How the Growth Mindset is empowering Digital Transformation
It would be an understatement to say I’m a big fan of Satya Nadella’s leadership style which revolves around Growth Mindset. Much has been said about the successful transformation of a behemoth and the unthinkable change he infused into Microsoft’s culture, values, practices, structure and strategies. Along the way CEO Satya Nadella created over US$250 billion in market value – making it the most valuable company in the world for the first time since 2002.
The Growth Mindset Culture
One of the most fascinating aspects that inspired Nadella’s journey is the Growth Mindset Culture which he often speaks and writes about. Carol Dweck, a well-known psychology professor at Stanford known for her insights into the growth mindset said that “A company that cannot self-correct cannot thrive”. This assumes greater significance today when most organizations are increasingly adopting technology in the digital age, making transformation obligatory and sometimes even mandatory for survival.
This has resonated deeply with me. For only a culture that embraces change with an open mind, demonstrates curiosity, learns from failure, focuses on being collaborative and supportive, helps others unlock their true potential are true indicators for both personal and professional success. In short, it is a growth mindset that defines who will win the digital race!
Learning from Microsoft’s success
Under Nadella’s able leadership and sponsorship, the talent team at Microsoft has developed growth-oriented business priorities, culture aspects and organizational systems for its workforce of 131,000 employees across the world. Digital transformation made clear that a state of perpetual learning would be necessary for employees at all levels.
Given what we know about the science (and neuroscience) of storytelling, teams at Microsoft designed interactive online modules with rich multimedia for employees to learn about growth mindset. Conversation guides were built for managers to enable meaningful exchanges about what growth mindset behaviors look like in team settings. Leaders also engaged in storytelling to give examples for growth mindset behaviors.
R&R programs designed to celebrate successes which demonstrated growth mindset behaviors, powerful employee engagement programs and training solutions (such as games, quizzes, lending libraries with curated books, mobile empathy museum, and environmental creative assets) were developed to engage employees around growth mindset behaviors.
The list goes on and a complete overhaul has followed. All Microsoft employees across levels embraced and contributed to building growth mindset habits, processes and environments that soon permeated the everyday culture at the company.
Why this is important for all of us
It’s easy to see that by welcoming new ways of working and thinking, we can develop a disruptive approach and take advantage of its competitive edge. This becomes the driving force behind ahead-of-the-curve products, iconic work cultures, immense goodwill and reputation, and enhanced market value.
A growth mindset has been identified as one of the 10 intelligences that will gain prominence in the AI workplace. In a recent industry research project, the NeuroLeadership Institute found digital transformation to be the leading business driver for organizations adopting a growth mindset. The report, entitled “Growth Mind-set Culture,” shows that 38 percent of organizations rely on growth mindset for such purposes. Today, leaders across the corporate world are embracing it and having conversations with their teams.
Clearly what these leaders understand is that big changes require an open mind – and an enabling culture to bring ideas to life.
Without a doubt, digital technology has stolen the limelight in global businesses over the last decade. Unprecedented connectedness, automated and cognitive interactions, and advanced analytics that extract incisive insights from huge volumes of data significantly influence customer behavior and loyalty. Taken together, they have accelerated change and disrupted models to create brand new markets.
In such a progressive workplace, a growth mindset brings a totally different attitude to work — failure becomes learning, feedback becomes an opportunity, challenges lead to innovation and problem-solving drives development and growth.