Growth mindset is not enough. Because one alone cannot achieve business excellence.
This is a lesson I was introduced to early in my career. But it took me years to figure it out.
Six months into my very first revenue leadership role, my CEO sat me down and said: “Brent, do you know some of your leadership team colleagues call you the ‘steamroller’?”
He continued, “There is no doubt you often get to the right answer quicker than anyone else in the room, but what does that matter if you lose your team in the process.”
I heard the words, but my thought was, “yeah, of course, I get quickly to the right answer because I believe in learning, focus, and hard work. If everyone would just commit to a growth mindset in the same way, then they would be able to keep up.”
If ever there was a devotee of a growth mindset, it was me.
I used a growth mindset to drive fast revenue growth for three companies in a row — one grew a new $10M division in just over three years, a second doubled revenue in 12 months to set up a successful acquisition, and a third grew by 40%+ for five years to emerge as an industry leader.
Outside of work, I used the same mindset to teach myself two foreign languages to fluency, run a dozen marathons and triathlons one faster than the other, write and publish a book on my revenue acceleration methodology, and earn a second degree black belt in karate.
But, as a devotee of the growth mindset, I hit a wall when pressed to lead my own business.
In my first few years of running Winalytics as a go-to-market and revenue acceleration consultancy, I experienced a bit of a talent churn.
Some of that no doubt had to do with turbulence of finding product market fit. But, a bigger reason was an enduring “my way or the highway” mindset.
It was not until I really internalized my former CEO’s message that “getting to the right answer only matters if you bring the team along” that Winalytics started to achieve repeatable growth.
I learned that a growth mindset is a necessary ingredient for business success, but needs to be tempered with collaboration and patience to listen to divergent points of view.
Growth mindset on its own can lead to a form of narcissism at odds with sustained success.
Business excellence occurs when we blend a growth mindset with a relational one and focus on learning, pushing, and growing together.