Tag Archives: fixed mindset

What’s Your Mindset?

What's Your Mindset?

GUEST POST from Dennis Stauffer

Your mindset has a powerful influence on how you think and behave—including how innovative you are. You have the power to shift your mindset to become more innovative. However, to do that effectively you need to know what your mindset is now, and it’s mostly subconscious.

I’m going to show you how to measure your mindset, by surfacing some of those hidden assumptions. To do this, you’ll need some way to jot down four numbers and make a simple calculation.

You may have heard about the work of Stanford University Professor Carol Dweck and her distinction between a growth and a fixed mindset, which is what I’m having you measure. It’s what Dweck calls your Theory of Intelligence.

For each of four statements, I’d like you to write down a number between 1 and 6. One indicating that you strongly disagree with that statement, and six that you strongly agree, with increments in-between.

  1. Strongly Disagree
  2. Disagree
  3. Slightly Disagree
  4. Slightly Agree
  5. Agree
  6. Strongly Agree


  1. __ The first statement is: Our intelligence is something about each of us that we can’t change very much. Give that number between 1 and 6, depending on how strongly you agree or disagree with that statement.
  2. __ The next statement is: We can learn new things but we can’t really change how intelligent we are. Give that a number from one to six.
  3. __ The next statement is: No matter how much intelligence a person has, they can always change it quite a bit. Give that a number 1-6
  4. __ And the final statement is: I can always change how intelligent I am. Give that a number.

To score your results, add your first and second answers together to give yourself an “A” value, and add your third and fourth answers together to give yourself a “B” value.

If your A value is the larger of the two, that indicates that you favor what Dweck calls a fixed mindset—that you believe intelligence is largely fixed and unchanging.

If your B value is larger, you favor a growth mindset—defining intelligence as something you can change and grow.

The larger the difference between those two numbers, the stronger your preference.

In her research, Dweck has found this simple distinction has all sorts of ripple effects especially on how students perform. Students with a fixed mindset, may be quite smart, but they’re afraid to challenge themselves and try new things because if that reveals any intellectual deficits, they don’t believe they can do anything about it. Students with a growth mindset believe they can get smarter by working at it, giving them a strong motivation to work hard, learn and overcome setbacks. They tend to become the high performers.

You may never have given much thought to your personal theory of intelligence, but you almost certainly have one and it’s one of many hidden assumptions that make up your mindset. Dweck has found that those hidden assumptions impact your beliefs, behavior, motivation, competitiveness and ethics. Other researchers have found that mindset even impacts how your body functions.

Your mindset also impacts how innovative you are, and that can be measured too. Instead of the growth vs. fixed distinction, measuring your innovativeness involves a range of other tradeoffs. Things that impact how imaginative you are, how willing you are to take risks, how you make observations and how open you are to new insights and ideas.

A growth mindset makes you more willing to accept and push through failure, being ready to learn and discover. An Innovator Mindset is about how you go about doing that. How you can systematically find solutions and make improvements—including improving yourself. Being able to adapt and learn and make discoveries has many benefits in all aspects of your personal and professional life.

If you’d like to measure your innovativeness, across twelve dimensions, and receive detailed personalized feedback on how to improve it, go to Innovator Mindset where you’ll find links to take the Innovator Mindset assessment, or enroll in Mindset Trek elearning—which includes the assessment—to get in depth mindset training.

Here is a video version of this post:

Image Credit: Pixabay

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Do you have a fixed or growth mindset?

Do you have a fixed or growth mindset?

GUEST POST from Stefan Lindegaard

What does it mean to have a mindset? How does it shape your actions, and those of the people you interact with? Is it steadfast, or does it evolve? Could it perhaps be a fusion of elements? It’s crucial to understand mindsets as they influence not only our behaviors but also the behaviors of those we engage with, allowing us to better navigate the world.

Research defines “mindset” as a mental frame or lens that selectively organizes and interprets information, orienting an individual’s understanding of experiences and guiding their responses and actions. This definition, adapted from Carol Dweck by Salovey and Achor, illuminates that our mindset, composed of our thoughts and beliefs, influences our perception of ourselves, our environment, and the broader world. Such understanding is vital in team dynamics, leadership, and organizational contexts.

Dweck identified two primary mindsets:

  • A fixed mindset, in which intelligence is viewed as static, leading to the desire to appear intelligent and influencing specific behaviors.
  • A growth mindset, where intelligence is seen as something that can be developed, sparking a desire to learn and driving diverse behaviors.

The growth mindset, characterized by the belief that abilities can be honed with consistent effort, is shaped by how we perceive and tackle five critical areas:

  1. Viewing effort as a path to mastery
  2. Demonstrating persistence in the face of obstacles
  3. Seeing others’ success as a source of inspiration and learning
  4. Embracing challenges
  5. Welcoming criticism as an opportunity to learn and grow

However, we need to acknowledge that our mindsets aren’t strictly “fixed” or “growth” in nature. They’re typically a hybrid of both, influenced by the context and phase of our lives. It’s is also situational. Our response to situations can shift, revealing the dominance of one mindset over the other at different times. Recognizing this within ourselves and avoiding prematurely labeling others is vital.

Here are a few case study examples:

Case Study 1 – Education

To give a practical example, let’s look at the world of education. Imagine a student who struggles with math. With a fixed mindset, they might think, “I’m just not good at math,” and subsequently put less effort into learning. However, if they adopt a growth mindset, they would perceive math as a challenge they can overcome with practice and effort. Using different strategies and seeking help when necessary, the student’s math skills can improve, highlighting the practical application of a growth mindset.

Case Study 2 – Microsoft

In the business world, Microsoft provides an excellent case study. Under CEO Satya Nadella’s leadership, Microsoft shifted from a fixed to a growth mindset. Nadella introduced Dweck’s growth mindset concept to the company culture, fostering innovation and collaboration. The shift, encapsulated in the motto “Learn it all” vs. “Know it all,” encouraged employees to remain open-minded, learn from their mistakes, and continually improve. This change in mindset led to increased employee engagement, innovation, and contributed to Microsoft’s recent growth.

Case Study 3 – Sports

In sports, athletes often exemplify the growth mindset. Consider basketball legend Michael Jordan. He was cut from his high school varsity team because he was deemed “not good enough.” Rather than accepting this as an unchangeable state, he viewed it as a challenge and redoubled his efforts to improve. His eventual rise to becoming one of the greatest basketball players of all time showcases how a growth mindset can lead to superior performance in the face of setbacks and criticism.


As I often say, “The essence of the growth mindset in an organizational context is to instill a mindset focused on continuous improvement rather than the need to prove that one is the best.”

Implementing the growth mindset in team dynamics is part of my work. However, it doesn’t stand alone. It must be complemented by other factors like fostering a learning culture, ensuring psychological safety, and navigating the comfort zone. All these components are critical to effective team, leadership, and organizational development.

Image Credit: Stefan Lindegaard

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