Bill & Melinda Gates: Benefits of a Growth Mindset in the Workplace

Sample HubSpot User   24 August, 2021
employee benefits Lifestyle

The recent headlines about Bill and Melinda Gates filing for divorce have sent shockwaves through the philanthropic world. They announced their separation with a joint statement shared on social media last Monday:

“ After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage. Over the last 27 years, we have raised three incredible children and built a foundation that works all over the world to enable all people to lead healthy, productive lives," they said, referring to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

According to a recent New York Times article, the pandemic lockdown was a big adjustment for Bill and Melinda, who had spent the past three decades travelling around the world. "Working from home, that was a piece that I think we hadn't really individually prepared for quite as much," Melinda told them in October 2020.

The Times piece also noted that Bill and Melinda had been growing apart for several years now, partially due to Melinda's struggles with being in Bill's shadow. "I've been trying to find my voice as I've been speaking next to Bill, and that can make it hard to be heard," she wrote in her 2019 book ‘The Moment of Lift’.

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What is a Growth Mindset?

When you hear the names Bill and Melinda Gates, which words immediately come to mind? For me, it’s Microsoft, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, billionaires, innovative, influential, to name but a few.

Gates saw his first business, a computerised machine company, fail miserably. Yet he used what he learned from that mistake to eventually co-found Microsoft, which is now valued at $507.5 billion. So when he and Melinda announced "we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple", it seemed like a clear demonstration of the growth mindset already shown in previous ventures.

Whilst separation is hard, acknowledging the need to follow separate paths in order to keep growing, is cognizant and mature.

So, what do we mean when we talk about a growth mindset? A growth mindset is a belief that everyone’s talent can be developed and expanded. However, we can’t continue to talk about this subject without mentioning Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck, author of ‘Mindset: The New Psychology of Success ’, who coined the terms growth mindset and fixed mindset to define people’s beliefs in their talents and abilities.

Dweck explains, “In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work, brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.” She then explains that “In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them.”

During the last year, as the job market has evolved and we’ve adapted to new ways of working from home, the idea of adopting a growth mindset has come into a clearer focus. It is a strategy that will help us not just now, but when things get back to normal.

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Promoting a Growth Mindset Can Benefit SMEs

According to Axa Health, as an SME owner, your mindset and the mindset of your team can have a big impact on the business. Developing a growth mindset within the business means that a higher proportion of the team feel engaged with the company and motivated by the work that they do. This, in turn, leads to a higher level of productivity within the business.

Regular feedback is a valuable way to support employees in developing their skills and recognising their own potential. It helps to ensure employees get the training and support to future-proof their careers and face professional challenges.

Managers and leaders with a growth mindset usually give employees opportunity and time to grow. They focus on effort and praise employees for it. They often act as mentors and give employees opportunities to develop and train.

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