Despite trying to do our best every day in customer experience or any other facet of business, we often run up against a wall. We focus all of our energy on performance, and by doing so, our results can actually decrease.
But why would that happen?
Eduardo Briceno, TEDx presenter and author of The Performance Paradox, believes it’s because so many of us are stuck in a fixed mindset. Despite aiming for growth, we don’t properly cultivate a growth mindset in order to help us achieve it. We’re continually putting our best effort into less effective practices, so our results don’t improve.
Eduardo says that he, too, was once stuck in what he terms “chronic performance”. He was solely focused on doing his best every day without looking properly to the future, which negatively affected his performance and his life. As a venture capitalist in Silicon Valley, Eduardo worked as hard as he could only to end up with repetitive strain injury and major damage to his hands.
So he drastically transformed his life and health, taking up stretching and acupuncture to cure his condition and also changing his career focus by studying business and education at Stanford. That’s where he came into contact with Professor Carol Dweck’s growth mindset concept. Her ideas were all about change and developing personal qualities and abilities over time.
Eduardo became passionate about spreading these ideas through education and public speaking, including in his TEDx talks. His focus is on the balance between what he calls the “performance zone” and the “learning zone.” The performance zone is all about execution, minimizing mistakes, and pushing hard for the best results. The learning zone, on the other hand, is about experimenting and soliciting feedback to try to find the root causes of problems and how to fix them.
According to Eduardo, most businesses are stuck in the performance zone. Under pressure from investors to produce immediate results, they underinvest in research, development, and learning. But this means a sacrifice in medium- and long-term results.
Looking at customer experience, how do we change systems and tools so that customers don’t keep having the same problems with our products and services? Eduardo thinks one key is to invest more in customer relationships. He suggests that by soliciting more feedback and doing more exploration with clients, it’s possible to learn how to enhance their experiences. For him, change is about learning and sharing in order to grow as individuals, as departments, and as whole businesses.
If you want to improve, focus on one thing at a time and remind yourself that this is your main goal, Eduardo suggests. He also encourages us to consider customer feedback as our most valuable source of information. Even Olympic gold medalists use feedback to constantly improve, and we should also take the opportunity this precious resource provides.
Once we scale back our focus on chronic performance and put more energy into learning, we’ll find ways to increase our results and produce real growth in our endeavors.