Book review: Shift Makers by Bart Van der Herten

Book review: Shift Makers by Bart Van der Herten

19 October 2021
Gerrit Sarens
Gerrit Sarens
  • 🏆 Learning & development with a fixed or a growth mindset?

  • 📖 Over the weekend, I started reading the recent book Shift Makers by Bart Van der Herten.

    In chapter 3, Bart describes the difference between fixed and growth mindsets.

    📈 In line with the Ambits values, we expect our mentors to have a growth mindset.

    💡 BUT: our clients and mentees should also have a growth mindset to make mentoring work.

    As Bart writes, if you look at learning & development with a fixed mindset, leadership support through mentoring will
    👿 only be used for ‘problem cases’;
    👿 be perceived by the mentee as a sanction;
    👿 make the mentee feel ashamed, or worse, humiliated;
    👿 not motivate the mentee to be fully open & transparent to his mentor.

    I think it’s clear that this can never be effective.

    Therefore, in line with Bart’s arguments in his book, I recommend considering learning & development with a growth mindset. Only then will mentoring
    😃 be seen by the mentee as a way to learn, grow and become better;
    😃 motivate the mentee to take up new challenges;
    😃 not be seen as a failure;
    😃 take place in a climate of complete confidence.

Struggles of a manager

Managers are

  • not or inadequately trained in this role


    • lack self-confidence
    • don’t know how to go from being a colleague to being a boss
    • need to loosen up on the command & control leadership style
    • must let go of the (technical) expert status
    • cannot give or accept constructive feedback
    • feel pressure to perform as manager
    • have difficulty building relationships
    • want to be liked by everyone or want to be the ‘bad boss’
    • play the hero
  • are struggling


    • stay too involved in operations
    • have trouble prioritizing
    • cannot delegate
    • fear conflict situations
    • disconnect from the team
    • deal with flawed strategic thinking
    • do not relate to higher management
    • lack clear communication skills
    • remain not self-aware
    • avoid difficult conversations
    • miss political antennas
    • ...
  • capable of more


    • need mental preparation as successor
    • need to be able to lead big changes ahead
    • need to learn to be emotionally resilient and in control
    • need to learn to make big decisions fast without all the information
    • must become persuasive presenters
    • need to learn how to cultivate their own personal brand
    • need to learn how to lead by example
    • manage by trust, not by fear
    • need to overly develop empathy
    • ...
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