November 15, 2011

The importance of a growth mindset

At the Neuroleadership Summit in San Francisco last week, neuroscientists and business leaders connected to share ideas around the theme "Adaptive Organisations."

Carol Dweck's conversation on the beliefs organisations should hold was particularly important as it illuminated one of the essential components of success: a growth mindset. 

Organisations that are willing to learn will be more adaptive and innovative, making them more ready to deal with the increasing complexities and challenges of the 21st century.

Our mindset creates a whole realm of psychological rules and behaviours that govern our potential for success, and learners are more successful than non-learners. When we learn from our mistakes, we can move on from them and push past previous limitations. However, non-learners will continue to  stay mired in their issues as they make the same mistakes over and over again.

We are born curious about the world around us. Babies continually scan their environment, picking up cues from the people and events around them to understand how to think and be in their culture. It is natural and effortless for them. What then happens to change someone into a non-learner?

Interestingly, our willingness to learn is associated with our relationship to talent. Those who perceive intelligence and ability as genetic will have a fixed mindset that stops learning. They'll be more likely to give up if a task proves to be difficult as they'll believe that talent should come naturally and that their efforts will not pay off.

However, people who realise that talent and genius are a result of years of dedicated learning and practice will have an open mindset. They will be more likely to seek out challenges and take on projects and opportunities that are out of their comfort zone. They'll put themselves on a journey towards mastery and enjoy the process, as well as strive for results.

Promoting a growth mindset in your people is quite easy to do. Simply praise the effort and reinforce the importance of learning.

Teachers and employers who praise the effort will foster a growth mindset. "Genius talk" that praises the intelligence shuts down learning, hampers performance and leads to cheating. A recent study found that 40 per cent of people with a fixed mindset lied about their test scores, even when they knew their names would not be revealed.

Forget the superstar labels. Give people permission to make mistakes and learn. Let them know that  that their efforts are valued and encourage them to push out of their comfort zone. It's where breakthroughs occur and where true genius is found.      

November 2, 2011

Why Use Alternatives to Traditional Publishing

I'm a lucky new author. Very few write their books with a fairy godmother waiting in the wings to help them publish it.

Most authors need agents, lawyers, advisers, as well as some inside contact (new authors especially) to get the attention of traditional publishers and secure a reasonable deal. It helps if you can juggle too.

However, when I asked Don Grover, CEO of Dymocks, to participate in my research on leadership excellence, he let me know about their up and coming assisted publishing venture and even offered to have my book be the first through their system; as long as I did a good job of writing it.

It has been an experience that could have come straight out of Steven Covey's book, The Speed of Trust. One handshake and a major source of headaches and stress was removed. I only had to focus on the quality of the book and the rest was taken care of.

Now, True Leadership The Source of Success is being printed as I write and I can finally call myself an author.

I'm also a true believer in the assisted publishing process. 

While there still may be a place for traditional publishing, they should beware. There's a few new sheriffs in town.