Growth Mindset: THE differentiator for the 21st Century


If you think you can do a thing
or think you can't do a thing,
you're right.

~ Henry Ford


Until around the turn of the century, it was believed that intelligence and talent were directly linked to the human brain’s ability to “grow.” It was also believed that neural tissue, including the brain, became static and was unable to regenerate or grow past around the age of 20.


Brain research has completely refuted that concept. We now know that neuroplasticity (the regeneration and growth of brain tissue in response to demand) is an everyday process. The brain is “plastic,” so just like our muscles, the more we work it out, the more it grows. Therefore, intelligence and “talent” develop throughout our life: IF we believe.


In 2006, psychologist Carol Dweck wrote a groundbreaking work: “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.” In it she distinguished between two separate mindsets; unconscious belief systems that are central to growth/stagnation and success/failure in life:


  • A Fixed Mindset: The belief that intelligence and talent are a fixed asset. In this mode of thinking, failure is seen as “proof” that we are not capable. It leads to defensiveness and avoidance of new challenges.


  • A Growth Mindset: The belief that intelligence and talent can be developed throughout life. In this mode of thinking, failure is seen as an opportunity to learn and become more capable. It leads to an openness for coaching and embracing and persisting in the face of new challenges.




The pace of change in the 21st century is accelerating at an alarming rate. If your organization’s product offering and business model becomes static, economic Darwinism will render you obsolete… it’s just a matter of time.


On the other hand, if you develop your organization’s ability to grow and to morph into new products, new services and even new business models, you can enjoy significant longevity.


By definition, an organization is a group of people, organized for a common purpose. The only way to grow your organization is to grow your people; thus, to thrive going forward it is absolute critical to cultivate a growth mindset as a cornerstone of your culture.