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Growth Mind-Set

By DevelopmentNo Comments

“Substitute feelings of insecurity with the excitement of skill acquisition.”

Tom Bilyeu  (Growth Mind-Set Expert). 

The work on Growth Mind-Set was first carried out by world-famous psychologist Dr. Carol Dweck.

According to Dweck there are two kinds of people, those with a ‘growth mind-set’ and those with a ‘fixed mind-set’. The former is underpinned by the belief that your abilities are fixed by your upbringing, genetics or intelligence.

In a ‘growth mind-set’ people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work, brains and talent are just the starting point.

“This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment” writes Dweck.

Our belief at Human-ByDesign is that ‘results in organisations flow through people’.

When we apply the principles of ‘Growth Mind-Set’ to organisational culture and to support our employees stretch their cognitive skills and emotional intelligence to new horizons, this in turn supports the organisation to turn ‘crisis’ into an ‘opportunity’ and thus stretch  beyond its current capabilities to adapt, innovate and grow.

When we juxtapose Dr. Dweck’s Research with Dr. Dan Harrisons 30 years of research on enjoyment performance theory, we can see that cultivating a growth mind-set as part of organisational culture is not as straight forward as we might initially think.

According to Dr. Dan Harrison’s research into human potential, studies found that:

“Employees who are 75% or more aligned with tasks of the job that they find intrinsically rewarding, tend to be three times more productive in their role than those who are not fulfilled by their job”.  

His central thesis is human beings are designed to enjoy their work. 

Even when there is career progression in the organisation with ample opportunity for growth offered by the company, his research found that it is human nature is to feel restless and seek to move on when we don’t experience ‘job satisfaction’. This, by the way, has serious implications for Remote Working.

The research on this suggests there is a balance to be struck between creating environments which push our employees to stretch and grow (growth mind-set) and being mindful to align our employees with work that allows them to be their authentic-self and engage in work they are passionate about and find ‘intrinsically’ rewarding (enjoyment performance theory).

By aligning individuals with work that will simultaneously stretch them, while at the same time engage and energise them, only then will employers be able to tap into a much larger reservoir of creativity, energy and productivity from their employees.

In the case of Remote Working, for example, failing to align employees with work that they are intrinsically motivated to do (without supervision), may over the long term lead to burnout and a performance management nightmare for line managers!

Here at Human-ByDesign we are interested in supporting employers to harness the natural laws of human nature and science to support their employees move beyond current challenges, develop a growth mind-set and working practices that are effective.

So, what does it mean to have a Growth Mind-Set? 

In our research to date, one of the major challenges we found is that it is really difficult to determine whether someone has a growth mind-set or not.

This is key, because:

“You can’t improve what you can’t measure.”
Drucker (Management Guru).
So a critical question to ask is:

How do you know if your employees’ have a ‘Growth-Mindset’ or not, 

How do you measure Growth Mind-Set?  

You can get a really strong indication of growth mind-set by examining three areas:

  1. Results: the actual consistent results the employee achieves, measured against (KPI’s).
  2. Skills: Learning to acquire and apply a skill that has utility. High level of technical competence, skill-set or expertise.
  3. Behaviour:  Do they score between 75% or above on Growth Mind-set behavioural traits, that are critical for success, i.e. If they don’t have these traits they are unlikley to have a growth mind-set).

One strong indicator of a growth mindset is the consistent results the individual or team achieves and that requires the right type of attitude or behaviour consistently applied.

So, what are ‘Growth Mind-set’ Behaviours, what do they look like and how can we measure them? 

Dr. Dan Harrisons’ work on measuring behavioural DNA goes a long way towards helping us get a lens into this. See sample growth mind-set behavioural traits here.

Let’s take a closer look at one of the typical growth mind-set behavioural traits:

‘Being Persistent’. 

“The tendency to be tenacious towards ones goals despite encountering significant obstacles.” (Dr. Dan Harrisson).

Let’s imagine we have an employee that scores a 2 out of 10 on the behaviour

‘Being Persistent’.

This is not a positive indicator of growth-mindset, but at least now we have uncovered a behaviour which may be de-railing their efforts and we can start to put in place a development plan for the individual to develop that specific behavioural muscle.

Without proper diagnosis and visibility as to the behaviours that are strong and those that are weak, we lack insight and can default into ‘guessing’.

Since subjective opinion is limited to perception, then our ‘opinion’ of the employee is not always a valid or reliable measure in and of itself.

Foundational to supporting our employees develop a ‘growth mind-set’ is to identify and measure the specific behaviours the individual has that support growth mind-set and those behaviours that are likely to sabotage or de-rail their efforts.

“The gap between where you want to go and where you are now is a gap in skill.” H-BD. 

Transitioning to a brave new world of work will involve not only developing the skill-sets necessary to adapt, grow and evolve, but will also require us to purposefully cultivate a growth mind-set in our organisational culture, our leaders and our employees.

Here at Human-ByDesign, we offer programmes to help your line-managers embed and develop a growth mind-set culture as part of our career transitioning and succession planning programmes:

In conclusion, I’ll end with a famous quote from the esteemed Dweck herself: 

“In growth mind-set challenges are exciting rather than threatening so rather than thinking oh, I’m going to reveal my weakness, you say: Wow, here’s a chance to grow.”

Brave New Work

By DevelopmentNo Comments

How People Analytics can help your organisation take ‘First Advantage’ and Thrive in the disruptive times ahead


A wave of transformation is about to hit Ireland in the next 5 -15 years… A.I. is not coming it’s already here!

Recently, I was invited to give a lecture to students that are seeking jobs in the manufacturing sector, my job was to uplift, inspire and give hope to these students, I  also had to tell them the truth, which is; that is that their career will have a life span of approximately ten years.

That is because it is estimated by 2030, the majority of their jobs will be replaced by automation.
Worldwide, the estimated figure for the number of jobs automation will replace in the manufacturing sector is twenty million.

According to an analysis by Oxford Economics People, they are also unlikely to find ‘Comparable roles’ as similar jobs in the services sector will also have been squeezed by automation.


Have you noticed how few tellers there are in the banks and cashiers in the supermarket?

The acceleration of technology and A.I. is like the sea, it will creep in slowly, you won’t notice it and then, one day you, your family and your co-workers will be surrounded by it.

When A.I. becomes ‘normalised’ in our workplace and communities, ‘ordinary’ jobs will disappear overnight, this is because the processing speed of A.I. is far superior to the human brain. Therefore, work can get done quicker and cheaper.

A.I.’s progression is not linear it’s exponential. Regardless of the debate as to the exact number of jobs A.I. will replace jobs or not, what it does mean is that most organisations will be facing… talent re-deployment.


There will come a time in the not too distant future when you will have to decide: Are you going sink or learn to surf the waves?

People Analytics
will no longer be a ‘nice to have’, it will be a ‘must-have’.

Change can happen super fast, therefore organisations will need to understand how to pivot, restructure and re-deploy people at speed (be agile and adapt to change) and this will be key to not only survive, but to thrive in the disruptive times ahead.

Leaderships’ ability to navigate and translate that disruption into ‘a positive’ for the teams they lead will be vital. As predictive analytics, in particular, will be seen by leadership as a way to predict future outcomes, gain control, execute at speed and make the right people choices in a fast-changing world, the organisation, in order to attract, select, engage and retain, the brightest and the best.

It’s not necessarily the ‘fittest’ of the species that will survive, it’s the one that is most ‘adaptive to change’.

Disruption will push organisations to become more attuned to the needs of the employee and for many, this will mean a shift to new paradigms and different models of working.

EIQ and the ‘Self-Aware’ Organisation will take Centre Stage. As the drive and need for specialist roles increases, the hunt and retention of talented individuals becomes more competitive.

HR will increasingly be focused on developing organisational culture and creating a ‘people experience’. Foundational to building ‘a positive people experience’ is to understand the humans in your organisation…                               

               “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.”

Albert Einstein.

In the same way as a doctor runs tests to understand an individual’s biological DNA, advances in behavioral science now enable us to use diagnostics to uncover the psychological DNA of our employees.

This makes it much easier to understand the unique design, passions and skillsets that lie in our employees and then create jobs that are designed to match that blueprint.

This recognition that we are all pieces in a jigsaw puzzle, we are all different and therefore have been given a unique design with a unique set of skills, competencies and purpose will take centre stage.

Here’s why People Analytics will be your best friend in the times ahead:

  • Data-driven decisions will enable interventions to be put in place quickly, increase leaders ‘self-awareness’, support and elevate them, to improve empathy, ability to collaborate, manage their teams better as well as optimise their cognitive ability to think through complex problems and lead through complexity.
  • People analytics provides a way to define, quantify and measure softer skills, in particular those that drive EIQ, in the organisation. Equally as important is the ability to predict and minimise behavioural traits that lower EIQ and have the potential to de-rail a team, department or organisation, if not kept in check!
  • Greater Talent Mobility: Having a broader overview of your workforce, their skills and ‘potential’ will enable you to plan better. You will be able to see who are the ‘right people’ which can be mobilised into the ‘right positions’, at the ‘right time’, either externally through a recruitment campaign or internally via an internal ‘grow your own’ program.
  • Builds Resilience: Organisations are operating against a backdrop of VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity). Having visibility as to who has the right skills in your organisation, will enable the organisation to pivot and adjust quicker if/when disruption hits. If you don’t understand the skills of your employees you will not be able to respond quickly and may end up relying on ‘knee jerk’ responses which will slow progress.
  • Leverages the performance of your Human Capital. What got us here, won’t get us there’. Having visibility as to where the skills gaps lie in your organisation will enable you to identify training and development needs and better align employees with jobs they are more suitable for, i.e. ‘talent re-deployment. Better skilled and knowledgeable employees will contribute to higher performance. 

Change is coming, this is a given, the critical question now is: Are you going to be Proactive or Re-active?

The world is changing at a rapid rate and this presents a double edge sword for business. You can either take ‘first advantage’ of the opportunities that are on the horizon, or you can wake up one day and realize that not only your job, but also your industry as you know it, no longer exists.

The question for organisations now is not whether or not to introduce people analytics but when and how do we embed the structures, systems and mind-set in our companies to use data on our people in a way that values our humanity while simultaneously create the right eco-system and culture for organisations to ‘thrive’ in the disruptive times ahead.

I believe it’s now time when it’s not enough to know ‘why’, it’s time to know ‘how’…if the spirit moves you…discover how people analytics technologies and methods can support you on your transformation journey, connect with us here at: sharon.miller@human-bydesign.com.