The growth mindset refers to the belief that human capability isn’t set in stone at birth but remains malleable throughout a person’s life depending on how they approach it. A growth mindset is, therefore, the belief that abilities can be developed with the right environment and inputs.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has embraced the growth mindset and made lifelong learning a priority at Microsoft. After taking the helm four years ago, the value of the company has tripled, indicating that this approach has significant merits and potential business value.
This approach was reflected in the sessions at the recent Microsoft Inspire conference in Las Vegas where the concept of a growth mindset was explored. This is highly unusual for a technology organisation: in the past, these conferences focused on new products and roadmaps and didn’t consider the so-called soft skills that people need to contribute to organisational success.
However, it’s the right approach because being able to shift individuals’ and the organisation’s mindset will be crucial as rapidly-evolving technology continues to fundamentally alter the world we live and operate in. Those working in technology organisations will need to move beyond simply giving customers what they want and, instead, look for ways to understand and meet their unarticulated needs. That takes listening and empathy, which often requires significant mindset shift. If team members don’t believe they’re capable of such a shift, they’ll be unlikely to achieve it.
With the idea that everything is possible, organisations are embracing the growth mindset to set healthy boundaries around work. Since work tends to fill whatever capacity is allocated to it, people need a strong incentive to set clear boundaries. Companies are beginning to realise that a solid, productive eight-hour day is far more valuable than seeing staff work 18-hour days with minimal sleep, inadequate nutrition, and lack of engagement.
To some extent, the acceptance of this idea of bringing a person’s whole self to work stems from the rise of the multi-generational workplace. Increasing numbers of millennials in the workplace demand that their work carries meaning and that they achieve the elusive work/life balance. Therefore, they seek opportunities for learning and development. The better an organisation can fulfil this need for growth, the more likely its employees are to be engaged, productive, and valuable.
It’s important for companies to remember that fostering a culture of lifelong learning, work/life balance, and a growth mindset doesn’t need to come at the expense of hitting targets, reaching revenue goals, and achieving key performance indicators (KPI). Instead, a growth mindset should be seen as an invaluable tool in achieving these things.
It’s also an essential part of preparing for the future workforce. As identified in CompTIA’s IT Industry Outlook 2018, meeting the demands of the future workforce requires flexibility, and new approaches to training.*
Part of this flexibility is recognising the need for a culture shift that acknowledges that the growth mindset has a role in the future workplace.
This is particularly important for organisations in the technology industry because of the constant and rapid pace of change. It’s essential to equip employees with as many tools as possible to help them adjust and evolve effectively.
Helping to improve employees’ resilience and ability to navigate change is a crucial element of strong leadership. Becoming a better leader and creating better environments for people to thrive in should be priority number one for business owners and managers. A growth mindset is one of the most effective ways to achieve this.