You know what? I’m going to skip the standard opening paragraph about our slow return to normality and how now is the time to take stock and fully prepare for post-pandemic growth. It’s been said a million times and you’re probably bored with it. Plus, as nothing is guaranteed and timelines are far from fixed, it can come across as a little hollow.
But we should all be striving for a culture of growth within our businesses. Regardless. Pandemic or not. Growing (again) after the effects of Covid on our businesses, our teams, our markets and our bottom lines is certainly valid and topical, but creating and maintaining a culture of growth should be something we strive for at all times.
What is a Growth Mindset?
Put simply, it’s a shared belief and willingness to continually change, adapt and… well… grow! A growth mindset is usually pitted against its ugly sibling, the Fixed Mindset. While Fixed Mindsets avoid challenges, give up at the first hurdle, see effort as something to avoid, ignore criticism and feel threatened by others’ success, Growth Mindsets do the opposite. They embrace challenges, they persist in the face of obstacles, they understand that effort is the route to success and mastery, they learn from criticism and they find learnings and inspiration in the success of others. It’s the difference between seeing intelligence, skills and ability as static or as attributes that can and should be developed.
So, how can you encourage a Growth Mindset?
It’s about empowerment and communication. And empowerment through communication!
Regardless of our people’s working patterns and locations, we must reach out to all to exchange information, set expectations, give and seek feedback and, simply, to maintain contact. Knowledge is power and growth mindsets cannot function without that power.
Are you set up fully and correctly for your people’s needs? This is more than just providing a laptop, smartphone and, maybe, a headset. Just as important is finding and using the right software platform for your business, your people and your needs. There are many options now (MS Teams, Zoom, Google Hangouts et al) but make sure you have the right one in place, one that encourages collaboration and two-way comms, and one that everyone has access to and knows how to use fully. The two-way thing is so important. Your people won’t feel valued or empowered if they feel they don’t have a say. Use the available technology to make your conferences, meetings or calls fully interactive.
Once that’s sorted, set the precedence for how comms will look moving forward. It may be advisable to invest in some instructional videos to help your people find their way and their confidence in new platforms or expectations. A policy is always a good idea for setting a tone, common language and expectations. It can also help with things like respecting work/life boundaries within your communications.
It’s really important to lead by example here. Your employees will follow your lead far more closely than your policy if the two differ!
With all of that in place, you can really start to instil that Growth Mindset and Culture of Growth. Within your comms, make sure you are always doing the following:
Empower your people to contribute towards your purpose, vision and values by sharing all relevant and required information, knowledge and best practice.
Give your comms the time and attention they need. Provide consistency and quality in your messages. Be snappy, be engaging, be inclusive.
Demonstrate a positive problem-solving attitude at all times.
Set proactive, growth-oriented goals for your people.
Feedback on people’s work, outputs, efforts.
Facilitate and encourage business-wide and peer-to-peer recognition and appreciation.
Be relatable and approachable. Acknowledge that maintaining positive growth can be difficult, especially during challenging times.
Robust and meaningful comms are crucial for maintaining a culture of growth within your people and your organisation. And that will provide the resilience, adaptability and agility that help businesses to thrive and prosper.