Cultivating the Growth Mindset in the Organisation
1. @MHWILLEKE | CULTIVATING THE GROWTH MINDSET
Cultivating the Growth Mindset
in the Organisation
MARIAN WILLEKE, PHD
MHWILLEKE.COM /IN/MARIANWILLEKE @MHWILLEKE
CA TECHNOLOGIES – PERFORMANCE CONSULTING CoP
March 17, 2016
2. @MHWILLEKE | CULTIVATING THE GROWTH MINDSET
Focus: Being a Learning Organisation
Achieving continuous improvement…
…To stay competitive in the market.
3. @MHWILLEKE | CULTIVATING THE GROWTH MINDSET
Our Questions Today
1. What exactly is growth mindset?
2. What is growth mindset’s role in a learning organisation?
3. How do we incorporate growth mindset in the organization?
4. How do we, as managers, influence a learning mindset?
4. @MHWILLEKE | CULTIVATING THE GROWTH MINDSET
The perception of control over intellect
that determines how to handle:
Threat Self-evaluation Performance
Dweck, 2007 | Johnson & Stapel, 2010
6. @MHWILLEKE | CULTIVATING THE GROWTH MINDSET
Efforts are a
7. @MHWILLEKE | CULTIVATING THE GROWTH MINDSET
Others’ Success Pleased by
Others Inspired by
8. @MHWILLEKE | CULTIVATING THE GROWTH MINDSET
AS A MANAGER
9. @MHWILLEKE | CULTIVATING THE GROWTH MINDSET
• Performance driven
• Failure is incompetence
• Low risk oriented
• Seeks challenges
• Failure is learning
• Risk is necessary
Gino & Staats, 2015
Moser, Schroder, Heeter, Moran, Lee, 2011
Brain Activity when Making Errors
FIXED MINDSET GROWTH MINDSET
10. @MHWILLEKE | CULTIVATING THE GROWTH MINDSET
• “I got it done, didn’t I?”
• “Why didn’t you
• “How will we know this
is going to work?”
• “This will be fun!”
• “How will we approach
this next time?”
• “What are the range of
Gino & Staats, 2015
Moser, Schroder, Heeter, Moran, Lee, 2011
Brain Activity when Making Errors
FIXED MINDSET GROWTH MINDSET
11. @MHWILLEKE | CULTIVATING THE GROWTH MINDSET
Catalyst: Whole Person Learning
Cognitive Learning Domain
Affective Learning Domain
KRATHWOHL, BLOOM, & MASIA, 1973
Affective learning has been
found as a predictor to
attitude and motivation.
12. @MHWILLEKE | CULTIVATING THE GROWTH MINDSET
Explain in own
13. @MHWILLEKE | CULTIVATING THE GROWTH MINDSET
Krathwohl, Bloom & Masia, 1973
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CONNECTION TO PERSONAL
16. @MHWILLEKE | CULTIVATING THE GROWTH MINDSET
Explain in own
17. @MHWILLEKE | CULTIVATING THE GROWTH MINDSET
AS A MANAGER
18. @MHWILLEKE | CULTIVATING THE GROWTH MINDSET
Incorporating a Learning Mindset Space
Understand the constraints
Understand how adults learn
Understand the value of reflection
20. @MHWILLEKE | FACILITATING THE ADULT LEARNER
Meaning ability Mental balance
21. @MHWILLEKE | FACILITATING THE ADULT LEARNER
Employing Illeris’ Model
What focused skill do you want them to
How are you wanting them to relate to it?
What environment are you going to
shape for them to share and learn?
22. @MHWILLEKE | FACILITATING THE ADULT LEARNER
Facts (What Happened?)
Theory of Action
Findings (Why Did This Happen?)
Feelings (What Did I Experience?)
Asses Behavior & Consequences
Futures (What Will I Do?)
Implement Revised Theory
David Kolb Roger Greenaway Chris Argyris & Donald Schon
COMPILED BY ANDREA CORNEY
23. @MHWILLEKE | FACILITATING THE ADULT LEARNER
AS A MANAGER
24. @MHWILLEKE | FACILITATING THE ADULT LEARNER
Influencing the Learning Mindset Space
Propel the growth mindset through behavior
Connect to each individual authentically
Demonstrate vulnerability in your developing
25. @MHWILLEKE | CULTIVATING THE GROWTH MINDSET
Promoting Growth Mindset
1. Encourage employees on new opportunities and skills
2. Focus the stories to be on employees who develop skills
3. Praise learning efforts both informally and formally
4. Distribute research on growth mindset to employees
26. @MHWILLEKE | CULTIVATING THE GROWTH MINDSET
Maintain strong personal self-awareness.
Be aware of the differences and preferences
of the individuals in your audience.
Develop unique relationship between each
individual and yourself.
Be aware of constraints.
Engage in reflection.
27. @MHWILLEKE | CULTIVATING THE GROWTH MINDSET
Individuals are shaped by their
backgrounds and experiences.
Active Emotion Passive Emotion
Notes de l'éditeur
It’s great to be here, at least virtually, with all of you! Thank you Bob for inviting me to speak. Today we will focus on how we can cultivate the growth mindset on both the organisational and team level.
We know the value of being a learning organisation. We only need to look around the industry to see examples of what happens when organisations embracing a learning mindset, and the demise that organisations experience when they don’t embrace the learning mindset.
John Deere, for example, demonstrated a learning mindset early on. Keep in mind that they started in the mechanical, horse-pulled implements, and are thriving nearly 180 years later. Consider what the case would be if they were unwilling to engage as a company and recognize they needed to learn and move beyond their current state during each mechanical revolution.
And then we cringe when we think about Kodak’s ghastly fear of risk when the executives said no to managers noting the need for adjusting to the market shift to the digital world. Kodak recognized that they had an opportunity around the digital era, but refused to accept or explore the implications long enough, until it was no longer viable for the company to move forward successfully.
These stories aren’t about intelligence or ability to see opportunities. Rather, it’s about the difference between a “head in the sand about our direction” and “willingness to admit our decisions were wrong or (need to change) and act to recover”.
So during this hour we will be looking growth mindset being an crucial aspect of any learning organisation, and why that is the case. Valuing the role of growth mindset, we can then look at how you can incorporate a growth mindset throughout the organization as well as how you can help managers become a strong influence on their teams.
As growth mindset has been elevated to the category of buzz word, I want to take just a moment and establish a baseline of what it is in context of this talk. The word perception is the underpinning of growth mindset, and the reason self-awareness is a critical component of it.
So, mindset is the perception of how much control we have over our intelligence. It is our mindset that determines how much control we have in order to handle threat and performance, as well as how we self-evaluate.
While the definition of mindset is generally agreed upon across several theorists, Dweck provides us with some constructs within mindset that we can we identify with on a cognitive and personal level.
These four constructs are challenge, persistence, mastery, and learning, and how we handle them. We will go farther into three sub-points of learning as well in how we handle feedback about ourselves and others.
In my house, we have a picture of fixed to growth mindset with fixed being red and growth being green. So, out of mouths of babes, my daughter Ellie says “I don’t see how I can really get from red to green very fast. I’m just going to work towards purple, and then pink. I’ll eventually get to green.”
So thanks to Elle for pointing out just how much of a journey it is to work towards a growth mindset, and in my opinion, one that should not end in achievement … because that would suggest how fixed we were.
That being said, let’s look at this in terms of extreme. The person who avoid challenging conversations and manages to “miss” those difficult meetings, for example, would be demonstrating a pretty extreme fixed mindset towards challenge. However, in looking at journey towards growth, the more we embrace challenges, we will be able to handle bigger and bigger challenges.
The same applies to persistence as we have all seen the extreme fixed mindset of a proposal being rejected so it’s simply chucked in the rubbish. However, the individual who looks at the comments and re-works it exhibits growth. The journey itself is represented as we move from the mentality of dread and needing to talk a walk before looking at the feedback to a mentality of “oh, I wonder what insights they have to make this stronger.”
Finally, we have mastery, a truly endless journey in itself. Being a martial artist, I relate to the concept of mastery closely with the continual training and subsequent improvement. When my instructor achieved the highest Grandmaster rank in Korea in his 60s, the comment to his students was “I still work to achieve perfection, because it can never be truly achieved.” That is the journey we are talking about when we see that our efforts are always working towards bettering ourselves, and subsequently, what we do.
Dweck provides us three sub-groups within the Learning construct, centering around how we handle criticism and success. There are, of course, times where criticism is an obvious outlier, or there’s simply nothing you can do when you have the 2 anonymous survey responses that hated everything but provided no comments. However, when you have received contextualised criticism, we should not dismiss it. Perhaps you deem it simply incorrect. But then, you have to ask yourself, why did they perceive it in that way? All the happy feedback is frankly not that useful. An individual on the journey towards growth mindset focuses on the criticism that will provide opportunity to learn.
Insecurity is no respecter of persons. The most successful people can have insecurity, but hide it in a plethora of masks or slip in and out of personas. However, there is a very simple way to indicate insecurity, and that is the reaction to somebody else’s success. Ask yourself … was the first reaction to explain your successes too, or to simply, be incredibly pleased for their success?
A similar self-test can be administered for threat. Do we feel that threat to our contribution with others’ success? Or does their success inspire you to continue your work and perhaps collaborate with them?
Until the needle on these three areas start moving towards growth, our learning capacity will always be inhibited.
Having established the definition and scope of growth mindset, let’s look at the role it has in a learning organisation.
The November issue of the Harvard Business Review released a fantastic study on “Why Organisations Don’t Learn”, which is where they explore several biases that prevent true learning within organisations. One of those biases was success bias with mindset being a big part of that. Sometimes stakeholders within organisations see the concept of mindset as the fluffy bunny that can’t be shaped or measured, but neurology is showing us differently, as Moser’s study shows us in Psychology Science.
So you may be asking what success bias is …. And it simply is that while learning orgs may say that we learn from failure, the actions frequently demonstration a preoccupation with success, and challenges occur with obsessiveness on success; fixed mindset being one of those challenges.
In terms of business, fixed mindset shows itself as people are limited to performance expectations, see failure as a sign of incompetence, and don’t care for risk. Meanwhile, the growth mindset shows itself as people get excited about challenge, see failure as an opportunity for learning, and values the role of risk.
Let’s bring these concepts close to home….
When we see the fixed mindset around performance, we hear things like “I got it done, didn’t I?” Meanwhile, managers tend to propagate fixed mindset around failure when the demand is “why didn’t you deliver?” The same issue occurs around risk when the constant question is “how will we know this is going to work?”
Things we need to hear in the organisation that represent growth mindset would be “this will be fun!” in relation to a project. We hear the term fun a lot from management, but somehow it ends up being correlated to a games room, when it is the challenge that should be the fun bit. If something doesn’t get delivered as anticipated, the focus should be “how will we approach this next time?” Meanwhile, handling risk is a tough challenge, but focusing on the question being “what are the range of outcomes” will help encourage innovation.
Whole person learning is a catalyst I have studied for promoting growth mindset because whole person learning has been found to increase self-awareness and improve decision making on a broad range of individuals; facets that are so important to a growth mindset.
Basically, whole person learning is teaching and learning in balance between cognitive, or measurable learning, and affective learning that helps us develop a personal value system. Not only does affective learning help us reduce impulsive behavior and increase critical thinking, but engaging with it also predicts attitude and motivation, a valuable capability in any manager’s toolbox.
We are all familiar with Bloom’s cognitive learning domain, but note in my image I am starting with the lowest level of learning on the outside, working in towards the heart of true learning, where we can add to existing knowledge.
I imagine many of you are familiar with affective learning, which is the focus on awareness of acceptance or rejection of information based on personal feelings. However, the learning levels may not be as familiar. Just as the cognitive image is set up, the lowest level of affect is represented on the outside with being present. Going deeper, we have active participation, followed by believing strongly. Our final two levels are very internal as values are organised in a personal way, and then we have our thought leaders of the day at the deepest level of affect, which is influence.
So, we are very familiar with cognitive learning. It’s measurable, and that’s a major value to the business of learning. However, as Carl Rogers lamented, our educational approaches are woefully more and more from the neck up, creating dissonance between head knowledge and a personal value system.
Let me illustrate.
About a year ago, I explained to my daughter that we should properly dispose of the plastic rings that holds drink bottles by cutting the circles. She accepted this, having the capability of simple recall, the first level of cognitive learning, and properly disposing of the drink bottle holders. However, as what happens over time, she forgot.
I decided on a different tactic and showed her the image of the disfigured turtle with a plastic ring constraining it. She was, of course, horrified, being the animal lover that most kids are and demanded an immediate explanation. As you can imagine, I had her attention.
By bringing her value of animal care into the picture, her self-awareness spikes. Recall here, that self-awareness is a critical component of growth mindset.
So let’s look at how the cognitive and affective taxonomies can be blended through the story I just told.
Ellie was at the lowest level of affective learning, present and listening when I introduced the disfigured turtle. She’s engaged at this point, which is my foot in the door. When I explained that somebody did not properly cut a heavy plastic ring and the turtle crawled in as a baby, growing around it, she sprang into action.
BEFORE, she /could/ measurably perform the task that we see on the cognitive side, but NOW she’s an active participant, investigating more ways to properly dispose of rubbish.
Her value system is really kicking in now, rising to the level of strongly believing on the affective side, and as a result, being able to deconstruct the system of recycling on the cognitive side. Again, before she might be able to explain why and how recycling works in a measurable way, but it likely won’t stick. Now that her value system is wrapped around this learning experience, she is anxious to understand more at a deeper level.
She has researched recycling options and picked the bags for me to buy. She has put stickers around the house to remind us to unplug, and banned water bottles because she discovered that the plastic adds to carbon waste.
Eventually she may develop a strong enough value system to influence others and add to knowledge by becoming a scientist, but who knows. What I care about right now is that her value system aligns with what she knows cognitively.
As instructional designers, we can create this intentionality by making clear the intended value or mindset we are working to achieve along with the cognitive outcome. An example from my own curriculum writing would be a cognitive outcome of “Identify how the program level of SAFe supports flow” with an affective outcome of “Respect the human impact of impediments to flow.”
However, just because we may recognise the important role of growth mindset in an learning organisation, implementing it, or incorporating is a whole different ballgame; and there are some important assumptions that we have to recognise before determining strategy.
As we explore incorporating a growth mindset, or learning mindset, we have to understand the nature of our audience’s constraints, learning methods, and need for reflection. These three areas are especially important so that you can make decisions around shaping the learning space to maximise a growth mindset.
The constraints are unfortunately huge. Most of them fall directly from cognitive overload. This infograph has an ironic way to show just how a modern learner is overwhelmed … by overwhelming us with data on how overwhelmed our audience is, including us. For example, how many times have you alt-tabbed to your email as I’ve talked? How many times have you unlocked your phone?
Not only are we completely distracted, we get the pleasure of squeezing T&D into 1% of people’s capacity. However, the good news is that we are seeing individuals start taking over their own development, and it’s important that we provide support to them so we are perceived as empowering with good resources and options.
I’m sure all of us are familiar with Knowle’s androgogical framework and his assumptions of adult learners, which is a major driver how we set up the learning experience. While I am a great fan of Knowles, I find Illeris’ model of learning demonstrating the power of whole person learning for adults extremely well.
Essentially, the underpinnings are that we learn through a cognitive, emotional, and social process simultaneously, otherwise holistically. While we can easily see cognition representing knowledge and skills, with emotion representing feeling and motivation, but Illeris’ point is that is that these are internal and are quite simultaneous. Meanwhile, we have the social aspect represents external learning through participation and communication. Of all the theorists out there, Wenger’s work with communities of practice demonstrate an extremely strong balance of these three interactions of learning.
You might be saying “so all of this is nice and theoretical, but how we do employ it in the real world?”
Taking a page from Wenger’s community of practice behavior, we can extrapolate from each learning interaction asking what cognitive aspect is our focus, how we want to relate to it, and how we are going to shape the environment for them to experience the societal interaction.
This extends beyond just the training session. Keep in mind, we only get 1% of very tired people, so we must learn how to shape learning to apply beyond the training. Taking a topic you have, what skill are you going to help them attain, and through motivation, help them learn how to apply it on their project, with their colleagues, and especially in their personal lives.
We’ve seen this learning cycle in so many ways.
Agilists call it PDCA (plan, do, check, adjust).
Educators call it the experiential model.
The Lean software world often refers to the theory of action.
Whatever the industry, whatever the pet names, the bottom line is that you’re asking
What did we experience
Why did this happen
What will we change based on our understanding?
This cycle fulfills many needs. I’ve used it as a transparent guide in meetings that had those dreaded “discussion” items. I’ve used it as a training discussion guiding framework, again transparently. I’ve used it to help students perform prior learning assessment. Again, the bottom line is that using this 4-step cycle promotes a constantly developing learning mindset.
While we’ve covered some specific ways to incorporate a growth mindset for T&D, such as employing Illeris’ model and involving learning cycles in everything, an extremely powerful way is to coach the managers to be the every day influencers for their teams and departments.
First, managers have to be influencers. Giving everybody a book on growth mindset and then explaining to them that we are now going to add this to the strategy plan is not going to work because it’s instantly become yet another track to pursue instead of simply how we think. We need propel the growth mindset based on personal behavior. I’ll never forget the high ranking organisational manager who informed the very quiet team (of which I was on) that we have to innovate! Bring ideas to the meeting! Come on! Collaborate! However, it would remain quiet because we had all observed how thoroughly ideas were dissected and thrown out before even finishing the thought. Safety is a premium, and we can only create this environment through the managers modeling the behavior of growth mindset.
Speaking of safety, there are two ways to very much ensure safety: each individual feeling authentically valued, and the manager being vulnerable.
Keep in mind though, the manager cannot model this behavior unless he or she feels equally safe, which is always a good measurement of exactly how much an organisation truly embraces learning.
Of course just informing a manager to promote growth mindset is not going to be enough, so these last three slides will focus on some tangible ways a manager can accomplish this.
Firstly, the behavioural modeling is critical, by encouraging employees to step out of the typical box, and then rewarding them by spreading their success stories. Also, praising learning efforts in both formal situations, such as written reviews, and informal situations motivates the employee to refocus their priorities.
Those recommendations are typically tacit from the employees’ perspective other than “I feel really motivated”, and when that point is reached, that is a good time to raise awareness on what growth mindset is, allowing them to create intentionality behind what they already value.
A model that can really help a manager focus their relationship building efforts is Cranton’s work in fostering authenticity. Honestly, authenticity can be just as exhausting a buzz word as growth mindset, but is a key component to providing the capacity for growth mindset development.
As mentioned a moment ago, behavior modeling is essential, and that can only really be done if the manager continues to develop his or her own self-awareness. Mistakes will happen, but the vulnerability of self-development will always maintain the safety.
Managers very much need to understand each person’s preferences in order to develop a unique relationship. In my own experience, I can say that I had a very special and different relationship with each of my employees, but all of the relationships went beyond the tasks and focused on the human aspect. Constraints in this context is practicing respect of each employee’s constraints and valuing them for their strengths. Lastly, reflection, reflection, reflection. This is a premium method for how adults achieve learning, and it cannot be overstated. If we do not provide the capacity for reflection, the learning potential is immediately stunted.
So that authenticity model sounds really nice for an established team, but what about those teams that experience so many personnel changes? Or what about the manger who was just handed a group of unknown people. Or even worse, a group of people very much known with preconceived judgment?
Regardless of the team dynamics, I have found that this model that Eric Willeke has devised and practiced across the years to be incredibly useful. Having used it myself very successfully, I have found that it bridges the chasm of distrust over time. While many frameworks are focused on understanding the goals and growth of employees, this framework is entirely focused on understanding and engaging the affective context for your teams. In the interests of authenticity and vulnerability, we often lead by sharing our own grid as managers, and then asking the employees to think carefully and share their thoughts IF they feel safe sharing.
[Team members are invited to enter a series of bullet points into each quadrant for discussion and understanding. The setup is explained as follows: Exciters are those opportunities that the person really wants to engage with, and the manager should seek opportunities to help the employee find those opportunities. The challenges are those situations that are currently troubling or negative, but provide an opportunity for the manager and employee to pair to discuss and find a path through together. The comforts and fears are flip sides of the same “environmental” needs, and provide the manager an opportunity to understand and defend what’s important to their team even when the team isn’t present.]