As a future leader, you want to own or establish a growth mindset, an explorer attitude, a global outlook and a technological mindset with the right amount of humanity. Why? The pandemic has fast-tracked changes in such a way that it is mainly companies who showed flexibility, were quick to make changes, had access to appropriate logistic networks and were leaders with a growth mindset that were able to stay afloat.
Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos are two prime examples of individuals with a long-term growth and consumer focused mindset; a practice that has been in place in their companies for years. As a result, Elon Musk became the seventh richest person in the world (Bloomberg Billionaires Index, July 2020) and Amazon’s Web Services (AWS) grew in Q1, 2020 by 33%.
However, it is not only these global players who are thriving. The traditional meat industry is venturing into plant-based ‘meat’, re-positioning themselves as a ‘protein’ industry.
Businesses who were able to set themselves apart are the ones surviving: local fruit and vegetable markets who made swift adjustments by offering home deliveries; independent book stores who provided a unique customer experience; or yoga studios who improvised and quickly adjusted by offering live online sessions – just to name a few.
By 2025, 75% of the workforce will be millennials. This generation’s expectations will demand another shift towards greater flexibility as to where and when they want to work, and how they want to engage (e.g. with casual work opportunities). The current pandemic was simply an immense catalyst for showing them new opportunities and what could be achieved with a bit of flexibility.
Research concludes that it is your mindset, or the mindset of your company’s leadership, that makes the difference. Many of the world’s leading companies have recognised this and are now helping their employees so that they can adapt faster, better deal with intense pressure and be more innovative. Their investment is paying off.
In a case study documented by Morningstar, a global financial services firm’s 7000 employees in 27 countries reached an “astonishing uplift in staff engagement by creating psychological safety as their secret ingredient to better communication, collaboration and creativity”. What allows for such success is a growth mindset with leaders having a ‘I can get better and I like to learn from others’ attitude as opposed to a fixed mindset with an ‘I am not intrinsically good at it, there is no point in trying’ belief.
Future growth leaders:
conduct regular surveys on emerging needs
demand constructive feedback
move from being an individual contributor to an effective team leader
encourage sensible risk-taking and facilitate safe discussions on failure and learnings
build effective communication for their virtual teams
deliver clear communication in relation to their vision, strategy, plans, timelines, decisions and the reasons behind them, and employees’ roles in all of this
stay flexible and agile on the field to react to change (e.g. reacting to competitor)
approach new skills with an ‘I am not good at this yet, but I can be’ attitude
stay curious & explore new strategies, approaches, services, offerings with a global outlook
value progress and the journey
approach new technologies with the mindset of an open-minded teenager
review and invest in future leadership skills, upscale, retool and stay relevant.
And finally, it is an important mindset for future leaders to balance the aspect of technology with the aspect of humanity. Companies can only maximize their potential if they remember to look after their people. This is demonstrated by making an effort to minimize company politics, being transparent in decision-making, encouraging high morale and aiming for low staff turnover. There is an overlap that occurs in the company’s performance and the satisfaction level of the people working there. Engaged employees contribute to healthy companies that succeed financially and serve their customers better.
My own personal experience concludes that careful risk-taking pays off. Not necessarily always in the form of a career opportunity, but in overall wellbeing and personal development. In 2005, after careful research and a weekend seminar around the Chinese economy, I quit my secure job of 6+ years and – against the advice of family, friends and colleagues – relocated to live in Beijing and study Mandarin. My intention at the time was to take an educational sabbatical year, upskilling to stay relevant by acquiring a new language and new experiences in an emerging market, as well as immerse myself in Chinese culture.
I was able to live with two different families from either side of the demographic spectrum. As a marketing professional, I literally studied consumer behaviours from within, and all the while my host family was able to ‘show off’ their 5-year-old son’s private English tutor.
What I learned was that I not only struggled with the air pollution, but also with my newly acquired Mandarin that still lacked proficiency in comparison to native speakers. Also, I found that I arrived probably 3–4 years too late in China to make it without those skills in marketing. China had already built and acquired global management standards and work networks through their international students. Despite that, I had a wonderful time, formed new and international connections, and gained great insights about myself and Chinese culture.
You could argue, of course, whether my move to China showed a growth mindset. For me, the question is rather, how would my life and personal development be different, or not, if I stayed in Germany? I suppose this is a very personal question which everyone must answer for themselves. Allowing myself to study and live in China made my life richer. It brought a jolt of excitement and fun to my life, challenged my work ethic by demanding and cultivating great flexibility, enhanced my resilience, ignited my curiosity and developed my cultural awareness.
If establishing your growth mindset is of value to you and your career development, get in touch and let me assist you with forming new habits and thought patterns.
Iris - Your Transformational Coach