Fear-based mindsets are holding back SME growth
Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) Kuik Shiao-Yin gave an impassioned plea against two limiting mindsets that Singaporeans seem to be tied to – fear and scarcity thinking. In her speech in parliament on Tuesday (5 April 2016), she lambasted Singapore’s “grantrepreneurs”, business owners who only go after government grants like the Productivity and Innovation Credit (PIC) and the like, trying to milk it for all they can provide, instead of maximising what the grant was set up to achieve. This kiasu and kiasi mindset has driven entrepreneurs to adopt a me-first mentality, rather than the broader understanding of “generating greater worth and real value to share with the world.” Kiasu (the fear of losing) and kiasi (the fear of dying) are terms that have been used to describe Singaporeans for the last fifty years, but they are not positive attributes to live up to because they are fear-based mindsets that rob entrepreneurs from adopting behaviours necessary for the future – innovation, productivity and collaboration.
Another mindset that Singapore entrepreneurs embrace, according to NMP Kuik, is the scarcity mentality; one where it is all persons to themselves, and one where they cut no one any quarters. “There is no win-win,” says Kuik, because entrepreneurs see a fixed pie situation in business. Collaboration suffers as they believe that “giving of any advantage to someone else is stupid because it comes at a cost of our personal survival and happiness.”
Both these thinking can be summed up by one mindset – the fixed. Research has shown that the fixed mindset is one that holds people back for fear of failing, ultimately adopting the kiasu and kiasi mentalities. If this mindset is pervasive, there will be no innovation, no productivity, and no collaboration.
But this can be reversed. The opposite of the fixed is the growth mindset. The attributes of the growth mindset are, among others: (1) willingness to accept risk, (2) adopting the hypothesis-driven process, (3) pivoting when assumptions are found to be false, and (4) collaborating to reduce risk and to expand the market. As this is a mindset, it needs development. Here are 4 quick steps to take to start on the growth mindset development journey:
1. Know your predominant mindset
As in all development, self-awareness is key. If you don’t know where you are now, and what you are predisposed to thinking, it is very difficult to plot your development plan.
And here’s GOOD NEWS! We have a traits-based assessment system that will tell you just what your growth mindset traits strengths are, and for a limited time, IT IS FREE! So if you want to know just how strong your growth mindset is, click on this link and you will be well on your way to developing the growth mindset!
2. Identify which areas of the growth mindset you want to develop
Once you know your personal growth or fixed mindset traits, identify what areas you want to focus on and find ways to develop them. No two people will develop in the same way, even if they had the same profile, which itself it quite unlikely. Some will want to focus on the weaker traits, others might want to further strengthen their stronger ones. There is no hard and fast rule to developing your growth mindset.
3. Adopt one new habit a month
Your traits are developed by adopting new habits. According to psychologist Jeremy Dean in his book, “Making Habits, Breaking Habits”, it is possible to form a new habit within 21 days, although there will be variability according to the level of difficulty, and the type of habit being formed. Of course it takes focused attention in the beginning, but as the habit it formed, it becomes easier and easier. Once one habit is formed, move onto the next one. Within half a year, you can become a growth mindset genius!
4. Apply your newly formed trait strengths
Forming a habit but not applying it is like lighting a lamp and putting it under the bed. You need to apply it in the area of your growth. If you are a businessman, then you would need to apply it to find new areas of growth. If you are a corporate leader, then you would need to apply it to developing more people, allowing them to adopt the growth mindset as you do too. Accepting risk and allowing for mistakes (aka “failure”) are both growth mindset strengths. The more you apply your growth mindset traits, the better you will be at navigating uncertainty.
NMP Kuik brought up something we are all aware of, but sadly, there was no purposeful development for – until now! We now have the tool to allow us to determine unequivocally if we had a fixed or growth mindset, to know if we indeed were kiasu and kiasi, and to what extent, and to identify what traits are driving our kiasu, kiasi mentality. This will allow us to identify just where to focus our developmental efforts. In the end, exhorting Singapore entrepreneurs to change without giving them the tools to do so would also not be useful. Today we have the tools, and we have the solution.
Come join us in the growth mindset revolution!
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