a male officer who looks terribly curious

Failure is not an option…or is it?

In Recognition and Engagement by Lori McKnight

Failure is not an option…or is it?

When faced with a setback, do your employees turtle or look at mistakes as learning opportunities? How your employees view failure says a lot about your company’s mindset and culture.

According to Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck in “The New Psychology of Success”, managers with a growth mindset encourage employees to try new things, challenge themselves and learn from their mistakes.

These organizations are more innovative, collaborative and successful than those having a fixed mindset, focused on hiring only the best and brightest. People with fixed mindsets believe we inherit our intelligence, creativity et cetera as static traits that cannot be changed.

Mindset graphic

What’s your Mindset? Take the Test

Ask any professional coach or successful leader and they’ll say you don’t necessarily have to hire the best of the best to succeed or have the smartest people in the room to win. You just need to hire, harness and reward people with the right potential and mindset.

Here are a couple ways you can lead with a growth mindset…

  1. Use failures to build a positive work culture

    Growth-minded leaders believe people can develop with hard work, practice and experience. Inevitably, mistakes will happen. Sharing failures as learning experiences lets employees know it’s OK to try new things and they won’t be penalized. This creates a supportive, positive culture that shuns fixed mindsets.

  2. Recognize and reward progress towards goals

    The #1 thing you can do to create a positive work culture is to recognize and reward progress towards a goal.

As a manager, your acknowledgment of the small wins that lead to the end goal is a very powerful motivator and doesn’t have to cost a thing. In fact, we’ve found what employees want most is not cash, but recognition and flexibility. Praising the mastering of a skill, a persuasive presentation or simply speaking up with a new idea makes employees more inspired, creative and feel better about their work…all key factors in creating engagement.

CSISTARS engagement tools can support a “growth” mindset in the following ways:

  • Your new hires may not be hitting performance targets YET but you can still recognize their progress by setting weekly mini-goals and rewarding with an extra break or chance to leave early;
  • Only recognizing your rock stars can be discouraging to others who are working hard and making progress. Consider creating sales incentives with points that recognize employees for doing the steps that lead to a sale… along with the wins;
  • Many wellness programs are employee-driven such as Fitbit challenges or weight loss goals. These goals may be more difficult to achieve for some. Employees feel crummy when they don’t meet their targets but you can recognize and/or reward them with points for the behaviors that lead to the good habits that encourage these continued efforts. Things like going to the gym 3 days a week or taking the stairs everyday for instance.

Recognizing the steps (and missteps) in the journey is just as important as rewarding the outcome. Have we changed your mind about failure?

Let us give you a hand…

CSISTARS programs and rewards support organizations efforts recognizing and rewarding the big and little things employees do everyday. Contact us for a free consultation!

Author: Lori McKnight

Lori McKnight
Lori is the VP of Recognition for CSI International Inc. She has a MBA with a minor in Human Resources, is a Certified Recognition Professional and member of the SHRM blog squad. Prior to joining CSI STARS, she worked at Mercer Human Resource Consulting and Youthography, a youth market research agency. Connect with CSI STARS on LinkedIn to learn how we cultivate a workforce that loves coming to work.