Ryan Gottfredson Show Notes Page
Ryan Gottfredson came to appreciate his deep learning about mindsets because it’s much more fulfilling and rewarding than learning about them due to being in crisis. Now he’s spreading the word about mindsets to help enlighten others.
Ryan was raised in North Ogden, Utah, nestled on the bench of one of the most picturesque mountains in the Rocky Mountains, Ben Lomond. He was mainly raised as an only child, although he has three older half-siblings. Playing sports, particularly dominated his youth.
In high school, he took a sports psychology class, where he read several leadership books written by basketball coaches. At that time, he thought, “If I could find a career where I could write about and teach leadership, I will have found the right career for me.”
But, not knowing that there was a field of study that focused on leadership, he went to college seeking to become a medical doctor. Shortly after that, while living in Boston for a couple of years, he met a Harvard Business School professor who taught organizational behavior. Ryan came to learn that organizational behavior is a field of study that focuses on leadership. From that moment, he positioned himself to become a professor that writes about and teaches leadership.
Ryan graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University and immediately after pursued a doctoral degree in organizational behavior and human resources at Indiana University. Upon graduation, he took a position at the Mihaylo College of Business and Economics at California State University, Fullerton, where he currently works.
In addition to this experience, he has worked in human resources at Stryker, as a consultant for Gallup, Inc., and now as a leadership and organizational development consultant. He has written a book entitled, “Success Mindsets: Your Keys to Unlocking Greater Success in Your Life, Work, and Leadership.”
Ryan’s purpose is to positively influence millions by helping and empowering them to better live up to their innate greatness. He hopes that through his research, writing, speaking, and consulting, he can do this.
Ryan currently lives in Anaheim Hills, California, with his wife and two children, Hailey and Spencer, where they enjoy great Southern California weather, the beaches, and Disneyland.
Tweetable Quotes and Mentions
“How I think, learn, and behave is dictated by my mindsets.” – Click to Tweet
“Our mindsets are our mental lenses that shape how we view and interpret the world around us.” – Click to Tweet
“Depending on how we see and interpret the world affects everything that we do.” – Click to Tweet
“Mindsets dictate our thinking, our learning, and our behavior.” – Click to Tweet
“There are negative mindsets and positive mindsets that span a continuum.” – Click to Tweet
“The mindset neuroconnections that we come to rely upon are based upon our past life experience and our current situation.” – Click to Tweet
“If our current situation at work is making us exercise the negative mindset neuroconnections, those are going to become more dominant.” – Click to Tweet
“Leadership and having a positive influence on others is so much more than just doing something; it’s about being somebody.” – Click to Tweet
“We’ve got to have the right behaviors and the right motives, or else we’re not going to be effective.” – Click to Tweet
“Leaders have great intentions, but oftentimes they have low awareness.” – Click to Tweet
“Most of us are essentially lying to ourselves about ourselves.” – Click to Tweet
“It’s difficult for us to be self-aware because were just not conscious of what’s driving everything that we do.” – Click to Tweet
“If the leader sees his or her employees as objects, those employees are going to see their customers as objects.” – Click to Tweet
“We can always have a stiff back, the critical thing is that we always have a soft front.” – Click to Tweet
“When we’re in urgency mode, that immediately puts us in self-protection mode.” – Click to Tweet
“I’ve got to continually invest in myself and not get complacent.” – Click to Tweet
Hump to Get Over
Ryan Gottfredson came to appreciate his deep learning about mindsets because it’s much more fulfilling and rewarding than learning about them due to being in crisis. Now he’s spreading the word about mindsets to help enlighten others.
Advice for others
Gain self-awareness into buld skills in being opn to others thoughts and ideas.
Holding him back from being an even better leader
My schedule. It’s getting more and more demanding.
Best Leadership Advice
Be the person that other people want to follow.
Secret to Success
Have a growth, open, promotion, and outward mindsets. Seek to learn and grow.
Best tools in business or life
The full focus planner.
Contacting Ryan Gottfredson
Mindset Assessment – https://ryangottfredson.com/
Full focus Planner – https://fullfocusplanner.com/
Show TranscriptClick to access edited transcript
Jim Rembach (00:00):
Okay. Fast leader Legion today. I’m excited because we have somebody on the show today who is going to expand your mind with a little bit of sex. Ryan [inaudible] was raised in North Ogden, Utah, nestled on the bench of one of the most picturesque mountains in the Rocky mountains. Ben Lowman. He was mainly raised as an only child, although he has three older half siblings playing sports, particularly dominated his youth in high school. He took a sports psychology class where he read several leadership books written by basketball coaches and at the time he thought, if I could have a career where I could ride and teach leadership, he goes, I would have found the right career for me, but not knowing. There was a field of study that focused on leadership. He went to college seeking to become a medical doctor. Shortly thereafter, while living in Boston for a couple of years, he met a Harvard business school professor who taught organizational behavior.
Jim Rembach (00:54):
Ryan came to learn that organizational behavior is a field of study that focuses on leadership. From that moment. He positioned himself to become a professor that writes about and teaches leadership. Ryan graduated with a bachelor degree from Brigham young university and immediately after pursued a doctoral degree in organizational behavior, uh, human resources at Indiana university. Upon graduation, he took a position at the Mahalo college of business and economics at California state university, Fullerton, where he currently works. In addition to this experience, he has worked in human resources at Stryker as a consultant for Gallop and now as a leadership and organizational development consultant. He has written a book and titled success mindsets. Your keys to unlock greater success in your life, work, and leadership. Ryan’s purpose is to possibly influence millions by helping and empowering them to better live up to their innate greatness. He hopes that through his research, writing, speaking and consulting, he can do this. Ryan currently lives in Anaheim Hills, California with his wife and two children, Haley and Spencer, where they enjoy great Southern California weather, the beaches and Disneyland. Ryan [inaudible], are you ready to help us get over the hump? Let’s do it, man. I’m glad you’re here. Now I’ve given my Legion a little bit about you, but can you share what your current passion is so that we can get to know you even better?
Ryan Gottfredson (02:09):
Yeah. My current passion is mindsets and I love focusing on mindsets because I’ve been on my own mindset journey and one of the things that I’ve learned on my journey is that how I think and learn and behave is dictated by my mindsets, XE, our mindsets, our mental lenses that shape how we view and interpret the world around us. And depending upon how we see and interpret the world affects everything that we do. And so if we can improve our lenses, we can improve our life, our work in our leadership.
Jim Rembach (02:41):
Well, and in the book you really talk about four of those lenses or mindsets that we often look through. And, and for me, you know, reading the book and I also went through the self assessment, which by the way, we’ll link on your show notes page as well was, was very, very helpful. Uh, from a perspective, uh, so that I can see that you really look at things more on a continuum. Mercy, more so than an if versus that. I mean it’s not as black and white. Um, so tell us a little bit about these four different mindsets.
Ryan Gottfredson (03:10):
Yeah, so in my academic research, one of the things that I stumbled upon was mindset research. And there’s different pockets of research going on in psychology, education, marketing and management. And each of these pockets have got their own unique mindsets that had been studying for 30 plus years and they’re largely not talking to each other. But what they’re all finding together is that mindsets dictate our thinking, our learning and our behavior. And and also simultaneously and all on their own, they’re identifying that there are negative mindsets and there are positive mindsets that span a continuum. And so with regards to my assessment and my book, what I’m doing is I’m just pulling these mindsets together into one framework and I think to my knowledge is the most comprehensive and research backed framework of mindsets to date. If you were to go online and just Google about what mindsets do I need to have to be successful, you’re going to get, most of the hits are actually not talking about mindsets, they’re talking about behaviors and also they’re not clearly defining mindsets. And so I think that there’s a lot of power of putting some really clear labels on our mindsets because until we have those labels, we really can’t focus on them and improve them for ourselves. And so hopefully what my framework is done, it helps these mindsets come alive for people. And because of the research backing, they have confidence that if they focus on these, it will lead to greater success.
Jim Rembach (04:43):
And from my perspective, and what I see is that this work in mindsets, it affects both the internal aspects, meaning they hold employee engagement piece as well as the customer engagement piece. The more we can understand all of this, the better we can connect, whether they’re inside or outside organization. And these four mindsets that you talk about, F and I and it’s not a versus, again, it’s a continuum and we’ll talk about that in a second. It’s fixed to growth, closed to open prevention to promotion and then inward to outward. Well, and before we get into that, you also mentioned something I think is critically important. Um, and then for me it started, I started thinking about influence and how we’re influenced because I, it seems to me, especially in today’s society with just the explosion of the ability to get information and be, you know, persuaded in a lot of different ways or be given perspectives that we otherwise wouldn’t have.
Jim Rembach (05:36):
It’s, this is quite dangerous research too. So I mean I may have potentially had a growth mindset because of bump because I get bombarded by certain things. It now falls into the fixed end of the continuum. So when you’re looking at the fixed and growth and how you look at it from a continuum perspective, talk a little bit about how that works. Because for me, my introduction, many I would dare to say if they’ve even heard of mindsets was through the body of Carol Dweck work on mindset, I guess you’d say a seminal piece that a lot of things had been founded upon and grown upon. But tell us a little bit about the continuum of fixed to grow.
Ryan Gottfredson (06:12):
Yeah. So, and even before we jump into that, I’m going to give you the neuroscience behind mindsets. And it’s, and it’s not as, you know, challenging as that might seem, but are our mindsets, I described them as mental lenses, but in reality what they are is they’re specific neuro connections within our prefrontal cortex. So when we encounter a situation, our senses are sending all of this information to our prefrontal cortex and we’ve got a digest that somehow we’ve got to weed it down to the most, or at least what we think to be the most important cues within those situations. And the factor that weeds these down is our mindsets and our mindsets. So what gets filtered through our mindset goes on to fuel our thinking, learning, and behavior. So when to speak to the idea of this continuum nature is we’ve got a negative mindset, neural connection in our brain, and we’ve got a positive mindset, neural connection with an appraisal.
Ryan Gottfredson (07:12):
So let’s play this off using the fixed and growth examples. So a fixed mindset is when we believe that we and others cannot change our talents, abilities and intelligence. A growth mindset is when we believe that we and others can change our talents, abilities and intelligence. And the reason why this affects how we operate is it affects how we view kind of ourself and our self worth. Because naturally we don’t like to fail. But if we have a fixed mindset and we fail and we don’t believe that we can improve, we’re left to interpret that as though we are failures. So those that rely more strongly upon their fixed mindset neuroconnections basically failure as as an internalize that as though they are a failure. So that’s the way that that negative mindset, neuro connection processes failure, that isn’t to say that they can’t see failure.
Ryan Gottfredson (08:15):
We were a growth mindset, which would suggest that when I fail, this is only something to learn from. In fact, I, I’ve got to usually ask your guests about quotes. And so I pulled some up. One of the quotes that I like is from Nelson Mandela. He says, I never lose. I either win or learn. I mean, that’s just such a growth mindset perspective. And so let’s just say, uh, so these are neuroconnections. The, their strength is dictated by how frequently we use those. It’s just like these neural connections are just like muscles. The more we work them out, the stronger they are. And so let’s just say our dominant neuro connection is of a fixed mindset. That isn’t to say that we can’t approach failure and kind of just step back and say, how can I learn from this? We can do that. It just doesn’t come as naturally to us. And so we’ve got this, we’ve got this continuum from negative deposit we can pull from it. But, but the one that readily gets activated is which neuroconnections are just stronger within our prefrontal cortex because we rely upon those more heavily. Does that make sense? Does that help us kind of figure out the continuum there?
Jim Rembach (09:27):
Well, it does. And then it also throws in a whole big old monkey wrench into this because when you start talking about prefrontal cortex development, uh, you know, for men, young men, that’s, you know, mid, mid, late twenties, you know, for young women, that’s, you know, early, mid twenties. I mean, and so when you start looking at this, the sheer proliferation and numbers in that population, and going back to what I mentioned a moment ago, how they’re getting influenced, this whole mindset thing can be quite frightening.
Ryan Gottfredson (09:56):
But I think that that’s, that was my thought actually when I first started working with mindsets because as I started learning about these different mindsets, I came to the realization that I actually was on the negative side on each of these continuums. And so the prospect of changing your world views seems really frightening and really daunting. But as I made personal efforts to shift from the negative side to more of the positive side, I, I’ve actually found it to be much less daunting and much less scary than I anticipated. It actually has been really fun and exhilarating it because what I’ve found for myself is when I had the negative mindsets, I was getting in my own way all the time. I was the one that was preventing things from happening that I wanted them happen. As I’ve shifted the positive, it’s almost like everything’s just falling into place. And that’s, that’s been a really fun journey.
Jim Rembach (10:52):
Okay. So, I mean, I think for me, you opening up that doorway is very beneficial and I think it would be helpful for all of us because again, we’re talking about from, from my, my, my, you know, Legion and where I come from is that we’re impacting the internal culture and the customer experience is so we need to know how to get out and, well, I mean, before I even go to this, unfortunately, when we start talking about working in organizations, we become quite fixed quite fast. Um, and cause we’re always getting this information about whether it’s performance, whether it’s driving, whether it’s PR. I mean it’s, it’s constant reinforcement of the whole fixed mindset component. Um, so how do we get ourselves out of that rut? Now it’s a
Ryan Gottfredson (11:37):
great question because the, the mindset neuroconnections that we come to rely upon are based upon kind of largely two factors, our past life experience and our current situation, right? And so if our current situation at work is essentially make making us exercise the negative mindset, neuro connections, those are going to become more dominant. But not every workplace incentivizes the negative mindset, neuro connections, right? There’s fantastic workplaces that allow us to exercise those more positive mindset, neural connections. And let me, let me just kind of span the scope of these different mindsets in a way that I think will, will help listen as resume. So I’m going to give you four desires that an employee can have. And I want you to tell me if these are bad desires. Okay. So the first one is a desire to look good. A does Ziar to be right. The desire to avoid problems and a desire to get ahead.
Jim Rembach (12:41):
How many much like I was talking about the continuum thing, I’m like, all those could be good and all those can be bad. I mean, situations can dictate it and drive it. How they actually go through and execute it is critically important because I mean, I can start getting into the whole competitive versus achievement based. Um, you know, positioning and say, well, if I’m an achiever and I want to win, but I want to win by focusing in on making everybody else successful and we do it collectively, that’s a good thing. If I look at it as, Hey, it’s all about me. It’s not for myself. And you don’t get none. Well that’s, that’s a bad thing. So, I mean, I’m flipping all over the place, but again, maybe I’m not the right person to ask because I’ve been for five years has been focused to a lot of people with great insights. Like, yeah,
Ryan Gottfredson (13:21):
no, you’re great. Right? So, so let me just repeat those again. Desire to look good, be right, avoid problems and get ahead. I mean, at the surface, these seem like good desires. I mean, who wants to look bad, be wrong, have problems and get passed up? Well, nobody. So these desires are really easy to justify when we have these desires. We’re thinking, yeah, I’m doing the best that I can. But the reality is is that these desires are fueled by the negative mindsets that I focus on. And the reason why these are negative and you pointed it out and there can be circumstance, certain circumstances in which they’re better than others. But for the most part, the reason why these are negative is because they’re self focused. When we have these desires, we’re in self protection mode. And so when I go in and I work with organizations and we’ll do a collective mindset assessment, have everybody assessed their mindsets, I’ll aggregate the results of the collective and we could see where they are along these continuums.
Ryan Gottfredson (14:25):
And well, what I find with most of the organizations that I work with is they’re predominantly on the negative side. And that’s because they’ve created a culture where people don’t feel like they can be wrong, look bad, have problems and get passed up there. There’s this competitive environment and culture that is causing them to want to self-protect but there. And I think sometimes we don’t recognize that there’s more positive desires that we have. And so is it all right if I just kind of share the flip? Oh desires. Absolutely. Okay. So instead of wanting to look good, the flip desire is to learn and grow. Instead of wanting to be right, we want to find truth and think optimally. Instead of wanting to avoid problems, we want to reach goals instead of wanting to getting passed up, we want to help everybody Excel. And when we can have a culture where we’re focused on learning and growing, finding truth, reaching goals and helping other people succeed. Like just imagine going into that work environment, we would anticipate that, that that will cultivate those positive mindsets and allow people to naturally make that shift from self protection mode to what I call organization advancement.
Jim Rembach (15:45):
Well in addition, when you were saying that, I started thinking about is what do I focus in on first? You know, so think about this is that if I’m focusing in on everybody being successful, well what ultimately what happened for me, I’d get ahead and then that’s what happens. So it’s like, what do I focus in on first? You know, kind of like, you know, the forest through the trees scenario, right? If I focus on helping everybody else, I will get the reward. However, if that’s my intent, that’s where it could get problematic if I don’t just purely try to help you know, other people with, you know, with Hey, I’m doing this because I want some type of reciprocation. Um, you know, that that’s when it starts turning negative really fast because then you have remorse, regret a revenge. I mean, all of these things that we know are the dark side. It wouldn’t that be true? Oh, for sure. And,
Ryan Gottfredson (16:35):
and that’s why I stumbled across mindsets in the first place because when I did my dissertation on leadership, uh, I had to review the last 70 years of leadership research. And what I found was that about 70% of all of leadership research focus primarily focuses primarily on leadership behaviors. In other words, what do leaders need to do to be effective? And while I think that’s helpful, it’s great to have, here’s, you know, here’s a bullet point list of what you need to do to be an effective leader. But it didn’t sit well with me because, and my guess is you would agree with me is that leadership and having a positive influence on others is so much more than just doing something. It’s about being somebody, somebody that others want to follow. And so that, that’s kinda been my mission from last six years was how do we tap into this being element?
Ryan Gottfredson (17:25):
And it’s led me to mindsets because of that. These are foundational to our being. So you’re so right in that sense. We’ve got to have the right behaviors and the right motives or else we’re not going to be effective. And so when I work with leaders and as I understand leadership statistics, I mean let me give you this example is I read the other day 60% of leaders or 60% of employees report that their leaders damaged their self esteem. Right? I just don’t think that leaders are going to work everyday saying or at any time saying, I want to hurt my employees self esteem. I just don’t think that happens. But why does that happen? Well, it’s because leaders have great intentions, but oftentimes they have low awareness, right? We’re not aware of these foundational role that these self-focus desires and mindsets are having on how we think, learn and behave when we interact with our employees.
Jim Rembach (18:23):
So before we get into something that you mentioned, cause it was on my list to discuss, um, is I want to talk about a few of those statistics that you kind of opened the doorway to. Okay. So you, in the book you talk about, um, you know, dismal leadership statistics and how 44% of employees report that their current manager do not help them be more productive. You know, 60% of employees report that their managers damned her stuff. It seemed like you mentioned, and then 65% of employees would prefer to have a different manager compared to more pay. It’s not a money thing. Right? Um, and then 82% of employees do not trust their manager to tell the truth. And then there’s also that, um, you know, also to me and I had this discussion with somebody a moment ago is, you know, the also myths or fallacies associated with transparency.
Jim Rembach (19:08):
You know, like I could unfortunately many of us, uh, who are in a leadership or management role will see that while I was just telling them the truth about their performance. But yeah, you did what you just said, talking about eroding their self esteem. Know there’s, there’s a fallacy of transparency. It’s not, you know, it’s not everything that you should tell. It’s, you know, oftentimes the delivery and you know, looking at all of their mindsets. Uh, and then, um, it’s talking about, uh, for me is the connection to your values and your values or their values and whether or not you’re putting your values in the place for theirs. Cause I think to me, you’re talking about mindsets, but there has to be a connection to the person. Uh, and oftentimes people haven’t gone through that type of discovery to say really watermark. What are my mode is what are my values and what’s important to me? Where does that come in? And all this.
Ryan Gottfredson (20:05):
Yeah, that’s a great question. So our, our mindsets, um, play this really interesting role that I think we’ve largely overlooked as kind of leadership and organizational developers. And because for kind of the historical context, we’ve largely taken a trait approach to leadership. So the train approaches is essentially the idea is if I have a certain trait, I will manifest that trait across the situations that I encountered. So for example, if I’m an introvert, I will be introverted across the situations that I encounter. But is that accurate? I mean, if, if you are an introvert or if you are an extrovert, do does level of introversion or extroversion change across situations? Well, yeah. So that’s a much more accurate perspective. And so what we’ve got to take into consideration is not just ourselves, our traits, our goals and our values, but also the situation that’s going on, right?
Ryan Gottfredson (21:04):
Because the situation, what ends up happening is because we, we read the situation and it’s our mindsets that determine how do we interpret this situation. And then depending on upon how our mindsets interpret that situation, it will activate different elements about who we are, including our personality, our goals and values, our self-regulatory processing, uh, whatever it might be. And so our mind, this is why I say mindsets are foundational to everything that we do because they are the thing that activates who we are and how we present ourselves in any, in any circumstance. Does that make sense?
Jim Rembach (21:45):
Absolutely it does. And, and, and also I start thinking about, and you hit it without us really focusing in on it specifically, but throughout our dialogue and discussion and discovery of all of this is that oftentimes this comes down to a whole emotional intelligence, aptitude elements. Yup. Um, yeah, and you kinda hit on it, but really to be more succinct, that’s what we’re talking about is am I aware of how I am impacting others? Am I aware of, you know, being able to, you know, interpret things appropriately without, you know, some type of, you know, twist to it because of, you know, my, my aptitudes and emotional intelligence, my past experiences and all of those other things. So how, how important is that in all of this?
Ryan Gottfredson (22:30):
Oh, it’s critical. Critical. Let me give you some statistics and maybe I’ll, I’ll ask you and you can, you can answer what you think is the right answer. So, um, this research was done by Tasha or rich and uh, what percentage of people would you say are self-aware or sorry, what percentage of people think that they are self-aware? Oh, it’s over 80%. 90% yeah. 95% is what she reports. So then what percentage of people are actually self-aware? That’s the reverse of 2025. That’s pretty optimistic cause she says 12 to 15%. Oh my goodness. Yeah. So she goes on to say that we’re, as most of us are essentially lying to ourselves about ourselves. And because what we’re, what we’re talking about when we’re talking about mindsets is something that generally follows below the level of our consciousness that our mindsets had exist. We just haven’t been conscious of them and we haven’t been conscious of the fact that they are shaping our thinking or learning in our behavior.
Ryan Gottfredson (23:35):
Let me give you an example of this. So when I was a freshman in college, uh, and I, I was thinking I wanted to be a medical doctor and I signed up for the weeder chemistry class and I promptly got the lowest grade I’d ever received in my life. So I got a C grade, I passed the class. But to me this was a failure because it was the lowest grade that I have ever received in my life and I had a fixed mindset and what my fixed mindset neuro connection told me was, well, this didn’t come naturally to you. You better change your major. Right. That’s, that just seems so logical to me. That seems so right to me. But now that I know the difference between the two, if I would have had a growth mindset, I imagine my growth mindset would have told me, Hey, if, if you really want to become a medical doctor, that’s going to be difficult.
Ryan Gottfredson (24:29):
Maybe you underestimated how difficult that would be and you’re going to have to reevaluate your study habits. I that, that’s what my growth mindset would’ve said. But because I’m not aware of this, this is falls below the level of my consciousness. My decision making is limited to my mindset is to just kind of do something different. And at the end of the day, you know, who knows what would’ve happened if I would’ve become a medical doctor. But at the end of the day I was essentially limiting myself from my original goal. And, and, and I was not conscious that I was the one that was limiting myself. And so this is where it’s, it’s really, you know, it’s, it’s difficult for us to be self aware because we’re just not conscious of what’s driving everything that we do. And so when we can have conversations like this and, and that’s where, why I develop my mindset assessment is to help people to become conscious of something that they’ve never been conscious of.
Jim Rembach (25:32):
And, and the, and again, I’m bringing this back full circle for the space that I work in. I see what we’re talking about here play out so often is that when we start thinking about serving customers and the customer experience and even the employee experience for that matter, I oftentimes hear people say something that goes along the lines of this, well I know that’s what I wouldn’t like and I’m like, you’re not your customer. You know, you’re not your employee. I mean you’re, you’re one of those, you’re then you also have all these different perspectives and I socially, I seriously believe that, you know, having a, an emotional intelligence, you know, engineer and these types of people who can understand, you know, the entire spectrum and ecosystem of all of this is really going to be a key differentiator for organizations in the future.
Ryan Gottfredson (26:17):
Oh yeah. Let me give you an another example of this that, that I think people who are particularly dealing with customers, but really everybody could, can, can value this, but how do we see individuals that we work with or a customer that we are working with now, we can see them in, in somewhat one of two ways. And again, we’re really talking about a continuum, but I’m