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7 Signs your Organisation Needs the Growth Mindset

Many people think that the growth mindset is a personal disposition to learning and growth. While that is technically true, there is evidence to show that a collective growth mindset has the impact to influence how an organisation grows and thrives as well. Indeed, if a company does not have a formal emphasis on embracing the growth mindset, chances are it may be hampered from moving forward, both in their leadership and business development. And there are if your organisation exhibits some or all of these 7 signs, it may be time for you to invest in developing the growth mindset in your people...

1. All decisions are based on precedence

When your decision makers decide based on whether a similar decision had been taken before, you know it is time for you to seriously improve the growth mindset in your organisation. The growth mindset is one that takes in all available information and makes the decision that is required by the situation, understanding that there may be mistakes, and there may be failure.

2. There is little or no revenue growth

As the name implies, the growth mindset leads to growth. Growth implies newness because if there is no new market, no new product, there certainly will not be any growth. Newness requires one to extend themselves beyond the status quo, to try out things that might backfire. And yet this element of backfiring allows one to get better. So if an organisation is not growing, look to see if there has been new market penetration, or new product launches. If these are few and far between, then you might like to dive deeper and see if there is a risk aversion in the corporate culture (as opposed to a lack of competence, which can be supplemented). And if you do, then you know you will need to invest in developing the growth mindset in your people.

3. There has not been any new products or services for several years

As mentioned in the previous point, if there are no new products, and if your company is relying on products that it developed 10 to 15 years ago, you are running the huge risk not only of declining but of even becoming obsolete. When a company rests on its laurels, and prefers to live in the past, and offer products that they think is innovative - and which may well be back THEN - the company is in a huge fixed mindset state. The same applies to a services company. If you have been offering the same services, with the same processes to the same people for years, you are in fixed mindset mode; and you may find yourself very quickly being irrelevant. That's not good!

4. There are few good suggestions

The growth mindset embraces change, and takes up new ideas with relish. Yet if a company only pays lip service to change, and to new ideas, and it does not really matter whether we have new ideas or not, then chances are, these suggestions will dry up. Everyone will defer to the people at the top, relying on them to come up with the ideas, and they will simply implement them, taking neither responsibility nor initiative to make things better. The fixed mindset necrosis has taken hold of the organisation and there is an urgent need to shake up the status quo.

5. The same mistakes keep popping up

Well, you can't blame them, can you? After all, if people have given up and are "zombies" within the company, not taking responsibility or initiative, then mistakes will creep in. Not that all mistakes are bad. If a mistake is the result of taking a calculated risk in operations or business, and we learn from that, tweaking the solution and getting back out there, these are what we call "positive mistakes". But there is a darker side of mistakes, one caused by apathy, and these tend to recur over time - the same mistakes popping up over and over again. These are negative mistakes because they could have been avoided. If we keep getting such avoidable mistakes, know that there is a certain amount of apathy creeping into the system, and this needs to be corrected. Get them started on the path of learning, of change, of improvement by developing their growth mindset.

6. There has been little - or no - team development for some time

Learning is the key indicator of the growth mindset, and if you and your team have not undergone any development for some time now, you will realise that the organisation prefers the status quo than change. Change and growth are synonymous - you can't have one without the other, and change comes from learning. Hence, no learning, no change; no change, no growth. But before you think the obligatory annual "team bonding" activity counts for development, think again! An effective programme must address specific team issues, and develop their effectiveness on the job. And how often should this happen? At least once a quarter! So, if you are not getting enough development, you run the risk of staying at the status quo, and that will not lead to any growth.

7. Staff turnover is high

People normally stay in an organisation that refreshes them, that stretches them, that grows them. Engagement is key to staff satisfaction, and when that is present, turnover is low. We all know the benefits of low staff turnover right? Expertise is retained and honed, camaraderie is high and so is productivity. On the flip side, when staff turnover is high, there are numerous stops and starts, and productivity takes a hit. Just when people are getting the hang of it, they leave and the whole process repeats itself, always trending along the baseline. No growth! If you see high staff turnover, you need to seriously look at how to improve the growth mindset, not simply of your ground and frontline staff, but more critically, of your managers and even senior leaders!


The growth mindset is not a nice-to-have element of organisational development. In fact, it is a necessary component seeing that it creates the right environment for risk taking, for "failing", for learning, for growing. It is only when an organisation can accept failure can it start to learn new things about its product, its customers, its market. And then from there, they will be able to create something new. And the outcome? A more vibrant organisation, with energised staff, experimenting, learning and getting better.

Now don't you think YOUR organisation should be like this?

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