Harnessing the Growth Mindset

30th July 2020

Human resources

A ‘growth mindset’ will move Ground and Water Limited forward and position the business and its people for growth and success in the future.

By Francis Williams – Director Ground and Water Limited.


If you Google “learning quotes” you will be inundated with profound statements from luminaries like Einstein, Henry Ford, Michelangelo and Jim Rohn. But the premises of most of these are that you should never stop learning; whichever way you feel you learn best.

My hope is that as I am coached, I read and also experience, so I can co-lead Ground and Water on the right path to success. So I thought I would write a monthly blog on our thoughts on leadership and how this translates into a better Ground and Water.

After finishing two of Matthew Syed’s brilliant books recently – Black Box Thinking and Rebel Ideas – they got me thinking about the growth culture at Ground and Water.

Strong leadership, continual learning, and innovation are key to a thriving business today. Leadership and learning must be fostered throughout an organisation in order for that organisation to really progress. Although this often starts at the top, it must ring true throughout the entire business.

Any business that wants to position itself to meet goals and objectives, setting new targets whilst continually moving forward and advancing, needs to adopt a growth mindset to succeed.

Research has shown that employees of growth mindset organisations, behave more transparently, cut fewer corners and work more collaboratively. This drives innovation and fuels the business, satisfying client goals and objectives.

A growth culture is not about happy-clappy, wishy-washy approach to business or life. It’s a cutting edge approach to organisational psychology based upon a very basic scientific principle: we all progress fastest when we face up to failure – and learn from it.

A fixed mindset – unlike a growth mindset – does not encourage any of these ideals. Nor does it allow employees to grow and new leaders to emerge: and less risk-taking, less freedom, less collaboration and less acceptance of failure, can be detrimental to business. Fixed mindset companies are worried about mistakes, fear being blamed and errors are more likely to be concealed.

It is through trial and error that some of the greatest ideas have been born. When asked how many times Thomas Edison failed in his quest to create the light bulb he remarked: “I haven’t failed… I’ve just found 10,000 that won’t work.” In order to grow, we need to become comfortable with not always getting it right!

So three quick questions:

  • Do you fail in your judgements?
  • Do you ever get access to the evidence that shows where you might be going wrong?
  • Are your decisions ever challenged by objective data?

People with a growth mindset tend to believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through hard work. Kids with a growth mindset – and it’s something schools teach – believe intelligence is dynamic. It is something that can grow, expand and improve. Difficulties are not regarded as reasons to give up, but rather the building blocks of future success.

One of the problems in our culture is that success is positioned as something that happens quickly. It’s about instant gratification. But success in the real world rarely happens in this way. When it comes to creating the perfect vacuum cleaner, James Dyson worked his way through 5,127 prototypes whilst his competitors didn’t get through the first 100. Not because he was more intelligent but because he was more resilient and more persistent.

Can these kinds of interventions/thoughts have real effects? Groups with growth mindsets, who have been taught to reinterpret failure, when tested, have significantly improved in their ability to deal with challenging tasks.

As business leaders, coaches, professionals and parents, we have to transform this notion of failure. We have to conceptualise it, not as dirty and embarrassing, but as bracing and educational. We should praise each other for trying.

Once we have this new mindset, we can start to create systems that harness the power of adaptability. The stage is set for meaningful evolution.

A growth mindset will move Ground and Water Limited forward and position ourselves and our people for growth and success in the future.

Francis Williams

Director & Trainee Leader

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At Ground & Water we like the bigger picture. Our regularly updated blog highlights and discusses the industry’s challenges and issues. It provides you with insights into innovation, how we are constantly changing and adapting to provide you class leading, cost effective, services and how through investing in our team, we are delivering on our promises. And it’s a great read!

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