January / February 2023

Emerging Leaders Editorial: The Power of a Growth Mindset

Zen-Zen Yen
Emerging Leaders Editorial: Zen-Zen Yen

When I started working in the pharmaceutical industry, I was looking for ways to grow my knowledge, my community, and my skillset. When I founded the Emerging Leaders committee within the ISPE D/A/CH (Germany, Austria, and Switzerland) Affiliate, I knew I had found that way.

ISPE and especially the Emerging Leaders (EL) groups around the globe have provided me with extraordinary opportunities for personal growth. I feel extremely honored to represent Emerging Leaders globally as an ex officio member of the ISPE International Board of Directors. I’m looking forward to learning, unlearning, and relearning more.

Why? I believe our capacity for learning is becoming increasingly important. In the past, we learned how to do a job; in the future, learning will be the job.

A Growth Mindset

Someone who doesn’t believe that they can keep learning new knowledge and skills has a fixed mindset, while someone who strongly believes that they are able to learn new things and improve themselves has a growth mindset. Never underestimate the power of the mindset. Lack of awareness is more dangerous than lack of knowledge; therefore, we should be aware of the importance of the growth mindset.

What’s relevant today may become obsolete tomorrow. How can you learn in an area that was unthought of before? Because we are tapping into new areas almost daily, the workforce of the future will need to upskill and keep learning continuously, and fast.

“Becoming is better than being,” said Carol Dweck in Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. We can all nurture our mindset to embrace growth and new challenges.

There are many ways that can help to foster a growth mindset, and many of these are available through ISPE.

In the past, we learned how to do a job; in the future, learning will be the job.

Make Learning a Habit

Learning doesn’t start or end with our profession. Making learning a habit helped me to stay curious and to keep looking for what’s different or new. Being in a constant state of learning of course also means failing and starting again. More important, problems become challenges that want to be tackled.

There are unlimited ways to learn. However, it is important to identify the right way for one personally. Is it by learning from others, by experimenting, or by applying?

Embrace the Word “Yet”

Everything is in change constantly. So are our capabilities. The struggle we feel when starting something new can be discouraging. Facing the struggle of learning something new also means to normalize not being “good” at something yet.

By simply adding that “yet” to how we approach learning something new, we can allow ourselves to be within the process of gaining ability, valuing the process more than the actual result. Using “yet” can shift the perception of knowledge and learning from a goal to reach to an endless road of ideas.

Find a Mentor

Mentors have a unique opportunity to support their mentees in adopting a growth mindset through their role as advocate, coach, and champion. A mentoring relationship practically embodies the growth mindset. As a mentee, one needs to recognize challenges and growth opportunities to get the most value out of the relationship. As a mentor, one cannot assume to know all answers, but must focus on asking the right questions.

Finding a mentor can be difficult. I was very lucky that ISPE D/A/CH offers a mentoring program and that there are several mentoring circles within Women in Pharma®.