Which company has the better outlook: one whose leaders think they already know everything about their business, competitors and marketplace, or one with a culture rooted in constant learning and improvement? While it’s possible the former may be able to achieve some success, Anova believes the answer for achieving long-term, sustainable growth is with actions and strategies attained from consistently-sought after feedback. In order for a company to embrace the challenges that come with accepting it still has room to grow, it has to have the right mindset.
In her bestselling psychology book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Carol Dweck, Ph.D. introduces two different mindsets – the fixed mindset and the growth mindset. Dweck explains that people with fixed mindsets believe their success and qualities are essentially set in stone. They believe they are born with a certain set of skills, intelligence, and aptitudes. People with a fixed mindset tend not to seek out feedback and typically do not work on themselves because they simply do not believe they can change much. Their world and its trajectory are essentially set at birth.
Contrarily, people with a growth mindset believe their qualities and knowledge are only a starting point and that everything can be developed through learning and continuous improvement. The growth mindset is based on the theory that anything you do can be improved through hard work and effort. People with this mindset tend to have a passion for learning, feedback, and stretching themselves. Their world and its trajectory are continuously growing.
This psychological theory has dramatic implications in the business world. All businesses begin as a collection of people (and their mindsets). Each person on a team brings his or her own mindset to each area of focus. In fact, senior management teams often have a variety of mindsets amongst them. For example, the Head of Marketing may want to perform Win Loss Analysis to better understand buyer preferences and the competitive landscape. They are interested in learning and growing the company’s knowledge with the end result being improved market outcomes. This is the perfect example of a growth mindset. On the other hand, the Head of Sales may believe that he or she knows the answers to these questions already. He or she does not see the value or need in investing in measures to find out why the company is winning and losing. This fixed mindset inhibits their company from gaining valuable feedback.
What seems like a no brainer investment to one person is a waste of energy and resources to another. How does this conflict in mindsets play out?
Some decision makers decide not to collect data on how the company could improve and thus they lower the company’s ability to become self-aware. Ultimately, the company may fall further and further behind a competitor that is willing to get the feedback and learn.
It’s not always the company that starts out the best and fastest that wins the race. But the best companies are ones who create a culture where a growth mindset exists, where opportunities grow, and learning can foster true long term success.