What pre-existing mentalities do people bring to learning? This video explores fixed and growth mindsets and how they impact learning.
- One cornerstone of a positive culture of learning is empowering a growth mindset. The term was coined by Stanford psychologist Dr. Carol Dweck, who studied what differentiated people who succeed from those who fail. It came down to whether they hold a fixed or growth mindset, which is a belief about themselves and their abilities. According to Dweck, people with a fixed mindset believe that their traits or characteristics such as their intelligence or people skills are set once they reach adulthood.
A person with a fixed mindset thinks, I've got what I've got, and I just have to make the most of it, but I can't change it. In contrast, a person with a growth mindset believes that they can always get better, that they can always learn something new or practice something more. They also believe that practice and effort are the pathways to improvement and even mastery. A person with a growth mindset thinks, I may not be able to do this yet, but I can work hard and get better. In fact, the word yet is the hallmark of the growth mindset.
Dr. Dweck says it best when she states, "Individuals who believe that their talents "can be developed through hard word, "good strategies, and input from others "have a growth mindset. "They tend to achieve more than those "with a fixed mindset, those who believe "their talents are innate gifts." At work, these different mindsets play out everyday and influence how people view effort, setbacks, challenges, feedback, and even the success of others. People with a fixed mindset don't believe that they can improve, so they tend to focus on doing what they're already good at, avoiding challenges, and blaming others when they have a setback.
They also tend to be very defensive when they receive feedback. Whereas growth mindset people are always looking for opportunities to learn and grow. They put in the time and energy it takes to get better at something. They welcome challenges, and they see setbacks as wake up calls. They not only respond well to feedback, they actively seek it out. Needless to say, these two mindsets create very different career paths, with the growth people more likely to improve over time, develop more sophisticated skills, and adapt to our rapidly changing world.
When growth mindset people achieve ever-higher levels of potential and performance, the organizations they work for reap the benefits. Their quest for continuous improvement helps their organization succeed. For example, Satya Nadella, CEO for Microsoft, is intentionally driving the growth mindset throughout his global organization. A great learning culture will support and empower the growth mindset folks to continually learn and grow. But even more importantly, it will help the fixed mindset folks to change their belief about themselves, turning on the potential of your entire workforce.
Neuroscience has proven that the truth of our brains is growth. We can and do create new neural pathways our entire lives. It's called neuroplasticity, and the studies are conclusive. You really can teach an old dog a new trick, even if he doesn't believe it, yet. There are four key ways to shift the mindset of your people from fixed to growth. One, expose them to information about mindset and neuroplasticity. There's lots of ways to weave these concepts into your learning events, your performance review process, and your leadership development programs.
I do this all the time, and you'd be surprised how much just explaining these concepts can quickly shift peoples' understanding of their own mindset. Two, create an environment that's safe for taking risks and making mistakes. Most fixed mindset folks are anxious about making mistakes, so to overcome their natural hesitation, you have to intentionally create an environment where mistakes are valued for the vital role they play in growing and improving. Google found that psychological safety was the key differentiator when exploring what set their high performing teams from the others in their global workforce.
They now make building psych safety a core component of their learning programs and culture. Three, make learning a normal and valued activity. Make more visible the learning and growing that's already occurring across your organization. Showing examples from top leaders to those on the front lines. Finally, acknowledge and reward progress and improvement. Study after study shows that when people are told that improvement matters, they improve, and when progress is acknowledged, they push for more progress.
We'll explore all these strategies in more depth throughout this course.
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- Establishing a growth mindset
- Integrating learning into your organization
- Empowering through knowledge sharing
- Overcoming obstacles
- Addressing opportunities
- Measuring success