I have been thinking and reflecting on Growth Mindset over the last week. Its a simple idea, but so important in any situation to reflect on whether you are stuck in “fixed mindset mode” or adopting a “growth mindset”. Its also an idea that many people get confused by. Check out this HBR article by Carol Dweck.
Continuous Improvement definitely requires a growth mindset. It is the only way to take a step back and consider other perspectives, and to ask yourself the question, “is there a better way to do this?”
A fixed mindset will have you stuck doing the same things in the same way, without being able to consider other alternatives.
I heard a story last week which illustrates this perfectively. This person I was talking to was describing rounding up sheep on her farm! She said, sometimes it is really difficult to get the sheep from one paddock to the next, because it requires you to move the sheep through one gate. Sheep are not always cooperative animals.
She has noticed that the times she struggles are the times when she is fixed on that gate, and considers that as the only option to move from one paddock to the next. But if she takes a step back to gain perspective, she realises there are other options to get the same outcome. She could leave the gate open and eventually the sheep will just walk through. She could take another route, as more often than not, the paddock has other gates! Or if there is an emergency, she could cut the fence.
So whats the moral of this story? Don’t get fixed on the gate! The problem has nothing to do with the gate! Moving the sheep through the gate is just one method of achieving an outcome.
How often do you do this? Do you get fixated on one method of doing things? Take a step back, gain perspective, consider what your objective is, and look for an alternative.