Growth mindset culture

What is Growth mindset?

Do we believe we can develop our abilities or not? This is the key question to answer when dealing with growth mindset. Developed by Stanford University psychology professor Carol Dweck, the mindset concept is used by some of the world's leading companies as a key part of their efforts to develop an organizational culture that promotes wellbeing, diversity and innovation.

The theory of mindset describes two fundamentally different views on abilities and opportunities to develop. One is called fixed mindset, the other is called growth mindset. They are opposites and should be seen as the two endpoints on a scale from fixed to growth. We are all a mixture and our mindset can change from situation to situation.

If we have a fixed mindset, we believe that abilities are innate. Either we have them or we don't. And if we have to work hard to achieve something, it just proves that we don't have the skills. Thus, it is our innate abilities and intelligence that determine our success in life, with effort playing a more or less insignificant supporting role.

With a growth mindset, on the other hand, we believe that we develop skills over time and through hard work. For this reason, hard work and persistent focus - and the mistakes that come with it - are natural elements on our path to mastering a field and reaching our top level. Growth mindset is about developing the abilities that we are born with. Abilities are dynamic and can be cultivated through practice.

Personal and professional development with a growth mindset culture

One of the key ideas in growth and fixed mindset theory is that all workplaces have certain mindsets (habits of thought). These have a significant impact on how employees see the world and therefore how they think and act.

According to Carol Dweck, these habits of mind can be understood as either fixed or growth mindsets. Of course, this division into two archetypes is a bit of a caricature. Simplification aids understanding. An important nuance to the theory is that we all possess both types of mindset. They are expressed in different situations, but we can promote one type of mindset over the other. However, our mindset often operates outside of our conscious awareness. That is, we are rarely explicitly aware of or thinking about our mindset.

One way to reflect on which mindset we have and which prevails in our workplace is to ponder these two questions:

1. Is hard work necessary to reach one's peak or, conversely, is hard work a sign that we lack the necessary skills and the talent is simply not there?

2. Are we more concerned with appearing competent at all costs, or are we more concerned with learning and developing?

When reflecting on these two questions and trying to identify which mindset is most pronounced - in ourselves and in the organization we work for - it is important not to automatically attribute a growth mindset to ourselves and a fixed mindset to others. Furthermore, it's important not to just say that you have a growth mindset because it seems the most desirable. We all possess elements of both types of mindset, and it takes a persistent effort to change your mindset so that it is characterized more by development than stagnation.

Growth mindset culture in the workplace

A fixed mindset involves the desire to appear capable, and therefore you tend to:

  • Avoid challenges
  • Go on the defensive or give up easily
  • See effort as futile
  • Feeling threatened by the success of others
  • Ignore negative feedback.

For these reasons, people with a fixed mindset are more likely to stagnate and not reach their potential.

Conversely, a growth mindset implies a strong desire to learn. This means that people:

  •     Thrives on challenges
  •     Defying resistance
  •     Seeing effort as the path to peak performance  
  •     Learning from negative feedback
  •     Be inspired by the success of others.

With this mindset, it's obvious why people with a growth mindset are more likely to continuously develop and reach ever higher levels.

How LEAD can help foster a growth mindset culture

To foster a growth mindset culture in the workplace, a culture of psychological safety must be created.
It must be safe to make mistakes and feedback must be an integral part of daily life.

Growth mindset is much more than words and statements. It's about the practices that shape behavior in the workplace. These practices can include recruiting and onboarding new employees, setting goals, evaluating performance and the way people interact with each other.

Leaders play a crucial role in successfully establishing and sustaining a growth mindset culture. This is because leaders must support the work of building a culture where everyone has the potential to learn and develop throughout their career.

In our view, the development of a growth mindset culture happens through four key steps:

1.

Create strategic alignment and goals. This involves questions like: Why do we want to develop a growth mindset culture? What will the culture help us with? And why is it crucial to the realization of our strategy and vision?

2.

Next, it's important to take a hard look at what your current culture looks like. It's a good idea to conduct a cultural analysis that identifies the areas that need attention. There are probably already elements of a growth mindset culture in your organization. How do we build on the best elements of the culture and say goodbye to the more inappropriate ones?

3.

In the third step, you formulate what your own growth mindset culture should contain: What does it mean for us? Which themes, values and headlines are central? And what behaviors should growth mindset promote in us?

4.

In the final step, the growth mindset culture must live. This requires a clear and persistent focus from management and key stakeholders in the organization, as well as a systematic implementation to embed the new culture.

LEAD offers the following services

At LEAD, we are experts in developing growth mindset cultures that drive individual and organizational success. We always tailor our services to fit the context and needs of each individual organization. But common to all is that cultures permeate the entire organization and therefore need to be addressed on multiple levels. Working with growth mindset culture requires a focus on leadership, teams and organizational practices.

Organizational and cultural development

Our development programmes address leadership, teams and practices in the organization to create the best conditions for success with a growth mindset culture. At the same time, we always tailor our programs to fit your specific needs and wishes

Individual management sparring and coaching

Leaders must lead the way and act as role models with their own growth mindset for cultural change to succeed. That's why we offer individual leadership sparring and coaching to develop your own mindset as a leader. We help leaders with new insights, skills and practical leadership tools to support both their own and their employees' development of a growth mindset.

Cultural analysis

We offer culture assessments to help you identify and analyze your current culture. It's likely that you already have elements of a growth mindset in your culture. With a cultural analysis, we ensure that the work builds on the best of your existing culture - and at the same time, a data-driven approach allows you to focus on exactly where your culture needs to evolve if you want to build a growth mindset culture.

Team development

At LEAD, we help develop growth mindset teams that learn and perform. In growth mindset teams, curiosity, courage to fail and a desire to collaborate are the keys to turning diversity and difference into high performance. Creating growth mindset teams can involve developing ground rules that support the team in developing and maintaining a shared growth mindset, as well as establishing growth mindset buddies and team sparring.

Skills development and training

We offer competence development and training in growth mindset for both managers and employees. This can be as part of strategy implementation or other projects that require a growth mindset for managers and employees to succeed. It can also be more comprehensive competence development and training in growth mindset - for example, as part of a cultural change and development of a growth mindset culture or in connection with agile transformations and the introduction of agile working methods.

HR products and systems

It's crucial that growth mindset principles permeate the organization's practices. That's why we help organizations develop HR systems and practices that support growth mindset. We work with you to design growth mindset tools and processes that support your transformation. Examples of services range from meeting guides and interview guides to recruitment concepts and performance management system redesign.

Courses, workshops and presentations

We offer courses, workshops and presentations on growth mindset. Do you need a presentation or workshop at your leadership conferences or internal theme days to inspire your organization with the basic principles of growth mindset? We are ready to inspire you based on research-based knowledge and practical experience. With an inspirational presentation, you'll be equipped to reflect on your own practices and approaches to developing growth mindset in your organization.
We also offer tailor-made courses to suit your needs in relation to growth mindset. Do you need to launch a new HR strategy and incorporate growth mindset into your HR palette, or do you need to train your managers to work with growth mindset? No matter what you need in terms of working with growth mindset, we're happy to design courses with you on just that.

The Growth mindset consulting team

Rasmus Thy Grøn

Partner | Read more here

Mickey Klysner Riis

Management Consultant | Read more here

Katrine Bastian

Senior Consultant | Read more here

"I am passionate about developing growth mindset cultures"

In a world of increasing complexity and speed of change, the mindset of leaders and employees is crucial to the success of organizations. 

It determines how we see the world and therefore our behavior. If organizations want to strengthen their innovation, performance and diversity, growth mindset is a key ingredient.

In the video, you can hear Rasmus Thy Grøn talk about the growth mindset he leads, which is relevant for all leaders who want to create a culture where they believe that everyone can develop their abilities. Together with the rest of the LEAD team, Rasmus helps companies with tailor-made programs that strengthen relationships and results.

Contact us to learn more about what we can do for your organization

Are you facing an organizational change? Do you need strategic advice or a cultural development program?

Contact us and together we will tailor a process that develops the exact competencies and structures that strengthen and future-proof your organization.

Rasmus Thy Grøn

Partner and responsible for the business area Management Team Development

Cand. Psych. Ph.D. scholarship holder