The growth mindset and growing your practice

Last month we looked at how adopting a growth mindset can help you to advance in life.Spring Flower

Let’s expand this and consider how a growth mindset can help to grow your practice. Carol Dweck, the theorist behind ‘growth mindset’ identified five key themes to help consider how your mindset can be your weakness or your strength.


Challenges are typically avoided by fixed mindset individuals who strive to appear intelligent at all times and want to avoid risks. Those with a growth mindset, on the other hand, will embrace challenges and see them as an opportunity to learn. If we consider this in the context of a challenge that all dental practices face, CQC regulations, we can see how quite different outcomes might be achieved. The practice that embraces CQC, sees it as an opportunity to shine, to develop and to improve their processes, will be more likely to take on new information and to succeed as a result. The practice that has a fixed mindset will see this as an opportunity to fail and will be likely to avoid focusing time on this area. The fixed mindset practice is less prepared, and their attitude to the regulations may be negative. Embracing challenges like this in your practice enables you and your team to develop and grow.


Every business faces obstacles at times, and the fixed mindset individual may see these as reason to give up on their plans thinking that they cannot be overcome. The growth mindset allows the practice to persist even in the face of difficulties along the way and allows the practice to advance above others.

“Success consists of going from failure to failure with lots of enthusiasm.” Sir Winston Churchill

For example, a practice owner has a surly receptionist and notices how this is impacting patients. The fixed mindset owner may be ready to give up on this member of staff, however the growth mindset owner sees this as an opportunity to learn. “What is the root of the problem with this staff member?” The growth mindset business owner will take time to speak to this member of staff to listen learn, and in turn is likely to end up helping, not just them, but potentially wider members of staff by addressing the underlying issue rather than ignoring what could become an explosive situation.


Any practice owner knows that a huge effort from across the practice team goes into running the business. The attitude towards this effort can greatly affect how much is applied. The fixed mindset sees effort as fruitless, whereas the growth mindset recognises effort as a path to mastery. Encouraging your team that their efforts will be rewarded rather than ignored can help the practice to grow. For example, a practice owner has an issue that nurses take free slots in the diary to sit and have a tea break, check their phones and read Hello! The growth practice will empower nurses to use this time to help another area of the business to grow, perhaps helping on reception, assisting with marketing, or assisting younger nurses with revision for exams. This will help them develop personally and help the practice to be more productive. Understanding the effort is part of the passage to reach your potential, means you and your team can embrace it openly.

“When you see success as a journey you are less likely to think you have arrived.” Sir Alex Ferguson.


Criticism can be an opportunity to learn and grow, as the growth mindset would encourage, but many fixed mindset individuals see criticism as negative and ignore comments. Take the example of a dentist not explaining a treatment clearly to a patient, if a colleague explains to them that the patient didn’t fully understand their options, adopting a growth mindset could mean that the dentist learns to speak at a level the customer understands and give future patients a little more opportunity to ask questions, therefore they will grow as an individual and the practice will in turn grow.

“It is fine to celebrate success but is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” Bill Gates

Teaching your practice to see criticism as an opportunity to learn and to reach their potential can enable your team to reach new levels of success.

Success of Others

Of course there are external factors that can impact our business too. Success of others can be an opportunity to feel our success is not worthy at times but the growth mindset recognises this as an opening to move to the next level and grow. Perhaps we see a new practice open around the corner who seem to be very busy. Consider what are they doing to attract new patients? Perhaps they are using online booking or have a great introductory package price for new patients? Is there a learning you can take from them to advance your practice and see this as a positive? The practice that sees this as an opportunity to grow will advance to their maximum potential.

In these examples you can see the potential for your mindset to enable your practice to succeed and grow.  We’ve seen how the growth mindset can help you to grow personally, now take time to share the concept with your practice and help them to see that, “The view you adopt of yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life” Carol Dweck.