Forbes Council Post: Building Your Learning Power: Behavioral Skills And Mindsets That Promote Collaboration, Innovation And Corporate Resilience
Leen Kawas | Entrepreneur, Inventor, Innovator and Leader | Managing General Partner at Propel Bio Partners.
The mindset of leaders is critical in shaping corporate culture. If you’re leading or joining a team, it’s important to cultivate behaviors, attitudes and mindsets that promote innovation and result in a supportive and resilient culture. As a leader, I always believed that if you encourage a philosophy of growth, approach challenges with a beginner’s mindset and cultivate the “power of yet,” you will end up with extraordinary teams and originality as part of your organization’s DNA.
The term “growth mindset” was first introduced by the work of Dr. Carol Dweck regarding the ways students react to failures or challenges. Students who focused on the effort and learning rather than on the experience of failure were able to do better the next time around. In her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Dweck suggests that what sets successful people apart is the way they approach life’s challenges rather than only their talents, education or innate skills.
Why is this important for entrepreneurs? Any time a company sets off with an idea of something new, it’s a hard journey. Something will go wrong at some point, so you need to be ready and resilient and turn the challenges into opportunities and growth for you, your team and your company.
Build A Culture And Hire For Growth Mindset
Entrepreneurs with a growth mindset realize that it’s sheer hard work and determination-not only aptitude, income, time or any other characteristic-that ultimately results in success. Hard work and growth get people to the finish line. In this way, the “ power of yet” fosters fortitude; it’s not about if I’m able to do something or if my company will achieve the next milestone, it’s when. This is something that can be seen while interviewing someone for a job. What’s important isn’t that they know; rather, it’s the willingness to learn and grow. As author and speaker Simon Sinek would phrase it: “You don’t hire for skills, you hire for attitude. You can always teach skills.” I like to say they can always learn skills or teach you a new skill. A company with a growth mindset culture highlights the importance of the 360-degree learning experience.
It’s essential to establish a purpose beyond yourself so that you’re willing to grow alongside others. Having a business with clear goals for making a difference (beyond making a profit) can help you push personal boundaries and learn new skills in pursuit of the success and transformation of your organization, and it can significantly impact your work on society, humans and the world. Additionally, I think bringing humility to every task as a leader is essential-even if you have the experience and knowledge needed for a given issue. You never know what you can take away from a situation that can allow you to become a stronger leader, inventor, innovator, developer or whatever you already are.
Take On Challenges With A Beginner’s Mindset
I remember a colleague telling me not to solve a problem with the same mindset that led us to it. This was so brilliant and made me think about approaching it with a fresh outlook and bringing innovation to our solutions. Let’s approach it with the beginner’s mindset -one that remains open to learning and seeing things with a fresh set of eyes every time. Evolving as a leader requires this openness to change, to dynamic interpretations of situations that would otherwise be quickly and easily dismissed. There’s also a sense of playfulness that I believe comes with approaching business challenges in this way, allowing for creative solutions that might be overlooked by a more stringent, traditional way of thinking.
In addition, applying the growth mindset -which, by definition, is one where the entrepreneur embraces challenges and leverages pitfalls or setbacks along the way as learning experiences rather than limitations-is especially critical for leaders to accept because hurdles to success are inevitable when starting a new business venture. Being open-minded allows for an agility that can help entrepreneurs move between fields or specialties with ease. It also makes you more resilient to the challenges that will arise as your business goes through its own version of growth. This, in turn, requires leaders to not only be perceptive but also agile when it comes to roadblocks. Iterations and flexibility can go a long way in allowing a company to continue to grow in the face of delays or downturns in the markets.
Often, we create a five-year plan and stick to the script as closely as possible, hoping that this will drive us forward. However, looking beyond this plan in every direction can help leaders bring their companies to newer heights. It is important to have a clear vision, but the details and the path to get there have to be flexible. As a leader, you must understand that there are many unknowns you will face, but how you approach them is what will set you apart. Believing that you can grow and that those around you can also evolve will help you take the company further. A Harvard Business Review survey found that employees working for companies with a growth mindset are 49% more likely to say that their company fosters innovation, and 47% of those surveyed were more likely to find that their colleagues were trustworthy-another valuable asset to driving a business forward.
Practicing the “power of yet” and promoting a growth and beginner’s mindset is essential for every business and company to hold on to because it allows you to try new things while remaining clear on your mission and vision. Take the time to examine mistakes or challenges in a new light with an open mind since there’s always something to be learned. Leaders can also establish open channels of communication within the organization for feedback and new ideas to encourage a growth environment. This can encourage collaboration and bring about new ideas that can help propel your company forward.
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