Mobility Engineer 2030: Having a Growth Mindset is Key to Success!

Skills Development
Skills Development

Having a Growth Mindset is key to Success - Chapter 9

The innovations in the automotive industry are driven by technology convergence and are best achieved by the hardware and software teams working together. Leaders are therefore taking people out of their comfort zones, and adapting their leadership approach to an evolving ecosystem, increasingly dominated by digital natives. The leader is expected to have a ‘Silicon Valley mindset’ that involves risk-taking, learning from failure, iterative innovation, customer engagement and fast-paced decision making. Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft, famously said, “Anything is possible for a company when its culture is about listening, learning and harnessing individual passions and talents to the company’s mission. Creating that kind of culture is my chief job as CEO. The culture change I wanted was centred on delivering a growth mindset, to be customer-obsessed, diverse, and inclusive, and working as One Microsoft to get us there" [1].

Pavan gets introduced to Carol Dweck

Pavan was feeling clueless about what Prof. Murugan told him the day before. He said Pavan's fear of not able to contribute to the project (that Kavya proposed) has nothing to do with his lack of technical knowledge but is a mindset issue. It was a Sunday, but Pavan thought that he might check with Prof. Murugan if he is available to meet and discuss this further. Prof. Murugan was expecting Pavan's call. He confirmed he is available and is ready to meet Pavan and discuss it over tea.

That afternoon Pavan got ready and reached the CCD where generally he meets Prof. Murugan for offline discussions. Pavan did not find him inside the cafe - this is not normal because Prof. Murugan is very particular about being on time. Suddenly, through the transparent glass of the cafe he saw Prof. Murugan waving at him while standing in front of the park just opposite the CCD. Pavan came out of the cafe, crossed the road and said, "Aren't we meeting over tea?"

"Sure. But who says only CCD makes tea! Let's try Ganesh anna's tea today. I want to show you something." Prof. Murugan wrapped his arms around Pavan's shoulder and took him inside the park. The park was full of families enjoying with their kids. The two sat on a bench overlooking the central part where most of the kids were playing. Pointing at a baby who was crawling around trying to play with his elder brother Prof. Murugan said, "You are witnessing a rare stuff, Pavan. Look at that baby. He is going to grow into the first crawling man of the city."

Prof. Murugan and Pavan
Prof. Murugan and Pavan
Prof. Murugan and Pavan

Pavan laughed. "Why do you think this is funny?" asked Prof. Murugan. "You are joking with me! Why will he grow into a crawling man - he will definitely learn to walk very soon!" Pavan exclaimed. "You really think so? But I thought you believed one cannot do something new if they are already not knowing enough about that" Pavan realised Prof. Murugan has already started explaining what he meant yesterday by using the word mindset.

"Let me introduce you to the work of American psychologist Carol Dweck" said Prof. Murugan as he further continued explaining mindset and what it has to do with Pavan’s fear. Carol Dweck studied human psychology in detail and coined the terms Fixed and Growth Mindset [2]. Human beings fall under either of these two mindset types. In fact, all human beings have a Growth mindset predominant in the early age. Thus, it was very easy for Pavan to predict that the small baby will not crawl forever but will soon learn to walk. But as we grow, we tend to develop the fixed mindset.

Many people however consciously work on keeping their Growth mindset active. People with Fixed mindset believe that one individual’s abilities are acquired from birth - if someone is not good enough on certain competencies from the beginning, it is never going to be possible for them to learn and acquire the new competencies. Success makes people feel happiness – but a lot of one’s happiness depends on how they define their success parameters. The Fixed mindset makes people tend to look for approvals from others to define their success. Their happiness depends on how someone else praises them for the work they do.

On the other hand, people with Growth mindset do not worry about how others perceive them. They believe new skills and competencies can be learnt through hard work and practice. Their definition of success lies in the progressive realisation of acquiring the new competency. Thus, they do not worry about trying and failing. While those with Fixed mindset consider failures as disasters, those with a Growth mindset considers failure as opportunities to learn.

If inventors like Thomas Alva Edison had a Fixed mindset, the electric bulb and various other inventions would never have happened. But as a child, it is difficult to control the gradual development of the Fixed mindset because it is highly influenced by the mindset of the adults around like parents, teachers, and friends. However, as one grows, one should start taking control over their own mind and consciously grow a Growth mindset.

How to adopt a growth mindset

There are few key things that one may do to develop the Growth mindset. These are four steps:

· Reflect - It’s important to analyse and understand one’s failures. Reflecting helps in gathering one’s thoughts and helps identify areas of improvement. It does not help if one tries to hide their weakness.

· Define a Goal - Charlotte Barber in a TED Talk on growth mindset said “growth mindset with a strong purpose and a toned resilience muscle, you’ll find that there are always other ways to achieve your goals” [3]. It is easy to adapt a Growth mindset if one has set her goal/purpose. If you know what your destination is, it always helps to find a route even if there are hurdles on the way.

· Add the word ‘Yet’ – Adding a simple ‘Yet’ while describing one’s failure helps in creating a Growth mindset. Next time, instead of saying, “I will not be able to contribute to the project that requires knowledge of coding”, try saying “I am not yet equipped to contribute to the project that requires knowledge of coding”

· Cut down negative influence – It helps when one is surrounded by people with Growth mindset or are trying to develop one.

Bharath remembers Alan Mullaly

Bharath had a Fixed mindset initially, when he wondered why everyone felt that Electric Vehicles (EVs) are the future of the automotive industry. But he was willing to openly discuss with his mentor and listen to others. He was willing to put in the extra effort to validate what he heard using trustworthy sources of information. Once he was convinced about the potential of EVs, he embraced a Growth mindset and there was no looking back. The Ford turn around scripted by Allan Mullaly was a popular story that came to Bharath’s mind [4, 5].

Alan Mullaly was brought over to Ford when it was facing bankruptcy in 2006, to make a turn around. Ford was facing a loss of more than $12 billion that year. Mullaly had to fix the immediate cash issue while placing his bets for the future. He took a loan of $23 billion from banks and sold premium brands like Jaguar and Land Rover. He implemented what was called the “One Ford” plan to quickly motivate the employees and with a bigger long-term aim for “Profitable Growth for All” or PGA.

The “One Ford” plan brought all Ford employees together as one team, leveraged Ford’s unique knowledge and assets, built vehicles that customers valued and arranged the necessary financing. For PGA, he did not just cut costs. He wanted year-over-year growth in profit and cash flow by making and selling products and services that Ford’s customers really wanted. Mullaly’s strategy worked and Ford made a profit of $6.6 billion in 2010. Bharath liked to share the Ford turn around story as an example for Growth mindset with his teams whenever there was an opportunity.

Dr. Sharma Vs Bharath – the Grand Debate

After taking up his new role as the CTO for the EV business unit, Bharath was used to getting calls from Dr. Sharma’s office at odd hours. This time when there was a call, Bharath eagerly looked forward to meeting Dr. Sharma again. Not even in his wildest dreams, did he imagine that he will end up in an intense debate with Dr. Sharma. He had always considered Dr. Sharma as the Know-All expert and he had readily accepted his views. But today, the situation turned out to be quite different, Dr. Sharma was keen to hear a contrarian view from Bharath and he wanted to thoroughly argue it out. Dr. Sharma challenged Bharath’s view on Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) by asking how are BEVs better than Hydrogen-based Fuel Cell Vehicles (FCVs). He asked Bharath,” are we making the right decision by placing all of our bets on BEVs?”. Bharath is a recent convert to BEVs, but he has been keeping track of other competing technologies. He was ready to engage with Dr. Sharma on a technical debate and convince him that BEV is a better technology as compared to Hydrogen FCV. The debate was quite intense and animated, Bharath almost forgot that he was talking to the technology head of his organization. He was very passionate about BEVs and he had all his tech facts in place. He built his technical argument on the basis of energy conversion efficiency.

Dr. Sharma and Bharath engaged in an intense tech debate
Dr. Sharma and Bharath engaged in an intense tech debate
Dr. Sharma and Bharath

The electric vehicle can be run either by a battery or by a hydrogen-based fuel cell. A BEV is equipped with a relatively large rechargeable battery, which supplies electricity to the inverter and then electric motor. In the case of FCVs, the battery is very small because it works only as a buffer between the power electronics/motor and the hydrogen fuel cell. The fuel cell stack provides electricity, consuming hydrogen, stored in tanks at high pressure [6].

Follow @ Google News: கூகுள் செய்திகள் பக்கத்தில் விகடன் இணையதளத்தை இங்கே கிளிக் செய்து ஃபாலோ செய்யுங்கள்... செய்திகளை உடனுக்குடன் பெறுங்கள்.

Bharath went on to analyse which energy storage system has the best efficiency and is the most cost-effective for powering electric cars? With battery-powered e-cars, only eight percent of the energy is lost during transport before the electricity is stored in the vehicle’s batteries. When the electrical energy is converted to drive the electric motor, another 18 percent is lost. Depending on the model, the battery-powered e-car thus achieves an efficiency of between 70 to 80 percent.

The analysis by Volkswagen (2020) concludes that in the case of the passenger car, everything speaks in favour of the battery and practically nothing speaks in favour of hydrogen. This fact is reflected by the relative number of cars in Germany in 2020 – 130,000 BEVs and 500+ Hydrogen FCVs. Their conclusion is also substantiated by the study “Automotive Industry 2035 – Forecasts for the Future” by a management consultancy that had a detailed investigation carried out into whether battery- or hydrogen-powered e-cars will become established in the future [7].

Energy Efficiency of BEV vs Hydrogen FCV
Energy Efficiency of BEV vs Hydrogen FCV
Energy Efficiency of BEV vs Hydrogen FCV

the case of the hydrogen-powered e-car, the losses are much greater: 45 percent of the energy is already lost during the production of hydrogen through electrolysis. Of this remaining 55 percent of the original energy, another 55 percent is lost when converting hydrogen into electricity within the vehicle. This means that the hydrogen-powered e-car only achieves an efficiency of between 25 to 35 percent, depending on the model. For the sake of completeness: the efficiency is even worse with alternative fuels. The overall efficiency here is only 10 to 20 percent. This means that a hydrogen car consumes two to three times more electricity for the same distance than a battery car [7].

While 77% of the electricity supply is used in making the battery-powered car move (the rest, 23% was lost/wasted), only 33% of the electricity is used to move the hydrogen-powered car (the rest, 67%, was lost/wasted). The overall efficiency for an ICE vehicle running on diesel is 20% and is 16% for petrol [8]. Hydrogen fuel cell cars seem to have three major drawbacks - high initial cost of the vehicles (higher than battery-electric), high fuel cost (higher operational cost than battery-electric) and lack of refuelling infrastructure (BEVs at least have some in form of home charging, which covers most of the daily charging needs) [8].

At the end of the discussion, Bharath wondered if Dr. Sharma might have got offended by the intensity with which he argued. To his surprise, Dr. Sharma said he was happy to hear the clarity and conviction with which Bharath put forward his arguments. Dr. Sharma was quite convinced that BEV is the right technology to place their bets on. He admitted that he is convinced by the energy efficiency considerations to rate BEV better than H-FCV. But he said they should continue the debate next from the perspective of infrastructure, ease of maintenance and from the circular economic perspective. Bharath realised that it is his growth mindset and willingness to go out of his comfort zone to learn new things that enabled Dr. Sharma to navigate successfully through the many waves of technology transformation and prepare his organization to adapt to new technologies. Bharath’s respect and admiration for his CTO went up further.

For those of you who want make a beginning today towards building a growth mindset, the resources made available by Khan Academy [9] provide excellent videos for teachers, students and practitioners.

Note: All opinions and points-of-view expressed above are those of the authors and do not represent that of any other individual or organization.


1 – How Satya Nadella brought a growth mindset to Microsoft, Ruchira Chaudhary, Mar 05, 2021

2 - Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Carol Dweck, Random House, 2006

3 - The Power of Yet - TED Talk by Carol Dweck

4 – Organizational Culture Change Example – Alan Mulally Ford Turnaround Story, New Age Leadership

5 - Ford CEO Alan Mulally on scripting one of the most incredible turnarounds in corporate history, Vinod Mahanta, Sanjay Vijayakumar, Jul 04, 2014, Economic Times

6 - Battery Electric Vs Hydrogen Fuel Cell: Efficiency Comparison, Mark Kane, Mar, 2020, InsideEVs

7 - Battery or fuel cell, that is the question, Volkswagen AG (2020)

8 - Cars: direct electrification most efficient by far, CleanTechnica, Fe 2021, Zachary Shahan

9 – Learning Resources for Teachers who want to build a growth mindset in their students, Khan Academy

Connect with Authors on LinkedIn:

Dr Shankar Venugopal | Ramachandran S | Sayantan Mukherjee

அடுத்த கட்டுரைக்கு