As an industry that’s ever evolving, expanding and challenging, igaming is a prime example of a sector that benefits from the adoption of a growth mindset. In truth, the industry’s affiliate marketing community should be a leading voice in touting the merits of achieving progress by embracing change and viewing failure as an opportunity to grow. That’s to say nothing of the inherent grit and sense of entrepreneurship that affiliate marketers often need to succeed.
However, even if igaming stakeholders tend to exhibit the traits associated with a growth mindset, there are two important questions that need to be asked. First, is the adoption of these traits simply a subconscious response to environmental factors? And second, if it is subconscious, what potential is waiting to be unlocked through a more mindful, purposeful implementation of those traits?
DEFINING THE GROWTH MINDSET
First, it’s important to be clear on the difference between a growth mindset and its recognised counterpart, the fixed mindset. In her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, author Carol Dweck writes that a fixed mindset “assumes that our character, intelligence and creative ability are static givens which we can’t change in any meaningful way”.
Conversely, Dweck explains, a growth mindset is the tendency to believe that you can grow. “Why waste time proving over and over how great you are when you could be getting better?” she asks.
Although the growth mindset isn’t a new concept, it has been making headlines of late, particularly when it comes to the potential impact in education, entrepreneurship and, increasingly, the technology sector. Those three areas each have important roles in the success of today’s igaming industry.
One proponent of instilling a growth mindset within the technology sector has been none other than the world’s most valuable company, Microsoft. As its president Brad Smith explained in a recent interview with Vox.com, the company’s CEO Satya Nadella “took the cultural 2019evolution of the 2000s and said, ‘Let’s sustain this level of responsibility. Let’s be committed to trust with customers as a core principle for the company, but let’s add to this,’ what he describes as a growth mindset, a real focus on a learn-it-all rather than know-it-all culture at Microsoft, and let’s use that to unleash innovation…”
HOW IGAMING CAN BENEFIT
Whether discussing the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), new guidelines handed down by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) or any other number of factors, the igaming industry is an evolving ecosystem that consistently presents new obstacles to navigate. The question that industry stakeholders are challenged to answer is whether they have a proactive strategy that is nimble and bold enough to respond to industry fluctuations, rather than opting for a more passive approach to evolving one’s business.
To be fair, the speed and effectiveness of a company’s response is, at least partly, dependent on having the resources and the requisite endorsements needed to deploy them. Fortunately, this is an instance where making a growth mindset part of a company’s central ethos can foster preparedness and mobility better suited to address fundamental changes that impact key business interests.
In the case of affiliate marketing, the importance of building a team comprised of those committed to the relentless consumption of knowledge cannot be overstated. Whether it pertains to product launches, advertising standards, market forecasting, mergers and acquisitions or even self-education about the industry’s key players, this quality helps set a foundation for confronting future challenges.
One galvanising component of a growth mindset is that it empowers affiliate and operator team members, giving them an opportunity to demonstrate initiative, resourcefulness and intangible value. This conveniently ties into a quality that all subject matter experts share, which is the capacity to improve by putting in the work. Taking it one step further, those dedicated to self-improvement are also better positioned to pinpoint systemic weaknesses in wider company practices and processes, encouraging a more open dialogue that can result in both short-term and long-term gains.
A TIMELY DISCUSSION
As conference season gets into full swing, we’re reminded that organisers are essentially advocates for an industry-wide growth mindset, even if those aren’t the precise words used in their promotion. Agendas for these events are increasingly tailored and timely in their reflection of emerging trends and talking points from across the industry, providing attendees with something that can serve as a catalyst for deeper learning once they return to their home office.
The opportunities for education and relationship-building also extend beyond the conference floor. One current example is Clarion Gaming’s six-part WrB Responsible Gambling Webinar Series, which runs from July to January. Covering such topics as responsible game design, at-risk VIP customers and responsible advertising, the series is a valuable exploration of topics that touch every facet of the igaming community.
Given the igaming industry’s perpetual state of unsettledness, affiliates and operators should be insatiable in the desire for similar content that can inform their approach to business and problem-solving. And it’s that point which brings us back to the importance of having a growth mindset that is both conscious and purposeful, not simply a fortuitous series of decisions.
In a recent contribution to Entrepreneur.com, Rob Jardin, head of research and solutions at the NeuroLeadership Institute South Africa, explained some misconceptions about the growth mindset as well as the optimal method for companies to carry out its implementation. “For a growth mindset to be established in organisations, management needs to lead the overall process. Thus, there needs to be a shared language,” Jardin says. “To ensure that there is a shared language, managers should encourage employees to build the right behaviours, and have systems and processes in place that promote a growth mindset throughout the organisation.”
Given the wealth of information available to affiliates, operators and solutions providers, leaders and their respective teams should have every opportunity to embrace a shift in how they accept failure, promote learning and translate those efforts into a more efficiently run business.