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Article 21

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In Part 18-20, I listed some of the best books I have read for managing and developing people. They are:

 

  1. First, Break All The Rules, Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman, Gallup Organization [ref. 1]
  2. Discover Your Strengths,  Marcus Buckingham [ref. 2]
  3. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Carol Dweck – recommended by Bill Gates! [ref. 3]
  4. The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work, Kindle Edition, Shawn Achor [ref. 4]
  5. Rethinking Positive Thinking: Inside the New Science of Motivation, Kindle Edition, Gabriele Oettingen  [ref. 5]

I also promised I will provide a summary of these books in subsequent articles.  Here is the THIRD one.



In Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, a book [ref. 3] recommended by Bill Gates, Carol Dweck, a noted psychology professor shares her lifetime of research and identifies that there are two types of mindsets, a Fixed Mindset and a Growth Mindset.  People with Fixed Mindset tend to show somewhat rigid behavior. 

Let me elaborate. 

To help us understand other people we need a framework or a model, simpler the better.

An interesting model from the statistical science of Time Series Analysis can be simply written as

Behaviortoday = Behavioryesterday 

And since yesterday of tomorrow is today, it follows that

  

Behaviortommorrow = Behaviortoday 

Interestingly this simple model will predict both the weather and the stock market accurately  90% of time!

But be careful, when you generalize that model to people like this:

Behaviortommorrow = Behaviortoday  = Behavioryesterday = Constant

This is the mathematical definition of a fixed mindset.

The old view was the human body and the brain develop for perhaps 16-18 years and then they get set. We cannot change it thereafter. For the human brain’s biological growth even scientists and psychologists believed this for years. There was no visible, measurable proof to think otherwise.

And unfortunately all of us are guilty of using this fixed mindset concept when we think or say I/he/she/they always behave(s) like this. Here are a few simple examples:

“I have always done it this way.”

He is not smart.

“It is his karma.” 

A conversational reference to karma is uniquely, Indian. We have a rich history, culture, traditions, norms and beliefs regarding karma. We assume these are true and rarely question them.

Carol Dweck shows a list of common traits associated with a fixed mindset. See Figure 1.

But now we can see it and measure it. We have tangible proof. 

“Neuroscientist Eleanor Maguire of University College of London wondered whether London taxi drivers had larger-than-average hippocampi. To earn their licenses, cab drivers in training spend three to four years driving around the city on mopeds, memorizing a labyrinth of 25,000 streets within a 10-kilometer radius of Charing Cross train station, as well as thousands of tourist attractions and hot spots. "The Knowledge," as it is called, is unique to London taxi licensing and involves a series of grueling exams that only about 50 percent of hopefuls pass. Maguire and her colleague Wolcott tracked 79 aspiring taxi drivers for four years and measured growth in their hippocampi part of the brain with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI. They also measured growth in 31 people of similar age, education and intelligence, who did not drive taxis. Four years later 39 of 79 trainees had earned their licenses. MRIs showed that successful trainees’ hippocampi had grown over time.“[ref. 6]

Carol Dweck identified traits of Growth Mindset. There traits are shown in Figure 2.

 People with Growth Mind set are willing to experiment, take risks and learn continually. So over time Growth Mindset people produce far better results. Very interestingly, Carol Dweck shows that people can learn and change from fixed mindset to growth mindset. See Figure 3. Parents and Managers have an obligation to make sure they coach, nudge and encourage their people to develop the growth mindset. It is critically important in this new millennium.

Carol Dweck has created a big influence in American schools. A few years ago, I told my three year old granddaughter, “She was very smart.” My daughter smiled and corrected me, “Oh, she works harder.”

Later on privately, my daughter explained that if you convey “she works harder, a child learns that they need to work harder. And working hard is a good thing. The message helps child develop a growth mindset. On the other hand, “You are smart” message teaches a child you are naturally gifted, and you need not work hard. [ref. 8]

If you search Pinterest for Education or Carol Dweck, you will see hundreds of boards using Growth Mindset concept.  Figure 4 shows one example.[ ref. 7]

For more on this topic, search and listen to a Ted Talk by Carol Dweck. [ref. 9] and a presentation. [ref. 10]

Now it is Your Turn:

  1. When will you read the Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, by Carol Dweck? 
  2. How will you summarize your new learning? 
  3. How will you use the learning to massively increase your productivity? 
  4. Your teams’ productivity?

 

So crank up your Product Development engines… Let us speedup new product development and growth rates. And let the fun begin!

 

References:

  1. First, Break All The Rules, Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman, Gallup Organization. See also http://www.gallup.com/press/176069/first-break-rules-world-greatest-managers-differently.aspx 
  2. Discover Your Strengths, Marcus Buckingham. See also https://www.gallupstrengthscenter.com/ 
  3. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Carol Dweck – recommended by Bill Gates
  4. The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work, Kindle Edition, Shawn Achor 
  5. Rethinking Positive Thinking: Inside the New Science of Motivation, Kindle Edition, Gabriele Oettingen 
  6.  Taxi Drivers’ Brains Grow to Navigate London’s Streets, Scientific American, December 2011
  7.  https://www.pinterest.com/pin/322077810831723773
  8. Carol Dweck: Should We Stop Telling Kids They’re Smart? : NPR www.npr.org/2016/06/24/483126798/should-we-stop-telling-kids-theyre-smart 
  9. Carol Dweck, The power of believing that you can improve, Ted Talk, 2014 https://www.ted.com/talks/carol_dweck_the_power_of_believing_that_you_can_improve
  10. Mindset, Centre for Confidence and Well Being, Scotland,   http://www.megsonline.net/lee_meg2.pdf 
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