Growth Mindset In The Business World

By April 28, 2020 Executive Coaching

So far in this chapter, we’ve looked at mindsets as they involve individual but can organizations and businesses have a mindset, too? 

If the answer to that is yes, how does this mindset effect the organization’s goals and outcomes, and what do the employees experience?

Researchers have been working to answer this question, and while it isn’t yet concrete, it appears that the answer is yes, organizations do tend to function under a specific mindset.

Just as in individual people, organizations can have a “fixed” or “growth” mindset and this matters greatly for the company.

The mindset an organization or business has directly impacts the culture that is fostered there. As we’ve discussed in previous chapters, culture is the heartbeat of a company or organization so it stands to reason that the company’s mindset is absolutely vital to the success of the organization.

Let’s look now at how companies are affected by these different mindsets, and what effect it has on their culture.

Fixed Mindset Companies

Some companies have a fixed mindset. In these companies there is a “culture of genius”. 

Much like individuals with a fixed mindset, these organizations believe that when it comes to skills and knowledge, you either have it, or you don’t. In these organizations, talent is almost worshipped.

In these companies it can seem that some employees are valued above others and these are the employees that have shown star talent.

Unfortunately, this mindset leaves many people in the dust as the company views them as not having that certain je ne sais quoi.

Growth Mindset Companies

In companies where a growth mindset is prevalent, there is a “culture of development”.

These companies believe that employees can grow and develop abilities and knowledge, much in the same way people who have a growth mindset believe the same thing.

Growth mindset companies encourage their employees to seek new skills and be innovative.

In these organizations, everyone is valued because they all bring something different to the table.

Mindset And Organizational Culture

A study conducted by Stanford researchers questioned employees from several Fortune 1000 Companies in an effort to gain a better understanding of how a company’s mindset affected their organizational culture. 

Fixed Mindset Culture

The researchers found that in organizations with a fixed mindset or a “culture of genius,” things weren’t that great.

Employees in these companies said they were looking to leave their current company for another. This might be due to the fact that these companies discourage risk taking and innovation and that there are often behaviors that border on unethical. When people in these companies are trying to be the “star”, they might be more willing to go about it the wrong way.

In these companies, retention is tough. In a company where “genius” is valued above all, new hires tend to come from outside the company instead of allowing those within to rise. 

Employees here don’t feel as though their leaders and employers value them or have their back. Fear of failure keeps them from being creative or innovative.  

When initiative is lacking and change is resisted, stagnation will reign, and major problems will surface. Also, employees will likely jump ship.

Growth Mindset Culture

In a “culture of development”, the differences are stark.

Employees within these growth mindset companies trust their employers, they feel like they have more ownership over their work and they are willing to put more effort in to reach the goal.

Because they feel responsible and like their leadership values their input, employees in these organizations tend to be highly loyal and are committed to the future of the company.

In the company that values learning and development, risk taking is encouraged, and creativity and innovation are celebrated. 

Because most people aren’t in it for their own gain, companies with a growth mindset are more likely to have favorable ethics practices.

Additionally, supervisors in these companies trust in their employees and their ability to learn and grow and that they see management potential in them.

This is good, since most growth mindset companies hire and promote from within. 

If you want to be a leader in a company with a growth mindset, you’ll probably want to make sure you’ve got a growth mindset. Let’s look now at how this plays a role in leadership.

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