In our previous post, we discussed Dr. Dweck’s research on the importance of fostering a growth mindset. Now, we present Dr. Dweck’s actionable advice for developing a growth mindset to help you further integrate these ideas into your own customer onboarding approach.

With a growth mindset, basic talents and abilities can be developed over time.

In the Harvard Business Review’s article “The Right Mindset for Success,” Dr. Dweck explains that people with growth mindsets “[are] not always worried about how smart they are, how they’ll look, or what a mistake will mean. For them, challenges are exciting rather than threatening.”

Ultimately, having a growth mindset means understanding that talents and abilities can be developed through experience, mentorship, and practice. CSMs who practice growth mindset take time to ask questions and understand what is important to each customer’s success. They are not afraid to slow down and treat each new customer as a new opportunity for their own growth and understanding of the product

To cultivate a growth mindset, praise a person’s effort and grit.

Dr. Dweck says, “The whole self-esteem movement taught us erroneously that praising intelligence, talent, and abilities would foster self-confidence, self-esteem, and that everything great would follow. But we’ve found it backfires. People who are praised for talent now worry about taking on the hard task, and not looking talented, therefore tarnishing their reputation for brilliance.” So what should we praise?

According to Dr. Dweck we should praise “the effort, the strategies, and the persistence people show. The belief that bouncing back when things go wrong is valuable shows resilience.” CSMs can promote a growth mindset in the workplace by conveying the values of process rather than just results, by giving and receiving specific and constructive feedback, and to reward people for engaging in the process.

Focus on the value-added.

Dr. Dweck remarked that “one CEO I talked to recently said he rewards the value-added; being able to put knowledge and skills back into the company, even when a project itself has not been successful.” This is important because “everyone’s putting in–a lot of effort. How they engaged in the process, what strategies they tried, and how they gauged when and whether those strategies were being successful matters.” It’s important for CSMs to understand that they’re the conduit for the customer’s success and that taking feedback in stride helps them develop. While this can be difficult at times, CSMs with a growth mindset work through it and engage with purpose to grow as a professional. This means being resilient, and looking at each customer’s journey as a way to gain more skillsets and experience that will serve them down the road.

Learn from failure.

What does a team or a person learn from effort even when it wasn’t successful? For Dr. Dweck, “many successful people–Einstein, Thomas Edison, and more–have said they’ve learned more from their failures than their successes. Many breakthroughs came after several failures, and those failures provided learning experiences.

As people are engaging in a process or in a project, they’re monitoring what worked and what didn’t with an eye toward the future. The more they can feed that back into the company to make it more of a communal learning experience, the more that is reward worthy.” CSMs can glean what was learned from each project by completing post-project team assessments. Taking stock of the process and recording it for future reference can help teams and individuals build off of what was gained from each approach.

Show your customers that it’s okay to be out of your comfort zone.

Finally, Dr. Dweck says that “you have to be OK with yourself being confused because teachers and managers need growth mindsets. As a leader, they are a learner. They can demonstrate how to go get information or create teams that’ll move us out of a period of confusion into clarity. So they need growth mindsets about their skills, their talents, and their abilities over time.”

CSMs are leaders and they model learning for those around them. There is incredible power in honesty, replying to a customer’s query, “You know, I don’t know the answer to that but I can get that for you right away.” CSMs who view challenge as an opportunity to collaborate and customize to solve their clients issues demonstrate growth mindset to those around them.

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