Cultivating a growth mindset at work

What is a mindset?

A mindset is a set of beliefs. It guides you on how to act and behave based on your established attitudes. Carol Dweck describes how mindset impacts the beliefs about yourself and your most basic qualities. She’s studied whether intelligence, talent and personality are fixed traits and carved in stone, or whether they can be cultivated over time. She has conducted experiments in education, sport, relationships and business, and has demonstrated the impact and limits of a fixed mindset.

Fixed vs. growth mindset

Dweck describes those with a fixed mindset as believing that they have a certain amount of talent and will shy away from new endeavors outside of their abilities due to the fear of failure. Those with a growth mindset believe they can advance beyond what they have if they put in the work and are not afraid to try and fail.

Mindset is driven at a large scale within enterprises by the way people are motivated, promoted or rewarded. One sign of a Fixed Mindset Enterprise is one where there is an obsession around fixed performance targets – on-time and on-budget metrics are the classic example. By striving to meet fixed targets instead of focusing on the process and customer outcomes, companies end up with teams who are less prepared to try things and become less collaborative as they try to hit the targets. This can lead to projects that add time and cost buffers and ultimately drive poorer performance in both cost and speed-to-market.

Cultivating a growth mindset with VFQ

From the outset we developed VFQ to focus on making progress towards specific outcomes – not on the implementation of any specific methodology. Ultimately, a VFQ-based change is measured in Increased Value, Improved Flow and Enhanced Quality. This focus is based on a growth mindset and leads to a more resilient and robust change that delivers better results.

So, how might we Increase Value, Improve Flow and Enhance Quality at work? Ask questions:

  • Where are we?
  • What are we good at?
  • What are the challenges we’re facing right now?

The context is also about what you are trying to achieve. So this might turn into:

Given the current skills and capabilities we have today, and the need to deliver X, how might we best organize ourselves to meet the needs of our customers?

Or, you might choose to look at the whole process of the whole delivery organization.

The idea is to be as specific as possible, but the format and focus of the question helps us to remain focused on creating a contextually relevant solution rather than implementing a specific methodology.

If you’re trying to implement a new framework, consider constructing a question that helps set the context, and improvements in Value, Flow and Quality. This will help you and your team develop a growth mindset to ensure you remain focused on implementing solutions that best meet your goals. And remember, praise the efforts that move you in the right direction!