O P I N I O N
Adopt a growth mindset
W hether it’s an article about self-improvement, honing leadership skills, receiving feedback, or increasing efficiency, there’s consistently an underlying and pervasive message throughout: adopt a growth mindset. While almost every lesson includes this bullet point, few explicitly demonstrate exactly what a growth mindset is or more importantly how to bring it into practice. Simply put, a growth mindset is a worldview centered around continual learning and relentless development. Learning to learn, praising the process, and reflecting on your progress all point your mind toward the common goal of persistent development.
Indeed, while most AEC firms will wholeheartedly embrace “growth” and “development” of their employees as core values and top priorities, few effectively excel at embedding these tenets into their cultures. Creating a self-perpetuating growth culture requires buy-in and individualized effort from all levels of an organization. Following these steps can help both you and your coworkers foster a supportive atmosphere and develop a persistent, growth-centered mindset. 1)Praise process, not intellect. Whether it’s to members of your team or internally to yourself, praising the process is infinitely more important than praising an outcome. Dr. Carol Dweck, the godmother and creator of the term “growth mindset,” demonstrates in several studies that students praised for strategy, effort, and progression
fare significantly better long-term compared to students praised strictly for performance. Those routinely praised only for their output develop defensive and reactive tendencies seeing poor performance as an attack on character and not as an opportunity for growth. Because of this tendency, testing raw intelligence and performance of individuals is a lose-lose. A perceived loss can be devastating to confidence while a win teaches entitlement and emphasis solely on natural ability. Positioning individuals to “learn to learn” instead of “learning to solve” is paramount to long-term success. Operating within a deadline and service-driven industry, AEC firms are particularly at risk for
See MITCHELL SHOPE, page 10
THE ZWEIG LETTER April 6, 2020, ISSUE 1339
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