Art: Charter

Professor of psychological and brain sciences, Indiana University; founder and CEO, Equity Accelerator, author, Cultures of Growth

Read the full list of Charter 30 honorees here, and learn more about Charter Pro here.

Murphy’s research focus could perhaps be described as the science of helping organizations bring out the best in people. A protege of Carol Dweck, the psychologist behind the concept of fixed vs. growth mindsets, Murphy has expanded that idea to the world of management science, looking at how teams can create “growth cultures” that emphasize development and possibility over static traits. Her book, Cultures of Growth, provides a roadmap for leaders to create and nurture a focus on growth within their teams, while her consulting and training organization, Equity Accelerator, gives employers hands-on guidance in using that focus to build more equitable working environments.

Right now, what is your biggest question or curiosity about the future of work?

There are two prevailing models for how we structure our workplaces. One is the fixed-minded culture of genius, where we focus primarily on recruiting and retaining star performers who align with our narrow prototype of genius. The other is the culture of growth, which holds that given the right supports, resources, and tools, everyone can develop and contribute. We know that cultures of growth are more collaborative, innovative, ethical, resilient in times of uncertainty and ambiguity, and enjoy greater bottom-line success. Are we ready to give up our genius worship and create (and sustain) contexts where people and companies are most likely to thrive?

What is one problem leaders should be focused on solving in the year ahead?

The problem leaders should be focusing on in the year ahead is culture change—and in particular, creating cultures of growth. With so many industries rapidly shifting (energy, technology, and more), companies will have to respond with agility, innovation, and measured risk-taking. Mistakes will be made if companies are truly innovating. The question is: Will leaders have structures in place to learn from those mistakes quickly? Will they have growth-minded cultures in place to support employees on the ground to rise to the occasion? No leader can do it alone.

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