The Growth Mindset
May 13, 2014
These are challenging times ... and not just for those of us in radio.
And that makes your mindset more important to your future success than ever before.
In her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Stanford professor Carol Dweck talks about the two extremes of the mindsets most people have about their abilities.
In a fixed mindset, the talents and abilities you possess at birth are predetermined and finite. "Your qualities are fixed in stone." What you have, you always have, and what you lack, you can never gain. This not only applies to you and your talents and abilities, but also to every other person.
In a growth mindset, "your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts ... everyone can change and grow through application and experience." Your innate intelligence -- IQ -- is a starting point, but anyone's success, including yours, comes through learning, effort and persistence.
You can take a simple test at Ms Dweck's website to find out what your true mindset is. It takes about two minutes.
Think about the implications of mindset...
If you, or one of your managers, have a fixed mindset, your greatest challenge is not learning new skills or thinking in new ways, but in doing everything in your power to avoid failure.
Say that one out loud: The paradox of the fixed mindset is that the greatest impediment to success is your innate tendency to do everything possible to avoid failure.
In a fixed mindset you avoid truly challenging situations precisely because they might lead to failure and because in your heart of hearts, you know that your success depends upon protecting and promoting your set of fixed qualities and concealing your deficiencies.
When you do fail, you rationalize what happened, rather than use it as a learning experience that can add to your capabilities.
A growth mindset is much more fluid and open to learning from all new situations, so you (and your managers and talent) actively seek out the types of challenges that may lead to new skills. Of course, this kind of learning inevitably increases the rate of failures at the same time. But the failures lead to real growth and future success.
Do you believe there are a finite number of really smart people and valuable resources outside your company who can help bring you greater success? Your challenge is recognizing these special people and keeping them away from your competitors. Yours is a static business with static resources that can't achieve quantum growth.
That's a fixed mindset.
If you believe that both the resources and the very business of radio are dynamic, that ideas and change and spectacular growth are fueled by the introduction of new ways of thinking, of unusual perspectives and dissonant voices, yours is a growth mindset.
By its very nature, a growth mindset must lead to more experimentation, faster learning, and greater performance improvement.
Look, I could go on for pages. Buy this book. Think about your innate mindset, and how it can affect every aspect of your station, including attracting and keeping talent in every department.
Think how it will affect your own future, as you will need to learn new skills, and find new ways to adapt to all the challenges media faces in the coming years.
Mindset can be changed.
So, feel free to pass this higher up the food chain.
Radio needs more leaders with growth mindset right now.
I think we can all agree on that.