By Paula Cardenau, Co-Founder and Chief Talent Officer of Arbusta.
I feel like I make small evolutionary leaps in my learning when “experts” put precise words to things that we are already enabling at Arbusta. Because putting reality into precise words gives it entity, makes it explicit, makes it grow. It makes it more real. It happened to me about two years ago when Fabiana Fondevila introduced me to the psychologist Carol Dweck and her concept of Growth Mindset.
Until that moment it was not so clear to me that we can be set to think of ourselves in two ways: either as having a fixed mentality, that is, we think that we have a limited capacity for gifts and talents, and that this capacity is immutable: “I cannot speak in public ”,“ I can’t express my ideas ”,“ I don’t know how to play football ”; or, alternatively, as having a growth mindset: under which our capacity for growth and learning is almost unlimited, everything that we do not know or cannot do today, with a little time, effort and attention, we can develop.
The fixed mindset considers intelligence to be static and is basically driven by the desire to appear intelligent. This leads to a general tendency of avoiding challenges, giving up easily, seeing no value in effort, ignoring feedback, and feeling threatened by the success of others. As a result, with this mindset it is difficult to reach one’s full potential, and one also ends up confirming a deterministic view of the world.
The growth mindset, on the other hand, considers that intelligence can be developed, and its basic desire is to learn. It embraces challenges, persists in the face of obstacles, sees the value of striving to achieve excellence, learns from criticism, and takes the success of others as inspiration. This mentality enables the achieving of goals and objectives and, above all, helps to have a vision of the world that is driven by free will.
What’s good to know about the growth mindset?
- The growth mindset is learned, especially when one becomes aware of those instances in which one is operating from a fixed mindset. We can train ourselves to increasingly adopt a growth mindset.
- Depending on how we were raised, we tend to have more of one mindset than the other, although most of us have a bit of both. We also tend to have a fixed mindset in some areas of our life (work, vocation, relationships) more than in others.
- The key is in the “yet”, in the trying, and in taking mistakes as a learning opportunity: “I can’t play the guitar yet” implies that I will keep trying until I reach my goal.
- Our brain has plasticity, that is to say that every time we learn something new, or that we change a well-established habit, we create a new neural pathway.
Growth mindset: keys to the company as a learning environment
▪ The growth mindset is learned, we can train it.
▪ The key is in the “yet”, in the trying, and in taking mistakes as a learning opportunity.
▪ Our brain has plasticity, that is to say that every time we learn something new, or that we change a long-established habit, we create a new neural pathway.
What do we do at Arbusta to stimulate the growth mindset?
- Our culture and our organizational design are ingrained with the Aspirational View of the Potential, and by the value of learning to work by actually working.
- We are a learning environment, we know that the best concept we can learn is that we will be permanent learners throughout our whole lives. At the same time, we are facilitators for the obtaining of knowledge / learnings of our colleagues or peers.
- We set ambitious goals that propel us forward, and at the same time our culture enables the committing of errors as a learning space. This stimulates a virtuous cycle that stimulates new challenges and ways to achieve goals.
- We set competencies and technical skills knowing that they can be learned.
- We value effort and perseverance, not just natural talent and genius.
- We learn to give feedback that promotes learning and future success.
- We also have a performance analysis system. We created a tool called “My Growth”, which allows each person who works at Arbusta to view their annual growth in a personalized manner, based on data collected ranging from the projects that were worked on, to the spaces and learning experiences in which one participated.