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How’s your growth mindset? The link between mindset and customer experience

Let me guess,

  • Your children are above average,
  • You have an outstanding sense-of-humor,
  • Your business is delivering a remarkable customer experience, and
  • You’re blessed with a growth mindset.

You’re probably right when it comes to your kids and to your sense-of-humor. However, there might be room for improvement when it comes to your customer experience and your growth mindset.

Ample studies have shown that business leaders frequently overestimate the quality of experiences they provide their customers when compared to the actual perception of those customers. As for growth mindset, if you become content in the belief you have one, you are likely on the way to losing it.

As you may know, I am about to release a book that I have been working on for the last couple of years titled The Airbnb Way (for a special pre-release offer click here and enter the code THANKS). As I’ve studied the drivers of Airbnb’s meteoric success (few companies can say they have gone from three air mattresses to an estimated value of 38 billion dollars in roughly ten years), I’ve become increasingly aware of the role a growth mindset plays in the company’s tireless journey to customer experience excellence.

Throughout The Airbnb Way, I emphasize how the founders of Airbnb have been lifelong students of human-centric design, motivation, and effective leadership mindsets. During a conversation with Chip Conley, Airbnb’s original Global Head of Hospitality and Strategy, Chip amplified my awareness of the lengths Airbnb goes to understand the needs hierarchy of customers (a subject Chip began exploring in his book Peak – How Great Companies Get Their Mojo From Maslow).

One of the co-founders and CEO of Airbnb, Brian Chesky, expands on the connection between understanding customer needs and the importance of developing a growth mindset in the context of a foreword to Chip’s book Wisdom@Work. Brian notes that Chip introduced the founders…

Joe, Nate and me to the power of what Dr. Carol Dweck from Stanford calls a “growth mindset.” It’s a way of seeing the world through a lens of curiosity – where risk and imagination combine to open up new possibilities. It’s no coincidence that one of Airbnb’s core values is “embrace the adventure.” In contrast, too many of us are often hobbled by a fixed mindset, which limits our ability to change and our understanding of how to solve problems. But Chip invited us to see that experiencing a sense of wonder and surprise will always be a fundamental part of what travelers seek – and taught us how to approach hospitality with expansive and timeless curiosity.

Since the journey to customer experience excellence requires expansive and timeless curiosity, I have been sharing concepts from Dr. Dweck’s work (captured in her book titled Mindset: The New Psychology of Success) in the customer experience training programs I co-create with clients.

At its core, Carol Dweck’s research suggests that every individual has opportunities to stretch and expand. You may have a growth mindset when it comes to a particular area of interest, but you may demonstrate a fixed mindset when it comes to a skill set like artistic drawing. According to Carol, differences between fixed and growth mindsets can be observed in response to:

Challenges

Obstacles

Effort

Criticism

 Success of Others

As you might guess, a person with a growth mindset embraces challenges, preservers when faced with obstacles, sustains the effort to gain mastery, seeks out feedback while learning from criticism, and benefits from and is inspired by the success of others. Fixed mindsets are reflected in a willingness to circumvent challenges, redirect effort from things that don’t come easily or when faced with obstacles, ignore negative feedback, and feel threatened by the success of others.

Customer experience effort requires all elements of a growth mindset – perseverance, constant effort, learning from customer input, and benchmarking outstanding brands like Airbnb! As such, a growth mindset should be demonstrated by leaders and nurtured throughout an organization. A growth mindset must be pursued with vigor and an awareness that growth orientation and customer orientation can be stronger tomorrow than they were today.

If you would like to discuss the growth of your company’s growth mindset, let’s set-up a time to talk. Simply reach out to me here.

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Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D. is a professional speaker and chief experience officer at The Michelli Experience. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, Dr. Michelli and his team consult with some of the world’s best customer experience companies.

Follow on Twitter: @josephmichelli

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