A Leader’s Guide to the Growth Mindset

Author: Lindsay Gaskins
President, The Bike Cooperative
Senior Executive responsible for bringing innovative operational and technology solutions to fuel the growth of the independent business members of one of the largest purchasing cooperatives in the retail space, with more than 2,800 locations in North America, spanning 14 business units.

One of my favorite business books of all time is Carol Dweck’s Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. The concepts and examples she presents are thought-provoking, inspiring, and applicable in business and everyday life. Fueled by years of compelling research and case studies, Dweck explores the relationship between mindset and success. 

Her work boils down to a few main points: 

  • If you believe that your skills, talents, and qualities are cultivated daily, based on your efforts and development, then you are operating in a growth mindset
  • On the other hand, if you believe that your skills, talents, and qualities are things that you were born with or that are more “carved in stone,” then you are operating in a fixed mindset.

So, why does it matter which mindset you’re using? According to Dweck, individuals and teams with a growth mindset are much more likely to innovate and succeed.

“When entire companies embrace a growth mindset, their employees report feeling far more empowered and committed; they also receive far greater organizational support for collaboration and innovation.”

Carol Dweck

Operating from a growth mindset isn’t always easy. It’s normal to teeter in the middle of these two mindsets daily. As Dweck mentions in her article, having a growth mindset 100% of the time is not possible – but the goal is to be open to different ways of thinking, more often than not. 

Nearly all of my major leadership challenges have arisen during times when my team wasn’t operating in a growth mindset.  As network leaders, we definitely do not operate in a bubble and It’s nearly impossible to make significant progress when your team is not ready for change. If your group wants to scale their businesses, increase revenue, and grow as a team –  everyone must actively pursue forward momentum. Being stuck in your own way, not being adaptive or not embracing change, will negatively impact the whole group.  

So, how can you start working on creating a culture of growth within your own team?
Here are a few action steps that I’ve found to be helpful:
Create and commit to a growth mindset culture.

In order to make this happen, you need to be willing to call out and address fixed mindset ideas and actions. Be sure to lead by example and practice what you preach. 

Demand more listening. 

Open up the channels of communication throughout your team. Encourage business owners and operators to give honest feedback, and host quarterly Q+A sessions.

Put a check on your own ego.

Give credit where credit is due, and remember, this is about “we, not me”. When we work with our network, we can go much farther than trying to muscle it out alone.

Be grateful.

Be full of gratitude for the opportunity rather than full of bitterness about the circumstances. When times get tough, return to your longterm goals. Zoom out to the “bigger picture”.

Act like a team.

Attack elitism and unnecessary hierarchy, promote teamwork whenever possible.

Acknowledge your players.

It’s important to acknowledge the level of effort along with achievement or failure. Create new opportunities to shout out members of your network for doing a good job. Incentivize local businesses to reach new benchmarks of success.

The good news about mindset is that we have control over it. We can change our minds whenever we want. And, with some by implementing some daily practice, it can become a cultural habit.

I hope these tips are helpful when encouraging your team to think from a place of growth!

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