Mindset vs. Competency: Rethinking Achieving Goals

Mindset vs. Competency: Rethinking Achieving Goals

A ValueMined survey reveals all

“The future of leadership is mindsets, not competencies.” — Charles Palus, Senior Fellow, Center For Creative Leadership.

The relationship between leadership mindset and competency is seeing much debate. Which tops the priority list? How does one impact the other?

When we spoke with leadership across organisations, it was quite evident that mindset overrules competencies to achieve goals. A stark contradiction to what Learning & Development teams focus on – measuring employees on the basis of competencies.This huge chasm in expectation often creates a disconnect between performance parameters and the goals achieved. This is also one of the key differentiators between bad hires and ace performers.

Mindset is a performance enhancer

We decided to test this premise further and conducted conversations across 6 countries. The survey quizzed a diverse cross-section of workforce that comprised of participants with varied designations – CXOs to middle management, across different industries – Consulting, Education, Healthcare, Manufacturing, IT, Retail among others. We met 250 respondents across India, South East Asia, and Europe to understand what they perceived as the holy grail of goal fulfilment.    

Here are the three key learnings that emerged unanimously:

  1. More than 92% of the respondents believe that a winning mindset played a central role (than competencies) when it comes to achieving goals.

Competencies can be learned. Any employee, if the hiring is right, can learn the right skills to get the job done. Mindset goes beyond this. An employee who understands the value of collaborating with peers, who works to achieve a broader vision of improving company performance while increasing the impact he or she can have (read the right mindset), will be able to work towards achieving goals with a different perspective.

2. More than 86% believe that the best way to build a growth or positive mindset is mentoring by senior leaders; professional coaching comes a close second

Like with competencies, mentoring and coaching are the building blocks of a focussed, positive, growth-oriented mindset. It is a potent combination that enables an individual to strike ahead confidently. Most believe that an experienced leader is a hands-on mentor who stokes the will of the team members to succeed at the right time

3. Two top areas for mentoring and coaching are: Leadership Capability and Professional Growth

This is where most mid to senior management admit they need handholding and guidance.

More than 56% believe that coaching is required across designations and not just at the senior levels. This finding is supported by the fact that 76% also believe that coaching goes beyond just a mindset and competency builder. It impacts the overall well-being of an individual, leading them to perform better. Furthermore, amongst those who have undergone coaching, more than 85% rate their coaching experience an 8 or above (on a scale of 10) and strongly believe that coaching is a must to bring about mindset shifts across an organisation. 

Competencies still form the bedrock of goal-achieving targets. But a shift to ‘Mindset’ will enable teams to push the envelope and deliver better results. If competency is fuel, then mindset is the spark that ignites the fuel and helps it realise its potential. Competency without the right mindset is just a tankful of unrealised possibilities.

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Ms. Nivedita Chandra

IIM Calcutta Alumni & B.Tech Computer Science. More than 17 years of experience in driving HR Transformation across Global and local organisations. Worked extensively in improving employee experience through technology. Industry experience ranges across Automobile, Manufacturing, Banking, Educational, Technology, and Logistics companies.

Leveraging the synergies of both her consulting and leadership coaching experience, she created ValueMined – A Consulting and Coaching firm to mine hidden value of human and digital potential for organisations and individuals.
After 20 years of a corporate & entrepreneurial journey, her biggest achievement is having worked with people across the 6 continents, learning different cultures, ethics and values. She believes that no matter how different we may seem on the outer, we are all the same at our core.