Taking a Growth Mindset Company-Wide

How you approach failure can actually determine your path to success, according to groundbreaking research by Carol Dweck. It’s all a matter of whether you have a fixed or growth mindset.

In a fixed mindset, you believe your abilities are relatively defined and static — which means that every task becomes a test to prove yourself. This leads you to overemphasize outcomes and the trappings of success, react with defensiveness toward setbacks, and hang back from opportunities. Everything is win or lose, seen more as a zero-sum game.

In contrast, the growth mindset is based on the belief that your skills can improve, develop, and grow. You approach challenges, setbacks, and achievements with a sense of possibility, which affects how you view your history and then pave the way forward. As Dweck writes: “Mindsets change what people strive for and what they see as success. How they change the definition, significance, and impact of failure. And they change the deepest meaning of effort.”

Understanding these mindsets can also deeply impact people management, changing how they see success, failure, and the point of their efforts. What’s your organizational mindset towards performance and ability? Do you emphasize ranking and grading when evaluating people or focus on developing their skills?