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Friday, February 2, 2024

Lean Quote: Adopt a Growth Mindset

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"I think it’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better.  —  Elon Musk 

This is what tech entrepreneur Elon Musk refers to as his single best piece of advice. We should always be thinking about how we can evolve and grow, and this is why a culture where people practice giving and receiving feedback every day can be so powerful. It’s about having a growth mindset, where we see our skills as adaptable and believe they can be developed upon. And the good news is, we can all learn to adopt a growth mindset.

Building a new solutions and products is a highly innovative and creative process. Things simply don't go to plan all the time, setbacks and failures are inevitable along the way. What makes a difference is how a team deals with them. Each failure is an opportunity to reassess, make a change and try a different approach. In order to succeed, teams must become resilient to failure and focus on the learning outcomes that they present. When we feel that it is safe to fail we are more likely to try risker experiments, and sometimes these riskier experiments have huge payoffs.

The concept of the growth mindset was developed by the psychologist Carol Dweck and popularized in her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. Dweck proposes that people deal with failure in two very different ways depending on their mindset. Some people have a fixed mindset and others with a growth mindset.

People with a fixed mindset believe their intelligence and talent are fixed traits. They believe that talent alone creates success without effort. They don't deal well with setbacks and they try to hide their mistakes.

In contrast people a growth mindset believe that their abilities and talents are just a starting point and that they can be developed through dedication, hard work and learning. They are keen to learn from the people around them. They respond positively to failure and are best described in one sentence: "I can't do that...yet".

Growth Mindset

Fixed Mindset

Failure is an opportunity to grow

I can learn to do new things

I like to try new things

Inspired by the success of others

Embraces challenges

Failure is the limit of my abilities

I'm either good or bad at something

I stick to what I know

Threatened by the success of others

Gives up easily

Teams that operate with a growth mindset have a much more malleable view of success. They do not view failure as a reflection of their ability but rather as a starting point for experimentation and testing of new ideas. They have a passion for learning and improving themselves and their team. They strive for continuous improvement and never give up.

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