Fostering a Growth Mind-set for Business

“Growth is much more than a strategy. It is a complex change process that involves the right mind-set, the right processes, experimentation and an enabling environment.” – Edward Hess

All of us know and accept (even if grudgingly) that change is the only constant and the sooner we embrace any kind of change, we will be able to move ahead. People and companies that are considered successful have adopted such a mind-set and this can be described as fostering a growth mind-set. Those who are rigid and fixed in their approach and thought process, tend to get easily frustrated because they find themselves ‘stuck’ in the middle of situations and people that don’t work as they believe to be right. Companies that believe in fostering a growth mind-set treat the capabilities and talents in their company as assets that need to be nurtured and ensure that they grow. Those companies that have a more fixed approach tend to believe that such proficiencies are limited and hence don’t invest in training and coaching programs or other such activities.

The very premise that aptitudes and abilities are unchanging is regressive.  Instead focus your company on fostering a growth mind-set. Studies have revealed that the employees of companies with a forward thinking approach have a much more open and loyal frame of mind. The employees were least it was revealed – more inclined to trust their co-workers, more inclined to be loyal, committed and more responsible, would be willing to say that their company takes calculated risks that often bear fruit and that their company encourages innovation and creativity.  When employees believe such things about their company, the culture of fostering a growth mind-set becomes stronger and each person is committed to grow personally and professionally. Such a workforce is more inclined to provide top class service to the customers too.

Fostering a growth mind-set allows a company to be better at negotiating and collaborations. This is because they can see beyond the immediate successes and ‘wins’ and are able to focus on removing obstacles and reaching a point where the situation will benefit all those involved.  Doing business with such a company is pleasurable and people are able to trust the relationship more since the company would be focused on each ‘party’s’ interests rather than just on their own.

The leaders, of a company, with a growth mind-set are able to encourage their employees and take a genuine interest in their development. They would take time to ensure that each employee spends time on self-improvement and when they do, the leaders take time to recognize and appreciate the positive changes. As employees improve their skills and knowledge base, the company also moves upward and forward energized to make innovative products and creative services. For a company with a growth mind-set the belief is that improvements and changes can be made despite tough circumstances. The leaders too, in such an environment, are more willing to focus on the overall development of the employees, self and the company as a whole and therefore make much better guides and mentors.

Fostering a growth mind-set is about being able to take and give feedback, even if it is negative. Feedback that is not complimentary becomes ‘constructive criticism’ and each person is willing to learn from each other. Even leaders and the company seeks feedback from their employees as they are willing to understand and remedy their shortcomings and improve on their business and management systems and skills. Companies and leaders who are firm in their resolve of fostering a growth mind-set are not afraid to hear ‘bad news’ and instead become more determined to work harder and enhance their strengths.

So how can companies and their employees develop and sustain a growth mind-set? Does your company believe in fostering a growth mind-set? If it does, you will find customers, employees, investors and other stake holders being attracted towards your company as everyone wants to be associated with a company that is able to provide some amount of certainty, sustain long term relationships and security not just in the present but also in the future.

While fostering a growth mind-set is an on-going process, it is not hard. Every company and business will be faced with seemingly insurmountable problems and tasks that seem too complex. However, with an outward focused approach, the company would be able to breakdown the tasks into smaller and manageable portions and sort them out according to urgency and importance. Recognizing the skills of their employees, they would be able to easily delegate some of these parts to the most proficient staff members. This has a two-fold advantage – first your company is able to find solutions to the problems and get the tasks done a lot quicker and more efficiently and second the important tasks given to employees to manage makes them feel valued and increases their chances to move forward in their careers. Such feelings boosts the morale of the employees that do get the assignments, while the others work harder in order to be recognized and receive such ‘plum’ projects in the future.

Even the best planning and allocation of resources could have opportunity for mistakes causing obstacles and hiccups in an important project. However, when fostering a growth mind-set is your focus, these mistakes will be seen as opportunities to learn from and will be used as stepping stones to move forward. Those who are fixated in their approach will be befuddled by these obstacles, make more mistakes and probably even give up altogether. Fostering a growth mind-set makes companies more adaptable, flexible and open to learn from their mistakes and be mindful of not making the same mistakes again. Crisis and setbacks are a given in any business. However, through fostering a growth mind-set these setbacks would be temporary as a forward approach would help to find their way around them. Companies looking ahead would not be deterred from their path but instead would be firmer in their resolve to become and remain successful.

Fostering a growth mind-set also helps a company to market and sell better. The company would adopt a proactive approach in understanding the market they operate in and also the market they would want to target. They would build capabilities and high skill levels to ensure that their personnel are able to market and sell more and proficiently through a complete understanding of the customer base and the products they are selling.

We have discussed how important clarity of vision is for any company to move forward. Fostering a growth mind-set is about this vision – a clear view of where the company is, where it needs to be and how best to ensure that this will happen. The clarity provides confidence enhancing the chances of achieving short and long-term goals and being successful. With clarity of vision also comes calm and sorted out minds that are able to make spot decisions as also those that require deliberation and discussions. Such companies derive strength and expertise not just from within, but also from outside influences making the process of decision making fair and easier.

A company with a growth mind-set would always be in forward moving, growth and driven mode. Growth is not encouraged for the sake of it, but rather used to create a niche for the company and make it stand above competition. The company with its clear and focused approach would be better positioned to drive innovation and creativity. Trying out and coming up with new products, based on past experiences and current data, even before customers suggest them, will position such a company as a market leader making them preferred over all the others.

Companies fostering a growth mind-set would have learnt the importance of being agile, creative and working in collaboration with others in order to achieve their goals and those of the people that work for them. Such a company would hire the ‘right’ people – that is those whose mind-set is aligned to the company’s. A company with an aligned workforce and a forward looking mind-set will most certainly be on the path to sustainable success.

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