How to Develop a Growth Mindset: A 4-Step Process

calendar Nov 14, 2023
author Written by Stefan Daniëls

Have you ever felt the Growth Mindset is all talk with little implications?

It’s time to show how some of the world’s most successful companies have thrived using this approach. You will learn actionable steps to embed it into your professional world, whether you're an individual contributor or a manager. 

We'll discuss the 4-step process on how to develop a Growth Mindset

1. Start with self-reflection

2. Obsess over the problem or challenge, not the solution. 

3. Make it safe to fail and own your growth

4. Transform praise and feedback loops 

 

Implementing a growth mindset should be more than fancy ambitions — it's a foundational shift that can drive individuals and organisations towards remarkable success and adaptability.

Research has shown that this mindset because it directly correlates with resilience, innovation, and long-term achievements.

Just look at Microsoft, which under Satya Nadella's leadership, rejuvenated its corporate culture by embracing a growth mindset, leading to increased collaboration, innovation, and a resurgence in its market position.

The ability to adapt, learn, and transform is essential in an ever-changing digital landscape.

A growth mindset equips professionals with the tools to survive and thrive amidst change.

Let's first answer an important question ... 

What does having a Growth Mindset mean?

Carol S. Dweck introduced the Growth Mindset. It's all about believing you can get smarter and more skilled if you put in the right work.

People with a growth mindset like challenges, don't stop when it gets difficult and are good at taking feedback as it's an important part of the process.

They get inspired by other people's success, which fuels their ambition.

Contrary to the Growth Mindset is a Fixed Mindset. It's conceptualised as a mindset where you think you're stuck with the skills you've got. People with this mindset are not too keen on challenges, bail when it gets difficult and don't like negative feedback, even though it's constructive.

One with a fixed mindset often gets jealous when others succeed and do not believe that putting in more work will pay off. Someone with a fixed mindset receives negative feedback as a sign they don't have what it takes to be in their position; it damages their self-esteem and causes them to lose motivation.

Growth Mindset vs Fixed Mindset

Just getting started on your growth mindset journey?

 Growth Mindset ToolkitWe’ve designed a simple roadmap that you can follow. Don’t just consider it a linear process, but go through the steps and come back to them to iterate and improve.

⚙️ Click here to download the toolkit

 

 

 

  1. Self-reflection: Begin by looking inward. Use the self-assessment journal to understand where you stand and where you need to pivot.

  2. Ask the Three Whys: Whenever a challenge arises, peel back its layers. Dive deep, question, and understand its roots.

  3. Ensure Psychological Safety while Maintaining Accountability: Create a space where your team feels safe to share, fail, and learn. Pair this with clear expectations, creating an environment that nurtures growth.

  4. Revise Feedback Mechanisms: Modify your questions during check-ins. Shift the focus from mere results to the journey, the growth, and the learnings along the way.

Let’s dive a bit deeper and see what’s needed at each step. 👇

 


Step 1: Start with Self-reflection

Kick off with the self-assessment journal.

It's like holding a mirror to your thoughts, helping you recognise areas dominated by a fixed mindset and pinpointing where to shift to a growth mindset.

What could that look like in real life? Here’s a little example:

Self-reflection

 

Situation:
Emily has always been curious about integrating AI into her marketing campaigns but feels overwhelmed by its complexity.

 

 

Self-reflection:
Using her self-assessment journal, Emily notes:

She feels behind the curve because she hasn't adopted AI in her strategies yet. She's excited about the potential of personalised marketing with AI but fears the learning curve.

Let’s take these self-reflections into our next step!

 


Step 2: Obsess over the problem or challenge, not the solution

Have you ever been in a situation where someone just doesn’t want to kill an initiative because they’re personally attached to the result?

Or have you seen people jump to conclusions too quickly because they want to see results?

That’s exactly what we want to avoid when developing a growth mindset.

Those with a growth mindset don't just scratch the surface; they obsess over understanding the very essence of a problem.

Instead of impulsively seeking a quick solution, they detach their egos from the outcome, allowing them to really address the root cause.

This methodical exploration ensures decisions are made based on comprehensive understanding, not just surface symptoms.

By using the 3 whys, we can achieve just that!

Growth Mindset analysis

This means Emily needs to focus on a solution that helps research the benefits rather than immediately jumping to AI projects and upskilling.

Let’s continue with the example in our previous chapter!

 


Step 3: Make it safe to fail and own your growth

We know that lack of safety and accountability will actually get in the way of growth and innovation!

That’s why it’s important to cover the checklist below so you can get into what we call “the learning zone”.

Psychological safety

Based on the root-cause analysis from the previous step, you can define a scope for your growth or development and make sure psychological safety and accountability are covered. If you miss a few checks, consider how to improve them before you start.

 


Step 4: Transform praise and feedback loops

At the heart of the growth mindset lies a simple yet profound shift in how we give praise and receive feedback. By valuing effort over results, we foster an environment where continuous learning and antifragility thrive.

To make this shift, we must reimagine our feedback processes. Instead of asking, “What did you achieve?” the focus should shift to, “What did you learn?”.

Dive into our toolkit, tailor it to your unique needs, and embed our suggestions for revamped questions into your 1-on-1s, performance reviews, and retrospectives.

Remember, fostering a growth mindset is not passive; it's a dynamic, ongoing commitment.

This way, you can guarantee a depth-first approach that will help tackle this and many more challenges in the future.

Growth mindset questions

 


Embrace the power of "yet"

After diving deep into the transformative practices of journaling, employing the 3 Why's, and establishing a feedback loop.

One of the simplest mindset shifts you can adopt is to add the word “yet” to the end of your self-limiting beliefs.

Have you ever thought, “I can't do this”? Try adding a “yet” to the end of that statement. See the magic unfold as “I can't do this” transforms into “I can't do this... yet.”

So, the next time you find yourself doubting your abilities or facing a new challenge, remember to harness the power of “yet.” It's a simple tweak to your internal dialogue but one that can set you on a path of continuous learning and growth.

After all, every master was once a beginner. Every expert started as a novice. And every success story began with challenges that weren't overcome… yet.

 


Common Misconceptions

The Growth Mindset, as conceptualised by Carol Dweck, has taken many forms over the past few years. In a 2016 article for Harvard Business Review, Carol Dweck explained how her ideas have gained a lot of popularity, but they also became somewhat misunderstood.

Here are some common misconceptions of the growth mindset. 👇

 

The mindsets are an either/or proposition

People talk about the "growth mindset" and the "fixed mindset" like they're total opposites that can't exist together. But the truth is, we switch between these mindsets constantly, depending on what we're dealing with.

You might have a fixed mindset about something in your life, where you feel like things just can't change, but at the same time, you could be all about that growth mindset in another area where you're open to learning and improving.

It's not like we're just one or the other all the time; it's more like we flex between the two depending on the situation.

 

A business can have a growth mindset

You might have heard companies boasting about having a "growth mindset" like it's something they possess as a whole.

It's great that more companies are recognising how crucial it is to have this mindset, but here's the deal: it's not something a company itself can have.

It's really about the employees working there, the people who make up the company. 

 

A growth mindset equals having a positive mindset

When we're talking about making progress and moving forward, it's not just about being all cheerleader-y and positive all the time.

We've got to be real about our limits and deal with the stuff that gets in our way. It's not about pretending everything's perfect but about facing the tough stuff and figuring out how to handle it.

Imagine you're trying to build something awesome, like a cool treehouse. You're excited about it, but you know you've got limited materials and maybe a few tricky branches to deal with.

So, you don't just ignore the tough parts and pretend you have all the wood and tools in the world. Instead, you face those challenges head-on, figure out how to work with what you have, and maybe even learn a thing or two about carpentry along the way.

It's all about being real and resourceful, not just acting like everything's a piece of cake.

 

A growth mindset means that everyone can do anything

It's a common misconception that the Growth Mindset is a belief that "everyone can do anything".

Some say a fixed mindset means believing your talents are set in stone, while the growth mindset suggests you can keep growing endlessly, like there are no boundaries to what you can achieve.

You might have heard the "1% talent, 99% hard work" statement, implying that you can conquer anything with enough effort.

But let's face it: we all have our limits. We're not all born with the same potential for everything. Sure, we can get better, but we've also got to accept that we're human with our own unique strengths and weaknesses.


 

BONUS: ChatGPT prompts to help you Rubber ducking your way to growth

Have you ever heard of the “rubber ducking” method, where developers explain their code to a rubber duck toy in order to explain the problem and come to solutions on their own?

Well, think of ChatGPT as your advanced, AI-powered rubber duck!

No need to wait around for colleagues or scheduled meetings; start the 4-step process on your own.

Our curated list of 10 prompts is your ticket to harnessing the power of AI for personal growth. Whether you're grappling with challenges, brainstorming strategies, or just seeking insights, these prompts are designed to nurture your growth mindset. Dive in, converse, reflect, and let this AI co-pilot guide you towards actionable insights and continuous growth.

ChatGPT prompts

👉 The 10 prompts can be found in the Growth Mindset Toolkit. 

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