By Debora Bubb, Vice President, Human Resources, and Director, Global Leadership and Learning, Intel
Like most of you, I’ve watched many companies with iconic brands struggle to evolve. Despite their impressive histories and market-making products, these companies have surrendered their positions to disruptive challengers, now subject to merciless business case analysis. Put simply, great companies either evolve or die.
So how does a technology giant like Intel keep evolving? Let’s face it: changes in the market aren’t slowing down and technology challenges aren’t getting easier to solve. To continue driving innovation that makes amazing experiences possible, Intel can’t afford to be complacent about our need to evolve. For us, it means new markets, new customers and new technology challenges. It means opening up to new talent, different approaches and diverse perspectives. It means living up to our company value of embracing change and challenging the status quo.
And that’s where GROW comes in.
What is GROW?
GROW is a new company-wide initiative for employees at Intel to create an environment where everyone can do their best work. Our global leadership and learning team designed GROW as a platform for personal, professional and cultural growth. At its essence, GROW is about helping us grow ourselves, grow together and grow Intel.
One of the most important ways Intel—and much of the tech industry—needs to evolve is toward a culture that wholeheartedly embraces diversity and inclusion. In fact, recent research published by the Conference Board points to the correlation between innovation and inclusiveness—that is to say, companies who are better able to learn, listen and include one another are more innovative. As reported by the San Jose Mercury News, David Rock, director of the NeuroLeadership Institute, explained “that diverse [and inclusive] teams perform better than homogeneous ones on a bunch of measures—solving logical and creative problems, as well as finding errors.”
But historical programs to train employees on diversity and inclusion have had mixed results. People have had a hard time translating concepts explored in the classroom to real life situations at work. To help Intel evolve, we needed a breakthrough in our approach, just like we make breakthroughs in technology.
So we approached the problem like good engineers: we consulted with key partners and experts in neuro-social science research, (including the NeuroLeadership Institute, the Center for Workforce Excellence and the Center for Talent Innovation), and looked for insights about how to drive broad scale culture change. We landed on an approach that helped us stop admiring the problem and got us focused on developing new insights and changing our habits, together. And that’s what GROW is all about.
How—and Why It’s Important—to Continue GROWing
Before Intel—or any company—can evolve its culture in a significant way, employees must first be open to change, going from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. Informed by the work of Stanford University professor Carol Dweck and others, we found that people and teams with a growth mindset see change as a challenge, not a threat.
Approaching your work with a growth mindset brings many benefits, allowing you to:
- focus more on solutions.
- set and achieve bigger goals.
- be more creative and resilient.
- find feedback more helpful.
- learn more from others.
- perform better overall.
To help Intel shift to a growth mindset and experience these benefits, we built GROW around simple habits and practice tools that encourage us to do less of some things and more of others. For example:
- Instead of focusing just on your own perspective, ask yourself how others might think about it or take a different approach.
- Instead of being content with what you already know, find ways to develop and expand your skills, your networks and your knowledge.
- Instead of focusing only on the output of your team, pay attention to your team’s progress. Watch how your team interacts and collaborates, and look for ways to ensure every voice is heard and everyone contributes to their full potential.
Let’s GROW Together!
To solve tomorrow’s technology challenges, Intel will continue to innovate and evolve. After all, to paraphrase Einstein, the same thinking that got us here won’t get us there. And that’s going to take everyone’s commitment to grow themselves and grow together. Through GROW, we are trying to get comfortable being uncomfortable. We are challenging ourselves to grow new skills and be more open to each other. We are trying to make Intel a place where everyone is welcome and challenged to contribute our best.
I invite all of you to GROW along with us! Take on your own GROW goals and help transform your own workplace into a more inclusive and growth-oriented environment. By adopting a growth mindset and taking action to build new skills, behaviors and habits, you can help your industry bring about needed cultural transformation—to make the same kinds of breakthroughs in how we relate to each other as Intel does in technology.