Addressing Levels of Trust at a Deeper Level
In his 2016 Ted Talk, Air B & B founder, Joe Gebbia, discusses the main reasons for the success he had in launching Air B & B to legendary status in the business world in just a few short years. Although he and his partners fell flat on their face back in 2008 when first trying to pitch their idea to investors in Sillicon Valley, that experience itself helped them to understand that they had to challenge the predominant belief system that people held when it came to trusting others.
Air B & B bases itself upon trust as customers using their service have to open their doors to complete strangers wanting to stay in their houses or apartments. The biggest obstacle that Jeff Gebbia and his team faced when trying to launch their company was to tackle trust issues that people had when it came to the idea of letting complete strangers stay in their homes. Conversely, the customers about to stay in people's homes also needed to feel a strong element of trust as well. After all, they are entering another person's home and obviously want to feel comfortable and safe.
To address this issue, Gebbia and his team designed a system that helped to build a solid foundation of trust in every interaction that takes place between home owner and customer. You would think that out of 123 million transactions to date, there would be some serious breeches of trust. However, as Gebbia explains, they have had serious trust issues in less than 1% of all interactions. Obviously, whatever it is they have done to promote and build trust has worked fabulously for them.
To Gebbia and his team at Air B & B, the driving force behind their thriving business is all about planting the seeds of human connection. What they do and what they are all about stems directly from their profound belief that there must be a human connection beyond each transaction itself. He proudly shares a touching story that exemplifies this fundamental philosophy that Air B & B holds in relation to the importance of the human connection.
There was an American guest who had used Air B & B to book a few nights at a house in Uruguay. You can imagine the fear that Javier and Oliandra, the Uruguayan owners of the house felt when their guest suffered a heart attack while staying at their place. The guest nearly died but underwent bypass surgery and ended up surviving (Javier and Oliandra even donated their own blood that was used in the surgery). During his Ted Talk, Gebbia shares the review that the guest left on the Air B & B website regarding his stay at Javier and Oliandra's place:
Although the review was light-hearted and comical, when we probe deeper we see the bigger picture of what this one example represents. The element of human connection beyond the transaction is based upon the core building blocks of trust, respect, empathy, compassion, and bringing a deeply caring mentality to everything that we do in our personal and professional lives.
I believe that this story serves as a powerful metaphor for what great teaching is all about. Teaching is not just a job, but something much more powerful that must be rooted in sharing an important part of ourselves with the promise of a meaningful human connection that goes well beyond the transaction of teaching and learning itself.
How do you address levels of trust in your teaching environment? In what ways do you design and engineer this environment to be a constant reminder that trust is expected, modelled, and a part of the very fabric of every interaction taking place between the students themselves and between teacher and students?
What kind of teacher reviews do you want your students to one day write for you? Not now, but years down the road when they reflect upon the experiences that they had while under your care? Is teaching a mere transaction or do you strive to embed deep and meaningful human connections in all the interactions you have with your learners. I know many of you reading this blog post care deeply about what you do but it's always good to be reminded about what it takes to make a difference and to be the very best educators that you can be.
To check out Joe Gebbia's Ted Talk, please click on the video below. Thanks for reading folks!
KAUST Faculty, Pedagogical Coach. Presenter & Workshop Leader.IB Educator. #RunYourLife podcast host.