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April 17, 2020

Ted Talk Summary

Ted Talk Title: The power of believing you can improve
Ted Speaker: Carol Dweck
Author Biography: Carol Dweck is a Psychologist famous for her research into motivation, success and growth.

I have always been a fan of the Growth mindset in my last organisation, I ran a 1-hour power hour.

Growth Mindset

The growth mindset is not a new phenomenon, but it is unfortunately one that is understated and not as popular as it ought to be. Formulated in the 90s by Carol Dweck, the Growth Mindset was initially born from research into young school children. It speaks to one's ability to believe that they can improve through continual learning. From the research, it was found that the lowest performing students were able to outperform seemingly naturally gifted students. Results also found that children from traditionally low performing schools and regions were able to surpass the traditionally high performing schools and regions and perform within the top 1 percent of schools nationwide.

What does the growth mindset mean for organisations and people?

Ask any organisation what one thing they want from their employees and most will say results. There is a large impetus on employees to provide ever increasing results, within their time at the company. To keep up with this demand, the employee must continually increase their capacity and simultaneously the company must provide resources to enable growth.

Growth Mindset vs Fixed Mindset

The findings from this research has inspired me and many other people and organisations around the world to adopt a growth mindset. From the organisations point of view, each individual should have the ability to become better at their job, as long as they foster the growth mindset effectively. Organisations have a critical role to play in this too as the culture must feed into the growth mindset and give people the time to learn on the job. A company that fires as fast as they hire will struggle to implement the growth mindset. The path of growth may not be linear and mistakes will be made along the way, but the company must be steadfast in the faith they have in the employees.

The fixed mindset

The talk also highlights what is called a fixed mindset, which is when an individual is in a mental state of stagnation. The belief that the level they are currently at is the end point of their progression and may not be changed. For example, if you constantly tell yourself that you are incapable of learning a skill, you will never learn it. A practical example is an individual with poor writing capabilities, the fixed mindset will dictate that that is their level and they are not able to change that. If this mindset is adopted within the company then that company will have to constantly fire employees that do not have that natural skill to achieve desired results and replace them with a more naturally gifted employee. Not only is this an expensive process, it casts the company in a negative light that may harm employer branding. In the long term, this may cause the company growth to plateau as they will not be able to attract most talented employees.

My last organisation encouraged this mindset in our training and development programmes and we progressed to be one of the biggest companies in the industry.

I strongly advise everyone to listen and absorb the content of this talk as it could possibly be a life changer. In my experiences over the years, I have come across many professionals who find it very hard to self-assess and figure out their weaknesses. These are people that are contained within a fixed mindset. On the other hand, some of the most successful and progressive professionals, I have come across are always looking to find ways to improve their lives, whether it be personal or professional. It is undeniable that the many people that I have mentored, the individuals that showed the most progress were people that embodied the growth mindset.

How often do you renew your mind?
How often does your company give you the opportunity to increase your capacity?
Let me know your thoughts.

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