A strategic mindset: An orientation toward strategic behavior during goal pursuit

Patricia Chen, Joseph T. Powers, Kruthika R. Katragadda, Geoffrey L. Cohen, Carol S. Dweck
2020 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America  
Many attractive jobs in today's world require people to take on new challenges and figure out how to master them. As with any challenging goal, this involves systematic strategy use. Here we ask: Why are some people more likely to take a strategic stance toward their goals, and can this tendency be cultivated? To address these questions, we introduce the idea of a domain-general "strategic mindset." This mindset involves asking oneself strategy-eliciting questions, such as "What can I do to
more » ... myself?", "How else can I do this?", or "Is there a way to do this even better?", in the face of challenges or insufficient progress. In three studies (n = 864), people who scored higher on (or were primed with) a strategic mindset reported using more metacognitive strategies; in turn, they obtained higher college grade point averages (GPAs) (Study 1); reported greater progress toward their professional, educational, health, and fitness goals (Study 2); and responded to a challenging timed laboratory task by practicing it more and performing it faster (Study 3). We differentiated a strategic mindset from general self-efficacy, self-control, grit, and growth mindsets and showed that it explained unique variance in people's use of metacognitive strategies. These findings suggest that being strategic entails more than just having specific metacognitive skills—it appears to also entail an orientation toward seeking and employing them.
doi:10.1073/pnas.2002529117 pmid:32522882 fatcat:hkwxr52orvgdbfif42gmcz4hda