Executives look for ways to grow the bottom line of their organization by looking at how they can put processes and systems in place to enhance productivity and drive organizational performance. However, they forget to look at one critical component…THEMSELVES! This can be counter productive to their own success.
Marshall Goldsmith, author of “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There”, says the paradox of success is that executives think they have succeeded because of the way they act and think. In reality, they have succeeded despite of it. Executives need to develop a growth mindset to ensure they are actively working to become the best possible versions of themselves. Executives that work to become better can lead and engage their organizations and teams more effectively.
Here are 7 tips for executives to develop a stronger growth mindset:
1) Create a Vision. The famous quote from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland is, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” This is never truer then when you are at an executive level. If you are not actively trying to grow you are never going to become the best version of yourself. Stretch yourself by creating a vision of who you want to be 3 to 5 years from today that aligns with your core values.
2) Set Frequent Short-Term Stretch Goals. These goals are stepping stones and create a pathway to the vision you set for yourself. Make these goals challenging so that you stretch your comfort zone toward the vision you have of who you want to be.
3) Adopt Creative Thinking Patterns. Executives can fall into mental ruts. Looking at what has worked for them to achieve success in the past they often default into their proven methods. Executives can view thinking outside of their proven processes as dangerous. Goldsmith says, “People who believe they can succeed see opportunities where others see threats.” Adopting a mindset of creativity and always asking “what is possible?” can help executives to develop mental agility and a stronger growth mindset.
4) Open Feedback Channels. It can be lonely at the top. Executives can feel like they are on an island by themselves, even if they have a large team. Often, peers and subordinates don’t feel comfortable giving executives’ feedback (even when asked). To open channels for feedback, start by telling your team that you are looking to grow and develop yourself and will be conducting an anonymous 360° evaluation on yourself to look for your own blind spots. Once you get the feedback and determine your opportunities for growth set a goal and let your team know that you would like their help to hold you accountable.
5) Increase Personal Accountability. It is easy to tell other people what to do when you are at the top. But, do you have someone holding you accountable? Goldsmith writes, “If we do not create and control our environment, our environment creates and controls us.” Executives need to be personally accountable to someone. Whether it is an executive coach, trusted advisor, peer, friend, or relative, having an accountability partner that checks in with you weekly helps us grow your success.
6) Reflect on Your Day in a Non-Judgmental Way. At the end of each day, take 5 minutes to review what went well and lessons learned from the things that did not go well. Don’t judge or criticize yourself, but instead contemplate them with a growth mindset to advance toward the person you want to become.
7) Celebrate Your Efforts. Part of having a growth mindset is embracing failure and developing resilience. As an executive, setting frequent challenges for yourself opens up occasions of failure which can be scary for those used to success. Embrace failure by removing it from your vocabulary and viewing it as an opportunity to grow and learn.
Developing a Growth Mindset means you are opening yourself up and becoming vulnerable to criticism. However, it does not make you weak. It actually makes you a stronger leader. A growth mindset helps you to become a better version of yourself and, in turn, more effective. So, the next time you look for ways to grow your bottom line, enhance productivity and drive organizational performance start with looking at your own mindset.