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  • Writer's pictureHeather Clayton Staker

Surviving setbacks & saboteurs

Which of these statements best describes your school or district?

1. We stick with the instructional strategies that we're good at.

2. We go out on a limb to try new things.

If you chose option 1, your organization may have a "fixed mindset" — a type of thinking that makes innovation nearly impossible. When setbacks, challenges, and saboteurs strike, as they inevitably will, fixed mindset organizations lose hope.

Getting to the opposite mentality— a "growth mindset"— makes innovation so much more collaborative and forgiving. For today's Tuesday Share, I'm posting a video that several amazing Ready to Blend facilitators recorded for you last week to help you spur a discussion among your colleagues about growth mindset.

FREE VIDEO: Becoming a Growth Mindset School or District

Now that I'm aware of the seven growth mindset attitudes that we discussed in this video, I notice their presence (or absence) all the time.

Recently I was in a workshop with several school teams. At one table was a team from a reputable charter network that serves urban youth. Directly across from them sat another team from a different charter network that serves a similar demographic. Although these two teams had much in common, their attitudes were polar opposites. The first team was collaborative, supportive, and open in its thinking; whereas the other team kept alerting each other to roadblocks and resisting each other's ideas.

Not surprisingly, the first team developed a more promising and inventive blended-learning plan by the end of the workshop compared to the second team.

This morning I was feeling stressed by a problem with an international client. I went outside for a run, but felt tempted to quit. Instead, I repeated to myself: "I can give it my all even on my worst days."

Amazingly, that attitude created its own success. I bolted the last half of the run and finished feeling ready to tackle new projects.

When my son Henry was seven years old, he struggled with a "why try?" attitude. He thought he was good at art and caring for bearded dragons, but not good at being organized or earning math points. So he decided not to try. It wasn't until we created a Try Try Try BINGO Chart for me to reward his growth mindset behaviors that his attitude changed (and he gained plenty of math points!).

Did you know that entire organizations can have a growth mindset or fixed mindset, collectively? How would you rate yours?

The Ready to Blend facilitators and I hope that the video above will be a useful tool to help your organization amplify its growth mindset. I encourage you to watch it with your team and then discuss. What are your strengths in terms of the seven attitudes we highlighted? Where could you improve? Which improvement will boost your school the most?

Developing a growth mindset is prerequisite and foundational to successful innovation. What will you do this week to establish growth mindset as part of your culture? Share your thoughts in the comments below— I'd love to hear from you!

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