How to Spread Growth Mindset Among Your Employees

6 min readDec 19, 2018

A growth mindset is an easy-to-swallow buzzword for sustained improvement that leads to better operation. People may improve themselves, businesses may improve themselves, and working methods may be improved (and grown) into something more productive, efficient, cost-effective, powerful, or whatever your goals determine.

Growth Is Unselfish or It Is Isolated

You cannot ask your employees to help grow your business. For long-term effects, you need to create a growth culture where employees are naturally inclined to help grow the business. They need to be unselfish rather than selfless. An unselfish person takes one doughnut from the box whereas a selfless person takes none…unselfish people are best for business and personal growth.

Growth culture, aka the improvement of your business and employees, is either part of the course (the culture/ regular operation), or it is an isolated incident where employees are pushed for a while until they settle back into their old ways or until they become tired and quit.

Growth culture is a mindset that starts at the top. The problem with a growth culture is that it requires a certain degree of unselfishness. It also requires a bias for action and a very positive attitude. The reason for this is because growth often requires pain.

Unselfishness and Growth Often Leads to Pain

Take my example of a young female employee who was pretty, perky, highly motivated, and the sort of woman who middle-aged male executives like having around because she reminds them of the girls they knew in college. She worked in an office full of people whose only job is to maintain client contracts, and our clients liked having her around so much that they were throwing new contracts her way.

To my surprise, she was in my office crying and telling me she was quitting just two months after starting. The other people in the office had been punishing her (for want of a better word) because she had single-handily increased their workload by around 20%. None of the workers in her office wanted the company to fail, but its growth led indirectly to more work (more pain) for them, so they started to bully the person responsible.

Creating an Unselfish Culture

Some articles say you should reward effort to create a growth culture but doing things for rewards is not growth! Some articles say you should dwell on success and not on failure, and others say that your managers shouldn’t fear failure, but these have nothing to do with being unselfish. For example, if working 10% harder on your job means you get 10% more work next week, then why would somebody care if their progressive manager has a, “We fear no failure” attitude?

Creating an unselfish culture means getting your employees involved in the growth. Making them part of the company’s growth will help wash away any selfish notions as each employee works towards the common good.

How on Earth Do I Make My Employees “Part” Of the Company’s Growth?

You do it by making their improvement and your company’s improvement interlinked. As your company starts to produce more, you should add more to your team, so your employees may share the burden. Make it clear that as your business grows, so do your employee’s level of work experience since it is better to be an integral part of a larger business than as a smaller business.

State the fact that as employees improve themselves that they become more powerful and more valuable to your growing business. If the employees help grow your business, then it can afford more training sessions that improve the employee’s earning potential. A bigger and better business means better technology and easier ways of managing and working each job.

Growing companies can afford better wages, but they can also afford better health plans, pensions, canteen areas, work areas, and even remote working positions. Make it clear that your employees have more job security as the business becomes less and less likely to fail. These are just a few ways that you may make your employees “part” of your work success so that growth doesn’t mean more pain…growth means a better future for all involved.

Beware the Words of The Thoughtful but Clueless

Childless person number 1 may give out some very detailed and highly researched advice to childless person number 2, and even though both are thoughtful, they are clueless when it comes to raising kids when compared with a parent who has cried because he/she has had no sleep for 48 hours and now need to go to work. Very few online writers have actually created and managed small and medium businesses in the same way that I have, which is why a lot of what you read online may sound reasonable, but it is actually useless. The four headers below detail four of the most damaging pieces of advice, but before moving onto it, here is a word about going against the grain and staying off the bandwagon.

Running down Donald Trump is very hip at the moment, but here is a man who is healthy, a billionaire, and President of the USA. He is a man who sets his mind to a task and gets it done. He once said, “If everybody is doing one thing, it is usually better to do the opposite.” Consider his words when you think of the Bitcoin bull and bear runs between 2017 and 2018. Think of how much people have lost thanks to the Net bubble and the housing bubble and consider how much you would be worth if you had sold when everybody else was buying and bought when everybody else was selling. Here are a few “Don’t Do What Donny Don’t Does” points regarding a growth mindset.

Poor Quality Advice 1 — Motivate Your Employees Daily

This is a massive mistake. Growth has nothing to do with motivation. You can improve the workplace culture far more effectively by cutting down a sarcastic employee in front of her/his victims than you can with praise and promises of bonuses. How you cultivate and manage the workplace atmosphere counts more than motivation.

Poor Quality Advice 2 — Set Realistic Goals

Managing your company with the use of goals is fine, but goals are not a tool used to create a growth mindset. If you use goals or key targets, they cannot enter into your growth planning outside of the boardroom. Even if you give your goals some sort of context with regards to growth, your employees have no reason to be invested in them.

Poor Quality Advice 3 — Employees Need To-Do Lists to Help You Grow Your Business

To-Do lists are the Kryptonite of a growth mindset!!! Remember that a growth mindset is about creating a culture where the company and the employees have a linked fate, (when the business grows then the employees grow in some way). Do you know what employees get when they finish their to-do lists? …more to-do lists! Daily goals and tasks are fine, but to-do lists have no part in your employee growth-mindset enculturation.

Poor Quality Advice 4 — Be Positive and Foster A Positive Environment

This is terrible advice. I have worked with a broad range of people, from the vapidly useless to employees who struck out on their own and made millions. I promise you that bad moods, frustration and tiredness are healthy in small doses. Trying to force a positive atmosphere all the time is like trying to walk and whistle through a brush fire. Instead, create an understanding that you are all adults, and that things such as sulking and whining are best left in your employee’s teenage years. Adults take it on the chin and keep walking.

Final Thoughts

Remember that a growth mindset occurs when leaders create a growth culture. When your employees are part of that growth, when their future is linked to its success, when they benefit as the company benefits, then a growth culture appears, and its future relies on how well you manage it. Your employees do not want a boss who has read the Top Ten Ways to Motivate Employees. They want a boss who grows a business and its employees in tandem. As your business’s future gets brighter, then so should the future of your employees.

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