How do you define “success” in the work that you do?
Better still, how does your business truly define success? Of course, money, profit and margins are huge barometers, but what about success from an attitudinal standpoint? I recently finished reading the book, Mindset by Carol S. Dweck. It had been on my Wishlist for far too long. It seems like her concept of fixed mindset vs. growth mindset have become a part of the business zeitgeist over the years (I had heard those terms, but was unaware that they were developed from her book). It was hard to not recognize when I’m playing in the fixed mindset, and when I’m able to push through with a growth mindset. Even more powerfully, it got me thinking about certain professionals that I know and… more importantly… many brands that I have worked with.
What’s a growth mindset and a fixed mindset?
Here’s the definition from Dweck’s website:
“In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success–without effort. They’re wrong.
In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work–brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment. Virtually all great people have had these qualities.”
In the business world, many brands are scrambling. Many brands live in a fixed mindset.
Look no further than the industry publications. From massive agency reviews to issues of transparency to data breaches to trying to figure out how a brand can best find an audience. There’s an air of uncertainty (make that fear) out there. What brands used to do isn’t as effective. What everyone is telling us to do is deeply challenging. Where everybody wants us to go forces us to amp up our skills, technology and more. It is confusing. Blockchain, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, smart audio skills, direct to consumer brands and so much more.
Then comes the posturing.
Perhaps I get more exposure than the average business professional, but every presentation, briefing and pitch that I have sat through has had an unyielding sense of posturing (very fixed mindsets). From individuals who think they have all the brand’s answers to organizations posturing that they’ve already mastered and are engaged in everything that is new with technology. This is not a criticism of those brands (and people) who seem to be inflating their own tires. It’s just hard not to see this happening so much out in the wild and, at the same time, understanding how a growth mindset is probably the one component that – when instilled in the company values and into its people – can truly set them free.
Think deeply about what kind of business professional you can be… and want to be.
I’m not innocent here. I’ve sat in a many a room and acted in a fixed mindset. I figured this was the expectation. It’s not. Poking, prodding, being motivated to learn and grow is what those who become great have done. Even when things go sideways. Applying a growth mindset when the job is tough, when you feel like your personal growth may be inhibited, etc… is paramount to uncovering your own path to success. Not being judgy here… or pointing any fingers. It just became abundantly clear to me, while reading Mindset, that so many brands today live in a fixed mindset… and not one of growth. They’re scared, but they’re acting like they’ve “got it.” It’s top down and it’s for every individual in the organization to think about.
Want your business, your team (and yourself) to truly thrive in this market? Lose the fixed mindset, read Dweck’s book and drive towards true growth.