Seven Ways to Inspire a Growth Mindset

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Jennifer Anaya, CMO, Ingram Micro
Jennifer Anaya, CMO, Global Marketing, Ingram Micro

Having a growth mindset is not a short-term strategy. In fact, focusing on short-term outcomes at the expense of long-term profit gains is bad for business. The reasons are many, and topping the list is the detrimental impact this lens has on a team, your team.

Instead of testing new ideas, learning from those pilots and moving forward, teams with a short-term fixed mindset become too fixated on checking boxes, fulfilling tasks, and missing the bigger picture of what actually creates and captures value.

To avoid this, it’s important that business leaders get out of the minutia and instead articulate their vision and expectations for what defines success for the customers that the business is serving. Keeping the customers and the experience you aim to provide central to those efforts is critical.

And, as we’ve heard time and time again, the employee experience (EX) goes together with the customer experience (CX). Adopting the EX=CX way of thinking into an organization's growth strategy leads to increased employee satisfaction, customer sustainability and those two things always result in better profit margins.

In fact, a recent McKinsey study noted: “Increasing demands for customers, the proliferation of sales channels, increase in data availability, and a need to personalize content have driven the need for sales and marketing teams to work as one.” This is a great example of how a better aligned EX can address challenges and even improve CX.

Even though most study respondents said marketing and sales need to work closely together, more so than ever before, 57% reported their sales teams still do not fully utilize (and often ignore) content created by marketing. Ouch! If the marketing teams adopt a growth mindset to understand the barriers that salespeople experience and identify the pain points around the sales process, then perhaps they can create content that can serve as a catalyst for moving customers through a journey—a journey both sales and marketing share and collaborate on delivering.

How do you build a growth mindset for your team?

Channeling Ingram Micro’s EVP and CDO Sanjib Sahoo, we adopt and demonstrate a growth mindset when we “challenge our limits instead of limiting our challenges.” In other words, we need to explore beyond the problem and get comfortable with approaching things with a different lens.

To do this, we need to get comfortable embracing things we don’t understand and that includes working with people who have a diverse viewpoint or opposing opinion. Encouraging a rich dialogue around an issue or problem statement can lead to breakthrough ideas.

Our beliefs determine our behavior, level of effort, and our attitude guides us ultimately on our success or failure. Opening our minds to new beliefs and viewpoints allows us to learn and adapt more easily. By applying these same mental growth concepts to teams, corporate leaders can help create a culture of creativity and expansion.

So how can leaders inspire a growth mindset?

  1. Reward a culture of learning: Encourage your team to embrace challenges and view mistakes as opportunities for growth rather than failures. Inspire innovation by allowing employees to explore new ideas, take calculated risks and share what didn’t work as much as what worked.
  2. Set clear goals: Help your team set clear, achievable goals that are aligned with the organization's overall mission and vision. Encourage them to focus on progress rather than perfection and call out the achievements along the way.
  3. Provide development opportunities: Offer training, coaching, and mentoring opportunities to help your team members develop new skills and gain confidence in their abilities. Encourage them to take on new projects, new responsibilities and even new roles within the company to expand their skill set.
  4. Invest in your team and their productivity: Provide employees with the tools and resources to enhance their performance and achieve career goals. If the business model embraces it, do the same for your customers.
  5. Lead by example: Model a growth mindset by openly sharing your own challenges, failures, and successes. Encourage your team to learn from your experiences and give them opportunities to take on leadership roles and make decisions.
  6. Create a purpose-driven culture: Clarify your organization's core purpose beyond just making money and foster employee alignment with that purpose. Ensure employees understand how their role plays a significant part in the collective purpose and overall CX. For example, a janitor at NASA once said he was there to "put a man on the moon." What is your team aspiring to do for your customers?
  7. Celebrate successes: Recognize the achievements of team members and your customers. This simple act builds camaraderie and helps inspire a continued to strive for excellence.

Last note: When you consider your key differentiators—what your company can do that no other company like yours can—your people should always be the difference. Companies can always replicate tools, software, and systems, but company culture is defined by the people within and cannot be easily replicated.

Leaders who inspire a growth mindset and create a purpose-driven culture that values engagement, innovation, and excellence are more likely to offer a better EX with committed, productive, and engaged employees. And that ultimately drives more organizational success and long-term growth.

Guest blog courtesy of Ingram Micro. Author Jennifer Anaya is chief marketing officer, Global Marketing at Ingram Micro. Read more Ingram Micro blogs here. Regularly contributed guest blogs are part of ChannelE2E’s sponsorship program.