How a Growth Mindset Empowers Your Learners, Teachers and Leaders

Technology is shaping the future of business and driving the evolution of consumer expectations. Industries will be transformed. Roles will change. Skills will become outdated. The organizations best positioned to shape their industries will be the ones that are currently agile, nimble, and receptive to a growth mindset culture — a concept that explores the belief that people enjoy challenges and want to develop new skills.

The digital revolution will bring a sea change to the financial services industry. Tech jobs are projected to increase 22 percent by the year 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), an impact that invariably will be felt in various industries. We’re on a five-year digital transformation journey to innovate from our core and build outward, and in so doing, position ourselves as a bank that a technology company would build. To get there, we’re readying our associates to operate at the cutting edge of technology.

As the Head of the Enterprise Learning and Development (L&D) and Tech College team at Capital One, I’m committed to building and scaling innovative learning and development experiences. We’ve built a “by engineers for engineers” organization where we identify technologists who are subject matter experts within the business and bring them into our learning team, creating opportunities to upskill and reskill associates at all levels across a variety of disciplines, such as software engineering, mobile, machine learning and artificial intelligence, cloud computing, cyber security, and data.

Through Tech College — a first-of-its-kind learning curriculum developed to help keep engineers, product managers, and analysts up to date on cutting-edge technology skills — we are offering more than 250 courses that build upon on our culture of continued learning and development. Each of the disciplines are led by deans and engineers who create the assets and curate the content. You can read more about Tech College here.


Our journey of continuous learning embodies the growth mindset culture in a truly unique way. I’ve never seen so much energy around adopting new skills, trying a new mental framework, and adopting new ways of working. Even non-technical teams are on Slack, a real-time messaging platform, as well as JIRA, a tool used for bug tracking, issue tracking, and project management. And the company leverages Agile, not commonly used in non-tech groups and companies.

As our company continues our digital transformation journey, we’re leaning into opportunities for all of our associates to enhance their technical acumen. Cultivating a growth mindset culture — where anyone can learn and thrive with the right tools — has enabled Capital One’s collaborative peer-to-peer learning environment where associates can share their experience and skills.

We are re-imagining learning by continuing to expand our network of contributors and helping to grow a world-class development culture where everyone is both a learner and a teacher. Associates can contribute by designing and curating digital, self-paced learning experiences or materials, building in-person, instructor-led learning experiences, teaching or facilitating live in-person or virtual instructor-led learning experiences, serving as mentors or coaches; and reviewing content from the perspective of a subject matter expert.

When it comes to hiring, growth mindset companies look past pedigree, valuing potential, capacity, and a passion for learning. We have taken note. As part of our recruiting and development efforts, we’ve expanded Capital One Developer Academy (CODA), a program that identifies high-performing, non-computer science students with a passion for technology and puts them on a training pathway to become software engineers.

Various studies on mindsets have found evidence that fixed-mindset cultures tend to see more clashes between managers and employees, with leaders trying to prove themselves as superior, emphasizing hierarchy, and claiming credit for accomplishments. Employees with fixed mindsets are also more inclined to fall back on the notion of labels. This means that the extent of someone is their role, performance, or skillset. It implies they cannot grow or morph from there. That can lead to a lot of unsuccessful behaviors because people start to become unproductive.

There’s no singular way to achieve success in any organization on a journey of digital transformation. But I do believe that our mission and values have served us well in attracting and retaining talent who are encouraged to learn and embrace challenges. At Capital One, everyone’s a learner. Everyone’s a leader. And everyone’s a teacher, so associates are continually creating, evaluating, and delivering content. I’m thrilled that our “always-on” culture of learning development has allowed our associates and leaders to see challenges as opportunities. I invite others to join me on a growth mindset journey.

Louise Welch , Head of Enterprise Learning and Development

Louise Welch  is the Head of Enterprise Learning and Development (L&D) and Tech College for Capital One.

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