Coaching Growth and Fixed Mindsets for Organizational Change - Part 1

I’ve been wondering recently why there are some people who readily adapt to change, while others seem to struggle with even minor deviations from their routines. What makes these people think so differently?

In her 2006 book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Carol Dweck proposed that there are two very distinct Mindsets through which a person can view their world. The definitions below are paraphrased from the book:

  • Fixed Mindset: Your intelligence is something very basic about you that you can’t change very much; you can learn new things, but you can’t change your capabilities; they are carved in stone, and define who you are.

  • Growth Mindset: No matter how much intelligence you have, you can always change it quite a bit; you can always substantially increase your capabilities and develop yourself over time.

Dweck examines the implications for parenting, relationships, and also how the Mindsets drove the actions of some CEOs.

I think that this can help us understand the different perspectives on change, especially large-scale organizational change. Learning to recognize the traits of each Mindset in people can then enable us to fine-tune our coaching and management approach, depending upon where a person stands on the continuum between Fixed and Growth Mindsets.

However, Mindset can be changed.

At Evolve we do just that. Changing our clients’ paradigms and processes to create and nurture Growth Mindsets. Maximizing the performance of your organization by leveraging the potential of your people, so that they truly learn by realizing the answers for themselves and thrive through the change experience. This ensures that results continue to improve, long after we are gone.

For example, Dweck’s research showed that people of all ages with a Growth Mindset will embrace challenges and accept failure as temporary setbacks on the change and learning journey. They are willing to put in tremendous efforts, even in the face of repeated failure.

These people naturally respond well to change, and should be at the forefront of your change initiatives. Through ongoing challenge and coaching, the Growth mindset can be fostered, and you can come to rely on these folks as Leaders of change.

But what about the Fixed Mindset? How can we convince people with these traits to get behind the change? We will look at this group in the second part of this blog.

Philip Croome

Philip has more than twenty years of consulting experience, focusing on improving processes to drive improvements in cost and cash flow performance.  His industry experience includes energy (upstream, oilfield services, offshore drilling, and pipelines), as well as industrial services, technology, professional and healthcare services.