Electrolux: Winning with a Growth Mindset

January 28, 2021 at Electrolux Online (invitation only)

Download a summary of my keynote: Winning with a Growth Mindset   

Electrolux says “Our future is determined by the way we all live our lives. That’s why we strive to improve everyday life for millions of people and the world around us. It is embodied in everything we do. In every idea, every product and every human interaction.

We believe that outstanding taste experiences should be easy for everyone. That there is always a better way to care for our clothes to make them look and feel new longer. That the home should be a place for wellbeing, a place to care for ourselves and our loved ones.

To succeed, we continuously rethink and improve our ways of working – internally, and together with our customers and partners. By creating desirable solutions and great experiences that enrich peoples’ daily lives and the health of our planet, we want to be a driving force in defining enjoyable and sustainable living.

“Shape living for the better.”

“Still, we consume energy and water like never before. We throw away fully edible food. We throw out clothes that should have stayed in our wardrobes. We fill oceans with plastics and we pollute the air we breathe.

Now, more than ever, we need to start making better choices in our everyday. For 100 years, Electrolux has been determined to make the everyday better for millions of people around the world.

Sustainability has always been part of our DNA; perhaps that’s why we have been industry leaders in sustainability for over a decade. But we can — and will — do more.

From now until 2030, we are committed to working towards a set of bold targets, aiming to inspire and empower people, employees and business partners to make better choices. And to drive that change we are launching the Better Living Program: a list of 100 actions to shape better and more sustainable living.

The Better Living Program is a 11-year action plan by Electrolux that aims to shape better and more sustainable living around the world. Its focus is an evolving list of 100 bold actions that we pledge to undertake by 2030. These actions represent our commitment to the four clear targets we have defined across the categories of Better Eating, Better Garment Care, Better Home Environment and Better Company.”

Learn more on: www.betterlivingprogram.com

Winning with a growth mindset

I’ve spent much of the last few years working with the business leaders at Microsoft. Walking into their offices at their sprawling Redmond campus just outside of Seattle, I was struck by a child-like wonder in what is a relatively old technology company. In the past they would accept the technology in their hands, and focus on sales, today they constantly challenged themselves as to why they did it, and how they could do better.

Culturally this was no longer a technology company, but a business with a much bigger imagination, and a deeper conscience. As Microsoft leads the way in the latest AI-based innovations, they are as interested in the ethical implications of such human-redefining capability, as well as what it could practically do to increase business performance.

I realised that Satya Nadella, CEO of the business which had just become the world’s most valuable company, after a near 30-year gap, had instilled a new mindset. As the executives talked, it became clear that this “growth mindset” had had a profound effect on them as individuals, and their business practice.

Gone was the head-down obsession with selling at any cost, characterised by the Steve Balmer years. Now they were much more interested in doing what was right, creating progress for their customers, but equally for society. They wanted to explore and experiment with new ideas, to pause and consider alternatives, to embrace diversity, ethics and sustainability. It felt enlightened.

Nadella says we need to move from trying to be expert “know it all” to being constant students, or “learnt it all”. Whilst the past can give useful insights, it is a focus on the future that matters, he says. “If you keep your eyes focused on the rear-view mirror, you’re going to crash. You need to keep focused on what’s ahead.”

Grow yourself, and your business

When Carol Dweck was a graduate student in the early 1970s, she began to study how children cope with failure, she quickly realised that cope was the wrong word, they realised. Now a psychology professor at Stanford, she has spent several decades studying this dichotomy which she initially termed “incremental theory”.

She eventually found a better language – the “fixed” and “growth” mindset. Her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success became a bestseller.

Dweck applies the concept to every walk of life – from children’s education and parenting, to sports coaching and mental performance. She argues that a growth mindset leads to higher achievement, whilst a fixed mindset actively plateaus an individual’s progress. She also applies the idea to teams and organisations. Those who for example, like to single out star performers are more fixed in their mindsets, rather than embracing everyone with their different contributions over time.

A “fixed mindset” suggests that some people are creative and others not, some are intelligent and others not. As a result, we become more concerned about how we look to others, we avoid failure at all costs in fear of exposing ourselves, we play safe and avoid risks, we feel threatened by others success, and we become obsessed with our fragile reputations.

  • We become trapped in a black-and-white world of success and failure
  • We seek easy options, because we fear failure
  • We accept mediocrity, and reject change
  • We blame others and avoid responsibility
  • We play it safe

A “growth mindset” recognises that our personal and collective progress is achieved through development and learning. We embrace change as an opportunity, we seek out challenges to stretch us, we work through obstacles to find new solutions, we listen to alternative opinions and criticism, we embrace fear and risk as part of moving forwards, we accept failure and success as equally important parts of our journey, and we value effort not just accomplishment.

  • We live in a world of potentials, of new opportunities and possibilities
  • We seek challenges, without fear of failure
  • We embrace change, and reject mediocrity
  • We take responsibility and listen to other viewpoints
  • We seek progress

Of course, mindsets are not black and white, and we might find ourselves fluctuating between them in different aspects of our lives. We should also recognise that everyone is different, in their strengths and capabilities, and how they project themselves. The role of a team still matters, with its strength in combining differences. The role of a leader matters even more, creating a context for growth mindsets to thrive.

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