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Topics: Leadership, Organizational Project Management
Fixed mindset vs. growth mindset. How are you going about this as a PM?
I am currently reading Carol Dweck´s book " Mindset". According to her, people with a fixed mindset are risk averse and are inclined to think that talent is something that can´t be developed with hard work, either one has it or doesn´t. People with a growth mindset aren´t affraid of making mistakes or taking up challenging tasks.

Have you changed or modified your mindset throughout your PM career? Share your experience.
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Yes, I changed during my almost 50 years working.

I do not believe though there is a A mindset vs. a B mindset. Don‘t we have enough division?

We need both, depending on the situation. We must be risk averse in social contacts now, and we should be curious and optimistic for finding good solutions for new problems.

My real development was to widen my range of options, extend my perspectives and understand the role of ethics in decision making.
Just to comment, and sorry for that but I think it is good for clarify my position, I am researching IA from long time ago now I am helping my research with QC (quantum computing) and my field is to simulate human consciousness with computers in order to apply it to organizations because what is the next step is not organizational culture it is organizational consciousness. With that said, let me say is not a matter of mindset. Do not take what I am write, go to the basement which is in the neuroscience for example. And remember: one is one and its circumstances. Today I am "fighting" with lot of companies that have find the new wave in "you have to change your mindset" as the perfect excuse do not assume their responsibilities. Nothing new below the sun. You can read to Darwin or Newton too. It does not mean I do not take alternatives like all based in quantum theory just work of Roger Penrose, Stuart Hameroff, or something more close to math like Godel works.
Hi Eduard,
I personally think that it's of great importance for PMs to possess these two different mindset and knowing when to use them is the game changer
Well, I can't agree with that. It all depends on circumstances, opportunities, personal situations. Let us not forget that "a man is born free but everywhere he is in chains". So a person may be a risk taker and passionate but when he has other pulling forces then he is going to become risk averse and will be seen as having "fixed mindset".
Dear Eduard
Excellent that book you mentioned and that you are reading now
Usually, people who give opinions before going into more depth can be included in the fixed mindset category :-)
Throughout my career, I've dealt with a wide variety of projects with an equally wide variety of clients and client needs, protocols, etc. An ability to adapt to change is essential for a PM, but always employing a solid, "best practices" approach.
Adopting best practices as a baseline to work with is important. But, also being able to adapt to change when needed. And, assessing the situation and environment, and knowing when to take risks and when to be risk averse. Flexibility to change is key.
When I was young and just starting out in the profession I knew that I knew nothing. The only response to this was an open mindset - I would absorb everything and offered little.

Now that I am old and have extensive experience I have a lot more experience to draw from and significantly more to offer. To a younger observer I probably exhibit a fixed mindset as I know what works and what typically doesn't. Lessons learned result in a more ridged mindset.

That being said, I have seen incredible advances over the years and what was the norm in my youth has been replaced with much better solutions. My experience tells me that one has to be open to new approaches and technology.

Net result, my mind is set in some ways but open in others. I don't buy into the theory that its one of the other.
Thank you everyone for your valuable insights. For those interested, the author provides several examples of both categories, claiming that no one belongs 100% to one or the other, or that someone with a growth mindset at work could have a fixed mindset when it comes to family matters.

As an example, John McEnroe would be a clear example of a fixed mindset. Not only because he hated losing, but mainly because he would find external excuses thereby avoiding learning from mistakes and grow. On the other hand, players like Federer prove that a growth mindset are key to succeed at senior ages. Again, although the book at some point becomes repetitive, I recommend to read it.
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1 reply by Sergio Luis Conte
Sep 03, 2020 12:31 PM
Sergio Luis Conte
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Just to comment Eduard about John McEnroe and Federer, is not as you think. In fact, is just the contrary. But I am writting this because I worked with both as tennis coach (in the case of John I train with him a lot, I was not the coach). And my comment is not because I tried to debate this point, my comment is trying to put something on the surface because your comment is very interesting: one thing is the mindset and other is the way you live with that mindset and the strategy you put on the field to take advantage for that. Believe me: a top tennis player can not have fixed mindset at all. Why? Because the tennis sport itself do not allow to have it due to in a tennis match you have no possibility to face something fix or predictable. Time ago the PMI have published inside the PM Network a short article about map tennis to Agile ; http://www.pmnetwork-digital.com/pmnetwork/april_2016?pg=73#pg73
Sep 03, 2020 11:55 AM
Replying to Eduard Hernandez
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Thank you everyone for your valuable insights. For those interested, the author provides several examples of both categories, claiming that no one belongs 100% to one or the other, or that someone with a growth mindset at work could have a fixed mindset when it comes to family matters.

As an example, John McEnroe would be a clear example of a fixed mindset. Not only because he hated losing, but mainly because he would find external excuses thereby avoiding learning from mistakes and grow. On the other hand, players like Federer prove that a growth mindset are key to succeed at senior ages. Again, although the book at some point becomes repetitive, I recommend to read it.
Just to comment Eduard about John McEnroe and Federer, is not as you think. In fact, is just the contrary. But I am writting this because I worked with both as tennis coach (in the case of John I train with him a lot, I was not the coach). And my comment is not because I tried to debate this point, my comment is trying to put something on the surface because your comment is very interesting: one thing is the mindset and other is the way you live with that mindset and the strategy you put on the field to take advantage for that. Believe me: a top tennis player can not have fixed mindset at all. Why? Because the tennis sport itself do not allow to have it due to in a tennis match you have no possibility to face something fix or predictable. Time ago the PMI have published inside the PM Network a short article about map tennis to Agile ; http://www.pmnetwork-digital.com/pmnetwork/april_2016?pg=73#pg73
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