Mindsets for Success: Fixed vs. Growth

Everyone’s journey is unique, but our attitude can significantly determine how we navigate our personal and professional paths. Our mindsets guide our actions, ultimately impacting our work. How can a growth mindset, for example, put one person on a more productive, fulfilling path than a person who has a fixed mindset?

A fixed mindset believes our qualities, such as intelligence and talent, are static. A person with a fixed mindset may think they have reached a pinnacle of expertise. Success, from this perspective, is a validation of inherent intelligence, leading to a fear of challenges and mistakes.

In contrast, a person with a growth-oriented mindset sees the opportunity to develop abilities through dedication and continuous learning. It’s more about the process and effort, leading to a love of learning and resilience against setbacks.

The Growth Mindset and Business Culture

When embedded in a company’s culture, a growth mindset cultivates an environment where failures can become learning opportunities, people see development as a constant process, and feedback becomes a valued tool for collective improvement. This environment fosters innovation and adaptability and nurtures a more engaged and resilient workforce. Moreover, businesses with a growth-oriented culture tend to be more receptive to changes in the market, making them more agile and competitive.

Example: Microsoft

One of the most prominent examples of a company undergoing a cultural transformation fueled by the growth mindset is Microsoft. When Satya Nadella took the reins as CEO in 2014, he identified the need for a cultural shift. Recognizing that the company had become too insular and risk-averse, he introduced the concept of a growth mindset to the organization.

Nadella’s vision was transforming Microsoft from a “know-it-all” company to a “learn-it-all” one. He championed that employees should be open to learning, take risks, and not fear failure but rather learn from it. The company leadership began emphasizing collaboration, transparency, and individual learning to instill this mindset. They redefined performance metrics, placing more value on teamwork and understanding, and encouraging employees to give and receive constructive feedback regularly.

The results? Microsoft saw a resurgence in its innovation and market adaptability. The company re-established itself as a dominant force in the tech industry by collaborating with former competitors to roll out new products and services. The stock price more than quadrupled in the years following this cultural shift, reflecting the tangible benefits of adopting a growth mindset at an organizational level.

Dialogues: Fixed vs. Growth-oriented in the Workplace

Carol S. Dweck, a pioneering researcher in the field, wrote in her groundbreaking book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, “In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like intelligence or talent, are fixed traits. They spend time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them.”

This shift in mindset can make all the difference in our actions, driving us to take risks, learn from mistakes, and continuously evolve. Let’s look at how conversations and self-talk change the game with different mindsets.

 Situation 1: Faced with a challenging task.

Fixed mindset: “I don’t think I can do this. It’s beyond my skill set, and I don’t want to look incompetent.”

Growth mindset: “This is tough, but it’s an opportunity to grow. I’ll do my best and learn along the way.”

Situation 2: Receiving constructive feedback.

Fixed mindset: “This criticism means I’m not good at my job. Maybe I’m just not cut out for this.”

Growth mindset: “Feedback helps me improve. I’ll take this on board and see how I can improve.”

Situation 3: Watching a colleague excel.

Fixed mindset: “He’s just naturally talented. I’ll never be as good as him.”

Growth mindset: “I’m impressed by his skills. I wonder what strategies he uses. Maybe I can ask for some tips.”

Growth and Learning

A growth mindset is not just a personal development tool; it becomes a catalyst for business transformation when embraced at an organizational level. The journey between a fixed and growth mindset is one of self-awareness, resilience, and evolution. For more on this topic, check out The Growth Mindset Podcast, which features interviews with successful individuals showcasing the importance of a growth mindset in various fields, and The Ed Mylett Show, featuring world-class performers and their stories of overcoming challenges with a growth mindset.


About Equiliem

Equiliem (www.equiliem.com) believes in empowering success. It’s our job to cultivate relationships that connect people and employers in a way that is inclusive, intelligent, and allows both to thrive. 

Across the U.S., leading companies in healthcare, government, light industrial manufacturing, professional services, and energy rely on us for their workforce solutions. Our recruiting and HR services include contract and direct hire staffing, Payrolling/EOR, Independent Contractor Compliance, and Managed Services.

Since 1995, we’ve helped shape our industry. Today, we continue to research, ask questions, and continuously enhance the candidate journey and client experience.