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  • Writer's picturegaurav muradia

Beyond The Growth-Mindset: Embrace Threats for Long-term Success

It is fairly well-known that the success of an organization depends on its ability to respond to threats, both internal and external. Yet, perhaps, what is not equally well-known is what approaches to leadership are effective in meeting these threats effectively and converting them into opportunities.

To begin with, it is essential to redefine a threat. While threats are generally perceived as anything that endangers the stability and smooth operation of an organization, a little reflection reveals that threats are actually challenges that are yet to be conquered, they are not just obstacles, but rather windows for opportunities for growth that are vital to the evolution of the organization in the long-term.

A deeper look at typical leadership mindsets reveal a tendency to ‘play it safe’ and stick to the known and the familiar, the ‘tried and tested’ formulas that have worked in the past. While this gives employees a sense of safety and stability, the illusion is generally short-lived as old strategies fail to meet the demands of new and evolving threats. Consequently, threats are actively avoided or aggressively squashed with organizations perceiving this approach as being fundamental to their survival.

This tendency is unsurprising, given that from an evolutionary point of view, human beings are wired to be wary of the unknown and the unfamiliar. But if we scratch beneath the primal fight-or-flight response, we encounter one of our deepest collective vulnerabilities, the reason that underpins our resistance to change and adaption- our fear of failure.

...our fear of failure makes us fail...

Once we grapple with the ironical fact that our fear of failure makes us fail, and that growth and survival are only possible when we tackle threats and meet them headlong, we are left the with the question of ‘how’. Threats can only be viewed as worthy challenges when we shift gears from an individual-focussed approach to a focussed goal oriented-approach. When the organization’s vision and mission are timeless and embedded deep into its culture, and when there is a shared sense of ownership and responsibility for its actualization, the collective passion and persistence required to turn threats around into learning experiences comes easily and naturally. This embracing of the ‘growth-mindset’ is integral to moving on from perceived threats and failures to tangible lessons that inform and shape future success stories.

When we have appraisal processes that only look at outcomes, employees become risk-averse and set in their ways.

Along with cultivating strength and resilience in the organizational culture by reframing threats as opportunities using the growth mindset, leaders can play a key role in shaping success by nurturing an ethos that values risk-taking and lateral thinking. When we have appraisal processes that only look at outcomes, employees become risk-averse and set in their ways. On the other hand, when leaders involve themselves in the process and approaches to work processes, employees tend to be more reflective and open to change.

When employees are goal-oriented and see their professional experience as a journey of learning and growth, in which failures are prized lessons and food for thought, they are more likely to innovate approaches to problem-solving that are creative and not-risk averse. Subsequently, this results in innovation and the creation of an organizational culture that thrives on ‘threats’ and in which open conversations and reflection about hits and misses are routine and ‘part of the game’. This kind of forward-thinking undoubtedly provides rich insight and forms the foundation for long-term growth and diversification.

The writing on the wall is fairly clear- every threat can be a welcome opportunity if leaders are willing to actively cultivate the growth-mindset in their organizational cultures.

Dr Gaurav Muradia is a progressive educationist and director of leading K-12 international schools. He is also an Advisor to several schools with whom he works with to establish and sustain innovative systems and practices.

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khooshbu khanderia
khooshbu khanderia
Dec 21, 2021

I completely agree with the ironical fact that the thought of failure makes us fail and we as leaders have to be more risk averse and challenge ourselves to seek and sometimes realise our potential ! I have always been open to accept challenges but it’s always been me, however as a team, how we can tackle the same with people of difference of opinon Is what I wanna know and learn more from you !

Looking forward to more reading these snippets from u..


Dec 09, 2021

Dr. Muradia has indeed been the lighthouse for seven years when he was The Principal and later the Director of the school, I worked. Looking back, I recall all the set of procedures and formats which he brought in to the organizational culture which not only streamlined various criteria but also instilled in a discipline into the culture. I now can relate the various threats that would have come in way of implementation of the same and how challenging those threats helping in overcoming it!

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