Organisational Mindset and Culture
What is mindset?
Mindset refers to the work of Carol Dweck, a psychologist at Stanford University who has spent over thirty years studying the effect of mindset on individual and organizational approaches to learning and managing challenge.
A growth mindset is the belief that abilities and skills can be developed, that a conscious effort to strengthen and improve our abilities will increase them. In contrast, a fixed mindset is the belief that our abilities are fixed and regardless of effort, can’t be significantly changed.
Mindset also applies to the culture of teams and organisations.
Dweck has also worked with employees from a number of Fortune 1000 companies to discover the differences between a fixed mindset organizational culture and a growth mindset organizational culture. One of the most interesting findings in her research so far is that, whether an organization has a growth or fixed mindset, the employees are instinctively aware of the cultural mindset and this can have a significant impact on behaviour.
There’s no hiding mindset
“In broad strokes, we learned that in each company, there was a real consensus about the mindset,” Dweck says. “We also learned that a whole constellation of characteristics went with each mindset.”
Dweck found employees at fixed mindset companies:
- often said that just a small handful of “star” workers were valued
- demonstrated less commitment than employees at growth-mindset companies
- felt the company was unsupportive
- were anxious about failing and as a result, pursued fewer innovative projects
- regularly kept secrets and cut corners to try to get ahead
Which organisational mindset rates their employees more highly?
Supervisors in growth-mindset companies were more positive about their employees than supervisors in fixed-mindset companies, rating them as;
- more innovative
- committed to learning and growing
- more likely to describe their employees as having management potential.
The mindset an organisation fosters has significant implications for how individuals and organisations develop, innovate and navigate a fast paced, changing world. Mindset greatly influences how challenge is approached. Those working in a fixed mindset culture are less likely to take on challenges and risk failure. When failure strikes, those with a fixed mindset cope less well than their growth mindset counterparts and are significantly less likely to learn from failure.
In the meantime, more from Carol Dweck:
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