I have a deep rooted passion for learning, and one thing I’ve thought about since I was a kid is that I’ll still be sharp minded and productive way into my senior years; that’s a life goal of mine.
If you are really ambitious, I believe that rather than setting out to accumulate as many material things as you can, you should be aiming to spread mindset; a point of view. This blog is very much focused on innovation as a mindset, not as a collection of tools and frameworks that anyone can pickup and magically turn him/herself into an innovator. …
I stumbled upon an interview with Carol Dweck, the author of Mindset, on how your mindset might be affecting your companies ability to innovate. It’s interesting because when asked how a potential job candidate might identify if the company he wants to join has a growth-mindset culture, she said to look for 4 things.…
The process of innovation is full of highs and lows and requires people to stretch themselves beyond their comfort zone so I think it depends on a person’s tolerance for failure. It basically comes down to mindset, Carol Dweck has written extensively about how there are people with a fixed and growth mindsets. If you look around you’ll see that we’re mostly surrounded by people with fixed mindsets, people who are afraid to be wrong and make mistakes. Where innovation requires a learning disposition, people with fixed mindsets have a hard time accepting the idea that ‘failure as learning’ is part of the process.
What we need to do is come to a collective understanding that failure will happen along the journey of any new initiative and see it as an investment, this way we can change the perception of failure from ‘failing to learning’.
Below is Professor Carol Dweck explaining the difference between a growth and fixed mindset:
P.S Be sure to click on the links (do you have a growth or fixed mindset?), it’s stuff I’ve written about before as well as ideas taken from elsewhere but they all come back to the growth vs fixed mindset.
I look forward to your thoughts
There are a number of reasons why I liked the Knowing vs. Learning Business Week article by G. Michael Maddock and Raphael Louis Vitón. Not only are they right, but they also touch on a very important topic: The reason why some people tolerate failure more than others.
Read the following four sentences and write down whether you agree or disagree with each of them:
- You are a certain kind of person, and there is not much that can be done to really change that.
- No matter what kind of person you are, you can always change substantially.
- You can do things differently, but the important parts of who you are can’t really be changed.
- You can always change basic things about the kind of person you are.
If you agree with items 1 and 3, you’re someone who has a ’fixed mindset’. If you agreed with items 2 and 4, you tend to have a ‘growth mindset’.
What does this mean?
People with a fixed mindset believe that their abilities are basically static whereas people with a growth mindset believe abilities are like muscles that can be built up with practice. With a growth mindset you tend to accept more challenges despite the risk of failure, therefore if you are of a growth mindset you seek to get better all the time; which usually means learning from mistakes.
What does this have to do with innovation?
As the authors of the article say, fear of failure makes growing, getting smarter, and becoming a learning organization all but impossible. So if we are to cultivate ‘innovativeness’ in our organizations we must first instill the growth mindset in our team and then work to change how we perceive failure by coming to a collective understanding that failure will happen along the way of any new initiative we pursue.
As Carol Dweck says: People will persevere only if they perceive failure as learning rather than as failing.
Growth vs. Fixed, which one are you?