Ashish Devalekar is EVP & MD for Virtusa UK, Europe & Middle East, responsible for overseeing a robust team & driving growth.
In today’s digital world, companies are growing faster than ever. Unicorn companies are finding success within two to five years, hitting $1 billion valuations quickly. Social unicorns, including Snapchat and Pinterest, took a median of four years to reach billion dollar valuations and high traffic, while the likes of Uber and Lyft made it in a median of just three.
Every successful company has a common theme: a growth mindset. Leaders with this mindset constantly upgrade their talent and playbook, learn from their surroundings and the experiences they’ve encountered. They believe in being challenged, and they create high-performing teams that like to do better and be faster than yesterday.
One of the key traits I’ve seen in people with a growth mindset is their positive approach to business. When they are questioned, they don’t act defensive. Instead, they try to add a new perspective. They lead by example.
Having a growth mindset is also key to sustaining success. Take Cristiano Ronaldo, the incredible Portuguese soccer player who has dominated European soccer leagues for more than a decade. There are very few players who stay at the top of their game for that many years, yet Ronaldo has kept his mindset, dedication and motivation intact. Over the years, there have been many other great soccer players who get the opportunity to grab that No. 1 spot, but very few can sustain that position.
In today’s dynamic market, the companies that can challenge the status quo and have the perseverance and ability to withstand market disruptions will be the ones to grow. Technology is rapidly changing, industry boundaries are blurring, new business models are emerging, and operating models are changing. The companies that nurture a growth mindset, especially in the digital world, will lead the way.
Here’s how companies can begin the shift to a growth mindset:
1. Focus on learning and scaling up.
Companies that focus on continual learning and upskilling are better positioned for long-term success. Scaling up is the ultimate goal and preparing your team with learning courses, and regular mentoring lays the right foundation. LinkedIn CEO Ryan Roslansky suggests a skill-based approach to hiring and retaining employees is the future of work and believes you shouldn’t have to switch companies to get ahead. Promoting ongoing learning internally is how you better prepare your employees to grow.
2. Set up an innovation hub for external and internal stakeholders.
Create a digital or physical space where your employees, clients and customers can learn and collaborate. Encourage innovative thinking, and empower people to push the limits. Internally, establish regular connections with your employees to enable them with the time and space required to focus on creativity without distractions. Booz Allen Hamilton’s iHubs are a great example. They have six centers around the country, equipped with maker lab spaces full of people collaborating on new technologies.
3. Focus on peer-to-peer learning
Employees can learn a great deal when working together with a colleague. Employees can learn a great deal when working together with a colleague, including organization, collaboration, feedback and even skills that hone their professional development.Google implemented its own version called the Googler-to-Googler network, which currently boasts more than 6,000 volunteer employees who are learning from each other in myriad ways.
4. Stay ahead on new trends and technologies – and think beyond business as usual
Whether it’s devoting time daily to technology news and industry publications or attending industry conferences and tech events, staying on top of important news is critical. Sign up for “new feature” alerts from technology’s leading platforms like Apple, Microsoft, Google and Amazon, and don’t forget to keep an eye on what’s happening in the open source community.
Keeping your day-to-day operations running smoothly is important, but it’s crucial to always be thinking of ways to optimize or innovate to get to the next level. “That’s the way we’ve always done it,” is not the correct answer in any brainstorming session or process/product assessment. Take Amazon. The company worked tirelessly to meet the surging demand for quick delivery and safe shopping during the pandemic. Their readiness to innovate helped them stay ahead of competitors.
5. Feedback is key to accelerate learning and foster the culture accordingly
One way to encourage feedback across an organization is to ask for ideas and feedback from the entire company, not just leadership or key stakeholders. Listen to what your employees from all levels have to say, and never be defensive. Employees will model how their leadership behaves. Netflix understands the importance of open employee feedback so well, it’s included in three of the company’s five cultural beliefs that set the tone for employee behavior in the workplace.
6. Recruit high-potential team members
Spend time in the recruitment process to find employees who mirror the company’s culture, have a proven track record of hard work and creative thinking, and who will challenge you and your leadership team. Once you bring them onboard, make sure they hire people who challenge them.
Twitter, Microsoft and Amazon recruit – and retain – top talent using many different strategies. Some include full college reimbursement programs, generous compensation and perks packages and Microsoft boosts 37 espresso bars, 33 cafes, and more than 500 stocked kitchenettes in addition to a sports field for employee use.
I believe in building high-performance teams and have always hired people smarter than me: challengers, innovators and go-getters. We have a keen focus on upskilling and upgrading our playbooks to disrupt the industry and markets we operate in. We have constant feedback sessions, including the two-by-two matrix, and a healthy gamified environment to foster growth. Our aim is to achieve visionary success, and we are on track through our growth mindset!