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One of the most important and powerful intrinsic motivators according to Daniel Pink is “autonomy”. Any theory about growth mindset must demonstrate how it develops autonomy.
In this messy and complex world, growth mindset emerges as a beacon of hope—a readiness to embrace change, an eagerness to experiment with new approaches, and a boldness to face failure head-on. It’s a potent remedy for the malaise of complacency and resistance that pervades many work environments.
In discussions with leaders worldwide, I hear the need for more risk-taking, readiness for change, collaboration, innovation, swift implementation of strategies, elevated performance, and improved matrix operations. Despite these aspirations, prevailing leadership practices, HR strategies, business processes, and technological influences often contribute to a negative work experience, maintaining or worsening the status quo.
Organisations, teams and people are very busy holding themselves back.
Consider the probing questions of Gary Hamel: Have the liberties and prerogatives of employees at foundational levels of your organization truly expanded in the last decade? Are they afforded the latitude to customize their job roles, choose their tasks, and determine how to execute them?
For most organizations, the answer is a resounding no. We are still entrenched in a leadership paradigm that prioritizes control, standing in stark contrast to the core principle of autonomy-enhancement essential to the model of growth mindset presented here.
The pursuit of a growth mindset is both philosophical and practical. There’s a ‘commitment premium’ as autonomy leads to a significant increase in performance. Empirical evidence suggests that when people are given the autonomy to make their own decisions, their performance can improve by over 40% compared to when they are constantly micromanaged.
Author of Safe2Great, keynote speaker on psychological safety and growth mindset