Fostering a Growth Mindset in the Workplace
*This article first appeared in IT World Canada*.
In her 2006 bestselling book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Stanford University professor Carol Dweck identified two distinct, opposing mindsets:
Fixed mindset — Success is a direct result of intelligence and talent. The belief that essential qualities, like talent and intelligence, are set in stone.
Growth mindset — Success follows persistence and resilience. The “life hacker” believes in resourcefulness and the love of learning. These individuals are solution-oriented as opposed to problem-oriented.
Fixed mindset people live in a world of walls and ceilings. Growth mindset people live to take these walls and ceilings down. In their world, people learn from their failures and transform their shortcomings into strengths.
Rangle is one of the leading app development companies in Canada with clients like Google, Priceline.com and Uniqlo. While much of its work for clients is to create better customer experiences, inside the walls of Rangle, the company is fixated on building an inclusive workplace and ensuring employees have the tools to think differently.
“Rangle teams are comprised of individuals with a growth mindset, simply put, the best individuals regardless of education level,” said Angela Hountalas, VP People, Rangle. “We have theatre arts majors on our team who are now technical directors leading complex teams. We have people in our organization who never completed high school, and others with PhDs.”
“The key is not what people know but what they’re willing to do to grow. Flexibility and agility are essential qualities for people looking to join a growing organization like ours.”
Hedy Lamarr, Growth Mindsetter
Austrian-born Hedy Lamarr is a great example of what people with growth mindsets can and do achieve. Here was a star of the silver screen who with an inventive nature and a love for science and learning achieved something extraordinary. Lamarr was deeply affected by news of German subs torpedoing passenger ships during the Second World War. Working with American avant-garde composer George Anheil, she invented a frequency-hopping protocol that made Allied radio-guided weapons much more resistant to detection and jamming. The British Navy let the outsider Lamarr’s invention go cold but eventually the “secret communication system” would be resurrected. Remnants of Lamarr and Anheil’s frequency-hopping invention live on in WiFi and Bluetooth devices.
Many companies claim to have a growth mindset — they want to at least be perceived as such. However, there is a vast gulf between saying something is true and proving it. Rangle does just that by creating and offering programs that foster this approach to work:
Mentorship – a program providing employees with the opportunity to continuously expand their hard and soft skill-sets. Mentors inspire employees to aspire to a progressively higher standard, through hands-on guidance and direction.
Guilds – groups of like-minded employees meeting weekly or bi-weekly to innovate around a common area of interest. Rangle guilds foster internal discussion, peer-based learning, and continuous innovation on how to make Rangle a better, more inclusive place to work. This is a shining example of what a growth mindset company should be.
Rangle also offers Bridge, a free 11-week program for women in software development. This program was developed to support women with a growth mindset, to gain skills and confidence in their technical abilities.
“This program was driven by the under-representation of women in the tech ranks,” said Hountalas. “The idea was to create something that would increase the number of women in the profession. As it turns out, there has been a great deal of interest. We receive many applications, and we have already hired four people directly from the program.”
Rangle’s hiring process
Hountalas is clear about the kind of people Rangle looks for: “We want learners. We want people who have curiosity, and who want to leverage on that curiosity. Having a growth mindset is key — it’s what propels people from one role to another. Our leadership team encourages these shifts, we want people to be excited to try new things and take on new challenges.”
“Anyone who’s interested in joining our organization needs to be asking the right questions. ‘What am I missing?’ ‘What else can I learn?’ They must be in a continuous improvement mode, and be able to learn from their mistakes.”
“If we ask someone in an interview to talk about any setbacks they’ve had and they can’t — or won’t — point to any, that’s a problem. We’ve all had setbacks. We want to know what you’ve learned from your mistakes, and what you did differently going forward. Overconfidence is not part of a growth mindset. Resilience is.”
Feel free to check out Rangle’s Careers page to find out more about the company and view current job opportunities.