Created in April 2000 by two industry giants – Accenture and Microsoft – Avanade had one goal: deliver innovative services and solutions to enterprises worldwide using the Microsoft platform.
SINCE LAUNCH, AVANADE ENJOYS – AND CONTINUES TO ENJOY – PHENOMENAL GROWTH. AVANADE ARE ONE OF THE TECHNOLOGY INDUSTRY’S MOST SUCCESSFUL JOINT VENTURES.
IN 2019, AVANADE AUSTRALIA WELCOMED A NEW LOCAL MANAGING DIRECTOR AND REFRESHED THEIR PEOPLE FIRST, CLIENT CENTRED STRATEGY. THIS STRATEGY WAS TO FUEL AN AMBITIOUS PLAN TO TRIPLE THE BUSINESS IN 3 YEARS. THE MD RECOGNIZED THE NEED FOR MANY PEOPLE IN THE BUSINESS TO ACT DIFFERENTLY IN ORDER TO GET A DIFFERENT RESULT.
SHIFT THE MINDSETS OF THE ORGANISATION TOWARDS A GROWTH MINDSET – EVIDENCED BY A WILLINGNESS TO TRY NEW THINGS BEYOND TRADITIONAL BOUNDARIES.
Our mindset in any given moment determines our attitudes and actions. When we operate from a Fixed Mindset, we are focused on “not looking bad” and therefore resist taking any risks –operating in the safe zone where growth, innovation, and performance are all limited. Conversely when we adopt a Growth Mindset we are focused on learning and improvement. In the Growth Mindset we appreciate the need for effort, are willing to embrace challenges, are not discouraged by mistakes, and appreciate feedback.
Avanade is a process-oriented, matrixed business featuring approval steps in their sales and delivery cadence. The MD found his organisation was sometimes too slow to seize opportunities and was not willing to push boundaries that impeded progress.
The first challenge to address was this prevailing mindset. To help everyone understand the situations in which they started in a Fixed Mindset and help them experiment with ways to adopt more of a Growth Mindset more often. We started by customising a research-based Growth Mindset Programme – tailoring each discussion and activity to the Avanade context, language, and value chain. We delivered nationally to >70 Manager and Directors using a hybrid face-to-face and virtual delivery method.
To strengthen the behavioural-focus, we helped everyone break down the often-misunderstood concept of Growth Mindset into specific behaviours. The entire group were challenged to write and execute 3 separate ‘experiments’ that allowed them to try specific new behaviours in key situations. These experiments and their results were then discussed in small groups throughout the program. People were encouraged by the willingness and vulnerability demonstrated by the leaders and peers. Not all experiments were successful in terms of outcomes, but all resulted in learning which was then carried into the next experiment. To supercharge this process, we set up a technology platform that enabled micro behaviour feedback across self / peers / direct reports / manager feedback to enable and motivate lasting behavioural change. We also used a 9-part Program Scorecard to measure improvement and value.
We partner with our clients to create a compelling ‘future state’ (TO) and a realistic ‘current state’ (FROM). This clarity is then represented as a roadmap which clarifies the specific programs/investments/interventions needed to move forward. In Growth Mindset we need to thoroughly assess and discuss the current prevailing mindset and then define what a more helpful mindset would look like – in behavioural terms.
While teams and indeed whole organisations have mindsets, we must help every individual understand their own mindset. In what situations does someone slip into a Fixed Mindset? What stories do they tell themselves and why? How can they begin to shift away from unhelpful Fixed Mindset Personas?
We know that Autonomy (along with Competence and Relationships) is required for human motivation. In most cases it’s not helpful to tell someone to “have a Growth Mindset and get on with it”. This approach essentially weaponizes Growth Mindset (which Carol Dweck warns us about). Instead, we teach what Growth Mindset is and allow each team member to choose which experiments will best serve them.
Changing mindsets and behaviours is hard. We need other people to help us by noticing and giving us feedback on the myriad of small things that constitute new ways of thinking and acting.
THE TEAM MOVED FROM ‘PROCESS BOUND’ TO ‘PUSHING BOUNDARIES’. THEY STARTED TO NOTICE PEOPLE ACROSS THE BUSINESS USING A NEW PHRASE: “HOW MIGHT WE?”
This fundamental shift in how people looked at challenges led to other noticeable, and measurable results:
When a senior leader invests in helping their organisation adopt a Growth Mindset, they unlock everyone’s ability to contribute more. As every person in the team identifies the personal triggers and personas that keep them ‘playing small’, they are able to slowly and gradually change how they operate. Change always requires awareness, responsibility, and action. The Growth Mindset process takes each of these three into account in a structured way. What’s better is that everyone is playing – from the CEO to the Front Line. When every team member has an active ‘experiment’ the whole organisation progresses as one.