Mindsets in the Classroom and Real Estate… – November 2015

Last week, Susan and I attended a seminar at Centerville Elementary School, hosted by Mary Cay Ricci. Mary is the author of Mindsets in the Classroom. The seminar was offered to anyone in the Urbana High School Feeder Pattern, and about half of those in attendance were teachers and the other half parents. Mary Cay spent about an hour and a half explaining how the paradigm in the classroom and in education is shifting from a ‘Fixed Mindset’ to a ‘Growth Mindset.’

What Mary Cay focused on kids make progress in today’s educational system. Most parents learned how a growth mindset could be applied to their child and in the classroom. I understood that this seminar was about education. I definitely got the aspect of kids and mindsets in the classroom, but I took it a step further and was thinking about the mindsets in life and in business. And I could see a direct correlation behind the mindset of certain individuals in business and in life.

Let me get discuss the educational part first…

Mary Cay explained the differences in the classroom between a fixed mindset verse a growth mindset. A fixed mindset means that innate intelligence pre-determined if you were smart, or not as smart, or you were going to need help in the long run. Growth mindset was that you can get kids – most kids – from point A to point B on the learning continuum, if you properly teach them, properly coach them, properly advise them and properly guide them throughout life and throughout education.

What the research said was that a child’s innate ability is only about 25% of achievement. Meaning that a child’s success in learning and growing is 25% based on a child’s innate ability AND 75% based on Growth Mindset and the ability to learn.

In nationwide research – and this was an interesting case study – that tested the ‘fixed’ vs the ‘growth’ mindset. (To watch this video yourself, go to YouTube and search ‘Carol Dweck – A Study on Praise and Mindsets’) The study took 400 fifth-graders throughout the US. They took half of them – and these were just kids that were randomly drawn, they gave them the exact same tests. The first test was an easy IQ test. The kids were put in two groups.

Each group were given different praise when they were given the results of the test. The first group was praised on Intelligence and were told, “You must be smart at this.” The second group was praised on Effort, and told, “You must have worked hard at this.” This is the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset.

Then, the kids were given an option for their next test they could: 1- Take a harder test and this is a great opportunity to learn and grow, or 2- Take and easier test and you’ll surely do well. The kids that were praised on intelligence, 67% chose easier version while the kids praised for effort, 92% chose harder option. So kids praised for effort are more openly accepting to challenging themselves and are not afraid of failure.

The next test was incredibly hard and the kids were set-up for failure, but what was interesting was the kids praised for effort worked harder, longer, and enjoyed the challenge. While the kids praised on intelligence quickly became frustrated and didn’t try as hard.

Now here is the INCREDIBLE part: the kids were given a 3rd and final test as easy as the first one. The results are astounding. The kids praised on intelligence actually did worse and their scores dropped by 20% while the kids who had been praised for effort actually raised their score by 30%. This is a 50% swing based on a few subtle differences on how a child is praised. How you praise can actually raise or hinder a child.

My Take-Away

One thing that I took from this seminar was that I can help kids by praising the effort and hard work. With Anthony and Alex I can praise their efforts, not the results. And this not only applies to education and school, but sports, extracurricular activities, and life.

Second, this Growth Mindset 100% applies to Business and Real Estate.

It’s interesting to know that sometimes when I meet with clients, and they are NOT a personal referral that they might also be meeting with 1 or 2 other agents before choosing a Realtor. I understand that most other agents would fall into the fixed mindset analysis above and would talk to clients in such a manner.

Most real estate agents when you meet with them, come with a canned script, a powerpoint presentation, MLS comps, and data about themselves or their company. This is a fixed mindset when you are just looking at the results and the inherent ‘salesperson script’ instead of focusing on the process in getting from Point A to Point B. A growth mindset in Real Estate means getting to know the client as a friend first, on a deeper level, then explaining the process and the hard work and dedication it will take them to achieve their goal of maximizing profits. Typical real estate agents are going to tell the client what they want to hear and promote their results. They are going to praise themselves. They are going to say, “Look at me. Look at what I did,” or “I’ve got these scripts that I am going to use if the client asks Question A, but this one if they ask Question B” – In my opinion this is pathetic.

Here is a great story about scripts.

I was hosting a Brokers’ Open last week where I personally called and invited 33 agents to a particular neighborhood because either they had some transactions in that area or I knew they might potentially have buyers. So we are sitting around ‘talking shop’ as anyone in the same profession does when they get together. One of the agents said, “Ah, you know, I’m having a really rough week. I went to an appointment and it ended up that they had another family member who was in real estate. I don’t think I’m going to get the listing.” Another broker, who does very well and who has been in the business for a while, said, “Well, what scripts do you use?” and I almost fell to the floor.

The scripts – why would somebody use scripts when you’re talking to another person? Do you not have enough respect for that person to answer their question honestly and with good thought? Can you not think of your own answer, that you have to memorize some ‘script?’ In my opinion you should be talking to the person. You should be hearing about their story, learning about them, finding out more about their situation and how you can help them to improve their life. I don’t think that can be accomplished through a script. I think that agents who use scripts have a fixed mindset in their business and in their life. It could be that they don’t know any better or that is what has been taught to them, and they can’t think for themselves.

People with growth mindsets – I consider myself to be onethink differently. They can overcome problems during a transaction, they can think of new and innovative ways to help their clients. I have applied, unknowingly until now, a growth mindset to my business the last three years by, teaching my clients that a Value-Driven Approach is far superior to the Price-Driven Approach most agents employ. As evidenced that in that time frame we have had 5 of the highest price per square foot sales in 5 different neighborhood when we settled. I have also learned how to write my newsletters how to convey my message through the written word to you. Was this easy? Heck no! This has taken years of practice and I have probably 60 books on writing that I’ve read on my bookshelf. Plus, I taught myself how to write the property stories for my sellers. We do this so that potential buyers can create an emotional attachment with the property before even setting foot in the home. I’m constantly innovating my process and my strategies for success for my sellers – and my buyers – for that matter. I believe that a growth mindset in real estate, and in life, is much better than a fixed mindset.

The next time you’re talking to your kids, or talking to a co-worker, or a business partner, are you going to use a fixed mindset and praise the results, or a growth mindset and praise the efforts? Thanks for reading. I’ll talk to you next month.