ArticlesLeadership, competitiveness and best practices on business management

Management Tips


Management TipsPractical tools to enhance management and leadership skills

Education Resources


Education ResourcesNews, corporate training and business education resources

By The Numbers

Workplace Survey, Findings

1.Workers are struggling to work effectively. 

When focus is compromised in pursuit of Collaboration, neither works well.

2. Effective workplaces balance focus and collaboration. 

Workplaces designed to enable collaboration without sacrificing employees’ ability to focus are more successful.

3. Choice drives performance and innovation. 

Employers who provide a spectrum of choices for when and where to work are seen as more innovative and have higher-performing employees.


Newsletter Subscriber

Anti-Spam Test: 2+3=


Competitive_Business_TeamMindset is everything. When it comes to how we approach challenges and opportunities, mindset determines the world we encounter and possibilities we apprehend.

In her 2006 book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Stanford Professor Carol Decck  distinguishes two extremes of the mindsets people tend to have about their basic qualities: In a fixed mindset, "your qualities are carved in stone." Whatever skills, talents, and capabilities you have are predetermined and finite. Whatever you lack, you will continue to lack.



This fixed mindset applies not just to your own qualities, but to the qualities of others. In a growth mindset, "your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts...everyone can change and grow through application and experience." Qualities like intelligence are a starting point, but success comes as a result of effort, learning, and persistence.


The distinction between fixed and growth mindsets has tremendous implications — as individuals and organizations — for how we address the growing pressures around us.


One of the most provocative aspects of Dweck's work is what it says about our approach to challenges. In a fixed mindset, you avoid challenging situations that might lead to failure because success depends upon protecting and promoting your set of fixed qualities and concealing your deficiencies. If you do fail, you focus on rationalizing the failure rather than learning from it and developing your capabilities.


With a growth mindset, you focus on learning and development rather than failure and actively pursue the types of challenges that will likely lead to both learning and failure. Thus, mindset profoundly shapes key business practices:


1.Business Ecosystems. If you have a fixed mindset, you believe that there are a finite set of smart people and valuable resources outside your company. The challenge is how to identify, connect with and mobilize them to deliver more value to the marketplace — static resources tied together in a static ecosystem. The ecosystem benefits from the network effects of adding more and more participants because more diverse capabilities are connected and accessible.


If you believe that both the resources and the ecosystem itself are dynamic, then the role of the ecosystem is not just to connect and mobilize existing resources but to build relationships that help all participants get better faster. This leads to a more powerful form of increasing returns — not just network effects but new mechanisms to accelerate learning and performance improvement — as each participant learns faster as more and more participants join the ecosystem.


2.Talent Management. A fixed mindset leads you to focus almost exclusively on attracting and reatining talent. The assumption: each person's skills and capabilities are set. You will tend to devote too many resources to those with a perceived stock of knowledge and overlook (and eventually lose) employees with limited stocks but great learning potential. Worse, because you underestimate the value of learning and development, you won't likely get the most out of those employees you do value.


With a growth mindset, you understand that individual and organizational capabilities can be cultivated and develop to improve performance and to expand in new directions. You focus more on talent development, creating work environments and practices that enable employees, regardless of work classification, to develop new skills and to learn by working with others, by problem-solving and experimentation.


3.Relationship-building. A fixed mindset fosters a zero-sum view of the world: if you win, I lose. With a fixed and finite set of value, the only question is how to allocate it. This perspective fosters conflict and mistrust and, not surprisingly, relationships governed by relative power, tend to be transactional and are rigidly defined to protect each party's share of the value.


A growth mindset fosters a broader view of the possibilities: by working together, we can create more value than if we work individually. While there are still issues around allocation, relationships are cultivated based on a goal of creating an even bigger pie. These relationships center on improving the performance of all participants, and the process of creating value together fosters trust. The levels of collaboration and trust deepen with time, creating a more valuable relationship.


The future belongs to those who can adopt a growth mindset. Those with a fixed mindset will likely be increasingly stressed and overwhelmed by mounting performance pressures and sustained uncertainty. Worse, the more they avoid failure, the more susceptible these individuals and organizations can be, not learning from mistakes and missing opportunities.