With the death of the great American (and Bay Area) photo-realist Robert Bechtle late last year . . . and now our kids getting back to in-person school, I am reminded about how much of the world embraces a growth mindset. Why aren't we talking about growth mindset more in business?
Carol Dweck, with her groundbreaking research at Stanford, coined the phrase "growth mindset" to describe people that look for challenges in order to grow. This mindset has become the centerpiece of the life-long love of learning that teachers are trying to instill in our kids.
Artists are great practitioners of growth mindset. Take Robert Bechtle, whose breathtaking-in-its-banal "61 Pontiac" (pictured), reflects the Kodachrome populist art movement of the 1960s, but is also a reaction against abstract expressionism and a conservative turn on Andy Warhol's pop art. Bechtel studied in Berkeley, but it is said that he purposely avoided studying with the great Richard Diebenkorn - preferring to chart a new course of narrative art that holds a tension between reality and artifice. With his painting ensconced at the Whitney, I'd say there is value in that growth.
But, I digress . . . let's get back to my business point:
Growth mindset should be at the core of your business culture
Take for example the business axiom:
“If you aren’t growing, you are dying.”
Reflexively, we think growth means revenue growth. But, I have learned over the years that growth comes from adopting a growth mindset culture in your organization. Growth is building strong teams, setting bold goals, and seizing opportunities.
As we move forward in 2021, I challenge you to grow your culture by:
Investing in the development and growth of your people. A company's growth is a byproduct of the team's growth, not the other way around.
Setting audacious goals. After setting these goals, it is important to work backward to allow your team to understand where they are going and how to get there.
Hiring new employees with a focus on diverse backgrounds and a growth mindset. Many of us slowed hiring during the long months of the pandemic, but few factories wait for the orders to build the machines. In that way, in our modern economy, you will hire the best people when you do so ahead of your needs, not when you are struggling to deliver on your promise to customers.
With growth like that, we embrace a new business axiom for 2021:
If you aren’t creating an environment of continuous improvement and growth, you are dying.