Just as many companies are seeking to kick-start growth trajectories slowed by the headwinds of the past 18 months, many employees are in need of inspiration and tools to help recharge their personal and professional growth objectives. And we discovered that the two do not have to be mutually exclusive. Here’s a quick summary of one path forward….
With multiple links to our client’s 5 year growth strategy, we developed a practical and sustainable learning program which embeds growth mindset capabilities at the individual, team and departmental level. Designed to deliver learning outcomes which stick, our program delivered on the following objectives:
• strengthen participants’ personal growth mindsets
• foster a common language around growth mindset within the department
• equip people managers to be “leaders as teachers” as they deliver a “Growth Mindset Cascade-in-a-Box” that aids them to teach and coach their direct reports in growth mindset principles.
• Identifies and embeds growth mindset principles in the form of departmental habits and commitments
We had so much fun with this fully virtual hybrid delivery model. Here’s a sneak peek on what we learned….
The structure of working on growth mindset at the individual, team and departmental level worked well. The personal growth mindset work was integral to team leaders embracing the learning and feeling confident to cascade the key concepts to their team members. Even if initially our learners expressed some trepidation about leading a growth mindset cascade to their direct reports, the design element of “Leaders as Teachers” was energizing. In uncovering insights for themselves, leaders felt spurred on to run the mini workshops and ask the reflective questions we prepared for them in dedicated 1:1 sessions with their individual team members.
Leaders reported that the confidentiality of growth mindset discussions was key. They cited the importance of separating such discussions from business performance and as well being prepared to be vulnerable about what they are personally working on as important enablers to build trust.
Allowing sufficient time between the different modules is important. Ensuring that learners have sufficient time to process, reflect and discuss both with self and their team is a success factor.
Here are some reflections from our participants following the cascade to their team:
Connections. I feel much closer to my team. We didn’t always define next actions, but being open to each other really made our bond stronger.
It helped my team member and I surface assumptions which turned out not to be true.
It helps to create a “safe space” for learning & growth.
As we look more broadly across our growth mindset data sets, we continue to see the highest average scores in the areas of aspiration, autonomy and next steps.
• Ambitious aspirations are appropriately scoped, well prepared and thought through
• Many learners had a broad range of self-awareness which is evident. They could talk about skills that were innate and positive for them and at the same time, they could frame their challenge areas with candor and with the sense of possibility for growth.
• Autonomy was clear and stories in this area were balanced and optimistic. We saw our learners be open and flexible about how things might unfold for them in the future and they grounded these in the opportunities they see for themselves. Almost all our learners were honest about the uncertainty facing them.
• Most learners came up with very specific, tangible and interlinked next steps
We saw lower scores in the areas of inner voice, curiosity and networking.
• The inner voice presented in some cases as overly critical, in others we saw outdated labels or being unable to let go of shame or deep emotions related to past events. However, it’s important to note that learning from past failures was strong almost across the board. For some, reassurance techniques were in place to counter the negative inner voice, in others, this continues to be a work in progress.
• Quiet undertones of imposter syndrome were present in some of our participants. (aka “I’m not sure if I’m ready”, “I don’t have all the requisite experience to make that next step”, “people will think who is she to do that?” etc.)
• Curiosity is an area to keep plugging away at. “Better” here looks like more investigation, questioning, ability to recognise bias, challenge assumptions and experimentation. Many hadn’t examined their assumptions underpinning their growth goal.
• Networking: here the opportunity for our learners is to tap into broader networks to support them in their growth aspiration moving forward. By seeking out different profiles, (eg. potentially people who might feel in the outgroup to us) will only help with curiosity, challenging conventional wisdom and making progress against our ambitious aspirations.
• And finally, we all need to try to keep a focus on habits – with busy, metrics oriented people, these small cues and routines will allow us to keep on track with our personal growth
If you are considering a growth mindset learning initiative, spark your thinking by completing our Growth Mindset reflection guide here: Growth Mindset Reflection Guide
Or book a 20 minute virtual coffee to discuss your interests in growth mindset Book a 20 minute virtual coffee