Carol Dweck, Ph.D. and author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, defines a growth mindset as believing “the hand you’re dealt is just the starting point for development…based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts.” This idea that we’re not limited in our abilities, but instead, are able to build on skills and experiences to achieve even greater abilities has gradually been gaining traction in today’s more forward-thinking corporate cultures.
Both existing team members as well as prospective employees are looking for firms that have built and continue cultivating a growth mindset culture. In today’s highly competitive labor market, being able to join a team of people who are future-oriented and open to continuous growth and learning can be a key differentiator that attracts top talent to your organization.
So how do you begin to more effectively integrate growth mindset into your culture? The following five steps will go a long way towards helping it establish deeper roots and flourish:
Replace ‘no’ with ‘not yet’
Sounds simple, right? Yet many teams fall into the trap of thinking that if something can’t currently be accomplished, it will never be doable. Rather than obstacles to be overcome, they begin to see these things as permanent limitations and therefore stop looking for solutions. Take time to regularly remind your team to think of these current limitations (e.g., integrating both traditional and alternative assets into a holistic portfolio view for your clients) as not yets instead of nevers.
Focus on continuous learning
Often, when people finally master a new concept or skill, they’ll begin to get bored and look to shift their attention to a new challenge. Sometimes, the challenge they pursue is a move to a new firm. One way to keep this from happening is to encourage continuous learning—both to remain proficient as well as acquire new skills. This may include paying for accredited courses, certifications, or even advanced degrees. Your team is an investment. The more you help them better themselves and gain new experiences, the more they’ll associate the business with personal growth and satisfaction.
Identify and course correct limiting beliefs
What keeps someone in a fixed mindset? Believing that they are limited in whatever ability they are trying to push beyond. When someone on your team expresses or demonstrates a limiting belief, it’s the team’s responsibility to help them identify this impediment and jointly seek out a creative solution. As a team leader, it’s imperative that you demonstrate this thinking beyond limits in the way you talk about your challenges (see them as ‘opportunities’) and your areas of stagnation (see them as ‘growth’).
Embrace constant change
Lately it seems like the only constant is change, and people typically don’t like too much change (or any for that matter). But the last two years has certainly taught us is that change is inevitable and the best thing we can do is just lean into and move with it. Walking with your team through change isn’t just necessary, it helps everyone feel more connected. And change is an opportunity – to learn new skills, imagine new ways to serve your clients, and explore new ways to build and scale your team. One thing to remember during change, however, is to always clearly communicate the why, how and when.
We all need encouragement at times. Recognizing your team’s growth and accomplishments goes a long way in cultivating the growth mindset. When a team member hits a milestone or pushes past a limiting belief – shout them out. Let them know that the team is supporting them every step of the way. And if your entire team reaches a goal or stretch goal – help them celebrate their achievement in a big way. But don’t forget to reward and recognize your own moments of personal triumph.
A growth mindset isn’t always the easiest thing to implement or maintain. Often, it’s far too easy for team members to fall back on “I/We can’t.” However, pushing past our limiting beliefs, embracing change, continuously learning and celebrating along the way are crucial in cultivating the growth mindset and setting your team and firm up for future success.
- What limiting beliefs are currently standing between you and having a growth mindset?
- In what ways have you cultivated a growth mindset culture for your team?
- In what ways are you providing opportunities for continuous learning for your team?
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