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Ten Goals For Developing A Growth Mindset – Part 2 – Growing Others

Written by: Prof. Dr. Frank Lee Harper, Jr., Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


This article continues my discussion on “Growth Mindset," the “G” in A.G.I.L.E.—the first quality of “The Agile Leadership Framework™”—which requires seasoned and aspiring leaders to become flexible. The first article overviewed the ten growth goals for developing a Growth Mindset. The article shared snippets of the first six (6) of the ten growth goals to provide nuggets to growing yourself. Once you become a leader, your value is measured by how well you grow others. Here I will focus on the final four (4) growth goals to help seasoned and aspiring develop others.

Growth Mindset written on a memo sticker.

Recall my motto “Leaders Are Born to Be Made!" Achieving the responsibility and accountability of becoming a great leader requires character, awareness, courage, and communication. Character is the infrastructure. It is the backbone of agile leadership built on trust based on various attributes. Awareness is insight. Here emotional intelligence (EQ) is vital. EQ awareness is self-awareness and then others' awareness. In other words, to empathetically connect with others, you must fully "know thyself" before you can come to know or connect with others. The list of things many people don't understand includes:

  • Why they behave the way they behave, react the way they respond, or believe what they believe;

  • Why do people annoy and rub them incorrectly, or why do they care about specific issues and not others;

  • Why do they feel comfortable in particular environments but not others;

  • Why do they feel frustrated, stressed, angry, anxious, nervous, and uncertain in certain situations where others do not; and

  • Why do they need help staying focused, disciplined, consistent, and sustaining self-control on those things they say they are committed to.

Most will find that upon self-assessing themself; they don't know themself at all. Courage is initiative. To quote Aristotle, “Courage is the first human virtue because it makes all the others possible.” Leaders must have the will, strength, and confidence to go outside their comfort zone. And finally, communication is the influence demonstrated by having the ability to connect and move people into action.

Developing these pillars of outstanding leadership [character, awareness, courage, and communication] start with individual growth, specified in article one, and then translates into the individual growing others. In focusing on growing others, this article emphasizes “Leader of many” in the following phrase:

“Leader of one; Leader of many; If you can’t lead one; you can’t lead any.” ‒ Dr. Frank L. Harper, Jr.

Help Grow Leaders By Teaching

Individual growth to become a leader requires achieving the first six (6) goals discussed in the first article: understand the terrain, seize the opportunity, find a mentor, radiate zeal, work with tenacity, and give mind-boggling service. Once you have become a leader, your role is to grow others. Great leaders accomplish this by achieving the final four (4) goals: build a team, do more with less, notch it upward and onward, and give back to your community. These are the focus of this article. The more these goals are present in a business and life, the more the practitioner develops. The following presents snippets of information about each. A detailed discussion of each appears in my book, "A.G.I.L.E. L.E.A.D.E.R.S.H.I.P. with a G.R.I.P.™: A TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY JOURNEY: From Street Hustler to Strategic Hustler™.”

Growth Goal No. 7 Build a team

Objective: Create a high-performance, results-oriented, and customer-driven team that consistently deliver value to the customer.

This type of team can only be created by a leader who demonstrates the previous pillars of outstanding leadership.

As an athlete, you learn the value of being a great teammate and having great teammates. As a coach, you understand the importance of building a team that does the job. Having been both, I confidently argue that successful leaders/entrepreneurs thrive on the experience of others. We all lack some of the deftness required to maneuver expanding enterprise, so enlisting cohorts to fill in the voids—and in some cases, straddle the chasm. You must be a super team builder who can quickly put the puzzle pieces in place. This means finding players with compensating talents, enthusiasm for teamwork, and fervor for the startup environment. Bringing in strong team members early, then sharing the credit and rewards is critical to getting new ventures over the inevitable humps of being an entrepreneur. Leaders who hold on to everything and try to do it all themselves usually sputter and then tumble. Through teamwork, a good leader delivers solutions through effective delegation. Here are my thoughts on teamwork.

1. Only some people will take the journey.

Some people don't want to go for personal reasons. For other people, the issue is their attitude. They don't want to change, grow, or conquer new territory. They hold fast to the status quo. All you can do with people in this group is kindly thank them for their past contributions and move on.

2. Only some people should take the journey.

Other people should not join a team because of their agenda. Where you're going isn't the right place for them. They have other plans. The best course of action for people in this category is to wish them well and, as far as you are able, help them on their way so that they achieve success in their venture.

3. Only some people can take the journey.

For the third group of people, the issue is ability. They may need to be more capable of keeping pace with their teammates or helping the group get where it wants to go. How do you recognize people who fall into this category? Well, they are relatively easy to identify. Often they:

  • Can’t keep pace with other team members

  • Don’t grow in their areas of responsibility

  • Don’t see the big picture

  • Won’t work on personal weaknesses

  • Won't work with the rest of the team

  • Can’t fulfill expectations for their areas

If you have people who display one or more of these characteristics, you need to acknowledge that they are weak links. If you have people on your team who are weak links, you have only two choices: train them or trade them. Refer to my book to read and learn more about building a team.

Growth Goal No.8: Do more with less

Objective: Become effective, then become efficient.

Effectiveness is achieving your goals; efficiency is doing it with as few resources as possible. When delivering technical training on designing/architecting effective and efficient computer software applications, I would quote Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, a German-American architect. He sought a rational approach that would guide the creative process of architectural design and was known for using the aphorism “less is more.”

The architecture of all digital transformation projects adopts this aphorism as one of the benefits being drive efficiency and cutting costs.

Growth Goal No.9: Notch it Upward and Onward

Objective: Continuous Improvement.

The one word that brings home this goal is transformation. In today's bumpy environment, a leader must be able to adjust and move forward. Here's what happens repeatedly. First, small and attainable goals are set. Second, a simple plan is devised for accomplishing the goal. Third, the plan is executed with zeal and tenacity. And fourth, the objective is achieved, and the thrill of success is enjoyed. This process provides experience, new contacts, increased confidence, and energy to tackle something a little more challenging. The cycle begins again as the same sound principles are applied at a higher level: objective, plan, work, and success. Influential leaders cycle through an upward spiral of incremental steps, each building upon the last; these propelling events thrust the leader forward following each success and as new opportunities arise.

The forward movement comes in two flavors. First, leaders continue to expand what they are already doing—notching it upward. And second, they extend into new products and services outside the business—notching it onward. Adaptive design thinkers constantly monitor their customer’s changing needs and stay attuned to notching it upward and notching it onward. Companies and individuals who fail to make this transformation are doomed to failure. Blockbuster and Starbucks are a couple of examples. Blockbuster lost market share and eventually went out of business because it refused to embrace this goal requiring them to change. Netflix created a digitally enriched business model, and then Redbox kiosks and the whole digital disruption eliminated the need for consumers to go to a different DVD store. Starbucks has rapidly lost market share to Whitbread, McDonald's, Dunkin, Subway, and Costa.

Growth Goal No.10: Give back to the community

Objective: Use your God-given gifts to create a better world.

I take pride in living my life under the motto "Pay it forward." Earlier I mentioned my high school experience working with kids to prepare them for the Connecticut Special Olympics. A record number of these athletes won a record number of medals. I not only taught these kids valuable lessons, but they also taught me a precious lesson—never give up!

My years of volunteer work with at-risk youth, Sunday school, computer literacy advisor and teacher, and various not-for-profit institutions are attributed to my never-ending thirst to give something back. Oh yeah, "until it hurts"; I've invested thousands of dollars of my own money and thousands of hours of my time reaching back to uplift my community.

Giving something back provides a reason to contribute to something bigger than you. One only has to look at the many professional organizations in business, and sports whose community outreach programs contribute resources—people, money, facilities, etc.—to benefit others less fortunate.

The discussion of “Growth Mindset” is now concluded. The next article will begin a multi-part series discussing topics associated with the letter “I” in A.G.I.L.E., “Intelligent Mindset.”

Excerpts from the book: A.G.I.L.E. L.E.A.D.E.R.S.H.I.P. with a G.R.I.P.: A Twenty-First Century Journey from Street Hustler to Strategic Hustler; available on Amazon, Amazon.India, Createspace, and Pakistan Representatives.

Follow me on Facebook, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!


Prof. Dr. Frank Lee Harper, Jr., Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Dr. Frank Lee Harper, Jr. is the founder and world champion of agile leadership concepts. He is President ‒ UBTS International Corp having strategic affiliates in over 55 countries, Provost / Associate Professor ‒ Cambridge Corporate University, having branches in over 25 countries, while serving on for-profit and not-for-profit advisory boards. He is an award-winning IT leader and published author who is adept at influencing and teaching strategic transformations across multiple countries, industries, disciplines, and technologies for businesses having global revenues ($1+ Trillion); savings/growth ($10+ Billion); with budgets ($4+ Billion). His favorite motto is, "Leaders Are Born To Be Made."



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