Shifting Your Organization to a Growth Mindset

You may have heard the term “growth mindset” used in the workplace in recent years. While the concept itself is not a new idea, there has been a resurgence of the phrase as it applies to modern organizational cultures.

The payments industry is evolving rapidly today, with a growing set of electronic payment options that bring new opportunities for efficiency along with added fraud risks.

This requires industry participants, like Paymerang, to constantly innovate to deliver value for buyers and suppliers while protecting client funds. A skilled and motivated workforce by itself is not enough since the landscape is shifting so fast. Companies need workforces with a capacity for growth and adaptation to thrive in the FinTech space.

Carol Dweck, a renowned Stanford University psychologist, coined the terms fixed and growth mindset after extensive research in students’ attitudes around failure. She found some students rebounded while others were devasted by the smallest setbacks. Dweck describes the simple, yet impactful differences between the two mindsets:

Growth Mindset: People with a growth mindset believe abilities—like talent and intelligence—can be developed through dedication and hard work. They’re more likely to enjoy learning, seek out situations to experiment, and see failure as an opportunity to grow.

Fixed Mindset: Those with a fixed mindset believe the opposite. They feel they “are who they are” and were born with a set level of talent, intelligence, and even interests. Because of this, they’re more likely to seek out opportunities and situations where these views are affirmed (like doing the same job over and over to receive praise) and believe that talent alone—not effort—is the source of success.

While the bulk of this research was conducted on students, these concepts can be seamlessly applied to organizations. Technological advances have made us more efficient, while also increasing complexity of challenges faced by employees. The pace at which we work is faster than ever before and frequent change (and sometimes a little chaos) is to be expected. Adopting and developing a growth mindset in the modern workplace helps increase resiliency in environments that demand quick adaption to change, frequent refinement of strategies, and decisive action within short time constraints.

Implementing a growth mindset into your company culture yields many benefits for individuals and teams. Once people stop worrying about failing, they are more open to creative thinking and problem solving, which leads to the discovery of new and innovative solutions. By trying on new roles and responsibilities, people learn new skills that strengthen their contributions and help them continue their career path.

Fully embracing the growth mindset and applying it time and time again takes deliberate, repetitive practice. How can organizational leaders help cultivate a growth mindset within their cultures?

Here are three tips you can start applying:

  1. Screen for a growth mindset. During the recruitment process, look for traits of a growth mindset in candidates. While interviewing, incorporate questions that dig in to core beliefs, past learnings and setbacks, and the ability to see out challenging tasks or projects. Asks questions such as, “what’s the biggest risk you’ve taken in recent years?” or “give me an example of a time you set an ambitious goal, did you meet it? What went well and what didn’t go well?”. This will give you a sense to what mindset a candidate may be bringing to the team.
  2. Set learning goals. Take the time to understand your employees’ goals. Regularly nudge and encourage new responsibilities (like taking the lead on a project) instead of playing it safe. Be sure to celebrate the learning process and highlight that setbacks are part of the growing process. This will build the resiliency muscles needed to dust one’s self off and to keep pushing forward.
  3. Foster a learning culture, starting with the company leadership. Leaders set the tone and people take note, making it even more important to “walk the talk”. Openly talk about your own successes and setbacks – what you’ve learned, what you’ll do differently next time. Leverage team meetings, town halls and other means of communication to highlight these learnings and encourage discussion and curiosity. Fostering this dialogue shows that it’s safe and encouraged to take risks.

FinTech companies today need to rapidly evolve to meet the needs of the marketplace. If you want to build a high-growth organization that is strong and resilient, start by supporting a growth mindset within your team members today.

Dweck, Carol. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. New York: Random House, 2006. Print

Gloria Garber

Gloria Garber

Gloria leads human resources at Paymerang, implementing strategies and overseeing the day-to-day processes that cultivate an outstanding culture for our team members. Gloria holds an M.A. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology and brings diverse experience from previous HR leadership roles at Unboxed Technology, LanceSoft, and MOM’s Organic Market. She is skilled in leadership development and has a track record of scaling HR programs and practices in fast growing companies. Her passion lies in organizational development and designing training initiatives to help teams and individuals unlock their full potential. She is known for developing strong relationships at all levels of an organization and navigating through complex organizational challenges during times of growth and change.