Article: What mindset does your organization hold?


What mindset does your organization hold?

Not only does growth mindset enable organizations to build greater trust, commitment and resilience within teams, it also enables them to be better innovators
What mindset does your organization hold?

The mind is a powerful tool. It has the power to determine how successful an individual becomes.  Organizations are no different. The mindset* of an organization can either set it up for continued success or send it spiraling down the path of eventual destruction. The term ‘growth mindset’ is no longer reserved for just education but now plays an important role in deciding how organizations work. 

In 2010, Carol Dweck along with her team of researchers began exploring if the concept of growth vs fixed mindset applied to organizations. The team asked several employees from multiple Fortune 500 companies if their organization had a ‘growth mindset’ or a ‘fixed mindset’. They then went on to analyze the effect of the mindset on the culture and performance within the organizations. No prizes for guessing, organizations voted with a growth mindset fared far better than those without. The findings from this continued experiment have severe implications in the way organizations work today. 

Not only does growth mindset enable organizations to build greater trust, commitment and resilience within teams, it also enables them to be better innovators as the organization encourages taking risks and embraces failure vs punish it. On the other hand, employees in fixed mindset organizations face a constant pressure of having to prove themselves. This leads to cheating, deception and unethical behavior being far more prevalent in fixed mindset organizations as opposed to organizations with a growth mindset. It all boils down to if the organization believes in fixed talent and worships it or believes that everyone can develop his or her abilities and provides opportunities to develop these. 

So how do we begin assessing the kind of mindset our organization holds? An obvious place to start is by asking our people. One effective way to do this is through the employee satisfaction surveys. However, it is also important to pay attention to everyday conversations, for they are the best indicators of the mindset of the organization. While surveys may tell you what people say, conversations and actions will show you the truth. Do employees believe that the organization has their back or does someone pay the price when risks lead to failure? Does the organization value teamwork? The answer to these questions will help figure the mindset of the company.  

What happens when you realize that your organization has a fixed mindset? The good news is that mindsets can change. Once you know the kind of mindset prevalent in your organization, you are in a good position to induce change. A good start is to increase honest conversations, encourage experimentation and accept failure. In most cases, a top down approach is necessary where the management talks about a new value system with an emphasis on learning, collaboration and creativity. One also needs to relook at the how the system awards process, effort and strategy vs outcome. 

Like any culture change, a change in mindset will take time. Growth mindsets, be it of an individual or an organization, goes a long way in increasing perseverance and consequently ensuring success. 


*An organizational mindset is the shared belief of people within a group that human attributes (like intelligence or personality) are fixed and relatively stable or, instead, malleable and expandable. For example, some organizations create a culture of genius in which they extol and even worship inherent brilliance. (Murphy & Dwerck, 2010)


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Topics: Culture, #Corporate

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