Dr. Carol Dweck, a Stanford University psychologist, engaged in decades of research on achievement and discovered that it wasn’t just native intelligence and skills that predicted a person’s ability to achieve, but their mindset. She coined the terms “fixed mindset” and “growth mindset” to distinguish between two very different approaches to learning.
A person with a fixed mindset wants to appear smart and accomplished but they tend to avoid challenges to make sure they don’t fail. They also tend to give up when the going gets tough and feel threatened by negative feedback.
Successful title agents almost universally know that change is a constant—even in a fairly conservative industry such as ours. But not every employee is eager for change. This can be true especially when it comes to adopting and using new technologies.
In her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Dweck wrote, “The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives.”
What Dweck and her fellow researchers further discovered was that creating an environment where students were encouraged to take on new challenges and providing feedback in positive and non-threatening ways helped shift the fixed mindset to a growth mindset.
This is a great model for companies who want to grow. Spreadsheets are great for planning where and how you want to grow, but ultimately developing a culture that fosters a growth mindset in individuals and teams is the best impetus to achieve that growth. And, while a decline in mortgage volume is predicted this year, there’s still a huge opportunity for growth for those who can adapt and change with the market.
Here are a few ideas you can easily implement.
Cross train your staff
One of the key ideas that emerged from Dweck’s research is that the brain is incredibly malleable, and people are capable of learning and growing in quite dramatic ways. Managers tend to pigeonhole people based on their education or the resume they walked in with. But most employees have far greater potential than what you see on paper. Especially when technologies like Alanna can free them from tedious and repetitive tasks to focus on more complex endeavors.
Cross training, especially in the title insurance industry, not only provides wider resources for the company to tap into during busy times, but it also sends a powerful message to your valued employee that you see greater things for them ahead.
As part of the annual review, ask your employees to select a growth area and make sure they are given access to formal off-site training, on-the-job training or mentoring throughout the year to help them explore and develop new skills. Employees tend to be more loyal to companies who take an active interest in assisting them with their professional growth.
Host brainstorming sessions
There is nothing more fun than a brainstorming session (especially on a Friday afternoon—as long as it’s not the last day of the month)! Create opportunities throughout the year to bring teams together from the different departments or offices to do some creative thinking together. This sends a clear message to your employees that you value their input and ideas. Make sure everyone is instructed to avoid any disparaging comments or putdowns during brainstorming. Everyone gets heard!
Reward skill development and risk taking
If you have employees who take the time to develop new skills, go the extra mile in their daily work or bring new ideas to the table, make sure you take the time to publicly acknowledge their effort and reward them in tangible ways. Your other employees will take notice and begin to appreciate the opportunities a growth culture can offer them as well.
Provide tools for success
It goes without saying that your employees cannot succeed without the proper tools at hand. If you want your employees to have the bandwidth to improve their skills and come up with creative ideas for growth, it is helpful to streamline their work as much as possible.
Alanna helps title agencies of all sizes by taking on many of their repetitive communication tasks, freeing up your staff to provide improved customer service and develop those creative ideas you need to help you grow your company.