Recently I read an interesting blog about the need for growth mindset in agile organisations. Without furtherly discussing the need of agility in organisations (which I don’t think is debatable anyways), I want to focus on the pros of the growth mindset in general and see what Pippi and Calimero has to do with them…

What is a growth mindset anyway?

The growth mindset was first described by Carol Dweck, professor in Psychology at Standford – and many other titles as well, but that would make this unreadable. She described two types of mindsets based on the reaction to failure. She conducted many research on students which all showed that the most successful (and less stressful) students, were those with a growth mindset. She defined both the fixed and the growth mindset in an interview in 2012:

In a fixed mindset students believe their basic abilities, their intelligence, their talents, are just fixed traits. They have a certain amount and that’s that, and then their goal becomes to look smart all the time and never look dumb. In a growth mindset students understand that their talents and abilities can be developed through effort, good teaching and persistence. They don’t necessarily think everyone’s the same or anyone can be Einstein, but they believe everyone can get smarter if they work at it.

Deck’s ideas are becoming more widely known and some people are already speaking of an “Agility Quotient” (AQ) as the new quantification to be measured, in follow up of the more well-known Intelligent and Emotional Quotients (IQ and EQ).

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Pippi or Calimero

Pipi Longstocking’s most well-known statement must be; “I’ve never tried that before, so I think I should definitely be able to do that.”

This probably sums up the whole Growth Mindset. The premise that you can do anything you want, as long as you take enough persistence and learning into account. Learn by doing, failing and cashing some critical feedback every now and then.

Calimero on the other hand side is always overwhelmed by his environment. “They are big and I am small and that’s an injustice!”. Calimero believes there is nothing that can be done to change what is happening. Calimero embodies the fixed mindset; avoid challenges, ignore feedback and probably struggle to get to full potential.

5 lessons learned from Pippi

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  1. A lot of people want to do things ‘differently’ – however since they’ve never done it before, they are to afraid to fail. Stop being afraid. Start doing. If you never done it before, start thinking you definitely must be able to do so. Embrace challenges.
  2. Even if things are not happening at once, keep pushing. Be persistent. Although the whole town tries to prevent for Pippi to live alone, although it is on her own request, Pippi never gives up on her goal.
  3. Embrace feedback. Pippi never let herself holdback by the continuous flood of feedback from Annika and Tommy, her live long friends. However, she does become smarter and more creative in hitting back on the criminals that are out on her golden coins.
  4. Mastery brings happiness. And mastery is the result of putting effort in it. Although Pippi is super strong by nature, she has to put effort in keeping her house the way she wants, learn to get out of the hands of the criminals and convince the town she is suited well enough to live on her own.
  5. Pippi’s hero must be here father Efraïm Longstocking – pirate chief and King of the Island of Taka-Tuka. She admires him and celebrates his victories just as much as she would celebrate her own. She learns from his achievements. Success, also that of others, is something that should be celebrated and learned from.

Prowareness may help “Calimero’s” to attain a growth mindset, but also may help “Pippi’s” to grow and learn. May it be in the field of (organisational) Agility or Personal Development. 18 & 19th of July you’ll have the chance to join the Personal Development training with people from different organisations such as Kamer van Koophandel AND receive a 20% summer discount!


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