Believing in the “Power of Yet”
February 3, 2020 by Lynn Faughey
In our recent article “Learning to Unlearn,” Rose talked about how “unlearning can be helpful because while experience is a valuable resource, it can also limit us when we have preconceived notions of what may happen.” Rose points out that when tasked with a problem, our natural course of action is to rely on what we already know to find a solution.
This is certainly a logical approach, but can also be somewhat limiting. What if the solution lies not in what we already know, but in what we have yet to learn?
According to Stanford University researcher Carol Dweck, there are two types of students – those with a fixed mindset and those with a growth mindset. Dweck states that students with a fixed mindset, ”… believe that their abilities are fixed, so if they fail at a task that must mean they are incapable of it and should never try it again.” Conversely, students with a growth mindset, “… believe that their abilities grow through trying new things, even if they fail. They tend to see failure as uncomfortable but useful and important.”
These are the people who don’t give up when success isn’t immediate. They persevere through adversity and they push ahead when the odds are against them. In conjunction with the growth mindset, Dweck also talks about the “power of yet.”
Those who favor a growth mindset haven’t failed in a task – they just haven’t succeeded … yet. They don’t give up when they don’t know the answer – they just haven’t found the answer … yet. By not setting limits to what’s possible, whether you realize it or not, you’ve subscribed to the “power of yet.”
Our mantra at FlexPro is that we are lifelong learners. We embrace a growth mindset because we know that we cannot put a limit on knowledge and learning. We believe in the “power of yet” and seek to hire people who recognize that they don’t always need to have all the answers now.
As project managers, we should encourage growth and learning. There will always be projects that don’t go as planned and offer unexpected challenges. As a team we don’t necessarily have all the answers … yet. That’s the distinction between the fixed and growth mindsets.
My team will never succeed with an attitude of “it can’t be done” or “it won’t work.” The type of people I want on my team have the mindset of, “I don’t know the answer … yet” or “I haven’t figured it out … yet.” One thing I know for sure is that my team will never succeed by giving up. A fixed mindset will simply not work in project management.
I believe the “power of yet” works hand-in-hand with the power of positive thinking. If you want to foster a growth mindset, you have to believe you can improve and change. Negative thoughts can only lead to negative results. Not having the answer now should never be a dead end, but all too often those with fixed mindsets allow it to become their failure.
I want to build my team with people who see those setbacks as opportunities – people who love a challenge and enjoy the chance to expand their knowledge in the pursuit of answers. As I continue to work on my growth mindset, I recognize that I’ll never have all the answers – nor do I want to! Where’s the fun in that?
I love a good challenge and am always excited about learning. There’s still so much I don’t know … yet!