A New Perspective on Blue Sky Thinking and Growth Mindsets

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View of West Bay Beach, Dorset at Composite Profiles Building Excellence Strategy Day

A New Perspective on Blue Sky Thinking and Growth Mindsets

Composite Profiles adopt a ‘fresh air, fresh ideas’ approach to business planning and explain what Blue-Sky thinking and Growth Mindsets means to them.

Getting Outdoors, Blue-Sky Thinking, Walking Meetings, Employee Engagement and Growth Mindsets, are all in a normal day’s work at Composite Profiles.

‘Walking Meetings’ or ‘Blue Sky Thinking’ as Composite Profiles refers to them, are literally meetings where you walk while you talk (and work).

Embraced by Composite Profiles’ Managing Director, Mark Norton, the notion of taking in fresh air while you work is increasingly recognised as a healthy and productive alternative to sitting around a desk in a stuffy office.

Joel Nurser, Operations Director at Composite Profiles, enjoying an ice cream whilst on the phone in West Bay, Dorset as part of their Building Excellence Strategy Day
Staff at Composite Profiles enjoying a walking meeting in West Bay as part of their annual Building Excellence Day

My Business Coach, James Akin-Smith, suggested we “walk and talk” one day and it was a revelation. Now, if I need to get something clear in my head, brainstorm an idea, face a difficult challenge or need to review something with a colleague, I will often suggest we do it outside of the office. It’s not always possible, as we are so reliant on our computers, but my team knows they can go out for a walk whenever they want if needed. As a business, we actively embrace Health and Wellbeing initiatives, as I believe it’s the only long-term solution to a happy and productive team.

It’s fair to say, not many business meetings are conducted by the sea whilst eating ice cream but a stroll on the beach in West Bay (where BBC’s hit drama Broadchurch was filmed!), surrounded by inspiring Dorset scenery and the sound of the sea, was exactly what Mark Norton had planned for his team as part of Composite Profiles’ annual strategy day, internally known as their Building Excellence Day.

Research shows that the sound of waves actually alters wave patterns in the brain, relaxing the mind and livening up creative juices, ideal for big picture or blue-sky thinking. This sort of playful approach to business planning is normally reserved for the dressed-down creatives and start-ups from Shoreditch heading to Brighton for an away-day, instead of adopted by a national metal decking contractor operating in the construction industry, which let’s face it isn’t particularly known for its softly-softly approach to business.

Mark Holland, Joel Nurser and Chris Inman from Composite Profiles Operations and CAD teams sitting on the sea wall in West Bay, Dorset as part of their annual Building Excellence Strategy Day
View of West Bay Beach, Dorset at Composite Profiles Building Excellence Strategy Day

Inspired by one of the quotes displayed on the office walls, Mark teaches the team to ‘embrace the chaos’, to embrace the plan and actively demonstrates his belief in building business plans from the bottom up.

Following the theme of ‘Hitting Targets and Developing a Growth Mindset’, this year’s Building Excellence Day included target shooting @ The Tunnel demonstrating Mark’s commitment to turn goal setting into a relevant experiential team activity.

“I display motivational statements around the office to subliminally train a growth mindset. I am always keen to align goal setting with a fun and memorable team activity. That way, I think people are already in a positive mindset and are more receptive to how their individual input, output and mindset directly impacts on our results and ultimately the success of the business.”

The Composite Profiles team reviewing their targets at The Tunnel in Dorset as part of their Building Excellence Strategy Day

Growth v. Fixed Mindsets

Carol Dweck, a Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, came up with the concept of Growth v Fixed Mindsets. Greater productivity, enhanced creativity and increased positivity are the results of taking in fresh air and exercise. The cumulative effect also aids in the transformation from a Fixed to Growth Mindset. Managing Director, Mark Norton, challenges his team to ‘train their brains’ by reflecting on statements associated with adopting a growth mindset – weighty statements such as ‘Perfection is the Enemy of Achievement’, ‘Failure is an opportunity to grow’, ‘My effort and attitude determine my abilities’ and ‘I am inspired by the success of others’.

“It’s really encouraging and sometimes daunting when your boss encourages you to go beyond your perceived potential but when you succeed it’s a great sense of achievement.” Remarks team member, Helen Clayton.

So, are the concepts of increased productivity from walking meetings, getting out of the workspace, breathing in fresh air, growth mindsets all new to us? Not really, but few companies truly embrace these practices and build them into their company culture. Indeed, in the construction industry, which is so heavily focussed on costs, very few are willing to tread the human path. And this is where specialist metal decking contractor, Composite Profiles, is making its mark.

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