How to Implement Growth Mindset Still Mystifies Leaders, New Survey Reveals

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Authored by

NLI Staff

Just because leaders have made growth a near universal priority, doesn’t mean that they necessarily know how to implement growth mindset.

New data from the NeuroLeadership Institute makes that gap clearer than ever.

Results from a recent survey* showed a whopping 48% of people, when asked about the top obstacle for kickstarting growth mindset in their organizations, said it was the uncertainty of how to put growth mindset into action.

*N=238 Source: NLI Industry Research, October 2018

Interpreting the data

To us, this result indicates that leaders still feel they lack the tools to build a “growth mindset culture,” or one in which employees embrace failure and see challenges as opportunities, not threats. It also suggests that people feel uncertain about the business case for growth mindset in organizations. Alternatively, they may feel unsure how to get others to care about its potential relevance to performance.

All these doubts may accompany the ever-present misunderstandings and old myths around what growth mindset is and is not.

Equally telling, our survey showed that 25% of respondents felt existing systems discourage growth mindset from taking shape.

This highlighted for us the importance of creating work and talent processes in a way that support, not oppose, a growth-mindset approach. For example, if your talent management approach worships innate talent and drives a highly competitive environment, employees may try to nip growth mindset initiatives in the bud fairly quickly.

Where to look for growth mindset

The good news is that just 16% of respondents said their senior leaders simply didn’t see the value in growth mindset. Any talent practitioner who ever had to convince top leaders of the need for talent development initiatives know that this is rare. Getting full executive buy in can difficult, and maintaining it even more so.

We assume that high-profile leaders such as Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO and avid growth mindset supporter, lead the way by valuing the science behind growth mindset as a performance and engagement driver.

To help leaders grasp the science and current application of growth mindset and equip them to make shifts in their own organizations, we captured more such findings from our industry research in our recent Idea Report, “Growth Mindset Culture,” as well as in NLI’s 12-week blog series “Growth Mindset: The Master Class.”

Check out either to better understand how growth mindset advocates are make it work in their organizations.

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