Keep Mindset Top-of-Mind When Growing Your Business

February 23, 2017


More employees are bored at work and they could affect your bottom line. Fear not, as a leader you have the power to change that.

70% of the US workforce is disengaged at work. As a business owner, chances are you’ll experience a ‘checked-out’ employee at some point — and this comes with a price tag. A disengaged employee can cost a company as much as $25,000. What’s more, the culture and reputation of your business could be at stake.

So, how do you grow a team that’s excited to come to work every day and achieve their full potential? Mindset is the key.

Not All Mindsets Are Created Equal

Mindset is the driving force behind behaviour. According to Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck, there are two types: Fixed and growth.  

Individuals with a predominantly fixed mindset believe that basic skills, such as intelligence, are fixed traits and can’t be improved. These individuals tend to focus on documenting their accomplishments and seeking out validation.

On the other hand, people with more of a growth mindset believe that any skill can be improved or learned with good, old-fashioned hard work. They focus then on development, with mistakes and failures seen as opportunities for growth.

Understanding the difference between a fixed and growth mindset – and learning to recognize it in others – is essential for creating an engaging work environment and thriving business.

Embrace a Growth Mindset to Encourage Engagement

As a business owner,  your state-of-mind has a direct impact on existing employees and future hires.

Leaders who breed a fixed mindset generally celebrate one or two star employees. This can create an unhealthy hierarchy, resulting in some employees feeling disengaged and undervalued.

On the flip side, organizations that adopt a growth mindset encourage innovation and support continuous development of employees. And this pays off: employees at these companies are 34% more likely to feel a strong sense of ownership and commitment to the business.

Convinced? The good news is there’s a way to develop a growth mindset, even if it doesn’t come naturally. Let me explain…

Lead With a Growth Mindset When Giving Feedback

Feedback is an excellent opportunity to foster a growth mindset in your company. When delivering feedback, ask yourself: Who am I speaking to? And how will they internalize this information?

Keep in mind, employees with a fixed mindset won’t take constructive feedback lightly, whereas those with a growth mindset are more likely to see it as an opportunity to develop.

When it comes to providing feedback, remember to always stay in a growth mindset. Frame your feedback constructively around the individual’s effort, not their skill level. And remember to always highlight feedback for improvement as a positive opportunity–this makes it future-focused.

What This Looks Like at FreshBooks

At FreshBooks, we work hard to embody a growth mindset. This is demonstrated by building review processes and meeting formats that enable supportive and future-focused feedback. Some examples of what this looks like include:

  • Weekly one-on-ones between employees and managers provide ample opportunity for a focus on growth to be encouraged through feedback.
  • Weekly, company-wide ‘Town Halls’ during which FreshBookers from different areas of the business present what they’re working on. This makes room for unique perspectives to be shared and for open Q&A.
  • A biannual review process includes a 360 degree element. In addition to the traditional review process, there’s also a chance for each employee to assess colleagues as well as their own manager.
  • An internship program encourages internal promotions. For these roles, it’s not expected that skills will come fully baked — those can be taught. Instead, the focus is on potential and thirst to learn.

Initiatives like these have seen great success. In 2016 FreshBooks was named the Best Workplace in Canada and recognized as a top Canadian small & medium employer for three years running.

When you think about mindset, it’s really a chain reaction: Your way of thinking affects your behaviour. Your behaviour affects how feedback is given and received. And, when feedback is provided from a frame of mind centred around growth, it translates to greater employee engagement.

So, the message is simple: Embrace a growth mindset and watch your business thrive.


about the author

PR Coordinator, FreshBooks Carly is the Marketing and PR Coordinator at FreshBooks. Her days are spent telling stories about the self-employed economy, meeting customers at events, and ensuring everyone knows about FreshBooks. When she’s not on the hunt for her next story you can find her hopping on a cheap flight to anywhere, or playing with her dog, Lucy.