Around the world, organizations spend more than $365 billion annually for leadership development programs—despite this tremendous investment which is upwards of $166 billion in the USA alone—more than 75% of organizations say that their internal professional development programs are not very effective.
Clearly, there is a pretty significant disconnect here. This has many of the most successful organizations starting to rethink both how they should direct investment towards professional development as well as what types of professionals they should be targeting for access to these opportunities.
In 2020, Professors Ryan K.Gottfredson and Christopher S.Reinab of the University of California conducted research into uncovering why professional leaders do the things they do in an article published in Leadership Quarterly titled: Exploring why leaders do what they do: An integrative review of the situation-trait approach and situation-encoding schemas.
Through their research, the professors narrowed in on how mindset impacts the way we see the world and how this in turn, dramatically influences the way we respond to both challenges and crisis moments as well as leadership development and other enrichment activities.
They found that when we look at why business leaders make the choices they make, their personalities and mindsets can have a tremendous impact on the way they approach problems and the value they generate in their interactions with internal and external partners.
While some employees will respond to challenges with stress, doom, and gloom, others will see the silver lining, the potential to pivot and innovate. Alternately, where some professional leaders will view a development seminar as a time sink and waste of their potential, others will harness the opportunity for what it is and make the most of it.
In a time when enterprise organizations are working aggressively to reduce bloat and deliver more efficient operations, it makes sense to invest in professionals who realize that overcoming the challenges of the moment requires continuous improvement, business agility, and the ability for leaders to lean into tough challenges without allowing their personality quirks to get in the way of achieving success.
Integrating Evidence-Based Lessons to Sustain a More Agile Culture of Continuous Improvement
Organizations that want to respond to uncertainty have a vested interest in elevating professional leaders that can best embody, coach, and inspire a success mindset in their partnerships with colleagues. The business landscape is changing, and achieving success today means being a strong and pragmatic leader who knows how to make the right choices to sustain the best possible performance outcomes.
“Why waste time proving over and over how great you are when you could be getting better? Why hide deficiencies instead of overcoming them?
Why look for friends or partners who will just shore up your self-esteem instead of ones who will also challenge you to grow? And why seek out the tried and true instead of experiences that will stretch you?
The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives, said Psychologist Carol Dweck Professors Gottfredson and Reinab describe the different mindsets professional leaders have in the following ways:
1.Growth vs. Fixed Mindsets
Professionals with a growth mindset believe that themselves and their colleagues can enrich and further develop their talents, abilities, and areas of expertise. Alternatively, professionals with a fixed mindset inherently do not see the value in development initiatives.
Nurturing a success mindset requires identifying which employees will take advantage of constructive feedback, offer developmental guidance to peers, and realize the opportunity of developing the skills of their teams.
2.Learning vs. Performance Mindsets
People with a learning mindset are highly motivated by the opportunity to learn new skills, develop further competence, and continue refining their expertise in new areas. Leaders with a performance mindset gain motivation when their colleagues recognize their skills and acknowledge their positive performance benchmarks.
Nurturing a success mindset requires highlighting the leaders who are most likely to respond to development challenges as the opportunities for growth and enrichment that they genuinely are.
3.Receptive Mindsets vs. Implemental Mindsets
A professional with a receptive mindset can step forward and step back when necessary realizing that being receptive to the viewpoints of others is essential to generating the best possible outcomes. In contrast, implemental mindsets are highly focused on implementing solutions and engaging in top-down project management.
Nurturing a success mindset in professional teams means highlighting leaders who are willing to be more impartial and less biased about their decision and problem-solving activities.
4.Promotion Mindsets vs. Prevention Mindsets
Leaders with a promotion mindset want to succeed, win and advance. They are motivated by specific goals and have clear destinations in mind. Professionals with a prevention-focused mindset focus their attention on trying to avoid losses and limiting the growth of problems. Professionals with a promotion mindset are more positive, grounded, and open to change.
Nurturing a success mindset means focusing development initiatives on teammates can harness the spirit of agility to consistently improve performance and drive innovation rather than seek to contain risks.
Harness Professional Agility and a Success Mindset Today
Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic organizations of all shapes and sizes have been forced to contend with a new normal of uncertainty that has forced many professional teams to look within and ask increasingly tougher questions.
The world is changing, and today more than ever before, we need leaders who are receptive to professional development, realize that taking the time to advance their skills helps their organizations to increase their net worth, and know that succeeding today isn’t always a matter of being rigid and dogmatic.
In the new age of agility that has dawned, it’s become clear that businesses need to take a slightly leaner approach towards wasting hard-fought resources on development initiatives that are failing to truly deliver on their often extremely expensive promises. For many teams, the answer is harnessing business agility and working to nurture a success mindset among professional leaders and executive decision-makers.
Related Article: How a “Growth Mindset” Can Help You Unlock Your Potential