Updated: Sep 27, 2019
Did you know that a little change in mindset could be a major jump towards improving organizational success?
Staff mindset plays a huge role in organizational performance. It influences everything – how they approach tasks, how they look at obstacles, and how they reach for your goals (or don’t). It all boils down to whether they have a fixed or a growth mindset.
We all fall somewhere on a spectrum between the two. Nobody perfectly embodies a growth state of mind – but nobody’s always fixed, either. In our book MAKiN’ iT, we use a Success Scale from one to six to help people figure out where they fall on the spectrum, and develop strategies to move further into a growth mindset. If you find your staff or colleagues trapped in a fixed mindset more often than not, they're probably feeling stuck, like they have exhausted ways to reach and engage youth. People in a fixed mindset give up as soon as an obstacle greets them. Each criticism – even a constructive one – becomes a personal attack. They’re constantly needing to prove themselves to others. People with a fixed mindset often say things like...
Kids don't want to learn..
I’ll never connect.
There’s no way that I’ll be able to get the class to learn.
I just don’t feel like trying..
I’m not good enough.
If this sounds like someone you know, maybe it’s time to cultivate a growth mindset. Once staff commit to begin more open, program performance begins to change. They learn more, they reach for opportunities. They try earnestly to make positive changes in others' lives – and because they're open to the process, it works.
With a growth mindset, staff look at the success of others as a source of inspiration. Criticism becomes an opportunity. And all those obstacles and challenges are suddenly a source for improvement and a chance to learn. With a growth mindset, staff realize that it’s not about proving themselves to others, but improving themselves.
People with fixed mindsets are convinced there’s no way out, but a growth mindset gives them the chance to succeed and takes them away from worrying about what others think. So if you’re ready for change to start today, here are a few strategies from the experts to help you get your team on a growth mindset:
Embrace new ways of learning. Feel free to get curious. If a traditional training is is not working for staff, explore different methods. Online learning is one. You can also try small team groups, experiential learning, and hands-on skill-building. There are countless ways to learn – so try them all on and find what’s right for your team..
Develop staff's mental muscles. Build their mental toughness and help them to believe in themselves. When your team understands who they are and their individual service objectives, they can work more effectively together. Help them figure out what it their individual service objective they want to achieve and how best to achieve it by journaling, meditating, talking it out with colleagues over coffee, reading books, and listening to podcasts. Tune into what drives staff, what catches their eye, and what their boundaries are – and harness those things to tap into your very best version of your team.
Encourage celebrations with others. Support staff in supporting each other and build a positive web of people who really have each other’s back.
Own your attitude. Stop blaming staff for not wanting to change when you don't give them support or resources to do so.
Be patient. Change isn’t overnight, and anything worth having takes time. New and healthy habits may take months to build.
Focus on the journey, not the destination. Each moment is a learning opportunity for you team, but it doesn’t mean you have to toil while you grow. Enjoy the ride and find joy in the little things, step by step.
We all have fixed and growth mindsets living inside us; nobody sits in either camp entirely. Because we’re on this spectrum, we all have certain triggers that shut down the parts of us that make us want to grow – maybe it’s performance reporting or speaking to funder when you feel pressured. Don't.
Your first step is identifying those limiting reactions and what spurs them. Instead of allowing them to smother your progress, try moving forward and use the tips above. Check out MAKiN’ iT for a complete guide on how we help young people's mindset bloom and remember that it can work for your staff too. What can you do today to start cultivating an organizational growth mindset? Check out MAKiN' iT and watch the ideas flow.
Edward DeJesus is the president of DeJesus Solutions, the founders of Social Capital Builders.