Skillset New Zealand Blog

Ideas to help your team develop personally and professionally.

Growth mindset? Think of it as the key to resilience and success.

People and teams with a growth mindset believe that success is the result of effort. They believe that setbacks are learning opportunities.

(People and teams with a fixed mindset believe setbacks are a sign that they don't have the intelligence or talent to succeed - and there's nothing they can do about it.)

To develop a growth mindset in your team and individual employees (or children):

  • Praise effort, perseverence, cooperation, strategies and resilience - never intelligence or talent. (You'll be praising what they can change.)
  • Accept that setbacks are just part of learning and eventual success and talk to them that way
  • Ask 'what can you learn from what happened?'
  • Praise those who take on challenging projects. (Don't just wait till they succeed.)
  • Face reality. If they didn't deserve to succeed let them know - diplomatically ('I think you'll need more effort/cooperation/planning next time.)
  • Tell them that disappointment and frustration are natural, even for resilient people. It's what they do next that matters.
  • Make your praise proportionate and specific. ('Well done. Your perseverance paid off.' Not, 'fabulous job!')


Our knowlege of growth and fixed mindsets is the result of three decades of research by Carol Dweck, Professor of Psychology, Stanford University.

Interested in a workshop on team leadership or resilience?


So you want to lose weight, buy a yacht, or retire young and in good health?.

Imagining success helps, but it isn't enough. Positivity and optimism help too, but  probably not enough to get you through the inevitable setbacks. 

Here's my summary of the best evidence available - from researchers who have tested various techniques on large numbers of goal-strivers.

  1. Write a specific goal  Base it on the SMART acronym (but remembering that SMART is only a start).
  2. Decide the purpose of that goal so that you can keep reminding yourself of it: "I want to lose weight so that I can play sport/have fun with the kids...'
  3. Write mini-goals so that when you achieve them you will know you are on your way to achieving your ultimate goal
  4. Tie the behaviours you want to inevitable events (more).
  5. Stay realistically optimistic, generally positive, but accepting that setbacks are part of the challenge.
  6. Plan what you will do if you encounter a setback or obstacle to your goal.
  7. Review your progress regularly and write the results. Ideally, tell other people about your progress.
  8. If you are not making enough progress, brainstorm behaviours that will be more productive.
  9. Forgive lapses and get yourself back on track asap.

Recognise some things you are doing already? Good, but 'I knew that' is also a trap. What really matters is whether we are making the most of those ideas - using every one that's relevant to us.

Let's be realistic. Achieving goals is hard, unless the goals are so easy they're just a 'to do' list. Most people give up within a few weeks. People whose goal is to change entrenched behaviours, such as smoking, usually need several attempts.

We improve our chances if we see achieving goals as a process, not an exam that we pass or fail. Use the list to stay focused.


Interested in a workshop on achieving goals for your team? Contact us. We'll put you in touch with a trainer, not a salesperson.



About Ralph Brown

ralph brown blog3

Ralph is our founder and managing director. He has a background in psychology, television journalism and business.

Ralph's passions are psychology and writing. He leads workshops on both and speaks to conferences on the psychology of thriving at work.

In 2011  Professional Speakers Australia awarded him its top speaking accreditation, the CSP.

He has written six books and more than a hundred articles on psychology and writing. International research journals have published his articles reviewing the research on resilience.

Ralph enjoys trips to France. He lives in rural Canterbury.

Interested in training in business writing?

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Interested in training to develop your teams’ resilience?

Discover what top achievers do when the going gets tough.

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