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No matter what situation a person faces their mindset matters. Before discussing fixed versus growth mindsets, I’ll describe what a mindset is. According to Wikipedia, a mindset is a habitual or characteristic mental attitude that determines how one interprets and responds to situations mentally–that is a complex mental state involving beliefs, feelings, values, and dispositions to act in certain ways.

I’ll paraphrase the fixed–growth mindsets this way: strictly fixed mindset theorist suggests that if a person wasn’t born with a growth mindset they’ll never have it, but if born with a growth mindset, new knowledge and skills can be acquired through education, training, and desire. Another way to look at a person who has little desire to change is being set in their ways and not open to new things whereas a person with a growth mindset is all about change. 

When it comes to fixed and growth mindsets, I don’t think it is one or the other. Which of these age-old phrases is correct: Haste makes waste, he who hesitates is lost, or if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it? My answer: it depends on the situation.

Leaders are boundary and time spanners. They have to look beyond the internal operations within their organizations and into the future. To survive and thrive they need to manage the present and the future. Open-minded leaders listened to those who appear to have fixed mindsets as well as those who are more innovative. I have found that there are people who are set in their ways, and everyone needs to conform while on the other end of the spectrum, others wanted to change at break-neck speed. However, most people fell somewhere in the middle of those two extremes. Like everyone else, I learned that the only constant is change.

Some people lead the parade, but eventually, all will follow. In the end, we all have growth mindsets. Some just grow faster than others. The leader has to make sure that the organization is moving at a pace that is commensurate with internal resources and external conditions. Good leaders adhere to the African Proverb: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, travel together.”

Feel free to share your thoughts about how your, or someone else’s mindset can impact you in the workplaceTo learn more about my coaching practice visit