Option B as a Growth Mindset

Today, I read the entire new book, Option B, by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant. I enjoyed the copious amounts of data that the book included.

One particular data set on learning stood out around the growth mindset.

One of my favorite, very true, passages from the book:

To be resilient after failures, we have to learn from them. Most of the time, we know this; we just don’t do it. We’re too insecure to admit mistakes to ourselves or too proud to admit them to others. Instead of opening up, we get defensive and shut down. A resilient organization helps people overcome these reactions by creating a culture that encourages individuals to acknowledge their missteps and regrets. (144)

In this past year at Google, my first manager especially, made me feel more comfortable opening up about my failures. Yet, still when I get feedback, I go through the phases described here. I get defensive. I disagree. But now, I, sometimes, also pause. Reflect. And know I can decide, even if I don’t agree with feedback or outcomes, that I can learn from the situation.

Interestingly in sharing our short comings, we also realize others may have the same ones. For example, Sheryl and I both struggle with something I think many women in the tech business do. The perception (and, self admittedly, the reality of!) jumping in too soon. She writes:

At Google, my colleague Joan Braddi explained that I wasn’t as persuasive as I could be in meetings because I often jumped in to speak early. She said that if I could be more patient and let others express their views first, I could make my arguments better by addressing their concerns. (149)

So how do we deal with feedback we don’t want to hear more effectively so that we can grow from it versus deny it? Sheryl offers advice from two law professors for, I think, people like me that can feel sensitive to feedback:

You should “give yourself a ‘second score based on handle you the first score…Even when you get an F for the situation itself, you can still earn an A+ for how you deal with it. (151)

Now what type A person wouldn’t like another option at redemption? I want my Option B to to think more about how I deal with difficult news, even if just at the office. Building up that resiliency now and growing from it, according to Sheryl and Adam, will prepare me better to act resiliently in the future.




Option B as a Growth Mindset

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