What’s Your Mindset?

This past summer, Iridia moved its offices to a new location; a newly renovated office space that gave employees a better, brighter, more functional space. When staff arrived on the first day to unpack their boxes and settle into their new space, they found a gift on their desks – a book by Carol S. Dweck called Mindset (subtitled, The New Psychology of Success).

The leadership team at Iridia, felt that the concepts in this book were important enough to pass on to everyone on the team. This book has become Iridia’s “theme” for the year, and not only has everyone been encouraged to read it, but at every staff meeting, one staff person is asked to comment on what they have learned from the book.

With dozens of studies and experiments, which are cited in the book, Dweck has discovered a ground-breaking idea – the power of mindset. In a nutshell, Dr. Dweck identifies two different kinds of mindsets with which people approach life – a fixed mindset, and a growth mindset.

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A fixed mindset is focused on outcomes, results, achievements, and scores. A growth mindset is focused on just what it says – growth. Instead of asking, “What mark did I get on that test?” it asks, “What did I learn from my studies?” Instead of saying “I blew it. I’m a failure; I’ll never try that again.”, it says “How can I learn from this and do it better next time?” Overall, fixed mindset people tend to be governed by fear of failure, take fewer risks, are quick to condemn themselves and opt for easier tasks in which they know they will excel. Growth mindset people see every situation as a growth opportunity, therefore they take more risks, learn more, have more confidence, and accomplish more than their fixed mindset counterparts. The fixed and growth mindsets are seen very early on in life and the studies in this book, from children to corporate CEO’s, are fascinating.

Dweck applies mindset to business, sports, relationships and child-rearing, and suggests that developing a growth mindset is paramount to success in life and in work.

This little book has made quite a splash at Iridia as we continually try to find ways to apply the growth mindset principles at work. It’s not so much about creating lists of things to do or ways to be, but about creating an environment that encourages questions, welcomes mistakes, and asks people to be accountable for their own growth experiences. Pick it up from your local bookstore and see whether Mindset has some things to teach you.