One of the key components of successful goal setting and making change happen on any scale is to develop a growth mindset. Someone with a growth mindset views intelligence, abilities, and talents as learnable skills which can be honed over time through effort. This approach is solution focused. A person with a fixed mindset views those same characteristics as being unchangeable. It is a very problem-focused approach.
Here is an example. A person with a growth mindset who has never had P & L responsibility during their career but aspires to be a CEO will devise a plan to acquire the necessary skills to make that happen. They may commit to doing a short finance course for non-financial people, shadow the company CFO, ask for a mentor from the finance function, or sit in on financial planning meetings. Someone with a fixed mindset will think that because they have never been exposed to numbers or involved in financial planning or budgeting, they will never be able to acquire the knowledge to succeed. They may even beleive they are too old to learn these skills that others have worked on since their university days. That is simply not true.
Mindset and achievement
Dr. Carol Dweck, studied human motivation and introduced the concept of growth and fixed mindsets in her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. She suggests that ambiguous or challenging situations can be catastrophic for those with fixed mindsets because they believe that if they don’t already have the skills or intelligence to complete a task or achieve a goal, they can’t succeed or acquire the knowledge to get better if they only have the basic knowledge.
Dr. Dweck’s research noted that when students connected effort with results, they put in extra time and effort, leading to higher levels of achievement.
The characteristics of a growth mindset are:
- You believe that achievements are down to effort, not just inherent talent
- You’re willing to learn from your mistakes and find value in criticism
- You believe that your intelligence and ability can be developed
- You’re willing to ask questions and admit when you don’t know something
- You seek out challenging tasks and take on risks
When you develop a growth mindset, you believe you can acquire the knowledge and skills to help you succeed, and see every challenge as a chance to learn.