For this topic, I can think of nowhere better to start than with a story I recently learned. The following comes from Avinash Kaushnik, via his excellent Marketing <> Analytics Intersect Newsletter (subscribe here):
One day a group of Google engineers walked into Larry Page, co-founder of Google and current CEO of Alphabet. The group wanted to show off their latest idea.
“It’s a time machine,” they told him.
The thing they brought in was roughly the size of a small refrigerator, about one foot wide, with a sleek metallic exterior. One of the engineers looked for a place to plug it in.
“Why does it need electricity?” Larry asked.
What I love about this story is how well it illustrates Larry Page’s mindset. He wasn’t thrown by the fact that his team was working on a time machine. What he wanted to know was why they hadn’t created a time machine that ran without electricity.
And although you are not likely to be working on anything quite so ambitious, it is the mindset that all of can set out to adopt.
What is a Growth Mindset?
Growth mindset is a psychology term coined by Carol Dweck to describe the difference in outlook between groups of people. Those with a growth mindset see things as changeable over time, whereas those with a fixed mindset believe in the inherent nature of things.
When we apply that concept to our businesses, one can see how Larry Page’s mindset might be different from other people. He wants his team to push the limits on what they think is possible. He wants them to ask “why not?” rather than “why?”
A growth mindset is critical for success as a marketer, because growth is our responsibility.
How to Adopt a Growth Mindset for 2019
The business as usual approach would say you should measure your growth in 2018 and forecast 2019 accordingly. Perhaps your revenue grew 5% this year. Okay, so let’s aim for another 5% next year. If the business grows 5% every year, things are pretty good. Right?
Enough with the business as usual approach. If your business grew 5% last year, the Larry Page mindset would ask, “why not 50%?”
And yes, 50% growth might seem unreasonable. But it’s not as crazy as you might think. Because if you aim for 50%, while you might not get there, you might get somewhere closer to 20% or 30%.
So force yourself to be unreasonable. Setting unreasonable goals forces you to adopt a growth mindset. If forces you to think about your business in new ways. And only when we think about things in this way will we be able to see the strategies and opportunities available that we might otherwise miss.
Business as usual is boring. Don’t be boring.