3 Misunderstandings about the growth mindset cleared up
In a short 2016 article by Carol Dweck in the Harvard Business Review, she discusses some misunderstandings about the growth mindset. The article also contains a short animation. Below you can read the three misconceptions that Carol Dweck discusses in the article. I will provide a brief comment for each misconception.
Misconception 1: I have always had a growth mindset
People often confuse a growth mindset with being flexible, open-minded, or having a positive attitude, qualities they think they have always had. Dweck emphasizes that this is a false growth mindset; In fact, everyone has a mix of both a growth mindset and a fixed mindset, which is constantly evolving with experiences.
► This insight highlights the importance of viewing a growth mindset as a continuous development process. Switching from a static to a growth mindset is not a one-time action, but an ongoing process of learning and growth, which is a central notion in progression-oriented work .
Misconception 2: A growth mindset is only about praising and rewarding effort
Carol Dweck argues that it is not just about rewarding effort, both in educational institutions and in organizations. Results matter, and it is essential to reward not just effort, but also learning and progression. This emphasizes the importance of processes that lead to these outcomes, such as seeking help, trying new strategies, and using setbacks effectively.
► Carol Dweck rightly points out the importance of focusing on learning and progression. In that sense, her perspective fits well with progression-oriented work. Personally, I would place less emphasis on words like 'praise' or 'reward'. It is about much more than rewarding. Think of talking about achieved and desired meaningful progress, asking questions about progress, monitoring progress, and so on.
Misconception 3: Simply adopting a growth mindset will lead to positive results
Dweck emphasizes that having mission statements that include values such as growth, empowerment, and innovation are meaningless if they are not supported by concrete company policies. Organizations must support a growth mindset by encouraging appropriate risk-taking behavior and rewarding lessons learned, promoting collaboration, and committing to the growth of each individual, both through words and actions.
► Agree. It is easy to talk about growing and learning. This is not the same as actually investing in and supporting learning and growth. I find it interesting that Dweck explicitly talks about the importance of mindset for organizations. Sometimes people still think too much that mindset theory is only relevant for school-age children. That is not true. The subject is important for life and in all areas of life.