motivation. A few months ago, I attended an evening event at the Islington Impact Hub where Sacha Romanovitch, the CEO of Grant Thornton London, presented on ‘The crisis of trust is a crisis of leadership – Town Halls for Change Leadership event’. What stayed with me after the event was her view on how we always like to label things as black and white. However, in her view the answer is somewhere in the grey in-between. Since that evening, I always consciously try to look for the variations in-between, that could give a better answer. I prefer to believe that we can all change our mindset, what we need is to see the choices we are making clearly (as opposed to being on unconscious auto pilot) and then we can make an informed choice.
‘Feel the fear and do it anyway’ – Susan Jeffers.
Think about your mindset in the last week. Has it been filled with positivity, embracing change and continuously committing to your own development to grow or has it been of the more fixed variety where you are too afraid to fail, avoiding the unknown. Make a conscious choice. We can all change - small incremental daily change is far better than a giant leap into the unknown all at once. Our bodies do it so perfectly – aging just a little every day, to have a big impact over time.
© Talita Ferreira
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