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