The Growth Mindset for Actuaries

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I am looking forward to Dr. Helen Wright five bite-sized sessions in the next 7 weeks on developing and building a growth mindset.

The Growth Mindset is a specific psychological term coined by Professor Carol Dweck and was identified early on in 2019 as part of the culture change necessary for the profession in the VSMD (Vision, Skillsets, Mindsets and Domains) strategy. 

Frank Redington, the most consequential actuary in the last one hundred years, warned us that we should not be beset by our quintessential values: Accuracy, Cautiousness, Reticence and Consistency. And we must make room for a greater diversity of values. He called specifically for impulse and imagination. (See Redington Gold Medal acceptance speech in 1968).

Subsequent presidents and wider psychological research suggest adapting to the digital world and addressing systemic challenges and wicked problems require two new clusters of values around innovation, growing and learning (innovation mindsets) and around challenging existing paradigms and systems (the systemic mindsets).

Innovative Mindsets: Curiosity, Adaptability and The Growth Mindset

Systemic Mindsets: Courage, Imagination and Judgement

In our traditional and reserved roles, we need a strong dose of our quintessential values -this will make us more systematic, accurate and reliable.  In the digital world, the innovative mindsets will be particularly helpful – as they encourage experimentation, learning innovation and out of box thinking.

In addressing the deep-seated sustainability problems embedded in the current paradigms of finance and societal narratives that led us to climate and biodiversity disasters, we need to encourage “systemic mindsets” to challenge strongly held assumptions and beliefs and orchestrate changes to the prevalent paradigms.