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A Brief But Spectacular take on creating cultures of growth


Notice: Transcripts are machine and human generated and lightly edited for accuracy. They may contain errors.

Amna Nawaz: Professor Mary C. Murphy is a social psychologist whose new book, "Cultures of Growth," explores what specific traits can make individuals and teams successful.

Tonight, Murphy shares her Brief But Spectacular take on how to create cultures of growth.

Mary C. Murphy, Author, "Cultures of Growth: How the New Science of Mindset Can Transform Individuals, Teams, and Organizations": Cultures of genius are really problematic.

If you Google the word genius, you're going to see a lot of Einstein. You might see some Thomas Edison or Steve Jobs. You might even see Elon Musk. They're all white. They're all male. You don't see women. You don't see people of color, LGBTQIA people. You don't see people with disabilities.

And so what we see over and over is that these cultures of genius really focus on who fits that narrow mold. And it has consequences.

I grew up in San Antonio, Texas, as part of a bicultural, Hispanic, working-class family. I think that, in American culture, we all like to think that we are independent agents, but I think we underappreciate how much the world shapes us and how much the cues in the environment tell us, are we valued, are we respected? Do we have what it takes, or don't we?

And we all have the power to create these environments around us. And we have to do that. As a researcher, I focus on how our environments and the cues within them shape our motivation and our engagement. And I figure out how we can recreate these environments.

The fixed mind-set holds that talent and ability and intelligence are relatively fixed traits. You either have them or you don't. You're a math person or you're not. You're a creative person or you're not.

And the growth mind-set is often seen as the opposite. It holds that we have universal potential. The book I wrote is called "Cultures of Growth." The work that we have been doing has really shown us that mind-set is not just a quality of our minds. It's also a feature of groups, teams, schools and companies and that, when we can build these inclusive cultures of growth, we will create environments where everyone thrives.

How I know I'm in a strong culture of growth is that I see people collaborating, and they're excited when new and novel and innovative ideas come from anywhere. Sometimes, all it takes is for other people to see who we really are and what we're capable of.

My name is Mary Murphy, and this is my Brief But Spectacular take on how we create cultures of growth.

Amna Nawaz: And you can watch more Brief But Spectacular videos online at

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