Half-year end is now upon us. In many organisations, individuals, managers and senior executives will be reviewing progress on important projects and against targets. Some things may be ahead of target or results may not be as good as expected. How people react to these situations reveals a lot about their mindset and can have a meaningful impact on future performance.

Fixed Mindset

People with a fixed mindset tend to believe that achievement and performance are due to intelligence and natural talent. Any successes will be attributed to these characteristics. When things aren’t going so well, those with a fixed mindset will tend to start looking for someone to blame and will react negatively to critical feedback. This approach would be similar to blaming a lost tennis match on the weather, court, umpire, balls… In the long run, this approach leads to lower performance.

Growth Mindset

In contrast, people with a growth mindset believe that achievement and performance are mostly due to learning, practice and hard work. Intelligence and talent may form a base but it isn’t enough to perform well over time. Those with a growth mindset seek out feedback to help them improve when they are underperforming and when they are performing well, they view problems as ways to learn rather than as failures, and will collaborate with others who can help them learn and improve. High performance is seen as a journey. Continuing the tennis analogy, using a growth mindset approach, you would review your strengths and weaknesses after the match, think of the match as a learning experience and work with a coach to improve your game. This approach leads to better performance over time.

Mindset is Not Fixed

People can have a fixed mindset in some areas of their lives (e.g. “I’m terrible at public speaking”) and a growth mindset in other areas (e.g. “I’m learning how to be more persuasive”). Everyone can develop a growth mindset over time by changing their attitudes and behaviours.

Improve Performance with a Growth Mindset

Coming back to half-year results – whether you are on track, ahead or behind target, there are a few ways to use a growth mindset approach to set yourself up for a strong end-of-year performance. Take a look through our top 3 tips below:

1. Review Performance

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Ask for feedback

This could be from colleagues, managers or customers. Feedback will help you identify what you are doing well and where you could improve. Don’t ignore feedback that feels challenging – this will usually provide insight that will help you perform better in the future.

Critically review performance

Teams and organisations with learning cultures tend to share information. Be open about performance. Recognise what has been achieved so far, praise effort and progress towards goals, and clearly communicate what still needs to be done.

Focus on what still needs to be done

Research on goal-setting indicates that people are more likely to achieve their goals if they focus on how far there is to go (to-go thinking) compared to if they focus on how much they have achieved so far (to-date thinking) (Koo & Fishbach, 2008). To-date thinking can lead to a premature sense of achievement.

2. Adapt Your Plan


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Use new information

Your objectives for the year may be the same, but the plan you started with at the beginning of the year may no longer be the best. Circumstances have changed, new information is available, and you have feedback about what is and isn’t working.

Consider obstacles

Re-iterate your objectives, review how you’re going to get there, consider possible obstacles and adjust your approach based on new information and what you have learnt from experience.

Plan how to overcome them

Contrasting objectives and potential obstacles helps to mentally clarify what you need to do.

3. Communicate and Collaborate

Illustration of people talking and shaking hands

Focus people on shared objectives

Teams and organisations with learning cultures tend to share information. Be open about performance. Recognise what has been achieved so far, praise effort and progress towards goals, and clearly communicate what still needs to be done.

Encourage open communication

Don’t stigmatise underperformance – this will shut down communication. Be open to learning from other people.

Involve people with diverse views

Mindset Advantage Personal Report Shown on a Smartphone held in a handIf things are not on track (or even if they are), engage with people with a diverse set of views. They will help you see problems from different perspectives and may well help move you towards achieving your goals and objectives.

Use these growth mindset tips now and throughout the year to propel your performance forward. To find out more about further growth mindset solutions, please click here.

To better understand your mindset or the mindset of your staff, take our growth mindset psychometric tool, Mindset Advantage.


Koo, M., & Fishbach, A. (2008). Dynamics of self-regulation: How (un)accomplished goal actions affect motivation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 94(2), 183-195.