Facing 2021 with a Growth Mindset

22 Feb 2021

Growth takes place in the crucible of change. And what a change we have been through in the past year with the pandemic hitting us. Much transformation has had to take place on every front whether we liked it or not. However, much growth has also taken place. In such circumstances, those who would have coped better with change would have had a growth mindset. Which is why this is a ripe opportunity to talk about growth mindset as a business strategy going forward. 

A growth mindset, term as coined by Dr. Carol Dweck at Stanford University, sees failure as learning opportunities for growth and stretching existing abilities. It is comfortable with ambiguity and befriending change while growing resilience for thriving in a changing environment. 

Why is this necessary now? 

The reason this is a timely reminder is because just like the wake-up call we have received over last year, if not prepared, disruptive events will force us to change again, change for which we may not be ready. However by training ourselves for a growth mindset and a continuous improvement philosophy, we will become more agile and capable. Adopting a flexible attitude towards opportunities will help us be better prepared for what the future holds and be able to make decisions that are more informed and strategically pragmatic.

How will this help my business?

You may ask how could a growth mindset make business sense? Especially as making room for failure can be quite risky for business owners? A growth mindset is future focused and so the risks for failure are restricted to the next steps of your business, not for the existing aspects of your business. This is where the principles of continuous improvement which we teach at NZQC are relevant as they strongly align with the principles of a growth mindset. Both focus on the concept of process. We get excited about cultivating the ideas of setting up quality systems for continuous improvement and that continuous improvement is at best a process. Because we can all do ‘process’.

 A firm can minimise risk of failure by diverting the risk away from operational to growth aspects of the business. Putting standards in place helps achieve that. Taking risks within these boundaries can not only be safe but also liberating for the future of your business. Training for standards and quality improvement initiatives is a critical part of minimising risks which also neatly fits in with the growth mindset philosophy i.e. it is a learning process.

Reframing for change

Transitioning to a growth mindset needs reworking our current approaches such as letting go of perfectionist attitudes, ingrained traditional philosophies about performance not to mention confusion borne from the mindset shift that can at times get messy.

Reframing ourselves for 2021 to a growth mindset will help us become more adaptable, resilient and expand how we think about our future as our focus shifts from outcome to process. It will help exercise our growth muscles in embracing the new, becoming comfortable with ambiguity and navigating messy pathways which are key hallmarks of progress. If leaders and business owners can adopt this strategy going forward it will help permeate this thinking through work cultures motivating employees and teams to think beyond the obvious and believe in making possibilities happen.

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