Mindsets

I chose to read the section on Business in the Mindset text. It discussed how there are two major thought processes, the fixed mindset and the growth mindset. The fixed mindset is defined essentially as a superiority complex. It is a person who believes that their wealth of knowledge is better than everyone else’s. For example, Jeff Skilling of Enron states “My genius is profit.” That is the most egotistical thing I think I have ever heard coming from the head of one of the most powerful companies in the world at the time. Along with this superiority complex comes the need for achievement, and not good achievement. People with a fixed mindset are not looking to achieve what is best for the company, they are looking out for what best boosts their own personal image, and if the company happens to do well in the process then so be it. For example, Lee Iacocca, the head of Chrysler, previously worked for Ford and was being groomed to be the next Henry Ford. Iacocca was so caught up in being “Henry Ford II” and ruling the “royal” kingdom that Henry Ford eventually ousted him because he realized Iacocca only wanted power and not success for the business. This can cause employees to feel belittled and judged which is no way to run a business because it hinders growth and innovation. When a person feels their ideas will never be as good as the CEO’s there is no reason to even bring them up which halts innovation and expansion.

Contrasting the fixed mindset was the growth mindset, the benevolent mindset if you will. This mindset was all about realizing you were not the smartest person on the planet and that if you surround yourself with the right people then you can learn and continue to grow as a person. Andrew Carnegie of U.S. Steel once said “I wish to have as my epitaph: ‘Here lies a man who was wise enough to bring into his service men who knew more than he.’” This is a great example of how people can grow. People who realize the constant need to learn every day and innovate will help the company grow and as a result wealth and power will come, the opposite order of the fixed mindset. This mindset is what allowed Jack Welch at GE to have such success. He would take meetings down on the factory floor with the front line workers to figure out a problem. He was smart enough to know he didn’t know as much about day to day manufacturing as the people who actually did it. This rubs off on employees and makes them want to learn and grow and help the company which is important because to have a successful company you need happy employees.

I think this argument is perfect and fits with this overall theme of the growth versus fixed mindsets. This section just chooses to portray it from a business standpoint. As a business major I do endless case studies and the issues Enron faced and the successes of GE. We cover a lot of the problems or achievements of companies based on the behavior of the top management. It really is an important part of how the business is run and the organizational culture a CEO chooses to employ. My main question is can a business remain profitable and successful for a prolonged period of time with a CEO that has a fixed mindset?

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