The premise behind this book is straightforward. There are two mindsets that people can have when it comes to approaching work, play and relationships. One is a growth mindset, in which a person has a belief that it is possible to learn and make changes that lead to success, or at least improvement, in a given endeavor. The other is a fixed mindset, in which a person has a belief that talent and capabilities are innate. The first belief values persistence and focused work. The latter belief fosters a reluctance to engage without certainty of success.
The book references a long series of case studies and examples to reinforce this central premise. Lean professionals will find the premise easy to accept intellectually. We are inclined toward continuous improvement through learning. There are a couple of reasons the book is worthwhile reading.
One is that individuals often have both fixed and growth mindsets depending upon the subject. For example, it is possible for me to believe that I can continue to improve as a Lean coach by learning alongside my clients and simultaneously believe that I have no musical talent and shouldn’t even try to develop any even though I enjoy music. The range of case studies may help call attention to areas in which your normal growth mindset has locked itself into a fixed mindset; identifying an opportunity for growth in an area heretofore avoided.
The second reason is Chapter 7 of the book, which provides case studies related to teaching and coaching. If you have a leadership position on a Lean project or in your enterprise (and on a Lean team there are multiple leadership positions) then you are responsible for teaching and coaching. This chapter helps the reader understand the importance of their own growth mindset, and the importance of cultivating a growth mindset among others on the team.
The book is a very easy read and worth the investment of time. If you fully accept the principles in this book you may even find yourself investing time in learning a skill you previously thought unattainable. If you cannot make time for the entire book, at least invest in reading Chapter 7 to appreciate how you can become a better leader.