Hi there! Just to inform you in advance, in this blog post, I am not going to explain what Growth Hacking is. This is done already in other interesting blogs from GrowWithWard or Neil Patel. Or watch this interesting short explainer video of the book ‘Growth Hacker Marketing’ by Ryan Holiday!
In the next couple of minutes, I want to take on a broader view of Growth Hacking and explain how it benefits me in general. And I was wondering, can it maybe benefit everyone?
The Growth Mindset
In this blog, I want to focus on one of the 7 Pillars of Growth Hacking, namely the Growth Mindset. In my opinion, this pillar is key in obtaining a specific approach to work, or even to life.
To start, let me tell you a little bit more about the Growth Mindset. The Growth Mindset concept was coined by psychologist and professor Carol Dweck. In her theory, she explains that there are two different mindsets people hold about themselves.
These are the ‘fixed’ mindset and the ‘growth’ mindset.
The ‘fixed’ mindset can be explained as that people believe that their basic qualities (like their intelligence or talent) are just fixed characteristics. They are focused on documenting these traits, rather than developing them.
Different is this in the ‘growth’ mindset, where people believe that their basic attributes can be developed through hard work and dedication. They are not just ‘stuck’ with their belief of ‘can or can’t do’. They embrace the belief of learning more and learning it faster. They see challenges and failures as opportunities to improve their learning and skills.
This Growth Mindset is also well represented in a quote I was told during my traineeship at The Talent Institute:
Maybe I don’t know yet, but I know how to find out!
However, we have to acknowledge that everyone has a mixture of ‘fixed’ and ‘growth’ mindsets and that a pure growth mindset doesn’t exist. But say for yourself, it is way more satisfying to experience a greater sense of free will and higher levels of achievement if you learn from challenges, setbacks and criticism, right?
Be Aware of the Mindsets
To know what these two different mindsets are is one thing, but to be aware of them and knowing how to deal with them is something else. In my current job, I experience different mindsets all the time. For me, many things are new as I just started my ‘professional career’. Therefore, I still have to learn and develop many work-related ‘soft skills’ and ‘hard skills’. And I am constantly asking myself questions like:
“Is the task I perform helping me to reach a certain goal?”
“How can I do the task more efficiently next time?”
“What kind of different things can I ask from my colleagues when I get more experienced?”
Here, an open approach to the different tasks at hand is really important to learn the most from it. I know, this sounds all very logical. But you would be surprised how easily people fall back into rigid behaviour when they get more experienced in their job. Then, phrases like: “we have done this already in the past and then it didn’t work, so it won’t work now” or “why should we approach this project like this if it didn’t work before?” are very common.
Related to this is the fear to fail. It was pointed out by a colleague of mine that in work or in life no one wants to look weak. Showing weakness is not brave, and when you fail in something you look weak. These are ‘fixed’ traits!
In an organizational context, the fear to fail can result in relying on assumptions and working in fixed patterns. This can, in turn, hinder experimental learning, development, innovation, and growth. On the other hand, showing vulnerability equals courage. And having courage is extremely powerful. However, being vulnerable can also be seen as weak, and no one wants to look weak.
See this paradox?
Becoming aware of and accepting that failure isn’t weak, makes us more vulnerable and more open to growth. Then, vulnerability is extremely powerful!
If you want a more thorough explanation on this, watch the interesting TedTalk by Brené Brown – The Power of Vulnerability.
Since I started to work in Growth Hacking a couple of months ago, I learned a lot. I learned about the ‘Lean Way’ of working, how to perform rapid experiments, analyze and visualize tons of data, automate workflows, build funnels, use online tooling, test websites, create compelling ads, and so forth.
But the thing I find most valuable is that I got aware of my Growth Mindset and how I learned to use and develop it. I also learned to fail (many times). It’s ok that it doesn’t work out the first time as you planned it to be. As long as you learn from it and improve your skills, the Growth Mindset can help you in many ways!