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Innovate, Take Risks and “Be More”

By Richard Jeanneret |Vice Chair, Northeast Region Managing Partner | EY

For the past number of months I have been on a road show of sorts, visiting with the local offices throughout the Northeast. I met with the area leaders on a number of important topics and collaborate with them on cascading our vision, strategy and culture to the EY professionals in their respective offices.

One of my biggest mantras is to encourage an environment of what I like to call a growth mindset. The term has become a catchphrase lately, and if I had to sum it up in my own words, it’s all about how we can “be more.” People who have a fixed mindset feel they know their limitations and live within them. They either pass or fail at certain things, and are content with it. This doesn’t work well in today’s world, where it is no longer good enough to accept being good enough.

Individuals with a growth mindset, however, believe they can develop their talents through hard work, persistence, feedback and being open to new ideas — to grow and keep being more. What’s great about this outlook is that it doesn’t mean doing more work or putting in more hours – it just means redirecting energy into learning, taking appropriate risks and seeking opportunities to improve. Continuous improvement doesn’t allow for complacency and minimizes the risk of being disrupted or becoming irrelevant.

I know to some it sounds easier in theory than in reality, and so I’m frequently asked,

“How does one shift into a growth mindset?”

Here are a few actions you can take to adjust your thinking:

* See challenges as hurdles to success, not obstacles. Don’t let setbacks slow you down; see them as motivating. Criticism and feedback should be viewed as learning opportunities, not as negative noise.

* Believe in the “practice makes perfect” mentality. See effort as a path to mastery. It’s not about rushing to the finish line; the journey and the dedication put in to meeting a specific goal are very meaningful. How you get to where you are going is just as important as getting there.

* Recognize growth as it is happening, benchmark it, and keep going. Those who are focused on growth are self-aware and note their progress, including the ups and downs, without judgment. Stretch yourself to learn something new and continuously work on development.

* Focusing on growth leads to big things. Have an entrepreneur’s mentality. Don’t be afraid to take risks and be innovative in your approach. Even if you are working for a large organization, thinking outside of the box and bringing new ideas to the table can change the direction completely.

Taking on a growth mindset is a process, but it can start with just a few self-reflective questions:

* What will I do to challenge myself today?
* What strategy am I going to try now?
* How can I learn from my past failures?
* What did that mistake I made teach me?

While each person is different in terms of talents and temperaments, believe in your efforts, and that attitude will determine your true abilities. See the hand you’ve been dealt as a starting point, not an end.

Today’s most innovative companies face challenges, ambitions and strategies that all pertain to the imperative progress of their enterprise. Our recent EY Growth Barometer shows that companies spend more than half their time planning for the future, so employees focused on a growth mindset are of even greater value. Tomorrow’s business leaders will be driven by purpose and growth.

What will you be driven by?

Compliments of EY, a member of the EACCNY