Regardless of where you are in the five stages of business, taking an enterprise to the next level involves embracing a growth mindset.
This is the frame of thinking that sees you welcome and seek opportunity rather than fearing competition and change.
So let’s wander the corridors of the entrepreneurial mind and investigate how to develop a growth mindset in business.
Growth versus fixed mindset
In business, the theory of growth versus fixed mindset is based broadly on the research of psychologist Carol Dweck.
In the Harvard Business Review, she explains: A growth mindset sees individuals believe their talents can be developed through hard work, good strategies, and input from others, while a fixed mindset sees people believe their talents are innate gifts.
Dweck argues those with a growth mindset tend to achieve more than those with a fixed mindset “because they worry less about looking smart and they put more energy into learning”.
She further notes there is no such thing as a pure growth or fixed mindset, individuals tend to have a mix of both. But when you can foster a growth mindset by recognising the triggers that inhibit growth, you have a better chance of prolonged success.
“When we face challenges, receive criticism, or fare poorly compared with others, we can easily fall into insecurity or defensiveness, a response that inhibits growth…To remain in a growth zone, we must identify and work with these triggers.”
So how does this play out in business?
The growth mindset in business
In business, a growth mindset can play out across an organisation. From a leadership perspective a growth mindset will see you:
- Understand threats but embrace opportunity
- Look to the next phase
- Learn from business mistakes
- Foster a culture of learning in your leaders and your staff
- Welcome challenge
- Look to innovate
- Have a clear vision of where you wish to be
Conversely, a fixed mindset would see you:
- Looking to the past
- Fearing competition
- Blaming failure on circumstance or industry trend
- Giving up easily or being paralysed by a set back or defeat
So how do you foster this growth mindset in yourself and your business?
The mechanics of a business growth mindset
Vision and Mission
Your vision and mission are a great starting point for embracing the growth mindset. When you clearly document what your company is about you not only tell your staff and customers what you stand for, you have the mechanism to measure opportunity and say yes or no.
This vision and mission should always be viewed as far more than words. They mean little if they’re just pretty sentences on paper without the business philosophy and practice to back them up.
Innovation and learning
How well does your business understand the current marketplace and the present strengths, opportunities, weaknesses and threats?
It’s not just about knowing them but having a culture of learning and innovation that allows you to act in response. How do you gauge the mistakes you have made and what have you and your staff learnt from them?
By understanding and learning from opportunities, threats and mistakes, your business has the tools and insight to innovate and move forward.
Planning – the long game
Planning is imperative to a growth business mindset – not just in the short-term but with a long-term vision of where you want to be.
This planning allows you to innovate, make decisions with clarity and understand the skills or tools your business requires.
A sustainable, repeatable model
If you’re business is truly committed to growth, part of the planning and assessment involves looking to create a sustainable, repeatable business model.
This requires an understanding what works and what doesn’t, what resources and skills are essential and having the mechanisms to repeat them on a larger scale. It includes systems, procedures, and a clear understanding of your market along with your business opportunity.
Indecision is crippling for any business, leaving it in limbo. Use your vision, mission and plan to gauge whether a decision suits your customer and ethos, then say yes or no quickly, and take the required action swiftly.
Delaying a decision equates to fear, value extraction, a lack of direction and absence of quality.
If it turns out to be the wrong decision, take the opportunity to learn. If it turns out to be a good decision, you have reached your destination all the sooner.
The final word
A growth mindset is something that a business and the business owner should actively espouse. It is not a phrase or a buzzword, but a frame of thinking that grants business the room to learn, innovate and ultimately grow.
It is a process, not a destination, but used effectively it furnishes business and operators with the tools and insight to embrace change, seize opportunity, and ultimately thrive.