Ryan Gottfredson, Ph.D. is a cutting-edge leadership development author, researcher, and consultant. He helps organizations vertically develop their leaders primarily through a focus on mindsets. Ryan is the Wall Street Journal and USA Today best-selling author of Success Mindsets: The Key to Unlocking Greater Success in Your Life, Work, & Leadership. He is also a leadership professor at the College of Business and Economics at California State University-Fullerton.
Daniel: I'm excited to bring today's guests to you, Ryan Gottfredson. He's the author of a book called Success Mindsets. He opens the book in the intro or chapter one with a question that is really interesting to me. Ryan asks, do you think your way of thinking is the best way to think? If you really dug into that question it would challenge you to explore all the better ways that you could go about leading your school. The first step to that is just having an awareness of the different ways you could approach the work and the different ways you could approach leadership. Awareness is the first step and our conversation today, it's going to be revolve around success mindsets. Ryan's going to unpack and really educate you the Ruckus Maker, listening on the four different sort of mindsets that you can have that you want to adopt. You've probably heard of fixed versus growth mindset, but I'm willing to bet that you haven't heard of the others. This will absolutely help you level up and I'm excited to bring this to you in today's show. Hey, it's Daniel and welcome to the Better Leaders, Better Schools Podcast, a show for Ruckus Makers, those out of the box leaders making change happen in education. We'll be right back after these messages from our show's sponsors on your school's vision.
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Daniel: All students have an opportunity to succeed with Organized Binder who equips educators with a resource to provide stable and consistent learning. Whether that's in a distance hybrid or traditional educational setting, learn firstname.lastname@example.org. Ruckus Makers, I am joined today by Dr. Ryan. Godwinson a cutting edge leadership development author, researcher, and consultant. He helps organizations vertically develop their leaders primarily through a focus on mindset. Ryan is a Wall Street journal and USA Today bestselling author of Success Mindsets the key to unlocking greater success in your life work and leadership. He is also a leadership professor at the College of Business and Economics at California State University Fullerton, Dr. Robinson, welcome to the show. Hey,
Dr Ryan: Thanks for having me on. I love the term Ruckus Makers. In fact, I kind of feel like I'm a bit of a Ruckus Maker. Do you mind adopting me a little bit?
Daniel: You're adopted, you're officially adopted into the Ruckus Maker family. Let's start there. Why do you consider yourself a Ruckus Maker?
Dr Ryan: I know that your focus is in the education arena and my primary focus is in the business arena. I focus primarily on leadership and developing leaders. I feel like over the last 70 years of leadership research, the primary focus has really been on one thing, which is what do leaders need to do to be effective. Not that that's bad, but I don't think it's great. I feel like I'm trying to change the conversation and that we need to do maybe a little less focused on doing and a little more focus on being and how do we become better leaders. Hopefully that idea might resonate with the Ruckus Makers that you work with.
Daniel: A big reason they listen to this show one, their pursuit and hunger for continual growth and causing a ruckus. Two they want to be exposed to ideas that they don't necessarily hear everywhere else. I know you're big on mental models and what you shared already in terms of not what you do. Although what you do is important, but how you be as a leader is equally or maybe even more important than that. I enjoyed your book, Success Mindsets, and one of the things that I was exposed to there is there's so much more than just like growth versus fixed. You introduce a whole other group of type of mindsets, but let's start there. What are those other mindsets that we should know about because that awareness is key? I'm making this question longer than it needs to be, but in the intro, You talked about how we don't necessarily question mindset, our approach to the work. We think that it's already working or doing the job that it needs to do, and maybe that's not the case. I think that's a great place to open up.
Dr Ryan: If itt's okay, let me just start by hopefully clearly defining what mindsets are, because I think a pop culture suggests that mindsets are akin to attitudes. Mindsets do influence our attitudes, but our mindful mindsets are so much more. Our mindsets, one way to define them is that they are our mental lenses. They shape how we view the world and how we view the world will shape how we think, learn and behave. To take from the fixed and growth mindset perspective, how we see failure will shape how we think about failure. Is it bad or is it good? It will shape how we learn from failure and it will shape how we behave in the face of failure. Do we give up or do we continue to persevere? At the surface level, our mindsets are these mental lenses that shape how we view the world around us.
Dr Ryan: But in reality is our mindsets are actually long range Neuroconnections. Connections in our brain that span across three major brain regions. They help make sure if they're healthy mindsets to ensure that these three major brain regions work together. In fact, our mindsets have three primary roles. One is they filter in select information, Our brain gets way more information than we can process. We need a mechanism that filters select information in. Our mindsets serve as that gateway, once they filter information in, then the second job that they play as they interpret that information in unique ways, such as failure is failure bad, or is failure good. Depending upon the information that we take in and how it's interpreted, it will activate different elements about ourselves to navigate that situation in a certain way. Hopefully just me quickly defining that helps folks to see that our mindsets are more than just our mental lens. In fact, they're the most foundational mechanism for why we do what we do in both psychologists and neuroscience independently confirm that perspective. Really mindsets are the foundation of everything that we do. It should be something that we're more aware of than I think we generally are.
Daniel: Let's talk about that awareness too, because when it comes to mindsets. We think about that usually, framed around our students and how can we teach them to grow and to be more open-minded in this kind of stuff. We totally missed looking in the mirror thinking about me as the school leader or my leadership team, or my faculty, what are the adults doing to, to grow their mindsets as well? What would you suggest for the Ruckus Maker listening, who wants to get practical and start introducing mindset development with his or her staff? What might they do?
Dr Ryan: Yeah, really great question. I think that you're touching on, I would say maybe my biggest pet peeve in the education space from a mindset perspective. Most of the talk and the focus around mindsets is on students. While that's important, I might dare say it's even more important that we focus on mindsets for administrators and for teachers, because if they don't have the most positive mindsets, they're going to be limited in their effectiveness to reach and connect with the students and help them to develop the more positive mindsets. Generally when I work with groups, the first thing that I'll have them do is take a mindset assessment that I put together. That's based upon the last 40 years of mindset research. On my website @ryangottfredson.com. What I'll do with these organizations, whether it's principal or group of teachers is I'll aggregate these results up to the collective level.
Dr Ryan: We can look at the collective mindsets that the leaders and teachers have at that school. This will give us a sense of what is the culture of our school, what is our willingness to adapt, to be agile, to try new things, to deliver and connect with students in a really effective way. I think that's a really good starting place is to first awaken to our mindsets and we can jump into the different sets of mindsets. Along with that, I think of course, is my book Success Mindsets, are really quick ways to just jump into the mindset material.
Daniel: I will, suggest that the Ruckus Maker listing pickup Success, Mindsets: The key to unlocking greater success in your life, work, and leadership. I enjoyed that book quite a bit. Thank you for sending me a copy. Yes, there's a, self-assessment, regarding your personal mindsets available on your website be linked up in the show notes. People can go ahead and do that. That'll expose them to where they're at in use serve organizations. Talk about it at a collective level, you find out where those mindsets are and how they exist within the organization. What if we're not that aware because that's one of your things, right. Build an awareness about the mindsets. What do we do when we find potential data that's like a little disconcerning? What I'm seeing here in my school?
Dr Ryan: The first step is awareness, We can't do anything about something unless we're first aware of it. When I focus on mindsets, I focus on four different sets of mindsets and these aren't my ideas. What I did to develop this framework was I sifted through the academic literature and I opened the flood gates to identify what mindsets have been studied, what mindsets are out there. I've found is essentially there's four sets of mindsets that have been studied for 30 plus years, that range across education, psychology management and marketing. What I've just done is I've pulled these different pools of research into one framework so that gives us these four different sets of mindsets. Fixing growth is one of those, but then also I focus on closed and open prevention and promotion and inward and outward.
Dr Ryan: If we want to dive into those, we surely can. The basic idea, what I found across over 20,000 people taking my mindset assessment is a couple of things. One is that only 2.5% are in the top core tile for all four sets of these mindsets. What that means is that most of us, including myself, we've got some work to do on our mindsets. Most people haven't given concerted effort towards their mindset. I'm not sure we should expect to be great with our mindsets. Oftentimes it's not going to be a surprise to me and people take up my mindset assessment and their results reveal that they've got some mindset work to do and that's okay, this isn't evaluative, it's developmental. The other thing that I've learned across these 20,000 people is that there's a rather small correlation between these different sets of mindsets.
Dr Ryan: This tells me a couple of things. These are very distinct in different mindsets are probably neuroconnections within our brain, but also this means that if we could be focused on having a growth mindset and we could get there, but it's also likely that we will have a closed prevention and inward mindset, which are more negative mindsets. If we have a growth mindset and stop there, and we've got closed prevention and inward, we're still holding ourselves back from being the person and the leader that we can be. I hope that that at least for me, what the framework has done is it's helped me broaden my understanding of mindsets and also allowed me to more deeply understand myself across these different sets of mindset.
Daniel: Well, that came through clearly through the book. It was like, wow, there's so much more out there. Again, back to connecting the dots and just being aware. Now you figure out where to put in the work. You mentioned how we open it's not so much what you do, that's important, but it's how you be. Who do you be? What do I need to be in terms of a leader, but I think it would be super helpful for the Ruckus Maker listening. If you gave a concise definition on those four mindsets, even even growth mindset. I can assume that people have heard that even though we've heard it, it would be helpful to educate.
Dr Ryan: Let's get into it. My experience is that the education arena is probably the arena that knows mindsets the most because they focus a lot on fixed and growth mindsets. Which is great, gives us a good starting ground. If you're not familiar with fixed and growth, a fixed mindset is when we see ourselves and others as being unable to change our talents, abilities, and intelligence. We got to think we are who we are, and there's nothing you can do about it. When we have a growth mindset, we believe that others can ourselves and others can change our talents, abilities, and intelligence, and how this plays out differently is that when we have a fixed mindset, we see the world in terms of haves and have nots. If we fail at something, this is an indicator that we're a have not, and that we can't become a hat.
Dr Ryan: Whereas those are the growth mindset. They don't see the world in haves and have nots. If they fail at something that may mean that they're a have not now, but it doesn't preclude them from being a have in the future. What ends up happening with this is those are the fixed mindset become more focused on looking good and avoiding failure. Whereas those with a growth mindset become more focused on learning and growing and developing themselves. They're in this place where I don't care how good I look. In fact, if I fail, I know that this might be my best opportunity to learn and grow. Does that make sense? The difference between fixed and growth, or do you want to add Anything to that?
Daniel: No, I think that nails it just to put in here and be vulnerable. Being aware of that so important because I could see in my own leadership in the past where having a, having a fixed mindset became an upper limit challenge. It's one of those things that you learned, whether it's running your own business, running a school, but as the leader, you're the greatest opportunity. The greatest challenge and so finding your rooting out those fixed mindsets and creating more learning experiences for myself was integral to my success.
Dr Ryan: When I work with business leaders and executives, this is the set that they commonly struggle with the most. Part of this is because they are strongly socially incentivized to look good. To kind of have all the answers, to make sure that they don't have any challenges or any problems that occur. There's a very strong social incentive to look good as a leader. If we don't keep that in check, we're going to end up being focused on how do I look good as opposed to, how do I learn and grow? I could better contribute to the people that I'm leading in service.
Daniel: In addition to that too, is I'm reading another book just on, Scaling Business, but that's one of the first ideas that it asserts is you don't have to have everything figured out, have great questions and hire people smarter than you. You can't do that if you have fixed mindset because you have to be the smartest. I think that's good. Moving on to, what is it open and closed is.
Dr Ryan: Would be on the negative side, open on the positive side. The difference between these is how open our mind is to the ideas and suggestions of others. Let me ask you a question, if you don't mind, Danny, is what would, what would ever lead somebody to be closed to the ideas and suggestions?
Daniel: I would wonder maybe protecting sort of like their ego or narrative, because if I redefine my worldview and how I'm making sense of the world, I'm redefining my identity. What I would say off the top of my head.
Dr Ryan: You went deep really quick, which is awesome. I couldn't agree more with you. I think a part of this and maybe at the core is we fundamentally believe that what I know is best, may even be wrapped up in our identity, like you had mentioned. When we believe that what we know is best, our primary focus becomes on low on being right or being seen as right. We want to have our ideas supported and we're inclined. We're not going to be very inclined to be open to feedback or to new perspectives. If somebody with a closed mindset analogy that I like is that they have a full bucket or they see their mind as a bucket and their bucket is full. What happens if we pour something into a full bucket splashes out.
Dr Ryan: It just runs on the side. Those with an open mindset, they may have a lot in their bucket, but they leave room for the idea that they can be wrong. If we can do that we're open to taking in the ideas and suggestions of others. At the end of the day, the difference between the two liters is those are the closed mindset are focused on being right. Those with an open mindset are focused on finding truth and thinking optimally, they're not the ones with all the answers. They're the ones with all the questions and they invite feedback, they invite new perspectives. What an open mindset does in an a employment context is it helps create an environment of psychological safety and psychological safety is something that Google has found to be the most important factor for top performing teams. The open mindset is going to be the fuel to that psychological.
Daniel: Yeah. That's great creates belonging that psychological safety. Was this the part of the book where you talked about Ray Dalio? I'd love to invite you to share that story quickly, just because the email he received in his response, I've never heard of a school leader taking this approach. I think this might be helpful just to hear a different way of doing things.
Dr Ryan: You can look it up really easily, just online as well. But Ray Dalio, for context is the founder and the largest and most successful hedge fund of all time. In the late seventies, early eighties, he actually burned his business to the ground because he had a closed mindset. This is essentially why he talks about it since the eighties, he started up his business and he knew in order for it to be successful, he would need to have an open mindset. He runs his business on two principles, primarily radical open-mindedness and radical transparency. Increase learning about their culture. Sounds like a completely different world, but also at the same time, it's very unique and it's very powerful. One of the elements that he, any employee can send him an email or give him feedback, whatever it might be.
Dr Ryan: It's his job to receive that, to learn from it and to validate their perspective. He had given a presentation in a meeting and after the meeting, one of the colleagues, of course support a subordinate of his, sent him a rather terse email saying, "Your performance in this meeting was unacceptable" and gave all of the reasons why it seemed to it didn't necessarily seem full of emotion, but there was some very specific elements that said, "You didn't do as well as you could have and we would have been a better off because of it." What Ray did to help reinforce this notion of radical open-mindedness and radical transparency is he forwarded that email to the rest of the organization to help serve as an example, that this is something I am taking to heart and something I'm going to learn from. When a leader does that, you can imagine how that might create the psychological safety in that organization.
Daniel: Yeah. Just the fact that he was open to the criticism or the constructive feedback, and the person was on point, they were right. It had to do with his lack of preparation and spending enough time discussing one part of whatever it was versus only like a few minutes he was supposed to, I think, spend 60. A helpful story, Ryan, thank you for sharing it. I want school leaders, if we're talking about opening an awareness. There's a different way you can receive feedback because what we're talking about and getting better and how you respond to, and then act on that feedback just goes so far. If you do it the right way. Thank you for sharing.
Dr Ryan: If you don't mind, maybe even let me let add in an analogy here that I think can be helpful. We can always have a stiff back, We need to take a stand with some things and we're going to have to do that as leaders, but that doesn't also mean that we have to have a stiff front. I think what an open mindset means is that while we may have a stiff back, we have a soft front we're able to take in the ideas and suggestions of others. That doesn't mean we have to run with them, but we've got to take them in and we've got to validate them. My mom was an educator. I've got a sister that's a second grade school teacher and know many teachers. One of the primary sources of frustrations for many teachers is that they seem to have ideas that they want to implement in the school, but their principals don't allow them to do so now. Usually, it's less of an issue of the don't allow them to do so. It's more of an issue. They're not even hearing my ideas to begin with. Hopefully ,that's a nudge to create an environment or a forum where we can at least hear the ideas and suggestions of others.
Daniel: Today's Show is brought to you by Organized Binder, Organized Binder develops the skills and habits. All students need for success. During these uncertain times of distance learning and hybrid education settings. Organized Binder, equips educators with a resource to provide stable and consistent learning routines so that all students have an opportunity to succeed. Whether at home or in the classroom, learn email@example.com, We're back with Dr. Ryan Gottfredson, and he's talking about mindsets in his book, Success Mindsets, the key to unlocking greater success in your life, work and leadership. Ruckus Makers, I highly encourage you to pick up that book. It's linked up for you in the show notes. We weren't talking about fixed versus growth, open versus closed mindset. The third level, which is a prevention and promotion.
Dr Ryan: When we have a prevention mindset, our number one focus is on not having problems. We don't want things to go wrong. A promotion mindset is we're focused on winning and gains. To make this come to life, I think it's helpful to use a ship captain analogy. If we're a ship captain with the prevention mindset, we don't want to seek that is our priority. We don't want to take any risks. We don't want to have any problems. We don't want to rock the boat, this is very justifiable. The big waves or storms can be really scary, but when a storm comes on the horizon, somebody with the prevention mindset, their natural reaction is going to be run from the storm, go to a place of safety, that makes sense on a certain level.
Dr Ryan: Somebody with the promotion mindset, they operate differently. It's not that they want to seek, but their number one focus is on a destination and making progress towards it. When that storm comes on the horizon, they don't instinctively run from it. They ask themselves, does this storm stand between me and where I want to go? If the answer is yes, then what they do is they prepare to take on the storm. They batten down the hatches and they muster up the courage to brave the winds and the storms of the sea, because that's, that's the only way that they're going to get to their destination. What ends up happening is those with the prevention mindset, they end up going the course of least resistance. They're more comfort focused and that's justifiable. Whereas those with a promotion mindset. They're the only ones that'll end up in a destination of their own proactive design. They are what I would call more purpose focused. Hopefully that brings to life. These two different mindsets
Daniel: Highlights the important, like you said, purpose, uh, meaningful work vision just understand the destination where you're headed. The metaphor of the ship works really nicely there. If you see the storm and it's between you and the destination, you hunker down and make sure it's safe and we're gonna get through this. You didn't say this, so I want you to correct me if I'm wrong. If the storm isn't preventing you from the destination, does that then give the leader permission to not worry about this storm? What would somebody with a promotion mindset do in that scenario?
Dr Ryan: It's really good question. The person with the promotion mindset is all about getting to that destination. They have a clear destination and they have a clear why to get there. When we have that perspective, we're going to be conscientious or we should be conscientious of the elements that may impede from getting there. If there's a storm out there, but it's not in our way, we probably won't give that a whole lot of credence, but we need to understand, is this something that could get in our way in the future? What I'm trying to articulate is when we have a promotion mindset, one of the things that we'll learn is we're more, long-term focused when we have a prevention mindset. We're more, short-term focused. It's all about putting out the fires.
Dr Ryan: How do I survive today? A promotion mindset is this longer term destination, and how do we get there? I think one of the things that we often that I often see in organizations is it's really easy to become prevention minded, because problems, who likes problems but if we want to get somewhere that we have never been before, can we expect to get there without any problems? Of course not. Part of this, shifting our mindsets from a prevention to a promotion mindset, what we're doing is we're elevating our cognitive and emotional sophistication to be okay with having problems.
Daniel: You learn from them, they help you grow could complain about problems as a leader. What you just want. You just want it easy everyday. Like how boring would that job be? I think that's, that's a good distinction you're making. The last set is that inward versus outward.
Dr Ryan: Inward versus outward. Danny, I hope I'm not the only guilty one. Hopefully you can join me in this, but if it's not accurate. Don't feel the pressure.
Daniel: If it's guilty ,I'll already the probably would say, I'm sure I'm guilty of it.
Dr Ryan: The Ruckus Maker speaks. Have you ever been driving along on the freeway and somebody pulls up to you on the lane next to you and then they put their blinker on and they want to merge in front of you. Have you ever prevented them from merging into your lane?
Daniel: Younger version of myself might've sped up potentially or not. It made sure there wasn't enough space. I hear what you said.
Dr Ryan: I like using this example because I'm guilty of it, but then two, because this is something I think almost everybody can relate to. It's not that big of a deal, but at the end of the day, it's kind of a jerk thing to do. Big time jerk. It would have been easy for me to let them in because what we're doing in this moment and let me tell you how I justify it is how. What I don't say to myself is I don't say I didn't let that person. What I do say is I didn't let that car in. I objectify them because what's going on in this situation is what I'm saying to myself is I'm more important than this person. My spot in this lane is more important to me than it is to them.
Dr Ryan: Which it makes me inclined to see them more like an object. An inward mindset. We see ourselves more important than others. When we have an outward mindset, we see others as being just as important as ourselves their needs and wants matter just as much as my own. When that's the case, we're able to see them as people and to value them as such. We could think about this as a principle, for example, is how do I see my teachers? Do I see them as objects to get me where I want to go? Or do I see them as people who I'm here to help empower, Or if I'm a teacher, I might say I do. I see my students as objects that are getting in my way or that are being really difficult or destroy my comfort?. Do I see them as people that their needs and wants matter just as much as my own and this lens that we take towards how we see others is a game changer in everything that we do. We're going to bring a very different version of ourselves. If we have an inward mindset relative to an outward mindset.
Daniel: I think that also helps you develop the soft front while you still have the strong back. If you see people as people, a beautiful thing happens with empathy.
Dr Ryan: I might even go so far to say, you look at all the social ills that our society is facing is at the root of them. I think we could say it's people seeing others, not as people, but as objects.
Daniel: I would agree with that. It's big idea there who let direct speaker two on it for a site before I get to the last two questions. I do want you to tease out at least one more idea, because I haven't heard this before anywhere else. To continue in this spirit of creating awareness with the Ruckus Maker, listening, you make a distinction between horizontal and vertical development. I think maybe you said that's what your second book is on. We'll probably invite you back to go even deeper okay. Onto this subject. But at least these give us a plant, a seed in our heads on this topic.
Dr Ryan: One of the things why I focus on vertical development, I'll define that what that is when we understand vertical development, we better appreciate the importance of focusing on mindsets as part of our personal development, as a part of developing those in which we're leading and working with. When most people think development, I think that they think horizontal development. What they don't really realize is that there's two different forms of development. There's horizontal development and there's vertical development. So horizontal development is adding new knowledge and skills to what we already have. This is like downloading an app onto the iPad. What that's doing is it's broadening our functionality, To keep this really simple. If we could teach a multiplication table to our students, This is a forum, horizontal development. We're adding in multiplication app onto their iPad.
Dr Ryan: So they can now multiply. But that app doesn't necessarily make that person operate any more effectively. They can just do more than what they could do. Previous as a horizontal development is good. And it surely has its place in the majority of education. From my perspective, all the way from elementary, up until where I'm a professor, the majority of the focus is on adding new knowledge, new skills or horizontal development. But there's another form of development, which is vertical development, vertical development. Isn't adding a new app onto the iPad. What it is is it's upgrading the iPads operating system altogether. We want to help individuals to operate more effectively. The technical definition of vertical development is to elevate our ability to make meaning of our world and more cognitively yeah. Emotionally sophisticated weight. Because of that. Let me give you an example. What would you say, Danny? How would you say most people react to constructive criticism?
Daniel: Take it personally or hear it and say, tell people why they're wrong.
Dr Ryan: Yeah. Some form of defensiveness is usually I think how most people react to constructive criticism, but we can ask ourselves, is this a cognitively and emotional really sophisticated way of responding to constructive criticism? Probably not. It's probably on the lower level. If we were to move a step up, we might hear somebody say something along the lines of, well, it depends on who delivers it and how they deliver it. This feels like a little bit more cognitively and emotionally sophisticated, but I don't think it's really high, but then there's people who might say, I love it, constructive criticism, regardless of who it comes from or how it's delivered, because it's an opportunity for me to learn and grow. This feels really cognitively and emotionally sophisticated because we're at this place nice where we are good with being told that we are bad. If we can elevate in our cognitive and emotional sophistication, I think you could see how we're going to get more out of life.
Dr Ryan: We're going to operate more effectively. Vertical development is all about, is helping people to become more cognitively and emotionally sophisticated. And so to connect this back to mindsets, how do we help people to elevate vertically? We've got to focus on a key phrase in that definition of it, vertical development, which is make meaning, or in other words we need to focus on are meaning makers and what are our meaning makers. They are our mindset, Jeff from fixed to growth, from clothes to open prevention, to promotion and inward and outward. What we are actually doing is we are enhancing our cognitive and emotional sophistication. We are more okay with the idea of failing as an opportunity to learn and grow. We're okay with the idea of being wrong as an opportunity to find truth and thinking optimally. We're Merle K with navigating through problems because that's how we get closer to our goals. We're more okay with putting ourselves on the back burner because it allows us to better lift others. The growth open promotion and network are just more vertically developed ways of seeing the world. I think the key, the key to getting where we want to go or to elevate vertically is through a focus on mindset. Hopefully that brings it all together in a nice package.
Daniel: If you're looking to level up as a leader, the greatest operating system upgrade you could invest in is a development of your mindset is what I'm hearing.
Dr Ryan: Yup. Love it. You phrase that really well. I might need to add that to my book.
Daniel: Yeah, please do. When it comes to messages that you could put out there to the world, and if you could put a message on all school marquees around the world for a single day, what would your message read?
Dr Ryan: There's a hundred different things I could read about. I think about, okay, what's a message that is maybe a little bit sticky. What's a message that brings light to something that maybe where there's not a lot of light at the moment. When I think about it in that way, the message that comes to my mind is success starts with your mindset. I think it's simple. It's pretty easy to remember. I don't think that most people focus on mindset. Part of that is because they're more focused on horizontal development than vertical development. I think that that's something that we need to change in our education system, both on the teacher administrator side of things, as well as with students, helping people to learn more about mindsets, awakened to their mindsets and shift their mindsets, we need to add vertical development to our curriculum.
Daniel: If you could build your dream school from the ground up, you're not limited by any resources, your only limitation is your imagination. How would you build this dream school, Ryan? What would be the top three guiding principles of this school?
Dr Ryan: Makes me want to be really creative and innovative. In some ways I'm stuck within my own bubble, but I think along the lines of this topic, I think the first thing that I would make sure that the focus on the administrators and teachers was on mindsets that we made this a priority. We invested in them and helping them to shift. If we can help administrators and teachers shift, that's going to lead to long-term impacts on the students. Also as I was thinking about this question, are you familiar with the gentleman named James Anderson? He's out of Australia? I don't know James. I don't know if you see this and I don't know if I'll see this, but he's written this book called the Learning Landscape and I'm currently reading it.
Dr Ryan: It is a game changer. He focuses on mindsets in the education arena, primarily on fixed and growth mindsets. One of the things that he's shifted to focus on more in which this book is all about is about learner agency and how there are different types of learners. In fact, he identifies six different levels of learners and you might classify. Those were the fixed mindset are usually in the bottom three levels, and those are the growth mindset or on the top three levels and helping administrators, teachers, and students learn about these different types of learners, I think can help them awaken to what type of learner am I and what type of learner do I need to be to better navigate where the world, my future curriculum in a more effective and successful way. I've been really moved by the book and the analogy at highlights in there. I think that that's something that I would make sure that everybody was really clear about.
Daniel: We'll definitely link that book along with your book in the show notes. Ryan we covered a lot of ground today on the show and thank you for being a part of the Better Leaders, Better Schools Podcasts of everything we talked about today. What's the one thing you want a Ruckus Maker to remember?
Dr Ryan: Great question. I think if they can remember that vertical development, what that is and why it's so important, then it will lead them to focus on mindsets, which was the point of our conversation. If they can remember the concept of vertical development, then I think they're going to get there things right down the road.
Daniel: Thanks for listening to the Better Leaders, Better Schools Podcast for Ruckus Maker. If you have a question or would like to connect my email, Daniel betterleadersbetterschools.com or hit me up on Twitter @alienearbud. If the Better Leaders Better Schools Podcast is helping you grow as a school leader, then please help us serve more Ruckus Makers like you. You can subscribe, leave an honest rating and review or share on social media with your biggest takeaway from the episode, extra credit for tagging me on Twitter @alienearbud and using the #BLBS level up your leadership at better leaders, better schools.com and talk to you next time until then class dismissed.
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“Most of the talk and the focus around mindsets is on students. While that’s important, I might dare say, it’s even more important that we focus on mindsets for administrators and for teachers. If they don’t have the most positive mindsets, they’re going to be limited in their effectiveness to reach and connect with the students and help them to develop the more positive mindsets.”
– Ryan Gottfredson
Ryan Gottfredson’s Resources & Contact Info:
- Success Mindsets:
- Individual Support (assessment)
- Take a FREE mindset assessment here.
- The Learning Landscape:
- Ryan Gottfredson: Home
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