There is a lot of talk in the business world at the moment about adopting a growth mindset and rightly so, because it’s a growth mindset that helps us grow as individuals. It’s where we see our skills, talents, and abilities – not as things that are fixed, but as things we can expand upon. It helps us see challenges not as obstacles but as opportunities. And helps us see change not as something to push against, but as something to embrace. So, Nigel Collin asks, as a busy EA, how can you nurture your own mindset and help those around you – your exec, for example – adopt a healthy growth mindset as well?
Back in 2007 Carol Dweck, a Stanford University psychologist wrote a book called Mindset and sparked a revolution in how we think about and nurture the right mindset; the premise being that we all adopt one of two types of mindsets – either fixed or growth.
If you adopt a fixed mindset:
If you adopt a growth mindset:
Now, here’s the thing: Dweck suggests you’re not born with one or the other – instead, you tend to adopt either a fixed or growth mindset – nor are you ever totally one or the other. She adds that once you understand the difference, you tend to gravitate towards growth.
How do you help those around you nurture a growth mindset?
From my experience, there are three really simple things you can do:
- 1: Nurture your own growth mindset. The best way is to go directly to the source and grab a copy (or dust off your old one) of Mindset. (I think this should be compulsory on any EA’s bookshelf).
- 2: Understand that shifting their thinking and adopting a growth mindset isn’t a once-off project. It’s not a matter of just doing a short course; it’s a continual process. And like anything, it’s the little things that make the biggest difference. That takes the overwhelm away and makes shifting mindset accessible to everyone.
- 3: Let’s watch our language. Not just our self-talk but how we talk to others. For example, say “yes” instead of “yes” but…’ For example, rather than saying: “Yes but that’ll never work” try “Yes, tell me a little bit more about your thought process”. Also, try adding other words like “yet” or “not yet” to the end of a sentence – how about saying “I didn’t get everything done yet”, instead of “I didn’t get everything done”? This opens the door to further exploration.
Over the years I’ve had the opportunity of interviewing and working with hundreds of successful individuals and leaders… The one thing that stands out? The importance of nurturing the right mindset. Imagine the impact developing a better mindset, not just in terms of the benefits of performance and productivity but the impact on those around you.