Embedding learning in your values and practices

Growth mindset is a term that will be familiar to most learning professionals as well as many leaders.  The idea was developed by Stanford University psychologist Dr Carol Dweck based on her research into achievement and success.  The term often arises when we speak about enabling self-directed learning and building learning culture.  As a learning professional you may have even used it explicitly in some of your work.  However, few organisations have embraced it as fully as Shopify, an online platform that supports merchants to sell products and services.

Katrina Moss, the Learning Acceleration Lead at Shopify, is our guest in this episode.  We discuss how she came across the concept of growth mindset when she joined Shopify five years ago and was asked to read Dweck’s book on Mindset.  She gained insight into her personal experience with learning and recognised expressions of it in practices across the organisation.  We have an interesting discussion about how organisational values are identified and defined at Shopify in a very organic way.  Katrina championed the definition of a new organisational value – Be A Constant Learner.  In parallel she experimented with the use of growth mindset in the onboarding program, followed by leadership development.

Katrina continued to advocate for growth mindset and worked with a range of stakeholders to embed it, particularly in talent management process.  One standout element of this story is that over time this has truly become embedded so that it hasn’t faded or collapsed while Katrina has been on maternity leave in the past year.  Sadly, I’ve seen this happen in other organisations where the learning and development leader has championed a shift in mindset about learning and self-directed learning practices, but it hasn’t been baked into how things get done and when this person moves on the progress is lost.  If you are interested in both strengthening your own growth mindset and also in making enduring changes to learning culture in your organisation, tune in for Katrina’s tips.

Episode Highlights

– Katrina’s definition of growth mindset as ‘the belief and focus that you can continually improve,’ and how mindset oscillates for all of us.

– Katrina’s personal experience growing up with dyslexia and playing it safe as a learner at a young age.  How and why this shifted as an adult learner.  Reading Carol Dweck’s book Mindset and finding a language to understand her experiences.

– Katrina’s motivation to embed growth mindset into the fabric at Shopify.  Connecting it to existing practices such as quarterly ‘hack days’ and ‘Friday fails.’  Joining the dots and becoming more deliberate with practices across the organisation.

– Working closely with the Culture team to have the value ‘Be A Constant Learner’ formally adopted by the organisation.  Testing to see if this was true of the organisation rather than forcing it to be adopted.

– The three ‘buckets’ used to find and build instances of growth mindset: (1) culture and communication (2) systems and work practices (3) talent programs.

– Experimenting with growth mindset in the onboarding and leadership development programs.  A/B testing content and language.  Discovering that avoiding formality and keeping it conversational works best at Shopify.  Katrina shares some of the curated content they’ve used.

– Encouraging leaders to create the environment for growth mindset to thrive in their team – while simultaneously asking them to set clear expectations, maintain standards and hold people accountable.

– The challenges of making change stick in a fast-paced organisation: “It feels like you’re holding quicksand because everything’s moving all the time.”  How Katrina knows that growth mindset is now baked in to the organisation.

– Four key ingredients to cultivate growth mindset for yourself, and traps to avoid.

– Tips for introducing or deliberating using growth mindset in your organisation.

Episode Preview

Full Episode

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Learning Uncut Listener Competition – Be on our 2020 review episode

It’s been a truly amazing year for Learning Uncut.  The podcast launched in June 2018 sharing stories from learning professionals in Australia and New Zealand.  At the end of 2019 we had a little over 19,000 downloads.  In 2020 we went global, featuring guests from around the world.  We created two special series in response to the pandemic – the Disruption and Emergent series.  We kept up the cadence with regular case study episodes, bringing you a story every two weeks.  In early October the podcast hit 60,000 downloads.  Monthly listenership has more than doubled since July and we have now been downloaded in more than 101 countries around the globe.

To celebrate we’re running our first every listener competition.  The prize is for two listeners to join Michelle in a ‘2020 in Review’ episode.  We’ll discuss highlights, themes and what we’ve learned from the 26 regular episodes published in 2020.  English-speaking learning and development professionals from all around the world, at all levels of experience, are invited to participate.  Here’s how to enter:

  1. Leave a rating and review of Learning Uncut on the Apple Podcast platform.* Yes, reviews left in the past count.
  2. Email your responses to the following questions to natalie@michelleockers.com

– What name did you use to leave your review on Apple Podcast platform?

– What is your favourite episode of Learning Uncut published in 2020 and why?

– What is one thing you’ve tried or done differently based on something you’ve heard on Learning Uncut – and who did you hear it from?

– Do you give approval for your response to be used to promote Learning Uncut?

Complete both steps by 7 November.  Michelle will review all entries, looking for people who have learned something useful from the podcast and applied it in their work.  She will invite two listeners to join her to record the episode in the week starting 23 November.

* If you cannot use the Apple Podcast platform include your review in your email to Natalie along with your question responses.

Join the Conversation online

You can join in the conversation about all Learning Uncut episodes on LinkedIn and Twitter using the hashtag #LearningUncut.

Follow Michelle Ockers on LinkedIn to have posts about the podcast and other contemporary organisational learning topics appear in your feed.  Have a question for a guest?  Post it in the comments below the episode post and tag them.

Learning Uncut has accounts on Twitter and Instagram. Find and follow them at @learninguncut.



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