Fixed or Flexible: Your Future Depends on Your Mindset

I am reading a book called Mindset The New Psychology of Success: How We Can Learn to Fulfill Our Potential, by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D. It is an interesting book and I’ve already picked up some excellent ideas. Dr. Dweck’s premise is that we go through life with one of two mindsets that impact how we view ourselves and how we deal with problems and people. As I was reading this, I thought that is pretty much how we view the future as well. Let me explain.

The Two Mindsets

According to Dr. Dweck the two mindsets are a fixed mindset and a learning mindset. A fixed mindset basically means you see yourself and others as being smart as they are ever going to be, or as talented as they are ever going to be, or as fast, or as… well, you get the idea. Someone with a growth mindset sees it differently. To them, they can learn more, get smarter, get faster, improve their talent, etc. Her research has found that people can learn to change their mindset and improve their future.

Two Views of the Future

In many ways people have a similar set of mindsets when it comes to viewing the future. Many have a dismal or dystopian view of the future because they read the headline that said “5 Million jobs will be lost to robots by the year 2025.” They saw it as a clear sign they will be displaced and their lives will be ruined. Others read the same headline and, because they understand the changing nature of work, they know that while some jobs are lost, others will be created. They know they may have to learn new skills and get new jobs but they are up to the challenge.

Juha Turunen, the Sales Director for Accenture Digital Analytics & IIoT, sees the future in a positive light. Turunen talks about the world of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and uses the term “cobots” instead of robots. “Our studies have shown that routine jobs are increasingly being replaced by automated systems,” he says. “At the same time human job descriptions are becoming more knowledge-based, with technology in an assisting role.” This leads to a change of industrial workers “becoming industrial knowledge workers, interfacing with intelligent equipment.” He says that not all jobs are disappearing in manufacturing, despite what many have forecast in dire predictions. Rather, new jobs are being created that require humans and robots to work more closely together. “The new core capabilities of the modern industrial worker will include the capability to co-work with, program and teach cobots.”

So Which Mindset Do You Have?

Your mindset will be important in the future as you guide your company into the new world of work. Will you have a growth mindset for both yourself and your company? Or will you have a fixed mindset for both? If the latter I wish you luck and big lottery win. You are going to need it. If the former, you and your company will survive the future just fine.

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Mike Haberman

Michael (Mike) D. Haberman, SPHR is a consultant, speaker, writer of HR Observations, and co-founder of Omega HR Solutions, Inc. After over 30 years in HR he got tired of the past and focuses here on the Future of HR. Connect with Mike.


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