It’s common to feel afraid of change, but adopting a growth mindset can help give you a different perspective and reap rewards in your career. Here's how a growth mindset can help you future-proof your career.
The accounting profession is experiencing substantial disruption, as technology changes the way we work, and even the work we do.
For Kane Munro CPA, director at Accountancy Online, clinging to the “old ways” is no longer an option. “Recent developments, like data analytics, have really turned the industry on its head,” he says. “If you don’t adopt a growth mindset, you’re going to be left behind.”
How can a growth mindset help?
The concepts of growth mindsets and fixed mindsets were formulated by Professor Carol Dweck to describe our attitudes towards learning. Dweck found that people with a growth mindset believe intelligence can be developed, so they invest energy in learning. They focus on the process – seeking input from others, trying different strategies and gaining insights from their mistakes.
On the flip side, people with a fixed mindset believe that talent is innate, so they don’t work hard to improve it, says Peter Heslin, associate professor of management at UNSW Sydney, and international thought leader on mindsets in the workplace.
“A fixed mindset holds you up,” he explains. “It makes you defensive; you avoid challenges and ruminate about how things will go wrong.”
People with a growth mindset are more effective learners, Heslin continues, because they take a systematic approach to learning.
“When they try something and don’t succeed, they are more likely to write down what did and didn’t work, then change one element,” he explains.
“People with a fixed mindset are more likely to try a completely different approach. When learning, it’s important to change some things but not everything, to discover the ingredients for effective performance.”
Most people operate with both fixed and growth mindsets. “It’s intuitive to have a fixed mindset,” says Heslin. “If we’re constantly questioning and working hard to improve at everything, we would become exhausted! The key is to understand when a fixed mindset is holding you back from something important and to prime yourself to become more growth-minded about that.”
Accountants keeping up with technology
Artificial intelligence, machine learning and other technological advances have revolutionised an accountant’s everyday activities. The mindset you adopt in the face of such upheaval can have a lasting impact on your career.
A case in point: with the Australian Taxation Office automating most of its traditional tax reporting requirements, accountants with a fixed mindset might feel threatened as they watch that annual compliance work disappear.
Someone with a growth mindset, on the other hand, identifies an opportunity. They’re able to do away with the rote work of completing tax returns, and use that time to do high-value strategic advisory work.
This is something that Accountancy Online is constantly working towards. “We’re always trying to improve the way we use technology,” says Munro. “We try to systemise what we do in-house, so we stop wasting time on things that don’t offer value to our clients.”
Looking for change on the horizon
A growth mindset isn’t solely for start-ups and small businesses either – even bigger firms and market leaders can harness it. Online accountancy software provider Intuit, for example, follows its Design for Delight innovation process, visiting customers’ workplaces to observe how they really use its QuickBooks cloud accounting software, so it can be improved.
Embracing change in this kind of proactive manner is better than letting it simply catch up with you, adds Munro. “I’ve always had a mindset that questions what my next step should be,” he says. “You should search for change on the horizon, otherwise you have no idea what may happen next and how it might affect you.”
Find out more
Did you know Intuit offers a 30-day free trial of QuickBooks Online? Visit https://quickbooks.intuit.com/au to try it today.
Keep an eye out for our INTHEBLACK March 2019 feature on practical ways to cultivate a growth mindset.