Fixed vs. Growth Mindset: Keys to Promote Innovation in TalentBy Anamary Olivas | Mon, 08/08/2022 - 15:17
A report by Stanford University revealed that companies in Mexico and elsewhere are not giving enough attention to promoting a growth mindset where employees feel encouraged to experiment and innovate. Managers must review their talent strategies to ensure they have really fostered the conditions to build a creative environment.
Examining the capacity for innovation and people management in any organization, it is common to find that organizational development programs and human resources policies focus on strengthening the skills that employees already possess. However, this does not prepare them for the current-day challenges of modernization and digitization.
This paradigm of wanting to promote innovation and creativity but establishing policies, systems and control that maintain the status quo has been approached by Carol Dweck, Professor at Stanford University, by contrasting the types of mentality existing in an organization: the fixed mindset and the growth mindset.
The concept of the growth mindset centers on the notion that through curiosity and constant learning, people can expand their strengths and capabilities. Meanwhile, the fixed mindset assumes that intelligence and skills are immutable. Both mindsets represent fundamental beliefs that define the goals, behaviors and reactions that people exhibit in different situations. In general, most company directors maintain that employees can constantly grow and learn. However, they still often define policies, processes and systems that prevent people to risk trying new things, stemming from a the fear of making mistakes.
In many cases, managers favor the fixed mindset because they want to guarantee the effectiveness of the operation, but at the same time, this limits the capacity for innovation and creativity for employees. Managers should therefore question their systems in the areas where they truly want to drive innovation.
Some adjustments in HR policies to promote a growth mindset include an analysis and work design that promotes interaction and roles that favor autonomy, boosting training with participatory and innovation methodologies such as agile and design thinking.
When managers focus solely on evaluating traditional indicators such as sales and income, they may lose sight of the benefit of trying new approaches because of the cost of the learning curve associated with that innovation. However, experts argue that innovation is what maintains a company relevant to the market.