Hey everybody, I'm Libby Gill. I'm an executive coach, a leadership author, and I talk to people about change and mindset. And so, today, I want to talk about what mindset actually is, how it applies to leader development, and what it means to you. So, let's just jump right into the idea of mindset. Now the concept of mindset has been around for a very long time. We tend to think it's something newer. But in fact, we've applied mindset to things like a learning mindset, an abundance mindset, a fear-based mindset for many, many years. But what I want to talk about specifically today, is what's more relevant in the business world? And that is something that was coined by the psychologist and Stanford Professor, Dr Carol Dweck. And she is a renowned psychologist in the area of what she coined as a phrase, which was a growth mindset, versus fixed mindset. And that's where I want to start. If you're not familiar with Dr Dweck, it really would be worth your time to look up some of her research. Much of which started in early education, looking at what made some students successful, and others not successful. And that is carried out into the business world, and into the leadership world today. So, looking at mindset in that frame of reference, let's look at what growth mindset is, and what fixed mindset is. And you may have a sense already that, one is the one many people in the world of business, academics strive for. And that of course is the growth mindset. So, let me start with the other side first. Let me tell you about fixed mindset, and see if you can recognize any of these traits in yourself, maybe in other people that are around you. By the way, Dr Dweck popularize this term growth versus fixed mindset in her research, in her work as a teacher, and also in a book that she wrote called Mindset, the new psychology of success. Because she really talked about how growth mindset can help you be successful, where a fixed mindset can hold you back. So a fixed mindset is where people believe that their basic qualities, those innate qualities, or what they believe are innate qualities like talent, intelligence, are fixed. They are static, they are unchangeable, they are immutable. Whatever you were born with is what you've got. And, that of course can be very limiting, because they believe that what you're born with, is what you will have for your entire life. Subsequently those people with that fixed mindset believe that you should avoid challenges, that you back away from criticism or feedback. Because after all, you can't change anything. It's kind of that, it is what it is, mentality. They also tend to give up easily in the face of challenge or of frustration. And they can feel threatened rather than energized or excited by the success of others. Now obviously you put all of this together, all of these traits of those folks with the fixed mindset who just believe, this is me, this is it, I'm not changing anything. It doesn't matter how much effort I expend or any learning, I'm exactly who I was born to be. Now the other side of that, is the growth mindset. And this of course is where we want to live, this is what we want to strive for. And folks with that growth mindset embrace challenge. It might not always feel good or be easy, but they don't shy away from change, or from challenge. They look on challenges as opportunities to learn, to stretch, to grow, hence growth mindset. They see their efforts, they're learning, they're striving as useful. And they just don't give up in the face of these challenges or frustrations. Everything from kids learning to ride a bike, constantly falling over and seeing that as a positive challenge. I can get back on and try it again, as opposed to, I can't learn this, I can't do this, which of course is that closed mind, fixed mindset. They also feel excited by other people's success, by other people's growth. They're inspired when they see people strive for excellence, and reach it. And obviously those folks with the growth mindset, those continuous learners, the people that believe that their efforts are valuable. Those are the people that tend to do well in success, in business, in academics, in everything they encounter. Because, well, first of all, they're willing to be bad at something in order to get good at something. And that's of course what you need in the leadership world. You don't start out born to be a leader. Now, that's an interesting thing. I've studied leadership development as an executive coach, and a former executive. I was a Hollywood executive running communications at Sony, and Turner Broadcasting, and Universal for my first career. And I really learned how to develop that leadership muscle. And when you develop as a leader, first you've got to accept that growth is part of the mantle of leadership. If you're not growing and learning as you go, you can't become a better leader. We are not born to lead. Some people think that that's sort of a myth and misconception is that leaders are born and not made, but the opposite is true. Leaders learn to lead, they make mistakes, they try new things, they take risks. And as part of that, that you can see, that, that risk mindset and the growth mindset is a big piece of that. because if you can't accept that changes your everyday reality, you're only constant, you're not able to grow and move with that. And of course, when you have that growth mindset, part of leadership is teaching that to others. You want to help people grow and change. And, it's really interesting when we look at skill growth, not just leadership development, the self awareness and communication skills, but hard skills. We can also apply this. And I'll tell you in my own life, I recently moved to another state, I just started taking golf lessons. I took a class on horticulture, so I can grow my first garden here in my new home state of Oregon. Now, if I didn't have a growth mindset, and granted. The bar is not super high on those learnings, I can learn these things gradually. But for those with a fixed mindset, it's like, I don't know how to do that, therefore, I'm not going to try, I'm not going to learn. Take that over to leadership where so much of what you do as a leader, is developing other leaders. And you can see why having that growth mindset is so critical. If you're not role modeling it for others, if you're not doing it, if you're not showing people that you're willing to tackle hard challenges, you're willing to learn new skills, new ways of being a leader, you can't really guide your organization. And you certainly can't teach other people to lead. So, it's not just that leaders have a growth mindset in common. There is some very specific characteristics that growth-minded leaders also have in common. And the first among those, and I think this is so critical, is being future focused. If they look at just where we are today, or where we were yesterday, they're going to be able to guide an organization into the future. And if we've learned anything in COVID, not that change wasn't always present in the work world in the school world and academics. But we saw how quickly things can change and if we can adapt the flexible, learn new skills, try new things, we're not going to survive. And I come from a business perspective where I've seen many of my own clients having to make those pivots very quickly if they're going to succeed. And we also saw the other side of that, which was really tragic that during this time we saw a lot of businesses including your small neighborhood businesses that couldn't make those changes. Either because they just weren't geographically or they weren't set up to make the changes or sometimes it was a lack of creativity or a growth mindset that would allow them to make those pivots. Even people who had businesses that were purely face to face had to figure out, how do I now exist? How do I go forward in this online world? And it's about seeing your way to the future and and knowing that it may not always be easy, but that you can not only see a through way, an action plan, a roadmap to the future. But you can create a narrative around that that inspires other people to grow and to go with you towards that future focused vision. Leaders also have accountability. Accountability is something I talked about every day in my coaching business, you must have accountability for yourself for your own actions for your own learning and growth and as a leader for that of other people. You must hold other people accountable, not always easy, but a big piece of that is in fact feedback and criticism. Those of us who have a growth mindset, we're open to criticism. Doesn't always feel great if you think you're doing something well and you find out that in fact you're not really succeeding in that area maybe you need more learning or training. One great way to think of, this is to say to yourself, I'm not good at this now, so for example, I'm not a great golfer now. That leads the possibility open that if I continue to study and take lessons and receive feedback and criticism that I can be or I could be in the future. So that word now is a really good thing to add to your vocabulary. It leaves the door open for growth without feeling so much like you're being penalized for what you don't know today. And one thing I'm forever telling my leaders is that the higher up that ladder you go, the less you're going to know about specific areas. Because your job is going to be to supervise and oversee people who are in fact subject matter experts, deep in their expertise and if you're overseeing a lot of people in a lot of experts. By definition, you can't have the depth of expertise that they all have in their own subject areas. So that's something leaders really have to learn is to be accountable for their own learning to be accountable for their actions and to hold others accountable by tough discussions, feedback, honest criticism. I always call that candor and kindness, you've got to be truthful, doesn't mean you have to be mean spirited but to offer that feedback. And by the way, if you're on the job or in school and you feel like you're not getting the feedback, you need to ask for it. If that doesn't work, you need to demand it. And if you suspect that you are learning from or working with somebody who has a fixed mindset doesn't see the need for criticism, you are what you are and that's the end of the story. Then go find someone else that you can count on as an ally who will give you that candid feedback that you need to grow. Those folks are out there, you just have to learn to ask for help and ask for feedback and I guarantee you will get it. That is a huge part of leadership. Both the giving of feedback and the receiving were on both ends of that equation and one thing leaders often find is that the giving of feedback is just as hard, if not harder than the receiving of the feedback. Sometimes we have that tendency to be nice, which is not the same as being kind certainly not the same as being candid. So we really got to learn to exercise that feedback in both directions. Another thing that I think is critical for leaders, particularly those of us, those of you with the growth mindset is that you really have to be other focused. You've got to be looking at what you bring to others, how you can help them grow and learn how you can help them experience new things or take risks. And so when you find that open communication both ways where you are serving others as they as they are serving you then you begin to really see that you can begin to learn and practice servant leadership. Which is really about taking other people to another level. And sometimes it could be much more lighthearted than that. I have a young leader who I coached, who wanted very much very much growth minded. She was a couple of years out of her MBA, been in the workforce and she landed a job at one of the big global strategy consulting companies. And she landed on a team that she really didn't want to be in and she was brand new so she wasn't sure how to work her way onto another team and she really needed to establish herself as a leader. This is all about establishing your credibility and your visibility which is also another part of leadership that allows you to influence others. So I just asked her what can you do that will get you known through the organization as quickly as possible, establish you as a leader? And she thought of what I thought was really sort of brilliant. She said, well what I could bring to the organization that nobody's doing is to build the March Madness College basketball brackets. And I can get out there and talk to everybody in the organization if they know what this is all about, I'll just sign them up if they don't, I can explain it. Now it was really true to who this young woman was, because she was a rabid college basketball fan and also the fact that she was willing to take a chance, she was willing to take a risk. She didn't know if this would be accepted or welcomed by others, but in fact just that taking a chance on trying something new, stretching herself, getting out there, establishing her leadership credibility. She found that not only did people welcome it, she got to know so many people. She was sighted at an all hands meeting by her boss's boss for bringing something new and fun and really something that became kind of a team building exercise to the organization. And within three months she was on exactly the team that she wanted to be on and a year later she was promoted to a higher level position. Now this is not to say that you need to do something like that in order to be seen in your company, but this is an example of having a growth mindset where you say, I'm going to try something new, nobody's ever done this. It could be because nobody needs it or it could be because nobody's ever thought of it before. And she brought that energy and that spirit of adventure and growth and open mindset to the organization and she was recognized for it and it really worked in her favor. So I encourage you to think of things that you may think this is a little off the mark. But if you're having ideas about your work or your academics, it's possible that other people share those and you may want to find other people, seek out those people with that growth mindset because those are the people you want to be spending your time with and working with. The final thing that I think is, well, there are lots of things that leaders have in common, particularly effective leaders. But one of the things that I cite the most often and I touched on this before and I think it's worth delving into a little bit more deeply, is managing change. That is the constant of the workplace, of life, of your academic career. That is the constant of of where we are and nowhere was that more evident than during the pandemic when we saw not only are we managing change, but this is change that most of us have never experienced before. We've never seen anything escalate so quickly, we've never seen how radical the changes that it called for were, some of us experienced deep and profound loss, others of us got through this without that sort of thing, but certainly everybody's life was touched. People coming back to the office whether that's in person or remotely, they are forever changed and we cannot meet them in the same way that we did before. Everybody's different. So understanding how to acknowledge, how to navigate and how to continually manage change, is critically important for a leader. And it's something that you cannot do, you cannot even attempt without a growth mindset, without a leadership mindset. And I want to share with you some ideas that I talk about frequently in my practice with my clients. About five questions, again, leaders are questioners, we're always asking how do I improve? How do I change this? How do I make this better? How do I support you and your journey and your career and the task that you're involved with or you're charged with right now? So think about these five questions as you manage and navigate change and it doesn't matter if you're on the leadership side. And by the way I should say, leadership is a decision. It's not a title, it's not a corner office, it's not an authority level even, leadership is a choice that we make to lead. Again, like I said, leaders are not born, they are made, and as soon as you step up and say I'm a leader, that doesn't mean that you know it all, that you've learned at all, that you've experienced it all. It means that I'm going to be the best leader I can be right now and I am open to growth and feedback as I go along this leadership journey. So here are five questions to help you wherever you are in that journey right now, when you're implementing a change. And this can be an enterprise wide, huge overhaul kind of change or it could be something relatively small that you're going to implement for yourself or maybe your own team. First why is this change necessary? You've got to ask yourself as a leader, why are we doing this? And you've got to be able to state compelling reasons. There must be reasons for the change if you're going to overcome people's natural resistance to change, which is simply our natural hard wiring. That's our survival mechanism is a resistance to try something new. And it's the leader's job to tap into that growth mindset or to identify people with the growth mindset, and to be able to instigate these changes by letting them know what the compelling reasons are. Defining the benefits of the change and really determining and describing what could happen if we don't make this change. We certainly saw that in the pandemic that leaders had to recognize if we don't make this change now, here are the results and they look like they could be catastrophic. So it's really understanding what the change is all about, why you're making it, what would happen if you didn't make it. Next is simply how do we prepare for change? How do we think about the roadmap? How do we determine the barriers? What's in our way? Either the external issues like COVID, environment, geography, supply chain, things that we can't control, or those internal issues like mindset, our own or others. Then you've gotta identify for people so that they are very clear on who will this change impact because typically in a change not everybody wins. Some people will and other people want. I'll give you an example of one company I work with just bought a building in another part of Los Angeles and they moved from the outskirts of L A to dead center. Some people will win, some people won't. And in something that seems, especially if you don't live in a major metropolitan area, something like your commute, can have a real impact on yourself, your family, your free time, all of that. So they really had to explain the leaders of this company, why this change was so important for the organization, and have some sympathy for those who are going to be negatively impacted. Like their 15 minute commute was now 45, and other people who won. Their 45 commute now became 15 or minutes or so. But to be able to explain it in a way that says everybody wins and here's why and how, and being realistic about people who are negatively impacted. So you've gotta be able to share that with others. Then you create an inspiring narrative. Who wants to hear about change with all the ill effects? Yes, granted, you've gotta talk about any kind of negative impact. But create that narrative that people can grab onto, that they can get excited about, so that as a leader, you take followers with you or as a follower that you can influence your peers and say, no, this is going to be great, let's give it a try and see what happens. That's what great leaders do and again, at any level you can have that kind of impact. Then you really define what is the roadmap for change? Break it down into those simple step by step action components.. Determine who the change agents are, and this could be a surprising one for leaders inside organizations, who often think, well, the HR folks or my CEO or the COO. They are the change agents and yes they should be and they may be, but there are change agents at every level. Some don't have a title of change agent, they're nowhere near the C suite. But those are those growth mindset folks who say, yeah, I'm on board, I'm going to try that, I see where you're going and I want to support you in any way I can. Sometimes it's just the sheer enthusiasm that they bring to the table that makes that change easier for other people to get onto. Then of course you've gotta determine what are the milestones along the way? How will we know that we are on track to change? Then you've gotta look at your culture. Does this change process honor the culture that we've built? Is it in your language? Is it in your style? Are you communicating and appropriately so people can hear it. And another note for leaders and those of you who are learning leaders, when you said something about 1000 times, that's when other people are just beginning to hear it. So repetition is okay, particularly in a time of change. Finally, you're going to look at, how do we measure the end result? If you define those metrics and you've been measuring the milestones along the way, you will know when you hit the end of the change initiative however big or small, you'll know if you're there. You've made a 100% of the change you set out to make, maybe you're 75% of the way there and you determine course corrections. You identify if you need additional training or resources to bring in to get you the rest of the way. And of course you role model that growth mindset, that enthusiasm, that excitement and the benefits of change. And then finally, and this is a step that sometimes big corporations, any corporation can forget, but that's to celebrate the wins. Whether that is a small task well done, yea you, or an annual initiative that you've set and reached, celebrate the wins along the way, acknowledge and recognize other people for a job well done. And take that growth mindset with you every day, so that you can train role models, show others how it's done and be the most effective leader with a growth mindset that you share with others willingly and lovingly that you can possibly be. Thank you very much for listening.