More than four-fifths of new businesses fail within the first yearafter starting, not because of the founders’ lack of knowledge orskills, but because of a wrong mindset that kills any chances ofsucceeding in the enterprise. Therefore, it is crucial for people tohave the mindset of a winner to lead businesses successfully. Dweck’sdescribes the mindset as the new psychology of success and arguesthat it is among the key determinants between people who succeed andthose who fail in life. She splits mindsets into two categories,fixed mindsets and growth mindsets. She explains how the mindset,which is people’s perception of their abilities, skills, andtalents, can dramatically influence the level of success in any areaof their lives. The book illustrates the differences between a fixedand a growth mindset. Individuals who have a fixed mindset believethat their abilities are at their maximum level and cannot improvebeyond their current level. Those who possess a growth mindset knowthat their abilities, skills, and talents have not yet reached theirmaximum potential. They, therefore, put a lot of time, energy, andresources into developing them. If a leader in the business worldtook up Carol’s teachings about the mindsets and put it to work, heor she would have a considerably greater chance of succeeding thanone who is ignorant about this subject. A business leader whopossesses a growth mindset has a much higher chance of success thanthe one with a fixed mindset because the former is always gainingknowledge and improving the skills needed to run a business. Businessleaders who have the growth mindset are always on the lookout foropportunities to learn and are humble enough to accept correction.Conversely, those who have a fixed mindset feel that they know it alland usually reject correction because they believe that they knowbetter than everyone else does.
Dweck’s explanation on the two types of mindsets is clear andstraightforward. She makes it clear that leaders stand a betterchance of succeeding only if they have a room for growth andimprovement. The fixed mindset is a damaging influence in anybusiness leadership capacity. A person with this mindset believesthat they are perfect and do not need to upgrade themselves in anyway. They are usually pessimistic about criticism they receiveconcerning how they execute their duties. Such leaders do not engageother people within an organization during the decision-makingprocess. They also think that they know it all and nobody knows abouta particular subject more than they do. Many of the people sufferingfrom this kind of mindset are well-educated people who think thatthey are very smart and talented. They are often proud and look downon anyone with inferior credentials to theirs. Dweck claims that thefixed mindset can affect all aspects of one’s life in a negativeway. She alleges that believing that their qualities have reached acertain maximum level gives these individuals an urgency to keepproving themselves. If someone thinks that they have some level ofintelligence and character, they keep doing things in an attempt totry to prove it (Dweck 29).
Carol S. Dweck studied hundreds of students to test the differencesbetween the two mindsets. She used the results from these tests toprovide the needed evidence for her concept. She gave all thestudents a mildly challenging nonverbal IQ test and then praisedtheir performance in different ways. She said to some students, “Thatis a good score you must be very smart at this.” She told theremaining students, “That is a good score you must have workedhard for it.” After praising one group for ability and another foreffort, the former exhibited the signs of a fixed mindset. Thesemanifestations included rejecting a more challenging test becausethey thought that it would expose their weaknesses and question theirability. The latter group got a growth mindset due to the praise ontheir effort, rather than their abilities. They showed signs of thismindset, such as having the willingness to take a more challengingtest. Dweck concluded that these students with the growth mindsetconsidered the task presented them with an opportunity to use theireffort and learn from it. When Dweck gave all the students the hardertest, on which they scored low marks, they had different reactions tothe results. The ability-praised students felt that they were not assmart or talented as they thought they were. Success to them meantthat they had superior abilities, and failure meant that they lackedenough talent (Dweck 210). The effort-praised students interpretedthe results as a call for them to put in more effort and ultimatelysucceed in a future test. Therefore, from her studies, it is clearthat the growth mindset eventually leads to success. The studentswith a fixed mindset would fail in the end due to a decreasedconfidence and a lower opinion of their abilities. Those with agrowth mindset would ultimately succeed because they would not losetheir morale or self-esteem, but instead, increase their effort andbecome successful (Dweck 198). A hypothetical example is a businessleader who has an advanced education and a fixed mindset. They wouldhave the tendency to disregard every idea that conflicts with theirsbecause of believing that they are right all the time, even when theyare wrong. They never want to expose their weaknesses or flaws. Suchbehaviors affect the enterprise negatively, as the employees will nolonger contribute their ideas during meetings, and their love for thejob reduces significantly. If this business leader had a growthmindset, they would value the ideas of their employees, encouragethem to keep learning and come up with new ideas, and implement thebest ones, whether they are the leader’s or not. This mindset wouldlead to the business flourishing due to high employee morale and theconstant improvement in the leader and his/her employees. From theabove example and the past studies by Carol S. Dweck, it is evidentthat the growth mindset leads to success, and the fixed mindset leadsto failure.
Carol also noted a significant disparity in how the two groups ofstudents viewed everything in the class from the moment they receivedpraise for their abilities or effort. Those who acquired a fixedmindset were not only unwilling to take on new challenges but had anegative view of the entire coursework. They viewed it as an enemyout to expose their weaknesses and deficiencies in talent. Those whogot a growth mindset, however, had a positive outlook of thecoursework. They regarded it as an opportunity to develop theirskills, as they believed that they had room for improvement. Theywere eager to take on new challenges because of feeling that they hadnothing to lose failing did not mean they were weak or deficient inany way. They embraced failure as a lesson, learned from it, andbecame better in the end. While the students with a fixed mindsetsought to consolidate their gains when they excelled at a test andrested on their laurels, those with a growth mindset were eager toset the bar higher by learning more and improving their abilities(Dweck 33).
A business leader who possesses a growth mindset has a much higherchance of success than the one with a fixed mindset, as evidenced bythe studies and example above. Having a growth mindset encourages oneto keep gaining knowledge and improving the skills needed to run abusiness. This mindset gives them the correct idea of theirexpertise. These abilities are not static, but the person can keepimproving them. These constant improvements cause their enterprise tobe far ahead of one where a fixed mindset in the leader has causedstagnation in the skills of everyone working in it. Every businessleader ought to have a growth mindset because it gives the correctrepresentation of one’s skills and abilities. It will cause one toconsistently put in more effort and improve competencies in everyarea of his/her life. With the growth mindset, a business leader willhave a much higher chance of being among the privileged 20 percentthat succeeds in business.
Dweck, Carol. Mindset-Updated Edition: Changing the Way Youthink To Fulfil Your Potential. Hachette UK, 2017.