Is Your Growth Mindset Holding You Back?

Written by Carol Coughlin. Posted in Operations Management, Uncategorized

While setting new growth goals yearly is something most CEOs are familiar with, we rarely stop to ask how our mindset is impacting the goals we set – and our company’s ability to reach them.

It matters because how we view our company’s ability to grow, and our perspective about growth in general, can point us toward setting goals that keep our companies at a standstill, or goals that result in significant forward motion.

So, as you conduct your end-of-year planning, I recommend using the questions below to check in on your growth mindset.

As you answer, just notice where your growth mindset is helping you grow your company and where it’s holding you back. Then simply ask:

How is my perspective on (FILL IN THE BLANK FROM THE QUESTIONS THAT FOLLOW) helping or hindering the growth decisions you make? Does my perspective need to change? 


Growth Mindset Questions

What’s your perspective on your company’s past performance? Do you feel it’s right where it should be? Better? Not as good? If your company’s past performance is good, to who or what do you credit? The smart decisions you and your team made? Luck? What about when things go south?


What’s your perspective on the strength of your team? Do you feel like you’re in a room of people smarter than you? Do you perceive that you have a lot of weak links? Do you expect that your team is going to deliver great ideas for the future? Or do you expect them to drop the ball?


What’s your perspective on your company’s offerings? Do you believe your offerings are as strong as your competitors’ are? Stronger? Weaker? Do you feel confident when talking about your products and/or services – that others need to hear about them? Or do you think no one wants to hear?


What’s your perspective on “selling” generally? Do you believe selling is a bad word? Do you perceive you’re delivering value by selling? Do you expect to get a no or a yes? What’s your perception of your sales process? Exciting? Boring? Do you love or dread attending a sales meeting?


What’s your perspective on the economy? What do you believe the economy holds for the future of your company? Do you feel in control of your company’s success? Or do you feel at the mercy of outside forces?


What’s your perspective on business growth generally? Does growing feel comfortable or uncomfortable? Attainable or impossible? Do you believe the growth of your company has a larger purpose? Or that it’s not relevant to any
one but you?


Of course, often the best insights for business growth come not from business, but from life.

Carol and Archie-web

I began riding horses five years ago for an additional challenge and, frankly, because I love the animals. It didn’t occur to me in the beginning that I would ever want to compete. However, just riding around in circles didn’t feel right to me – I needed a goal to work towards. Enter the world of jumping. So, like all new riders, I started with trotting over ground poles and after awhile I made it to a 12-inch jump – and I’m proud. Yet, I sometimes downplay that accomplishment when I perceive others won’t think 12 inches is high. So, I keep that in mind when I notice a client missing the significance of a benchmark or setting an end goal, but not the smaller steps to get there.

Additionally, thanks to a push from my fabulous trainer, Cindy, my horse Archie and I now have a bigger goal. We’re adding a half-foot for an 18-inch jump (kind of like growing company from $5M to $10M) and we’re also going for a series of jumps. Believe me, this is not in my comfort zone, but I know that Archie will help me get there – he is very experienced and reliable – and now it’s a goal I want to shout to world, which of course makes me accountable for achieving it, too.

CEOs often grow their companies using strategies that feel comfortable, but slow success. The sooner you can see that comfort is holding the reins and, therefore, holding your company back, the better. Plus, having the right guides and team to help you get there, like Cindy and Archie, makes all of the difference in the world.

The lesson is simple. It’s important to keep checking in to make sure our mindset isn’t preventing us from raising the bar to that very profitable next half-foot.


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BottomLine’s Growth Advisor is an opportunity to work one-on-one with Carol Coughlin and make a high-return investment in your company’s future.

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Carol Coughlin

Carol Coughlin founded BottomLine Growth Strategies, Inc., in 2006 as a way for small and medium-sized businesses to access the same high-level financial and operational expertise that gives large companies a distinct advantage. Using her own extensive corporate experience and willingness to sit in the hot seat as a catalyst, Carol helps BottomLine Growth clients climb to the summit of their success.
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