change management strategy

Why Your Change Management Strategy May Require Leaders To Have A Growth Mindset.

Beyond employee engagement, your change management strategy may require another element, key to both change and business sustainability.

growth mindset

In some circles, and usually in reference to individuals, this might be called growth mindset. However, in considering organizational culture and cultivating an enduring, company-wide impact, this value and practice must be embraced by the many. It is especially true in the way that businesses elect to address problems.

Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset.

That people can change, learning and demonstrating new abilities and traits, is a cornerstone in defining growth mindset, whereas a fixed mindset definition is characterized by the belief that humans have little capacity for this type of change (Madan et al., 2019, as cited in Berg et al., 2022).

Business Problem-Solving.

Whether an organizational culture demonstrates a growth mindset is evident in how leadership approaches business issues. This is depicted in Figure 1, the data of which reflects responses to a PMI survey, asking respondents to reflect on their organization's approach to problem-solving.

Figure 1.

Organizational Problem-Solving Approach Measures.

organizational problem solvingNote: PMI survey results, depicting organizational problem-solving approaches identified by respondents, reflecting on their organizations. From "Beyond Agility: Flex to the Future," by Project Management Institute, 2021, Pulse of the Profession®. Copyright 2021 by PMI.

The survey participants were presented with two, organizational approaches:

  • Traditional enterprise - the "old" way of working.
  • Gymnastic enterprise - the "new" way of working.

Participants were also given 5 options for alignment of their organization with the approaches. 2 of these aligned with the traditional enterprise approach. 2 aligned with the gymnastic enterprise approach. And, 1 represented a mixture of the approaches.

The options and responses were as follows:

Traditional enterprise:

  • Exclusively describes us - 3%
  • Mostly describes us - 27%


  • We are split evenly between the two - 38%

Gymnastic enterprise:

  • Exclusively describes us - 4%
  • Mostly describes us - 28%

Traditional vs. Gymnastic.

The results of the survey allowed for categorization of the business types from which assessment could be performed on unique variables of change, process, practices, and performance.

financial comparison

The Project Management Institute (2021) found that gymnastic enterprises were more likely than traditional enterprises to exhibit the following:

  • High levels of organizational agility - 48% gymnastic, 27% traditional.
  • Increased productivity - 71% gymnastic, 53% traditional.
  • High project management maturity - 52% gymnastic, 45% traditional.
  • Reduced project investment waste - 9% gymnastic, 10.5% traditional.

What This Means For Businesses.

You've probably heard the saying that the 7 most dangerous words in business are "but, we've always done it this way."

risk management chart

Businesses Following The Traditional Approach.

With this in mind, if your company's leadership leans more heavily toward a traditional approach to problem-solving, then they might also align more closely with characteristics representative of having a fixed mindset. Should that be the case, then your business is likely to miss out on the benefits to be had from increased organizational agility, productivity, project management maturity, and reduced investment waste.

Businesses Following The Gymnastic Approach.

If your organization's leadership is better-displaying of the gymnastics enterprise approach to problem-solving, it is likely that these group members might also hold a growth mindset. They're open to change, prepared to break from the status quo or usual way of doing things, and are more apt to reap the benefits and rewards as a result.

Becoming a Gymnastic Enterprise.

There are two ways to influence your organization's change management strategy to become a gymnastic enterprise:

  • With the personnel that you currently have.
  • With new personnel that you recruit.
balance beam gymnastics

In the first scenario, with the team members that you currently have, your organization will be tasked with considering a change management plan to include communication, training, timing, resource allocation, and support. While common, and possible to implement effectively, it is likely that you'll also encounter resistance along the way.

The second option calls for the presentation of a culture that embodies a growth mindset, the communication of which must be part of your talent acquisition processes. It must be present in your marketing, provided example by your interviewing team, included in your orientation and onboarding, and modeled by executives and other team members in daily interactions.

Strength And Flexibility.

Each might be considered heavy lifts to move from an initial state of being as a company to one in which a growth mindset is embedded in organizational culture. However, much like the gymnast in the image above, the diversity of your team can provide the strength and flexibility needed to determine the desired outcome, develop the plan and vision, and utilize the feedback received to see a change management strategy through to fruition.

Developing A Change Management Strategy.

In many cases, it's a simple process to say, "this is where I want our organization to be."

But, Simple ≠ Easy.

With the number of projects, people, customer and client obligations, and ever-changing priorities of daily operations, it isn't unusual that necessary change is moved to the back burner. Yet, that temporary decision to delay action in developing a change management strategy can have long-term, often costly, impacts.

simple isn't easy

You may have team members who see the need for change. And, it's likely you have some who'd be immediately opposed to any adjustment, even ones that'd benefit them directly. That's the nature of the fear of the unknown.

In cases like these, we can do the heavy lifting for you to understand your current state, what the desired state is, who's involved, what characteristics are present that'll help your team along, and what obstacles exist that could hinder progress toward your vision of success.

Unsure of how you'll address the following areas effectively, and without sacrificing attention to current revenue-generating or client-servicing demands?

  • Creating a company-wide sense of urgency
  • Forming a guiding coalition
  • Developing a strategy and vision for change
  • Communicating the strategy and vision to the masses
  • Enabling action and removing obstacles
  • Celebrating short-term wins
  • Sustaining progress
  • Embedding change into organizational culture

For More On Change Management.

This section of the site is an excellent primer for insight on methodologies, tools, and resources that can support successful change efforts.

To continue your learning:

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In health,

David Bohmiller

David Bohmiller, MBA, MS (he/him/his)
Founder, CEO and Consulting Executive
Inevitabl LLC

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Berg, J. M., Wrzesniewski, A., Grant, A. M., Kurkoski, J., & Welle, B. (2022). Getting Unstuck: The Effects of Growth Mindsets About the Self and Job On Happiness at Work. Journal of Applied Psychology.

Project Management Institute (2021). Beyond Agility: Flex to the Future. Pulse of the Profession®.

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