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Your mindset is the story you tell yourself about your abilities and talents. Mindsets can be fixed, or they can be growth. What’s the difference between the two?

  • With a fixed mindset, you believe talent, intelligence, and other qualities are unchangeable. If you aren’t good at something today, you won’t be good at that something tomorrow.
  • With a growth mindset, you believe that talent, intelligence, and other qualities can be developed through practice and persistence. If you aren’t good at something today, you may be good at it tomorrow if you put in the time, effort, and practice to develop that skill.

When you adopt a growth mindset, you believe that you can and will improve through focused effort. The focus is on learning and growing; the journey rather than the outcome.

After being in this industry for over 30 years and managing my own firm, I can confidently say that a growth mindset is key to your firm’s success and your personal development.

Why a Growth Mindset is Key to Success

When you adopt a growth mindset, you give your firm the opportunity to succeed.

Why? Because having this outlook means that you are:

  • Embracing challenges, allowing you to overcome obstacles and open new opportunities
  • Comfortable making mistakes and learning from them, rather than feeling embarrassed or making fear-based decisions
  • Not threatened – but inspired – by the success of others
  • Resilient in the face of negative outcomes

All of these are great to experience personally, but having a growth mindset goes beyond just personal impacts and can shape your firm’s growth.

Integral to Your Firm’s Growth

With a growth mindset, your firm can grow and prosper because you:

  • Routinely set goals and challenge your firm to reach them
  • Make learning an integral part of your culture
  • Find opportunities in failures or mistakes
  • Change your plans, without changing or sacrificing the goal

You believe that nothing is out of reach as long as you put in the focused effort to get there. You may need to change strategies, but you’ll get where you want to go if you set your mind to it and take action.

A positive, growth mindset can inspire and rally your team together, making it even easier to reach your goals for growth.

If your mindset isn’t focused on growth, your firm may become complacent and stagnant. Over time, things change, and you must constantly adapt and grow to weather these changes. Clients come and go. They sell their businesses or their life circumstances change. If you’re not growing, you risk being stuck in a rut or worse, losing business. This means keeping a growth mindset even when things are going well.

More Fruitful Collaboration

Collaboration can play a big role in a firm’s success. But a fixed mindset can prevent these relationships from reaching their full potential because you don’t believe things can change.

A growth mindset is the birthplace of innovation. It allows both sides of the table to brainstorm new ideas, learn from one another, and build on their strengths.

Build a Better Culture

By nature, people with a growth mindset have a positive outlook, which helps build a better culture.

A growth mindset also means that you’re encouraging your team to:

  • Learn and master new skills
  • Tackle challenges
  • Find the good in the bad
  • Acknowledge and own their mistakes, but just as importantly learn from them
  • Celebrate each other’s wins
  • Learn from each other’s mistakes

You’re building a growth-focused culture that helps your team feel more fulfilled and valued in the workplace. This also enhances employee retention, which is invaluable, particularly in today’s environment.

How to Develop a Growth Mindset

If a growth mindset is essential to your firm’s success, how can you develop it or strengthen it? Here are some tips.

Remember That There’s Always Something to Learn

It doesn’t matter how many years of experience you have, there is always something new to learn. If there’s one thing I’ve learned through my journey, it’s the more you learn, the more you realize you don’t know.

Always Find Opportunities for Learning and Growth

Immerse yourself in learning and use the right tools to help you get there.

  • Read books and articles
  • Listen to podcasts
  • Listen to motivational speakers
  • Subscribe to relevant email lists
  • Attend conferences

Make learning a part of your everyday routine and your workplace culture.

Keep an Open Mind

When learning about new topics or developing new skills, keep an open mind. Look at different perspectives. Don’t get stuck in an echo chamber. By opening your mind to different ways of doing things and different outlooks, you can think outside of the box and find creative ways to improve your firm’s services and solve problems.

Learn From Your Clients

Clients can be an excellent source of information for your growth journey. What are they learning? What is their perspective? What are they reading?

Understanding your clients’ perspectives and what they’re interested in can help you get to know your clients better and how to serve their needs. Along the way, you may pick up a few new skills or find inspiration for new offerings that will add value to your clients’ lives.

Bring in Speakers

To encourage a growth mindset and build a better workplace, consider bringing in speakers. Whether it’s motivational, teaching new skills, or just learning about a new topic, speakers can help bring new perspectives, boost morale, and motivate your team to do better. For example, in the heart of tax season, we brought in a speaker to help us develop better communication and listening skills, and another speaker to teach us breathing techniques that help us relieve stress. Our team greatly appreciated both!

Final Thoughts

A growth mindset is a key to the success of your firm. When growing your firm, the right approach is crucial. Collaboration, company culture, and always finding ways to learn and grow lead to added value for both your firm and your clients. Learn to adapt and strengthen your growth mindset so that your firm and team will grow alongside you.


Christopher Hayden, CPA, CMA, CGMA is the managing partner of Hayden Nelson & Yoder, a CPA firm based in Pennsylvania. You can learn more about him and/or the firm on their website

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