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Creating a growth mindset

Ian Johnston (Senn Delaney, A Heidrick & Struggles Company, London, UK)

Strategic HR Review

ISSN: 1475-4398

Article publication date: 14 August 2017




This paper aims to show that everything a business does is fundamentally reliant on its culture. Culture determines how successful a strategy is and whether that strategy can be executed. If the culture in a business is out of alignment, it is imperative to change it. This paper examines how HR professionals can take ownership of this cultural space and help to create a growth mindset throughout the organisation.


The paper is based on experience gained through working with several large organisations to transform their people culture and performance by embracing a growth mindset and to help their HR leadership become the early champions of change, thus ensuring the process was successfully delivered. The paper includes case studies of two organisations where successful cultural shaping delivered improved results.


Companies with a growth mindset will outperform those with a fixed mindset. Changing mindsets is not overly complex, but it requires flawless implementation with the HR leaders at the forefront.


As Lou Gerstner, who turned around the computing giant IBM, said “I finally realised that culture is not part of the game, it is the game”. By understanding how individual mindsets impact culture, HR professionals can own and drive their organisation’s culture-shaping efforts.



Johnston, I. (2017), "Creating a growth mindset", Strategic HR Review, Vol. 16 No. 4, pp. 155-160.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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