What is Growth Mindset in the Workplace?

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Tatenda Ngara , Chantay Koopman , Danique Langeveldt , Keitumetse TM , Marilyn Joe ,

What is Growth Mindset in the Workplace?

“Be the change you want to see in the world” is a quote by Mahatma Gandhi and a newfound principle to many in the workplace.

In a progressive industrial and technical world, company survival is dependent mainly on forward-thinking leadership and setting the pace for the future to prevent the risk of becoming obsolete.

In July 2021, Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson portrayed their ambitious growth mindset and the essence of agility by going to space for the first time to learn more about the universe and find the next best thing to expand their business.

In its simplest terms, a growth mindset means seeing a chance to grow.

A company’s long-term survival is heavily dependent on being open-minded and welcoming innovative thinking. Blackberry was a domineering mobile gadget company in the early 2000s. Still, due to the lack of a growth mindset, it failed to maintain its competing aspects losing all dominant presence.

This article explores the concept of growth mindset, how it applies in the contemporary world, and why it is essential because this is the change we want to see and value in corporate environments.   

Fixed and Growth Mindset

An individual with a growth mindset understands that hard work and excellence come from learning through mistakes and gaining feedback from others to help enhance talent, skills, abilities, and personality. 

Individuals with a fixed mindset feel that their core characteristics, such as intelligence, talents, and abilities, are unchangeable and rigid over time. 

Professor Carol Dweck is a pioneer on growth mindset and shares that it is the most efficient method for helping people raise their self-efficacy, overcome their fear of failure, and believe in their ability to become competent in the future. 

People who have a growth mindset have more self-efficacy in achieving their goals, according to research. The Growth Mindset Institute has identified eight basic mental models that will cause people to have a fixed mindset.

These eight mental models are known as fixed mindset triggers because they frequently induce people to have a fixed mentality response. A fixed mindset trigger is a mental pattern that leads to bad habits, including procrastination, resistance, and giving up. 

The eight mental models are mindset beliefs, high effort, challenges, setbacks, success of others, comfort zone, feedback, and grit.

A growth mentality is essential for success in today’s competitive corporate world. Companies must adapt to changing circumstances, learn from mistakes, and believe that each employee has more potential for success.

How Growth Mindset Impact Organizations Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

A growth mindset is one of the Agile PeopleOps Framework™ Manifesto.

Many organizations are dealing with the economic downturn caused by the pandemic (dubbed the “COVID-19 shock”) as the world continues to live in fear. Surviving these unprecedented times will require essential lifestyle changes to combat infections and rethinking how we do business.

The traditional formulas for success no longer apply in the new normal. Instead, adapting and growing in the face of adversity will be the key to triumphantly overcome the COVID-19 shock.

Keeping in mind: With change comes growth.  

Let us understand the organizations that adopt a growth mindset.

Microsoft Growth Mindset

According to The Adecco Group, one of the biggest companies in the world, Microsoft, has adopted the “Growth Mindset Culture.”

In 2014, when Mr. Satya Nadella became the CEO of Microsoft, he recognized that the company had become siloed, and the divisions were competing with one another. Bureaucracy and internal politics were impeding innovation and teamwork. He realized that change was the need of the hour for growth and sustainability.

The company’s stock price is now five times higher than when Mr. Nadella took over, and Microsoft’s market capitalization has surpassed one trillion dollars.

Microsoft has become the go-to “equipment”/ software used in various organizations during these “COVID times” as many businesses conduct work-from-home opportunities to which Microsoft so vastly caters.

Amazon Growth Mindset

Amazon was among the earliest online retailers, starting their business almost 14 years ago, offering the ability to buy online (a new concept at the time) in a new market: the internet.

Today the company has multiplied in size and respectfully in business, almost tripling revenue, becoming one of the world’s successful online stores/organizations to date. So how did they do it? 

By applying the growth mindset, the company was better able to assess risks and collect data (specifically, how to reach optimal customer satisfaction) to inform the next step, thus, creating an agile operating model. 

Amazon embraced strategic planning that boosted revenue and provided employee growth (opportunity for workers/employees to grow by working themselves up the hierarchy levels).

With COVID 19 dominating presence, this business will continue to flourish as its ideals align with how our world has significantly changed. The company is in the center stage today with more and more people buying online than physically wanting or even stepping outside. 

“If you decide that you are going to do only the things you know are going to work, you’re going to leave a lot of opportunity on the table.”

Jeff Bezos; Founder & Former CEO of Amazon

Growth Mindset: The Future of Work in Human Capital Management

According to a PwC survey, 66.7% of employees in the human resource workforce are unprepared for the changes ahead. Alarming, indeed!

The business world is still recuperating from the COVID-19 pandemic. During these challenging times, People Operations must find solutions to how organizations can positively impact the workplace and the workforce.

On the brighter side, People Operations trends evolve and transform the way we work as technology advances. The role of People Operations professionals is evolving to Strategic Practitioners, Employee Architects, Experience Designers, and Coaches. 

People Operations professionals must develop a growth mindset from the practice level down to the academic level to drive a holistic change in organizational strategy, structures, and processes. The essence is to deliver user-centric value and human experience to the employees.

By cultivating a growth mindset, the practitioners can embark on a continuous learning journey to innovate new ways to elevate the human experience within organizations and external stakeholders (including candidates). This, in turn, will enable them to make significant contributions to organizational sustainability and success.

Initially, HR transformation aimed to make HR processes more efficient at a clerical and administrative level. However, in today’s new era, HR is taking a backseat, and People Operations occupies the driver’s seat.

The growth mindset can stimulate People Operations practitioners to envision the big systemic picture of organizations and serve as constructive Change Catalysts.

Stimulating Growth Mindset at Individual and Organization Levels

Growth as a mind-related aspect is often not stimulated enough and gives the illusion that an individual has reached her peak while a lot of change can still occur.

The Growth Mindset theory then becomes operational by encouraging the stimulation of the mind through learning and developing skills that will create advancements for personal and career growth. In organizations, individuals with a Growth Mindset are an asset and valued because they represent the value of hard work and dedication.

Organizations can

  • Induce learning by sponsoring the latest learning and development seminars that train employees to upskill
  • Make room for mistakes in the organization to learn through trial and error and allocate time to improve on the mistakes made to avoid repetition in the future. 
  • Foster team collaboration from all departments in the organization as a way for teams to learn from each other
  • Create a culture of “open communication and feedback” where employees can share their concerns, ideas, and solutions for different areas of improvement.
  • Challenge employees to get them out of their comfort zones by pushing them towards organizational and personal goals.

A growth mindset can be stimulated at an individual level through introspection, habituating change, focusing on the process, not the result, and seeking learning opportunities.

Organizations benefit from stimulating innovative thinking. It enhances motivation and cognitive growth, fosters positive work relationships, and boosts performance mainly because employees become eager to take risks and pursue more meaningful goals.

REFERENCES

https://cezannehr.com/hr-blog/2019/05/why-your-employees-need-a-growth-mindset/

https://verbbrands.com/news/thoughts/amazon-founder-and-ceo-jeff-bezos-gives-us-6-business-lessons-to-learn-from/

https://www.adeccogroup.com/future-of-work/latest-insights/what-can-we-learn-from-microsofts-growth-mindset-culture/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/za/blog/click-here-happiness/201904/15-ways-build-growth-mindset

Yeager, D. S., & Dweck, C. S. (2020). What can be learned from growth mindset controversies. American Psychologist, 75(9), 1-16

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