“Learning and development act as a catalyst for change.” says, Ajanta Chatterjee, Head of Learning, Leadership and Talent Development, JSW, in a panel discussion at People Matters L&D Conference 2019. Building a growth mindset is all about developing a T-shaped personality where the vertical is your expertise in the function you are working on, and the horizon is your ability to know about various fields, your openness to learning, your willingness to collaborate, coordinate and to be open to others ideas. Building the T shaped personality and the way we expose our employees to be open to various ideas is the ultimate guide to create a growth mindset.
Building a framework for learning
Growth mindset is a pattern of thoughts which allows us to contribute largely to our organization. The first step of growth is learning, and learning happens in the minds. The mind works best when we have enabling cultures which help the people to feel very comfortable and therefore contribute in the best possible ways.
There are three Cs that will help you in building a growth mindset. They are as follows.
Courage: People need to talk about new things, try and test them. People should have the courage to experiment and be creative. We often speak about agile goals where we have people working on dynamic goals that are relevant both for them and for the organization. We also believe that every moment is a learning moment. Learning is not what happens in the classrooms. We need to have the courage to voice out our opinions, and that provides a lot of opportunities for people to make changes.
Curiosity: Curiosity is a brick of learning. When people are curious, they are at their best because they have a child-like beginner’s mind. When people try new things and work in cross-functional teams, curiosity is at its peak. It’s just that intellectual restlessness helps moving people from the sense of ‘I know it all’ to ‘I want to learn it all’. They can be curious when we show them what they haven’t done and what others are doing. We need to give them moments to reflect and also the space to take the learning back to their place of work.
Collaboration: Collaboration is critical when it comes to building a growth mindset in people because it is learning with and learning from others. How did we create synergies in the past? Team-work is the answer. The best growth happens when people work together, and we realize the power of that when learning is applied in their jobs.
We have to find newer solutions to both the old problems and the new ones. The key to growth is to define your competencies in terms of identifying leaders and focusing on the way we develop them right from the time they are very young. You need to cluster your competencies in three buckets of think, act and engage. This approach to learning is very holistic. It is also essential to develop an IDP (Individual Development Plan) because then people seek purpose in what they are doing, the passion gets triggering, and that’s when they start looking at growth in different ways.
Importance of learning for a leader
Given the pace of change that is happening in the business world and the intensity at which it is taking place, creating growth mindset for productivity depends on the people who are at the top of the pyramid, our leaders. However, when you’re preparing leaders for tomorrow, you can’t prepare them enough. No matter what you do, it will not be an answer for the future, but if you help them learn how to learn, they will be ready to take on challenges and maximize the opportunities that come along the way.
Learning is a journey that includes everything they have learned in the classroom and also out of it, that is, how they engage with their colleagues, peers and significant others. The most important thing in learning is to apply the learning, to walk through the full cycle of learning that is to try out different things and learn from them. Giving them those opportunities for learning has resulted in building a culture of entrepreneurship. Leaders in any organization should be confident enough to take up ownership and lead the company.
The purpose of learning
When we talk about learning, there are two things to keep in mind. One is the relevance or the value that learning adds to your life and enhances your contribution to the business and the second is the process of learning. Enjoyable learning helps the employees to keep it going and motivates them to adopt learning as their mindset. Also, rewards attached to learning make the latter very efficient. In a nutshell, including engagement, fun, competition and reward, you can enhance your learning and hence build a growth mindset.
(This article is based on a panel discussion on Building a Growth Mindset conducted during the L&D Conference 2019 by People Matters with participation from Ajanta Chatterjee, Head of Learning ,Leadership and Talent Development, JSW, Rituraj Sar, Vice President and Head - Learning & Development, Lupin and Dr. Swatee Sarangi, Head - Capability Development, Corporate HR, Larsen & Toubro.)