8th October 2020

3 tips for creating a growth mindset in the workplace

7th March, 2019

Tom Caulfield & James Whittle

Almost 3 years ago to the day, my friend and business partner James Whittle and I stepped onto solid land in Barbados, having just spent 54 days at sea, aboard a 7 metre rowing boat. We had managed to cross the Atlantic Ocean, 3000 miles, powered purely by the stroke of our oars, totally unsupported. We had overcome hurricanes, a severe nighttime capsize, and a very close call with a passing tanker. People talk about pivotal moments in their careers, investments raised, pitches won, their first hire. Well this was ours, and what a weird and wonderful trajectory it set us upon.

After rowing the Atlantic, we landed back into London with a new outlook and mindset. We had realised our true potential, and our perception of risk had been flipped on its head. If we could row an ocean, we could run a business. So, with haste, we resigned from our comfortable jobs, and took The Tempest Two full-time.

Since that day, our career has led us to take on adventures all over the world, from the wilderness of Patagonia, the dunes of the Sahara and snow-capped summits of mountains. We have worked with brands from Nike to Dropbox, creating content and stories that champion the everyday person, and show that ordinary people can achieve the extraordinary with the right mindset. This life of adventure and exploration, naturally led us into the world of motivational speaking. As we recounted our journey, we soon realised the powerful lessons we had gained, and how transferable they were to the workplace. 

So how can employers create an environment that promotes growth? We have broken down our top 3 learnings, which will have the greatest impact on you personally, and the team around you:

The power of habit
We are firm believers that to grow, improve and reach new heights, habits are the foundation of your success. There is no point in setting lofty goals if you do not establish a pathway of habits to enable you to succeed. In our goal setting workshops, people find it easy to establish a finish-line, maybe it is losing weight, or buying a house, but creating behaviour change to achieve that goal is the tricky part. We try to embed easy to maintain daily habits that link to the goal. For example, if you wanted to become less stressed at work, 10 minutes of meditation before breakfast would be something that you could do on a daily basis, to help focus and clear the mind. Want to lose weight? Lay out your running kit next to your bed at night. This cues the action to run in the morning. We recommend writing down your daily schedule, and finding areas where you can place positive habits. The results are remarkable.

Embracing risk & failure
In many businesses we work with, there is a fear of failure in individuals and teams alike. In a culture where mistakes are condemned, and risk avoided, there is no room for innovation or progress. From adventure, we have learnt the benefits of operating outside your comfort zone. After three weeks at sea, we went through a storm, that in hindsight was a tipping point on our journey. We went into the chaos as novices and reemerged as experts. We had pushed ourselves so far outside of our comfort zone, for so long, we excelled. If you regularly break through your self-conceived boundaries, the rate of growth is rapid. It is human nature to stay on the well-trodden path, do what you know and do it well. But if you make a habit of veering from the norm, trying something new and pushing yourself to failure, you will find out things about yourself you never knew existed. Do not waste your own potential. Celebrate failure, learn from it, and grow.

Communication & Teamwork
A team full of high-performers who do not collaborate or work as one is a squandered resource. We have learnt the hard way on expeditions that lack of communication causes monumental issues. If an employee understands the strengths and weaknesses of the group around them, and is comfortable in asking for help, conveying their opinion and sharing success, the impact is undeniable. It is no co-incidence that communication is the number one priority amongst title winning sports teams, or elite special forces units. Make it so within your working environment. One tip for this is to enforce critical feedback. Too often, people are overly kind. They don’t want to make their opinion known if it goes against the social norm. In meetings, have a round of feedback on everything discussed, give people (regardless of titles or seniority) the forum to critique each-other, nothing personal, nothing harsh, just honest feedback. We have found that open, candid communication leads to a greater sense of personal purpose towards the group goal, and brings with it emotional relief from understanding.

These three points alone aren’t going to change your life, or turn your team into mindful assassins, but what they can do is act as a tiny spark, the first step in a longer journey to becoming a master of growth mindset. Setting yourself ambitious goals is the first step, then actioning the above will give you the tools to achieve them.

If one of you reading this article takes a second to evaluate your own potential, and starts on a journey to redefine it, then you have made our day.

If we can do it, trust me, anyone can! Get out there and crush it.

Tom Caulfield & James Whittle

Professional adventurers, motivational speakers and founders of Dose, a workplace wellbeing company who’s mission is to unleash the potential in workforces around the globe. 

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