Thursday, July 10, 2008

Mindset, it will profoundly affect everything.

How do you learn? You are voracious? Are you constantly learning, and seeking new opportunities to tackle new stuff? Do you find yourself saying, "I wish I had time to learn more?"

If you answer yes, your thinking about learning is aligned with a key quiet leader principle and you likely have a "growth mindset," a personal characteristic that Professor Carol Dweck says will "profoundly affect all aspect of a person's life, from parent and romantic relationship to success at school and on the job"

A Sunday NY Times article this past week (7/6/2008) summarized the work of Carol Dweck and her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. The Time articles was a good reminder of the Dweck concepts we first identified in Fixed or Growth, What's in your Mindset. In her work, Dweck identifies two basic mindset, fixed or growth. You want to have a growth mindset.

Are you curious about your mindset. Dweck provides this diagnostic test.

Read each statement and decide whether you agree or disagree.

  1. Your intelligence is something very basic about you that you can’t change very much.
  2. You can learn new things but you really can’t change how intelligent you are.
  3. No matter how much intelligence you have, your can always change it quite a bit.
  4. You can always substantially change how intelligent you are.
  5. You are a certain kind of person and there is not much that can be done to really change that.
  6. No matter what kind of person you are, you can always change substantially.
  7. You can do things differently, but the important parts of who you are can’t really be changed.
  8. You can always change basic things about the kind of person you are. Which statements do you agree with?

A person with a fixed mindset will agree with statements 1, 2, 5, and 7, while a person with a growth mindset will agree with statements 3, 4, 6, and 8.

If you find yourself in a fixed mindset, you can learn Dweck's four step recommendation for changing your mindset on the web site.

Finally, I believe that the simplest, quiet leader interpretation of Dweck's work for leaders is to coach, mentor, encourage, and create opportunities for learning for yourself and the people around you. As Kevin Eikenberry notes in his book, Remarkable Leadership, "we must focus on continual lifelong learning as the cornerstone skill on the path to remarkable leadership." It's really all about learning.

Thanks for reading. Please lead quietly and learn, learn, learn. Never stop learning.

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