With a mission to change humanity and a goal to build the world’s greatest workplace by 2020, Mindvalley presents a powerful entrepreneurial case study and a model for advancing leadership and people management to another level. It shows what is possible when you combine an entrepreneur’s passion with a strong vision and mission, and when you create a highly engaging work culture which people will go to great lengths to be a part of.
Mindvalley has a big mission: to be extraordinary, to change education globally by providing innovative and holistic education for all levels by accelerating change, making old models that no longer serve us obsolete. But it’s really the culture that makes Mindvalley one of the top private companies to work for today.
This online education company has been listed in Inc Magazine as Top Ten Coolest Workplaces in the World in 2012 and as one of the World’s Most Democratic Workplaces for employee happiness for 7 years straight from 2008 to 2014. It has been recognised as a Top 500 Game Changer in Business in 2014, as well as receiving other accolades and HR excellence awards. It doesn’t stop there. The success has also been financial. From $700 start-up capital, it has grown to produce more than $20M in revenue.
The company was formed in its infancy in the US and had to relocate to Malaysia due to the founder Vishen Lakhiani’s Indian/Malaysian background. The post 9/11 US terrorism watch-list measures and requirements made living and growing the business in the US unviable. Despite the low wage rates in Malaysia, Mindvalley gets thousands of job applications from around the world and currently employs around 70% of its workforce from outside of Malaysia, including from the US, Canada and UK. Why would people forego a higher paying job opportunity elsewhere? Because it meets the 5 key things people want from a job and has developed a highly engaging and successful workplace culture, both for employee and employer!
Mindvalley employees experience abundance in many ways other than wages, and achieve massive growth and transformation, go on to become entrepreneurs and start their own companies, write best-selling books, post viral blogs, and are highly sought after for interviews and speaking engagements and by other companies. They are also loyal, productive and innovative, driving the company to extraordinary growth. It also allows Mindvalley to attract top talent globally.
So what are Mindvalley’s keys to success?
It starts with a visionary founder. Here I have distilled the essence of what Mindvalley uses to build such an engaging and successful workplace from various Mindvalley reference sources, including Vishen Lakhiani’s speech at the Helsinki 925 Festival of Work.
The 7 Keys to Building a Highly-Engaging and Successful Workplace
1. Attract top talent
- Create the 5 key things people want from a job:
- Growth – create the opportunity for people to meet their desire to become better human beings
- Happiness – give them reasons for getting out of bed each morning excited to go to work now. Don’t leave them waiting and putting off until retirement to do the things they love.
- Abundance – people want to be able to live a lifestyle where they feel rich in all aspects. Create rewards other than money, including beautiful workspaces, flexitime, which according to a Gallup study yields the strongest relationship to well-being. Create opportunities for profit sharing and for joint ventures with employee-owned businesses.
- Significance – let them know how the work they do makes a difference
- Meaning – knowing that the work they do gives back to humanity
- Attract more of the right employees by speaking to the WHY – appeal to people’s sense of mission
- Create job Ads that speak to the heart
2. Hire for Attitude, Train for Skill
- Seek the best, based on their attitude
- Use the World Centrism Test – is their thinking world-centric or narrow minded?
- Will they value and appreciate the benefits of diversity and complementary differences?
- A bad attitude is harder to overcome and can create a ripple effect. Nip it in the bud early.
3. Establish a Common Code
- Set up common codes of conduct and company values to clarify expectations and speed up decision-making.
- Allow the group to contribute to creating the code, when the group creates the code, the group is more engaged to it.
- Define your values and live by them.
- Social support and friendships create happiness. Create a work structure that encourages friendships.
- Create a culture of positivity, positivity contagions and ripple effects to influence group behaviour.
- Create social connections within the team and opportunities to engage with team members and management socially.
- As a leader, do your best to be an agent of happiness.
- Invest in your workplace environment, create beautiful workspaces and environments to connect.
- A great leader recognises that we are all one – team bonding activities create cohesive teams.
- Create group exercises around growth and planning
- Allow for growth through training and development opportunities and for life-long learning.
- Provide opportunities for people to tap into their strengths.
- Hold learn and share meetings – the knowledge spreads and employees further develop themselves through teaching.
- Take people away from their job for one day a month – create an environment to learn.
- Facilitate innovation through employee growth.
- Apply MTO Goal-setting – give them a range of goals to meet:
- Minimum – provides an easy target to hit
- Target – for realists to feel comfortable
- Outrageous – for dreamers to have something to push them forward
- Don’t allow negativity and feeling bad into the company, people are not allowed to feel bad if they hit minimum.
- The problem with most employees is that their problems aren’t big enough, you want people obsessed with massive things that push humanity forward.
- Make it more than work, when you give people meaning, work stops being work, it becomes a mission.
- Millennials are idealistic and particularly motivated by mission, so make work meaningful.
- Use mission reminders to fuel people, remind them of the bigger picture impact of their work.
- Give back to society, encourage open-sourcing of ideas, blogging, sharing, contribution.
- Give access of company auditorium for community groups, meetings, think tanks, etc.
- Payoff: The smartest people in the city gather in your office space, which creates connections, relationships and development opportunities for employees and recruitment potential of top minds for the organisation
7. Significance – make people feel recognised
- People flourish on praise: What people seek from abundance is significance.
- Facilitate the ability to acknowledge contributions and to celebrate success.
- Recognise achievements, celebrate victories and provide ways for employees to praise others, share virtual gifts, exchange appreciation letters
- Show you care. As a leader, every day send an email of appreciation to one employee.
- Rethink company meetings, have Awesomeness Reports, acknowledge what went well, celebrate everyone’s accomplishments for the week, share customer praise, award superhero badges. Mindvalley employees ring the bell of awesomeness to celebrate extraordinary achievements.
- Apply Goal Gradient Theory – People speed up as they get closer to a goal. Celebrate the steps in between.
- Make time for dealing with the negatives or failures, but don’t dwell on them.
- Deal with complaints not as a negative but as a suggestion.
- Give people control of their environment. Input into The Code of Awesomeness, Team Retreats:
- Ask everyone to hack their departments and make them more efficient. Adopt the best ideas.
- Form different teams to hack the business and come up with new business ideas. Adopt the best ideas.
- Monthly Ask Sessions. Provide a forum to ask the leader questions anonymously & make the leader openly accountable for responding
- Hacking their lives. All employees do The 3 Most Important Questions and post their goals for all to see. Encourage a culture of supportiveness.
- Be vested in the employees’ visions for themselves.
- Trust your employees so you can focus on the bigger vision
By applying these principles, Mindvalley nurtures a loyal, hard-working, highly engaged and fulfilled workforce, drives innovation and achieves greater impact and revenue growth. It also inspires individuals and businesses to strive towards progress and innovation, to create work cultures and movements that cultivate creativity and freedom to unleash the full potential of its people, of the business, as well as benefiting humanity. What can you do to make a difference to your business?
The one single change to make today:
Have an all hands-on-deck employee meeting. Ask all the employees to share and celebrate their achievements for the week. Create beautiful slides and celebrate everyone’s victory.
The following YouTube clip covers Vishen Lakhiani’s speech at the Helsinki 925 Festival of Work and provides more context to the above points.
You may find some gems of ideas to apply to your own business. Look out for the Pygmalion Experiment after the 1 hr mark – people live up to expectations.
Contact me to discuss how you can build a highly engaging workplace for yourself and your employees: firstname.lastname@example.org