A new mindset, a new culture: future-centric companies welcome change

True leaders with a growth mindset look for opportunities, support their teams, and prepare them to succeed in the post-COVID-19 world

  • Adopting a growth mindset is more important than ever
  • Organisational growth mindset and its benefits
  • Ways to nurture a growth mindset in your company
  • Moving forward: how to thrive in a post-COVID-19 world 
  • Surviving even the most horrendous of crises

Although major crises have affected our economies in the past, in the past decade we have never seen anything like the novel Coronavirus outbreak and its dreadful impact on the world. It has caused immense damage, not only in terms of our health and our healthcare systems – it has also led to major disruptions in education and our economic systems. While some countries have been affected more severely than others, no one was prepared for the catastrophe COVID-19 has already caused and will continue to cause. 

The US economy suffered a historic 9.5 per cent decline from April through June 2020, a painful reminder of how much was lost in just several months. The situation in the EU isn’t much different, and The European Commission said that it expects the EU economy to shrink by 8.3 per cent in 2020, which is far worse than the 7.4 per cent plunge predicted just a couple of months ago. Chances that governments around the world can do much to help recover economies are slim. While financial injections could help the wealth sector that has been brought to its knees by COVID-19, overall, companies across the globe are painfully aware that it’s high time to change their strategies.

Adopting a growth mindset is more important than ever

The COVID-19 outbreak has crippled healthcare systems across the world and disrupted the way we live and work. The anticipated economic crisis will create long-term difficulties for tomorrow’s workforce, and cause an eruption of economic and social issues globally. Now, more than ever before, it’s crucial for businesses to adopt a growth mindset and welcome any change that could help recover weakened morale. Future-focused leaders will have to stand up and lead by example, look for opportunities, include their team and make them a part of a better tomorrow. What’s required to succeed in these times of crisis is highly-motivated people and accountable, driven solution-makers. 

Organisational growth mindset and its benefits

The essence of success under pressure is to embrace a growth mindset. This sets the foundation for new norms and standards. And regardless of the impact of the pandemic and the upheaval it’s created across industries, it’s crucial to prioritise several important goals. 

Firstly, examine your business through a customer magnifying lens. Make sure to view the crisis as an opportunity to strengthen your relationship with your customers and develop new strategies that cater to their needs. This shouldn’t translate into exploiting the situation to manipulate the way new or existing products are sold or delivered. Remember – increased customer loyalty will lead to increased demand, and the revenue will be a byproduct of your relationship with your loyal customers. Secondly, don’t underestimate the importance of a flexible business model. Surrounding yourself with co-workers and business partners who will support experimentation, with ideas as well as financially, can help your business to thrive even in less than ideal circumstances. And finally, having a growth mindset is like a business muscle you need to keep flexing. Only then will you reap the benefits of a newly created business ecosystem.

A team of scientists at the NeuroLeadership Institute conducted a survey involving  20 organisations from the US, Australia, and Europe. This survey provided valuable insights into the benefits of nurturing growth mindset cultures in organisations. The research has indicated that workers show 47 per cent more trust in their company, and 34 per cent of the survey participants are more likely to commit to the company, while as much as 65 per cent showed “stronger agreement that their company supports risk-taking”.

Ways to nurture a growth mindset in your company

Technology has made the world more connected and businesses increasingly operate in more than one country. In most cases, corporations and organisations have their branches spread across several continents. It is crucial for businesses to go digital and enable real-time connections between their international offices. It’s also important to change the organisational design of the business so that it can adjust its strategies to each market. This is crucial as each country has its own nuances that should give you some pointers as to how to design, produce, and introduce products and services. 

  1. Enrich your company with international expertise

One of the ways to develop and nurture a growth mindset is to engage more people with international experience and to encourage your current staff to experience other cultures. This will result in culturally diverse teams within the company who are able to identify challenges in terms of international business dealings and design efficient plans to solve them.

  1. Be responsive to your employees’ needs

Praveen Chandola, HR Business Partner, APAC Region & Head HR, noted that even though we live in uncertain times, leaders need to exercise an agile mindset as this will become the new standard in the future. It is necessary, he says, to be responsive to employees’ needs, especially in light of the current events that are affecting our private lives as well as our business lives. ”Show empathy towards accommodating employees’ needs to show that you care as they juggle between work and household chores. Asking them about how they would like to communicate and encouraging them to open up about their other concerns can help in solving work-related issues.”

  1. Embrace change and disrupt yourself

Embracing change is another way to help your employees develop a growth mindset. It’s important for a future-focused leader to set their own limits and understand their own feelings and expectations. This will result in elevating your emotional intelligence which is crucial when leading both in-office and remote teams. Your employees will value you being sensitive to issues they may have. This level of self-awareness can help you make responsible and impactful business steps. Another important step is to disrupt yourself. As Mark Sanborn, author of The Potential Principle notes, leaders must undergo disruption themselves and become a driving innovation. This will make them the game-changer.

  1. Create a safe environment in which failing is not the end of the world 

In rigid and strict working environments, employees fear possible failure and are often hesitant to voice their ideas. But it’s important to keep in mind that, especially in times of crisis, new ideas could actually help you gain a competitive advantage and save your business. It’s important to inspire your staff members to embrace new strategies and think of different ways to solve problems. Creating a safe environment in which failing is not the end of the world will encourage your employees to learn more and succeed. This will also show you who your true leaders are and who you can count on. Teams with a growth mindset are generally more prepared to face challenges and go the extra mile to help the company thrive.

Moving forward: how to thrive in a post-COVID-19 world 

“The hallmark of successful people is that they are always stretching themselves to learn new things,” said Dr Carol Dweck, psychologist. If the crisis has taught us anything, it’s that we need to learn new skills. We need to re-organise so our teams yield better results, and we need to introduce novel strategies. Companies who have managed to adapt to new circumstances have a better chance to survive and thrive. And there’s always room for improvement and learning from others. 

UK-based online fashion retailer Boohoo managed to achieve a 44 per cent jump in revenue by the end of February 2020. The secret, according to the head of the group, John Lyttole, is being able to adapt to new circumstances. “Our business is founded on our ability to be agile and flexible and it is at times like this when these abilities are tested,”  shared Lyttle. Another company that managed to adapt to changing circumstances is US-based software company Kennected. The company implemented new systems, novel marketing strategies, and new communication methods connecting their remote teams. According to Accesswire,  despite being forced to work from home due to the Coronavirus outbreak, and less than ideal working conditions, Kennected has still seen a 20 per cent growth in revenue, which is not a small feat. Similarly, Virginia Titan Division, another company from the US, adapted to the new situation promptly, which  has made the company to grow over 380 per cent. Swiftly pivoting to remote interviews, training and customer interactions has given the Virginia Titan Division a framework to experience massive revenue growth while facilitating professional growth in the young people they recruit and train. “Students need experience. They need income. Mostly, they need to develop skills that are transferable and applicable to what they want to do in their future careers. And with the importance of social distancing, they need to be able to work remotely. That’s where we come in.”

Surviving even the most horrendous of crises

While your current primary goal may be to survive the pandemic and wait for things to settle down and go back to normal – you should actually do the opposite. Acquiring new skills and helping your teams grow will prevent stagnation, which can be lethal for your business. Adopting and nurturing a growth mindset in your company and acquiring new skills can spark creativity and agility which can help you overcome obstacles and survive even the most horrendous of crises. 

This article is written by Richard van Hooijdonk

This article is written by Richard van Hooijdonk

Trendwatcher, futurist and international keynote speaker Richard van Hooijdonk takes you to an inspiring future that will dramatically change the way we live, work and do business.

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