Using a Growth Mindset to Lead Change Management

By Christy Johnson

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Using a Growth Mindset to Lead Change Management

I’ve been thinking a lot about business transformation and growth in the months since my freshman daughter’s high school orientation.

Instead of focusing on the pressure-inducing checklist our students need to accomplish to ensure they’re college-bound, the school counselor talked us through how to frame learning, goals, and development in these next 4 important years.

She explained the importance of celebrating small victories and measuring goals in terms of growth, instead of pass/fail. This growth mindset is backed by the data of decades of studies. People who are recognized for the value of their work over their natural abilities are more likely to work harder and commit to improvement.

In the spirit of approaching business transformation with a growth mindset, I wanted to share a couple of things to look out for this planning season:

Mindset is Contagious

In a study by Carol Dweck and her team, it was found that whether an organization believed they were either a) limited by the innate skills of their employees, or b) they had a workforce that enjoyed challenges and strived to learn – there was consensus throughout the organization.

Employees from growth-mindset companies are more engaged, innovative, collaborative, and committed to skill development. This is the kind of team you need for business transformation.

The best way to set the course for motivation and buy-in is to make sure your senior-most leadership is publicly invested. Morale moves from the top-down, so you need executives who lead by example.

Practice Patience

Empathetic leaders maintain optimism but balance that positivity with driving urgency. (There’s a great HBR article about this.)

Leaders who are patient remain realistic and open to recognizing change over time. Celebrating success of small improvements gives those with a growth mindset a way to realize the efforts of their hard work and crave more.

Patience also sets the pace for transformation – slow and steady. Change doesn’t happen overnight, but with the right perspective, you can develop an eye for gradual change – over last week, last month, or last year.

Communicate Before, During, and After

Change is scary for most people, so build your communication steps into your plan for transformation. No matter the type of change management you’re leading, expectations management, process training, guided implementation, feedback sessions, and continued monitoring are all necessary parts of your plan.

People don’t inherently resist change when they know what to expect on the other side. You can build momentum by getting everyone’s consensus before the actual switch-over. When it’s all said and done, all contributors feel proud of the final transformed state – and want to do it again.

Monitor Along the Way

The ability to monitor progress as it’s happening is invaluable. Dashboards that show live data as it’s happening is so important. But up-to-date reports are just half the battle.

Try to remember that your metrics are only part of the picture; the more insight you can get into how projects are progressing will only help you amplify your ability to make agile, informed decisions. Understanding the multi-faceted status of a plan item will help you impact the outcome of your initiatives instead of getting stuck making a list of things to “do better next time” during your retrospective.

Let Us Know If You Need Help

We’re happy to talk to leaders about this process. If your team needs best practices for sequencing key initiatives, building cross-plan dashboards, or optimizing plans that align resources and tasks to overarching transformation goals, we’ll show you what partnering with AchieveIt could look like for your organization.