By Sarah Liverance

Here at SW+A we’re thinking a little differently about employee engagement. We call our approach “Spirit of 32” and this blog series will chronicle our journey. We’ll share what we’re learning along with resources you can leverage. We’ll be your test bed so if you have ideas, please let us know.

As far as segmentations go, here’s an interesting one:

“I don’t divide the world into the weak and the strong, or the success and the failures…I divide the world into the learners and the non-learners.”  — Benjamin Barber, sociologist

No surprise, our aim is to fit squarely in the “learner” segment and it didn’t take long to figure out that creating a feedback friendly work environment is essential for true learners. So being the conscientious, overachieving bunch we are, we shared “how to give effective feedback” best practices with our full team. Recall the hamburger model shared by Amber and Luke in their blog.

The next logical step was to educate ourselves on effectively receiving feedback. And that’s when we got excited about Carol Dweck’s mindset segmentation. It’s a continuum actually with fixed mindsets on one end and growth mindsets on the other:

  • Fixed = avoiding challenges, giving up easily, resenting feedback, feeling threatened by others’ success, tend to be more pessimistic, stressed and unsuccessful in life
  • Growth = embracing challenges, persisting in spite of obstacles, seeking feedback, being inspired by others’ success, tend to be more optimistic, relaxed and successful in life

Michael Jordan is my favourite celebrity example of a growth mindset. He was cut from his high school varsity basketball team, not recruited by the college he wanted, and not drafted by the first two NBA teams that had the chance. So what did he do? He got up earlier and practiced more. He “played up.” He sought out the best coaches. John Bach, his former assistant coach when he played for the Chicago Bulls described him as “a genius who constantly wants to upgrade his genius.”

Photo Credit: Jason H. Smith

You’re probably lucky enough to have a few growth mindsets in your life. You probably know a few fixed mindsets as well. Maybe there’s even a little too much “fixed” in your own mindset? The good news is you can change that over time. After all, mindsets are just beliefs – they may be powerful but they’re still just something that exists in our minds and we all know you can change your mind.

If you need some additional inspiration, just listen to the basketball player turned entrepreneur:

“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”  — Michael Jordan