SME Growth . How to develop a high growth mindset
How to develop a high growth mindset
Article by Oxford Innovation | 22.09.2015
Having looked at the components of a high growth mindset and some of the business leaders that have them, it is worth asking: “What can entrepreneurs do to develop a growth mindset?”
Existing research suggests that the growth mindset is unlikely to depend on genetics. Instead, experts believe that learning is an important part of developing the growth mindset.
As the quotes below demonstrate, the leaders who displayed different components of the growth mindset recognise that these have developed and changed over time.
Changing the way you think
Business vision – One of our interviewees was very clear about the importance of having a vision for the business but also about how his capacity for vision had developed over time and as a result of experience.
“When I first started in business 20 years ago, I didn’t have that sense of vision that I now have. I think some of it is forced upon you with the failures that you have and each of those failures becomes a massive learning experience.”
Innovation drive – The research also identified that the capacity to drive innovation can change over time in tandem with growing awareness of the business’s potential and the resources at its disposal.
“Now we are starting to open up about new ideas and new sources of funding, new ways of doing things and new opportunities. Previously, we said ‘this is what we do and that’s all we’re going to do.’ “
Active decision making – This mindset component involves making choices about the thinking approach you use in order to protect creativity and moderate risk. In terms of development, the research identified the importance of biases and experience.
“My biggest piece of advice is to understand your psychology inside out because you’ve got to know yourself completely to be able to make sense of your decisions. Once you understand that, then you can act appropriately.”
The role of learning
While the research found that experience is important for learning, the question is how this happens in practice. People do not necessarily learn from their successes and failures. Taking time to reflect is key but this reflection time can be informal or structured.
“I have a journal that I keep on my iPhone where, at the end of the day, I make notes and have a little reflection on my work. That’s a really, really valuable document for me and has been for a number of years.”
Social learning is another way of learning from experience and involves observing others and modelling behaviour. The entrepreneurs emphasised the importance of role models to their learning while also realising that their influence can be negative as well as positive. Observing how not to behave can be equally powerful.
Finally, our entrepreneurs identified the value of learning through short courses and MBAs, with the key take away being that both complemented each other.
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