The Growth Mindset for Leaders

The Growth Mindset for Leaders

I have recently been pondering the very personal way that leaders have to continually re-invest in their own capabilities. On the one hand it is as if we have a deep well of self-belief that we must constantly tend, maintain and nurture; while on the other it is this source that we continually call upon to achieve our goals. Interestingly, it seems that calling on these reserves is, in fact, a way of replenishing them. It’s very similar to physical exercise – like training for a long distance run. We set a goal, train towards that goal, and then test our capabilities and training by competing in that run. But it is only this last stage – where the full breadth of the challenge is clear – that we are truly tested. This was reinforced to me while reading Maria Popova’s great review of Stanford psychologist, Carol Dweck’s book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. Dweck’s book explains that our abilities and our talents account for only part of our success (in life, business and so on), and that the personal way that we use those abilities and talents also has a massive impact. She divides this into two separate mindsets – the fixed or the growth mindset. Those who have the self belief that intelligence is static may plateau early in life and not achieve all that could be possible, while those with a growth mindset experience a very different set of circumstances. This is shown in the infographic below. When I look at the growth mindset and consider the approach taken to challenges, obstacles, criticism together with...
From 50% to 5% – the Shrinking Role of Women in the C-Suite

From 50% to 5% – the Shrinking Role of Women in the C-Suite

As the economy starts to emerge from this period of slow growth, leaders are looking for opportunities to make up ground. For some, this is about technology driving innovation – investing in new ideas, wearable computers or even robots. For others, opportunities for growth will come from leveraging data – or what we already know about our customers, suppliers and products. But there is a much larger opportunity for leaders and it – or should I say – she – is staring you right in the face. As I have discussed previously, there is a strong and clear correlation between having women on the board of a corporation and out-performing your competition. Yet, as shown in this infographic, while women have strong representation in management, professional and related roles – claiming 52% – only a paltry 5% of women are reported as CEOs on the Fortune 1000. That’s 50 out of 1000. And the percentage of women leading tech startups is even lower – only 3%. If we want growth – and clearly we do – it’s time for boards, and for leaders across the spectrum – to begin rethinking what is needed to be successful. At a time when the economy is looking for growth, business leaders should be looking to unleash potential. And it strikes me that shifting the dial on women executives is one of the lowest risks open to organizations of all size, shape and focus. I’m not saying 20%. Or even 10%. But what would it take for us to move from 5% to 6% during 2014? Just 10 additional women CEOs in the...