5 ways to enhance a growth mindset

It was Mahatma Gandhi who made the link between our beliefs and our destiny with his famous quote: “Your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your values, your values become your destiny.”

If our beliefs are to become our destiny, then understanding mindset is crucial to enhancing both individual and organisational performance. If leaders fail to understand the magnitude of mindsets, they will fail to create winning cultures.

Exploring employee mindsets can lead to success

We find in many client engagements that customer-facing employees may be provided with the right cultural elements, such as the right tools and systems to provide great customer experiences, yet still fail to do so. Although behavioural assessments often provide insights as to what employees need to enable their performance, organisations rarely take the time to explore the underlying mindsets and beliefs that explain why employees behave the way they do.

What are mindsets?

Mindsets refer to our beliefs and thoughts and become the lens through which we perceive our world. These thoughts direct our actions and impact the choices we make every day. Over time our mindsets become habitual, defining who we are and who we are then destined to become.

Negative mindsets, also referred to as our limiting beliefs, refer to the disempowering beliefs we have about ourselves that hold us back from achieving our desires. Organisations that develop the ability to disable employees’ limiting beliefs and replace these with more empowering beliefs are those most likely to win in the future.

Focus should be placed on creating cultures with winning mindsets and ‘can do’ attitudes in which success is expected and, as a result, more likely to manifest.

How easy is it to change beliefs?

Most beliefs and fear patterns set in under the age of seven and although fairly entrenched can be changed through various approaches. One of the most important requirements, however, is the development of a growth mindset.

Carol Dweck, a professor of psychology at Stanford University, states that employees with growth mindsets believe that basic abilities can be developed and improved through hard work and commitment. With growth mindsets, employees are able to move beyond their limiting beliefs and achieve enhanced levels of performance and success.

Leaders who understand the importance of a growth mindset and actively focus on shifting disempowering mindsets significantly influence employee motivation and performance.

How can you enhance a growth mindset?

There are five ways that you and your employees can enhance a growth mindset:

1.  Focus on purpose: Get clear on your purpose. As Simon Sinek put it: “Start with the why”. When we are focused on our purpose, we can channel our energy into living a purpose-driven life as opposed to focusing on what is not going well. When we are clear on our why, our mind naturally develops more effective ways of discovering the how.

2. Become aware of thoughts and language: Become aware of what you are saying to yourself. If our thoughts or language are negative, these need to be reframed into something positive. By reframing thoughts, we direct our brain to search for evidence of our new beliefs and thoughts and seek opportunities for growth.

3. Challenge yourself: Face your fears head on, try things that scare you and be willing to make mistakes. This is how we learn, and it expands our brains.

4. Never give up: Our failures are purely feedback indicating that the approaches we have tried are not effective. When we treat these as learnings, we continue to grow and learn until we find the right approach

5. Become curious: Ask more questions, find subjects that interest you and research them. Become committed to reading and learning more.

In order to create and sustain winning cultures, it’s essential that limiting beliefs are brought to the fore and growth mindsets are developed. The next phase is to reframe limiting beliefs in order to accelerate the development of powerful, effective behaviours, which will in turn accelerate performance.