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The Growth Mindset: The art of learning and leadership

by: (Content Marketing Manager) on

‘You can't teach an old dog new tricks’...Or can you?


Carol Dweck famously coined the term ‘the growth mindset’ and with it established a great deal of pedagogical change within the education sector. While the concept of the growth mindset is not new in education (in fact, it’s two decades old) it’s a relevant idea nonetheless, particularly within professional education.


The original concept of the growth mindset is predominantly focused on children of primary school age, and how they should be educated by their teachers. The idea is that teachers should foster the growth mindset in children to ensure that they are learning to the best of their abilities. Because we are not merely ‘smart’, ‘stupid’, ‘good at our job’ or ‘bad at our job’; of course, we may initially believe these things about ourselves, but the principle of the growth mindset suggests that we can learn to be better at our jobs, and we can develop and become more intelligent simply through hard work and dedication.


Talent is merely one piece of the pie. But, it won’t get you everywhere.

So, what does a pedagogical theory have to do with professional studying and leadership? Well, quite a lot, actually. The growth mindset theory can be directly applied to the workplace. Our work lives are dominated by the overall culture of the places in which we work. If there is a culture of blame, fear and apprehension, it is unlikely that such an environment will encourage a growth mindset. Conversely, it’s more likely to have a culture whereby groupthink is normal.


Alternatively a company that understands the concept of the growth mindset will:

Present all skills as learnable. Not knowing something doesn’t make you bad at your job. Far from it. If you don’t know how to do it, don’t simply shrug your shoulders at say it can’t be done; instead, look to learn. Leave behind your fixed mindset and adopt (you’ve guessed it) a growth mindset. Any organisation that you work in should be appreciative, and supportive, of this.


Encourage learning. Genius and know-how are highly unlikely to walk through the door. Rather, you should have the opportunity to learn. Taking the opportunity to learn allows you create a new mindset for yourself, but it also pushes your organisation forward. The value of learning and perseverance is imperative for everyone’s growth – including the firm that you work for.


Help harness leadership. Most people undertaking an ICA qualification or studying with International Compliance Training will want to further their career; they will want to be a leader (especially if they’re undertaking the Professional Postgraduate Diploma courses), and a growth mindset is particularly important for those who want to lead.


Businesses that are keen to develop themselves and their people can use the growth mindset as a tool to attract employees. When people enter the world of corporations that have a growth mindset, everything seems brighter and more fun – and why wouldn’t it? Rooting out a culture of a fixed mindset, and introducing a culture of growth and human potential is imperative to moving forward. Even in compliance, where we as an industry tend to be quite risk-averse, it's important to foster a love of learning and growth.


People thrive in an environment that wholly encapsulates the growth mindset culture. This typically involves:

  • presenting skills as learnable (we know that they are!)

  • implementing a culture of learning and perseverance, not just ready-made talent and ‘genius’

  • giving feedback in a way that promotes learning and future success

  • presenting managers as resources for learning.


Without the belief in human development, corporate training programmes have limited value. Tapping into a huge vat of unlimited human potential is one of the most exhilarating things that you can do in an organisation – and pushing yourself as an individual, though sometimes scary, is undeniably exciting.


Consider ways that you can learn on the job. It’s time to outgrow the old ways, embrace the new and become the best possible version of yourself.





International Compliance Training is the longest established and leading approved training partner to the International Compliance Association (ICA), designing, creating and delivering content that leads up to the award of professional certificates and qualifications. These programmes, globally recognised and acknowledged as delivering essential knowledge, skills and behaviours are awarded in association with Alliance Manchester Business School, The University of Manchester.

Beyond the labels, we’re a committed team of real people, whose innovation, fervour and dedication transpires into results for your firm. With our subject matter experts, who live and breathe compliance, listen to what you need and truly understand why.

Our in-house training is available all over the world. We've worked with hundreds of clients and we can do the same for you. Call our dedicated in-house training team on +44(0) 121 362 7678 to discuss your training needs or contact us via the online form

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