Whether you’re a CEO, key executive, or business owner, chances are that there is a lot of pressure on you to achieve success for your organization. As a retired CEO myself, in addition to being a Vistage Master Chair, I understand just how important it is for a business leader to lead their respective organization in the right direction.
One of the best, most effective ways to do this is to have a growth mindset. I’ve used my personal experience in the industry to figure out just how a business leader like yourself can develop your growth mindset for more advanced success.
First, it is important to understand exactly what a growth mindset is. In short, a growth mindset is what separates successful leaders from those who are unsuccessful. It was first coined by Carol Dweck, a psychologist at Stanford University and author of “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success,” and is positioned opposite from the option of a fixed mindset. These two possible mindsets make all the difference in determining your success.
A growth mindset means focusing on learning, effort, passion, and progress. Business leaders with growth mindsets, rather than fixed mindsets, view everything as a learning opportunity instead of an opportunity for failure or negativity. Growth-mindsetters believe that they have the ability to change anything with enough effort. They are characterized by having a passion for the things they devote their time and energy into, and they do their best to master the processes that place them on the path to success.
On the other hand, a fixed mindset means focusing on things like talent, judgment, and appearances. People with fixed mindsets believe that accomplishment and success result from talent rather than hard work and dedication. They also believe that each situation is an opportunity for judgment, and if that judgment is negative, they become upset. In other words, they are fragile and find it difficult to learn from their mistakes. Rather than use their failures as opportunities to learn and grow, fixed-mindsetters are more interested in looking good in front of others.
This is all very surface-level, as positive appearances do not always convey the truth. In reality, people with fixed mindsets reject possible opportunities for success under the guise of protecting themselves and their company. Their need for positive critiques leads to a fragility that is both unbecoming and not conducive to successful leadership.
The biggest difference between growth-mindsetters and fixed-mindsetters is that people with growth mindsets feel that they have the ability to learn and grow from new opportunities. But how do you become a growth-mindsetter, rather than a fixed-mindsetter?
The best way to develop your growth mindset is to put yourself in uncomfortable positions and reframe your way of thinking. Fear of failure cannot prevent you from making the best decision possible. Business leaders are constantly being placed into circumstances with high stakes, and they need to be able to evaluate a situation from all angles and make a fully informed decision, independent of how they think others will view them. All that matters is what is best for the organization and its individuals.
Hypothetically, if the decision made does not turn out to be the most successful it could have been, you also need to be able to pinpoint what went wrong and why. Not to mention, you need to evaluate your own performance and determine what you could do better next time. This is how you switch your way of thinking from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset — by reframing your approach and evaluating yourself honestly. This is the hardest challenge for fixed-mindsetters to achieve in their journey toward a growth mindset.
Part of learning from your mistakes is being able to apply what you have learned in different situations. Thus, another way to develop your growth mindset for advanced success is to think of issues you or your organization have faced in the past, how they have been resolved, and how you can utilize those solutions to resolve a similar issue.
More than anything, regardless of the situation, growth-mindsetters must be able to change and adapt to their surroundings and learn from their mistakes. Otherwise, they will become stuck in the same old ways, in a fixed mindset, which does not help to move an organization forward. This type of self-awareness and openness to change can be difficult, but the benefits are numerous.
Successful business leaders typically have growth mindsets instead of fixed mindsets, which means they are better suited for leading their organizations into the future. If you think you have a fixed mindset and would like to develop your growth mindset, you can do things like putting yourself in uncomfortable positions and embracing opportunities for growth instead of fearing failure or shying away from these opportunities. With the help of my Vistage NYC groups, you can learn to develop your growth mindset even further toward success.