The Growth Mindset

The Growth Mindset Comes to Work

The truly successful are open to learning from anyone, anywhere, at any time. Just take it from some of the world’s master innovators

In school they teach our kids to be “lifelong learners,” but few parents heed that sage advice. In reality, there are too few hours in the day and too many mundane tasks to find the time to dive deep into a subject we should know more about. Nevertheless, the most successful business leaders make the time. As AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson once told the New York Times, “There is a need to retool yourself, and you should not expect to stop.”

Employees and leaders need to keep up with industry innovations, but there’s more to personal growth than just downloading the latest tech. Learning any new skill opens up pathways in the brain and shows the rest of the team that you’re intellectually curious, agile, and able to add new tools to your box. It also means, as innovation and disruption become the new normal, you’ll be nimble enough to learn, adapt, and remain relevant. Succeeding at work is no longer about mastery — that was true for an earlier age when products and markets evolved gradually. Today, sales professionals are expected to be on top of trends as they emerge. What does that mean? That FOMO might actually drive success in the modern age.

To encourage learning outside of its employees’ typical wheelhouse, Collective[i], one of the fastest growing companies in sales technology, hosts a weekly “Intelligence Briefing” designed to ensure that internal groupthink is offset by the perspectives of business leaders who are on the cusp of redefining how we work and live. “I feel it’s my obligation as a leader to ensure that our entire team is aware of the changes being talked about by my peers when we go to Davos, TED, or any other outlet where senior leadership compare notes and ideas on how to stay ahead of the curve,” says Tad Martin, CEO of Collective[i]. Here, we share wisdom collected from dozens of Intelligence Briefings — true lessons from master innovators in their chosen field.

Meet the Master Innovators

Mindy Grossman, CEO of WW International (formerly Weight Watchers) – @mindygrossman

Danny Meyer, founder & CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group and founder of Shake Shack – @dhmeyer

Dick Costolo, Partner, 01 Advisors and former CEO of Twitter – @dickc

Koley Corte, SVP and Global Head of Business Transformation at AllianceBernstein

Sam Liccardo, Mayor of San Jose – @sliccardo

Mike Krieger, Co-founder of Instagram – @mikeyk

Meredith Kopit Levien, COO of The New York Times – @meredith_levien

Allen Blue, Co-Founder of LinkedIn – @allenb

Eric Danetz, Global CRO of AccuWeather – @ericdanetz

Rosie Rios, 43rd Treasurer of the United States – @RosieRios

On…the importance of employees

Mindy Grossman
“You need your employees to be your greatest evangelists. You need to do what you can to unlock the potential in them to ignite growth.”

Danny Meyer
“Our most important stakeholder is the people who work for us. For anyone to thrive, we all must thrive. We’ve learned over time that our customers will never measurably be happier than the people working in the restaurant.”

Allen Blue
“Once you enter the growth phase of your business, you need to actively focus on culture. Leaders and managers demonstrate in nearly every meeting how our culture and values function in the company. We now have a culture at LinkedIn that is unrivalled.”

On…understanding the needs of the buyer

Meredith Kopit Levien
“Being in sales, you study someone else’s business to prepare for a meeting, you go out and put yourself in their businesses’ problem to help them solve it. Sales training gives the mechanical ability to work across functions and get great work out of people who don’t work for you.”

Eric Danetz
“Salespeople need to be focused on the end goal; making money is the byproduct. What are you focused on achieving? What does your future look like and how are you going to interact with the customer to get there? Because that’s what’s going to pave the way to that future.”

Mindy Grossman
“The reason I was so successful in sales is that I never sold anything. Nobody likes to be sold, they want to know that people feel their pain points and whatever their need is. I tried to determine people’s needs and satisfy them around whatever my product was.”

On… embracing innovation — constantly

Sam Liccardo
“I want to see us move to a world where we ensure that every human being has a way to get the skills and education they need to be successful in a world that is rapidly changing in technology.”

Danny Meyer
“We don’t have a monopoly on great ideas or great culture. Investing in businesses that are like-spirited and exchanging intelligence between our businesses is helping them and us get smarter.”

Koley Corte
“Evolution funds revolution. By making continuous improvements, adapting, and going on a journey with your customers, you’re extending the current supply chain and creating actual benefits which flow through to your ability to invest in potential disruption.”

Meredith Kopit Levien
“Any business, any brand — no matter how valuable it is — really has to imagine that the world and habits are changing so fast that it might go away. You have to accept the possibility of your own oblivion.”

Eric Danetz
“In this market it’s incredibly important to understand the technology, and understand how to have an edge as a business. You need to have foresight and be progressive so that you’re moving with the overall ecosystem.”

Rosie Rios
“What’s so interesting about technology is that it compounds and changes drastically. Whatever you say today, three years from now it might be obsolete.”

On…leadership

Dick Costolo
“The CEO has to be the Chief User Officer. They have to use their product to understand how it really works in the world.”

Koley Corte
“In order to be relevant, we have to continue to evolve, while also delivering. You have to always be keeping things afloat while moving forward and adapting.”

Mike Krieger
“It’s the unpredicted part that really bites you — you have to be uber-focused on what you’re doing and hone your ability to understand the problems you’re solving.”

Rosie Rios
“Currency institutionalizes our history, and women are invisible in the United States. It was difficult, some people don’t want to change, but I remained focused on making women a part of our narrative by placing a woman on U.S. currency.”

Meredith Kopit Levien
“So much of business is about lateral leadership. It’s deep cross-functional collaboration, getting excellence out of people who aren’t in your chain of command and over whom you have no authority.”

Eric Danetz
“You often make the transition from player to a coach when you are presented with the biggest challenge you have to solve for as a leader. There’s usually a catalyst that creates the epiphany of, “it’s not about me, but transitioning to the ‘we’.”

On…risk-taking and creating change

Danny Meyer
“One of our ‘Family Values’ is an entrepreneurial spirit. This is an openness to change, an openness to disrupting ourselves.”

Eric Danetz
“If I could go back to the start of my career I would have taken more risks. In sales I had the opportunity to take many more risks, especially given the evolution of our marketplace…I was talking to Yahoo before Yahoo was Yahoo.”

Mindy Grossman
“It’s important to take a risk for what you believe in. Not taking the risk is riskier. Risk-taking and boldness are the essence of transformation.”

Koley Corte
“It’s easy to get frustrated when you are trying to make a change because people are risk-averse. To achieve what we want to, I have learned that I have to bring people on the journey. There’s no one who wants to move faster than I do, but how can we make this work? How can we make it move faster?”

Dick Costolo
“Whatever risks you are worried about taking, take them. People always over-price risk and under-price rewards. People think the risk is too risky and the reward won’t be enough. That is the complete opposite of my experience.”

Sam Liccardo
“For those who are willing to take the risk, there are enormous opportunities where technology can enable us to try innovative things and have a real impact. We’ve got a lot of really big problems on this planet that can only be tackled by innovation at scale.”

On…solving big problems creatively

Mike Krieger
“When solving for problems you need to inform yourself every way you can rather than by guessing. Sometimes you need to get out of the building to understand the user experience.”

Rosie Rios
“There was no playbook during the 2008 financial crisis, one of the most consequential times in our economic history. We had to hit the ground running as the sky was still falling. We worked collectively, regardless of political party, to get what we had to get done.”

Allen Blue
“I’m an unlikely technologist with a drama background. Back then, the internet industry was made up of people who came from everywhere. There were no rules, and no one had any idea what the expectations were or what the skill sets needed to be. Nowadays, we could really use more people with non-traditional backgrounds — like drama majors! — going into internet companies.”

Meredith Kopit Levien
“We’re in a period of extreme change in business. The tech transformation of everything means that so much about the markets we are all operating in now is undetermined. Often the answers are outside the building. Whatever your product is, you need to listen.”

Mindy Grossman
“It’s really important for businesses today to create a culture that allows for creativity and innovation. Companies that don’t allow for a modicum of flexibility are not going to get the greatest talent.”

Sam Liccardo
“The extent to which we can integrate technology solutions in challenges around equality is increasingly attractive. It’s not easy, there’s no smartphone app around homelessness. But we are looking for answers to how we make technology more inclusive and impactful for people who are struggling.”

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