The growth mindset that took a CEO up a mountain…

3 min read
David Tait CEO of the World Gold Council on his growth mindset and fundraising ascents of Everest

We were recently fortunate enough to host David Tait, CEO of the World Gold Council, on the Culture de-cooded podcast. David has an abundance of experience in both the business world and his life from leading transformation in multiple companies to summiting Mount Everest five times and being the first person to traverse Everest from north to south. His life story led to the creation of a film directed by Julian Jarrold called “Sulphur and White”.

Resilience and embracing the impossible was a theme that David touched on throughout the podcast which inspired this blog as I’ll look to explore the themes discussed and apply these to organisational settings.

Fostering a Growth Mindset:

A good mindset is important, not just for leaders. A person’s mindset will ultimately influence their attitude, behaviours, and outcomes. David Tait developed a resilience that allowed him to overcome seemingly impossible challenges, like his traversal of Everest. David possesses a growth mindset and through dedication and effort, he has developed new abilities and skills that have allowed him to lead cultural transformations in organisations and improve his ability to lead.

Organisations can also use a growth mindset approach, an example of this is Microsoft, Satya Nadella seemingly models the growth mindset particularly evidenced in a quote of his “Don’t be a know-it-all; be a learn-it-all”. Satya Nadell hasn’t only been a huge asset for Microsoft’s stock price but he has also provided a straightforward principle for employees: develop a growth mindset. From this example, it is quite clear what leaders and organisations need to do to adopt the growth mindset approach. Leaders ultimately need to model this behaviour, and this will, over time, trickle down the organisation and become a key capability.

Innovation and Adaptation:

Another crucial aspect of cultivating resilience within organisations is fostering a culture of innovation and adaptation. Embracing a growth mindset involves not only learning from past experiences but also actively seeking out new opportunities for growth and improvement. By encouraging experimentation, embracing change, and fostering a culture of innovation, organisations can stay ahead of the curve and adapt more effectively to evolving circumstances.

Whether it’s exploring new technologies, entering untapped markets, or reimagining existing processes, a commitment to innovation enables organisations to thrive in dynamic environments. Embracing a culture of continuous innovation enhances resilience and positions organisations as leaders in their respective industries, driving sustainable growth and success.

Challenge and Transparency:

Adopting a growth mindset requires organisations to empower employees and be open to challenges. By encouraging these behaviours organisations can improve their decision-making.

David faced real challenges not only in his personal life but also physically when he overcame Everest, and these challenges almost certainly influenced his leadership style and ultimately allowed him to lead successful cultural transformations in organisations. David ultimately turned the major setbacks and challenges he faced in his early life into an opportunity to grow.

Organisations have similarly faced challenges and gone on to be successful, for example, Apple in 1997 after 12 consecutive years of financial losses Steve Jobs returned and was appointed as the Interim CEO and ultimately turned the business around and into one of the most successful businesses in recent history.


In conclusion, the theme of resilience and embracing challenges resonates deeply within organisational contexts, as exemplified by David Tait’s remarkable journey. By adopting a growth mindset, organisations can foster a culture of continuous learning and adaptability, empowering individuals to navigate uncertainties with resilience. Transparency and a willingness to confront obstacles head-on are vital for fostering a dynamic and agile workplace environment.

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