What is growth mindset in business?


Is growth mindset really important in the world of business and work? It doesn't make sense. Carol Dweck's work on mindset, spanning across a 30 year period and beyond, is all based around students and learning. So why on earth, should business owners and employees be even thinking about growth mindset?

In this blog, Gemma tells us exactly why.


How can businesses profit from growth mindset?

Businesses can profit whether they are growth or fixed mindset, so here, it's more about how do you want to profit better, easier and by reputation.

Developing a Growth Mindset culture within any business is the foundation for proactive learning and change. Inviting employees to embrace a growth mindset does not mean that outcomes become devalued, it means by refocusing on the beliefs and practises that shape your employees confidence to try, to learn and to grow, you are more likely to get the desired results. Every business has corporate goals to achieve. Growth Mindset allows businesses to see how to achieve these goals effectively and with sustainability.

For businesses, specific gains from developing a growth mindset are:

  • Customer orientation and focus is increased

  • Increased productivity and quality

  • Lower attrition

  • Improved company performance in all areas

  • Improved staff relationships and trust

  • Positive and desirable business reputation

Does Growth Mindset help staff with mental health?

Across the UK, businesses have growing concerns and challenge when faced with mental illness within the workplace. 1 in 6.8 people experience mental health problems in the workplace, which equates to 14.7% of the UK’s workforce (Mental Health Foundation – www.mentalhealth.org.uk). Businesses are challenged by the remaining stigma of mental illness and in the recognising of symptoms before affecting staff absence. There isn't any business or organisation that is immune to this and so, more than ever you have to work tirelessly to ensure that your colleagues receive the best support when faced with mental illness


The Growth Mindset approach has scientifically been proven to reduce, prevent and increase the management for mental illness. In a recent clinical trial funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, it was found that a brief intervention teaching growth mindset improved social stress recovery, increased perceived control, and reduced depression and anxiety The mindset intervention was especially helpful for depression, with much fewer symptoms being exhibited. With this in mind, growth mindset can reduce staff sickness, but more importantly for any business, value and show support for your colleagues.


What else does the research say about growth mindset and businesses?

Carol Dweck and an army of researchers have looked at the impact and differences between a growth mindset and fixed mindset business. These are the main findings from that report.

  • "Trust: Employees in growth mindset culture of development companies expressed a 47% higher agreement with statements about having more trust in their company

  • Engagement: Employees in growth mindset culture of development companies are 34% likelier to feel a sense of ownership and commitment to the future of the company.

  • Innovation: Those in growth mindset companies showed 65% stronger agreement that their companies support risk-taking and 49% stronger agreement that their organisations foster innovation.

  • Ethics: Those in growth mindset culture of development companies disagreed 41% more strongly than those in fixed mindset companies that their organisations were rife with unethical behaviour." (Stanford Agility Study 2014)

How can growth mindset lead to a successful business?

Any business can be successful and for different reasons. However, when you embrace a growth mindset into your place of work, you are building a business that is successful because your team work hard and love their jobs, rather than a team that is divided through fear and stress. I certainly know which one I'd prefer to work for!

In a fixed mindset company, the team operates on two chemicals, dopamine and cortisol.

Dopamine is an addictive chemical that sears through our bodies and is produced when we have a rush of excitement, so winning an award, getting a bonus, smashing a sales target, full marks on our appraisal. Because of it's addictive nature, in fixed mindset companies, the need from all members of the team to experience dopamine, separates and divides them, to one of competition, dishonesty, lack of collaboration, secrecy and back stabbing.

Cortisol is the stress hormone, our fight or flight chemical and is released through our bodies due to all of the effects of dopamine, making the work place a pretty stressful and unpleasant place to be. One of confrontation, anger, whispers in corridors and resentment.

On the other hand, a growth mindset business produces a different set of chemicals in our team. The first being oxytocin, a chemical that produces happiness, warmth and care and the second is serotonin, which produces feelings of trust and the ability to build strong relationships in your team. Together, they create a business that's built on trust, honesty, respect and it's businesses like these who have loyal staff, have a harmonious way of working, think creatively, care about employees first and are adaptable to change because of the trust they have for each other.

Hands up for a oxytocin and serotonin fuelled workplace!


How can I develop a growth mindset at work?

Developing a growth mindset at work, first of all, means a commitment. A commitment from you

as an individual, not necessarily from the business itself, but you. Don't get me wrong, if the business you own or work for does want to create a culture of growth, that's even better as it makes the process a lot easier as you have the support network around you, but don't let this be an excuse to not get started. Someone has to start the revolution!


A mindset determines your behaviour, your outlook and your attitude, in fact, it determines everything you do. When we understand a growth mindset, we understand that mistakes, effort, challenge, feedback and self belief all play a huge role in our development and that we have the choice to change, adapt and be in control of our behaviour, outlook and attitude.


Everyone has an internal dialogue, a little voice that talks to you throughout the day. Just take a minute and think to yourself how often does your inner dialogue sound like this:

• I’m not good enough.

• I will probably fail.

• I can’t do this.

• I don’t want to risk it.

• I shouldn’t have to try so hard.

• If I’m not naturally good at this, I should just quit.

• It’s not my fault.

• This makes me uncomfortable, I’m not doing it.

• Why try if it won’t change anything?


If this sounds a bit like you, you've probably default to your fixed mindset quite a lot. That's fine. Everyone does at some point, but if you allow yourself to think like this, over time those thoughts become beliefs and those beliefs become habits, affecting your mental health and also your progress in life.

This is where the commitment comes in. Trying to change these ingrained thoughts can be a real challenge and will take time an effort. Who would like to think "I can do this, I will succeed with hard work, I am enough, new things can be exciting?" If you've answered yes, read on!

5 Steps for developing a growth mindset at work

  1. Reflect on your fixed mindset triggers: is it challenges, approaching new things, change, criticism, when mistakes are made or things go wrong, pressure and deadlines, conflict or judgements from others?

  2. Notice your fixed mindset more: When you catch your fixed mindset persona with a limited thought, ask yourself, what else might be going on here? What is a more realistic and optimistic way to look at this situation? What are the good aspects of this situation? How can I look at this differently?

  3. Flip the script: When you hear yourself thinking something like: “What if you’re not good enough? You’ll be a failure.” Change it to: “Everyone starts out not being good and successful people all fail along the way.” When you hear yourself thinking: “If it’s this hard, you’re probably just not good at it.” Change it to: “If it’s hard, it means I need to put in more effort and it will be a great achievement when I get good at it.” When you hear yourself thinking: “If I don’t try, I can’t fail and I will keep my dignity.” Change it to: “If I don’t try, I have already failed.” When you hear yourself thinking: “It’s not my fault.” Change it to: “If I don’t accept whatever part of this is my responsibility, I give away my power.”

  4. Put growth into action: List out the steps that you will take in order to change your fixed behaviours, outlook and attitude to be more growth and for each one, identify exactly WHEN you will do it. If anything on your list cannot happen within 1 week, save it for later and re-assess at the end of the week. For everything else, include when you will do it and what you need in order to do it. Making a plan, is more likely to see you put some action in place.

  5. Practise being more growth: Lastly, take 5 minutes to visualise yourself taking each of these steps, as you imagine they will play out, including achieving the goal and outcome you are aiming for. Select your favourite affirmations, there are loads on google, and put them somewhere you will see them every day, such as next to your bed, on your mirror, on the cover of your day planner, attached to your computer screen, or programmed into the calendar of your phone to remind you to look at them every day, at least once.


Support for developing a growth mindset at work

At Grow Your Mindset we can offer help and support for your business in a number of ways from keynote speeches, to staff training workshops (fully accredited) or steer you to a whole host of useful resources to get you going.

So if you want to start building a business that believes in a growth mindset culture find out more here , drop us an email at growyourmindset@gmail.com or give us a ring on 07803 909838, we'd love to help you on your journey.


If you love a good read, why don't you check out our other blogs about mindsets.

If you would like to know more about Grow Your Mindset click here.


Much Love


Gemma x

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