Cultivate Your Growth Mindset to Thrive Through Crisis


To keep things running smoothly and preserve our existing teams during any change event, we all need to be resilient and inclusive. We need to keep an open mind not just about the work we’re called on to do, but the work we expect of others and the value they bring to the entire organization.

In other words, we need a growth mindset.

Our mindset dictates the ways we think about the goals we pursue in our professional and personal lives as well as determine how we interpret our successes and failures. Research shows that our mindset can influence how we understand our own experiences in the workplace, and determine the nature of our emotional, cognitive, behavioral, and neural responses to those experiences.

We all need to have a growth mindset to make the best of this crisis and any future change that may come our way. In our new white paper, “Impact Report: Growth Mindset Supports Organizations Through Disruption,” we’ve identified three major benefits a growth mindset can have in an organization: Behavior change at scale, increased employee engagement, and increased workplace satisfaction.

Behavior change at scale

At NLI, we measure the success of an intervention based on the number of desired new habits an organization’s change management can generate. In other words, what is the actual behavior change taking place?

To study this, we tracked behavior change among 734 employees working in five different organizations, from early 2018 through the end of 2019. Our guiding metric was Behavior Change Percentage (BCP), a score that measures the frequency of behavior change in individuals.

In one case, we used BCP to examine how 700 employees went through NLI’s GROW learning solution within a period of 30 days. The goal of the initiative was to help American Telecom employees become more flexible in the face of change.

We found that having gone through the GROW solution, 99% of employees felt prepared and inspired to thrive through change, 91% discussed the growth mindset on a weekly basis, and 90% spotted a fixed mindset and shifted their thinking to a growth mindset at least once a week.

Increased employee engagement

NLI’s research using BCP shows that many organizations define and measure success with the cultivation of a growth mindset primarily via employee engagement scores.

Typically, these take the form of growth-mindset-related questions that get added to the organization’s regular pulse or engagement surveys. We see that, in general, organizations that work to develop a growth mindset reported a boost in employee engagement numbers and a small decline in attrition rates in the face of major change.

Greater workplace satisfaction

NLI’s research shows us that implementing a growth mindset across an organization results in an increase in workplace satisfaction.

We recently examined the strength of growth mindset culture and scanned for three key characteristics of a growth mindset culture using the Organizational Climate Survey (OCS). The OCS consists of seven carefully crafted questions and gives organizations a quick and easy way to see how growth mindset comes alive.

We also looked at how the OCS relates to workplace satisfaction in a separate, short pulse survey. What we found was a statistically significant correlation between growth mindset cultures and workplace satisfaction.

These are only a few of the lasting benefits of cultivating a growth mindset. There are surely many more to be discovered as leaders grapple with change and uncertainty, in whatever form they may take. And as long as organizations are incorporating learning solutions tailored to building a growth mindset, NLI will remain committed to tracking the impact those programs are having.

Author: Jonathan Grinstein, Ph.D.

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