This week I listened to a fascinating lecture by Dr David Rock from the Neuro Leadership Group.  In relation to performance management, he talked about the importance of organizations moving from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. Let me explain!

A fixed mindset in one in which we believe we are born smart (or not) and that we have a certain amount of talent.  Therefore we cannot change or improve and any additional effort makes no difference.  Feedback is not helpful and there is no need to pay attention to what you can do better. 

A growth mindset, on the other hand, is where we believe we are born to learn and that we can change.  Therefore effort is central, feedback is helpful and stretching goals are a good thing.

Research has shown that 90% of performance management systems are a failure.  Dr David Rock believes this is because our current performance management systems prime people for a fixed mindset.  They are backward looking and the emphasis is on rating and ranking people, telling them they are a certain way.

We need a change in philosophy, to that of a growth mindset, with an emphasis on learning and growing.  It is foundational that we have the right mindset for performance.  One that moves from ranking to co-developing areas for growth.  Does your organization remind people that they can grow and that change is possible?  Do you recognize and celebrate how change has occurred in the past?

Dr Rock believes we should move from performance ratings to a coaching conversation, which is based on a growth mindset.  A quality coaching conversation involves people changing habits.  But the active ingredient in a quality conversation is insights.  Insights matter significantly!  When insights are gained, learning is easily recalled, engagement is created, and new insights stick to the brain.  Learning to have a conversation to get people to see things for themselves, creates insights, which result in action, and the development of new habits.

A growth mindset thinks in terms of a continuum, a journey, rather than a ranking.  Rather than thinking in terms of evaluations, lets think in terms of growth.  Think about how you could use these growth mindset questions in your organization this week.

How have you grown in this area?

How are you looking to grow further?

How can we help?

Question to Ponder:- Do you have a fixed or growth mindset?  What is the mindset within your organization?  What could you do to move to a growth mindset?

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