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  • Writer's pictureCaleb Nel


The everyday life of most organizations are busy. The to-do lists far exceeds the time available in any given day and week. Unfortunately, one of the unintended consequences of this reality, is that it prioritizes short-term productivity over long-term growth. Allow me to explain.

David has been working for MTT (a software development firm) for over 3 years. His line-manager, Jessica, is incredibly productive and a great team leader. But MTT is growing fast and has been running at 100 miles per hour since David started. So, whenever David faces a challenge in his role (which is often), he goes to Jessica, and she provides the solution/answer for him to continue his work. Jessica has an open- door policy and is very supportive of her team members. Although David’s productivity has remained consistent from day one, his growth has stagnated. In fact, the frequency of times he has needed help from Jessica has remained the same since his arrival at MTT 3 years ago. Last week David let me know that he has decided to move on from MTT because his career growth has reached its ‘ceiling’.

What’s going on in this scenario? Well, Jessica is a brilliant team leader except for one aspect – she provides answers and solutions instead of coaching her team members to think for themselves. And this is even more prevalent the higher you go in any organization. The higher you go; the more time leaders spend providing answers/ solutions to the problems they only seem to know. When solutions and answers are provided all the time, it stunts the growth of the team members and ultimately slows down the long-term business growth. Unfortunately, this is a perpetuating cycle.

So, what is a growth mind-set culture? It’s a culture where all employees and team members (regardless of their position/title) are empowered and taught to solve problems, find solutions, and overcome challenges in their role. The growth-mindset is not a culture of providing all answers and solutions – instead it’s a culture of teaching and supporting employees to think for themselves and find solutions on their own.

So, why should you want to create a growth-mindset culture? The answer is simple: because you want long-term growth, and you know that your organization’s growth primarily depends on who works for you. This means that it’s your responsibility to grow and develop your team members so that they may apply their skills and minds to your organization. In David’s case, if he had been taught to think for himself, the benefits would have been numerous: 1) he may have become a team leader himself, 2) he would have saved Jessica’s time by depending on her less, 3) he could have found solutions for the business that might have changed the entire trajectory of the overall business, 4) he would have contributed towards sustained long-term productivity in the business, 5) the likelihood of him leaving the business would have been much lower.

So, how do you create the growth-mindset culture? Don’t give your team members the answers/solutions; instead help them figure it out by asking them key discovery questions:

· What do you think you should do?

· What do you think the solution/answer is?

· What would you say if you were in my position?

· What will happen if you do this/that?

Teach your team members to think for themselves and watch them grow your organization.



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