Insights

Mindset and success in financial services

The mindset philosophy is the hot new buzzword around learning and development. We look beyond the hype to see how it can help unlock potential and help financial services firms focus on employee growth.

Mindset and success in financial services

3 Oct 2019

After 15 years at the sharp end of learning and development, in many organisations and roles, there’s at least one thing I know for sure: you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t necessarily make it drink. No matter what the development strategy, methodology, training solution or resources, some employees either just aren’t interested, or can’t make the time for personal development activity.

But in today’s heavily regulated, fast-paced and challenging environment, that’s not good enough anymore. We need every single employee to engage with learning and development so we can continue to serve our clients and customers at the highest levels. So what’s the key to unlocking all that potential?

One of the biggest areas to explore is mindset and how it limits or empowers individuals.

A great place to start is with the work of renowned psychologist and author Dr Carol Dweck, who has led research in what is known as the fixed and growth mindset.

  • According to Dr Dweck, if you have a fixed mindset you believe your abilities, intelligence and talents are fixed traits.
  • But with a growth mindset you believe your abilities can be further developed with effort, learning, and persistence.

These mindsets drive your attitude and behaviours, which in turn creates your actions, to deliver (or not) individual development, performance and goals.

Fixed mind set and growth mind set graphic

As we grow up, our minset is developed from observations and experience which become conditioned and programmed from repeated habits and behaviours over years. They become absorbed into our subconscious and become our norm.

Clearly when recruiting we might want to favour employees who already have a growth mindset. But individuals with a fixed mindset are far from lost.

To change mindset, the first thing to do is raise awareness. Individuals need to understand their unconscious restrictions and then consciously work to redirect their daily choices and actions.

Note too that even people with a natural growth mindset can grow their capabilities further by invigorating their growth mindset philosophy: their view of their everyday life and work.

So how can we support growth mindset across our industry?

We need every single employee to engage with learning and development so we can continue to serve our clients and customers at the highest levels.

Gordon Rice, Global Head of Talent Management

Know it!

  • Raise awareness: we need to spread the word and make the approaches and philosophies of both mindsets known, through marketing campaigns, business initiatives and embedded within business goals and values

Do it!

  • Create a receptive Growth Environment: we need to make the business environment one where feedback is encouraged and all are shown effective ways to deliver and receive feedback for growth
  • Failing or making mistakes must also have a place that is not driven by fear, but by learning and empowering corrective development action
  • We must also celebrate the success of others, sharing lessons and finding inspiration, moving away from the mindset of being threatened by others doing well

Live it!

  • Lead from the front: from the top down throughout your organisation the growth mindset must be demonstrated and lived in behaviour consciously and consistently


For me, the evidence is compelling. Starting a ripple of growth mindset change and positive philosophy throughout FNZ and the rest of our industry, will shift changes in approach and outlook and could become truly transformational.