Vishen Lakhiani | Freedom at Work at Mindvalley
How does Freedom at Work help a fast-moving company with employees from 47 nations achieve and sustain double-digit growth?
Vishen Lakhiani, Founder and CEO of Mindvalley, talks about their vision to transform the world of education, their enviable culture, and the specific best practices they use to build a company that has been a WorldBlu Certified Freedom-Centered Workplace™ since 2008.
Learn how Mindvalley achieves extraordinary bottom-line results and how they support each employee being in their power so they can do “epic” work.
Quotes to Share
News + Ways To Engage
If you're a C-suite, executive, HR/L&D/Talent leader of an organization with 10 or more employees, we invite you to join our Freedom at Work Facebook group for free!
Inside, you’ll find a community of like-minded leaders dedicated to building world-class cultures using freedom rather than fear in order to get real results and make an impact.
On top of that, we provide instant access to an abundance of innovative ideas, tips, and best practices. Facebook Live events, polls, and substantial conversation about how to build freedom-centered workplace cultures is the focus of this exclusive group.
Don’t miss out on this world-class community and engaging discussion of ideas and best practices that can transform your workplace culture now.
Traci Fenton: Hi everyone, this is Traci Fenton, founder of WorldBlu and it is great to be with you today!
Today, we’re exploring, Freedom at Work, within a high growth company. My guest today is Vishen Lakhiani, founder and CEO of Mindvalley, an American company with operations in Malaysia. Vishen is also the author of the book called, The Code of the Extraordinary Mind, which hit the number one place on Amazon globally, five times last year. And he’s also the author of the forthcoming book called, The Code of the Extraordinary Team, coming out January 2020.
Mindvalley is also a WorldBlu certified Freedom-Centered Workplace™. And Vishen you’ve sustained this prestigious certification every year since 2008, which is absolutely extraordinary. Mindvalley is 10 years old and is still doing 20-30% revenue growth year over year, completely out stripping their competition.
I am so honored and delighted to have my friend, an inspiration to me, Vishen Lakhiani on the program with me, today. Thanks Vishen so much for being with me!
Vishen Lakhiani: Hi Traci, thank you for that intro, that that was actually a pretty amazing intro!
Traci: I want you to tell our listeners more about Mindvalley, because we were talking prior to the show and obviously I've been tracking Mindvalley’s successes. We've been working together over the years and it's just extraordinary, the vision that you have for the world. So tell our listeners a little bit more about Mindvalley's number one goal.
Vishen: I'm the son of a teacher, a public school teacher, and I grew up wanting to be a teacher, but as I went through my life, I always thought that education was broken. I had a horrible public school experience. I graduated from a great university with a computer engineering degree but I did that more to please my family and to please what society was saying I needed to do, rather than to please myself.
And at a certain point I found myself in Silicon Valley, jobless. The dotcom bubble had burst and it was 2002. I was completely broke and unemployed and I guess in desperation I took a class on meditation. Long story short, that class shifted something in me and over the next four months I ended up getting promoted in my shitty little job -- three promotions in four months. That's what happened and it was all because I've taken to constant meditation and I’m now starting to use my mind in these different ways, from being able to tune into my intuition to being able to visualize my goals while also being at rest or going into altered states of mind.
I was also able to deal with the fear of getting on these phone calls to sell technology to lawyers and I realized, why the hell didn't I ever learn this stuff in school?! Here I was broke, I'd lost my business, I'd lost all my money. I didn't have cash and I just crashed into another car and owed the insurance company thousands of dollars. My life was miserable I felt like a failure and then I take this meditation class and all of a sudden, there seems to be this light at the end of the tunnel, and so I decided I have to explore this further.
So I quit my job, now before quitting my job. I had been promoted so many times, I was now Director of Sales. I've been shipped over to New York to start the New York division of the company and I went to my wife and said, I'm gonna quit this job and become a meditation instructor. I want to see how far I can push this!” So I quit my job to become a meditation instructor for five years and I realized that if you want to really go broke, quit your high paying technology job and start teaching meditation!
So that that's what happened and then I realized, “Ok, look there surely does have to be a better way to do this than to be teaching 20 people in a room each night.” So I started building this company called Mindvalley and it started growing and growing and growing and soon we went beyond meditation to biohacking, to health, to wellness and eventually we evolved into Mindvalley University. Now 10 years have elapsed and Mindvalley's goal is to create a new education model for the entire planet.
Our stated goal is to get a billion people onto the world's greatest online school, focused on transformational education, which means not just meditation -- that's certainly an important dynamic of it -- but also nutrition, exercise, relationships, conscious parenting, biohacking sleep, learning, all of these different things that make us better human beings.
School pretty much completely ignores us moving in a world, where AI and where robotics are going take away a lot of our jobs. The stuff we learn in school you'll soon be able to summon up that type of data from your personal artificial intelligence on your smartphone, and so what is it that human beings should be learning? Certainly, it's not the stuff that we currently pursue in traditional university programs.
So I have this goal to take this arena that is often called “transformational education” and get it into all the major Fortune 500 companies and into every major school system in the world and to a billion consumers. And that's what that's what I wake up trying to do every single day. My goal is to build the world's greatest education brand, and that means be building a brand that is as great -- preferably greater -- than Harvard or Stanford and to be the “Apple” of education. So everything I do, everything that drives me, from when I wake up until I go to bed is focused around this one goal to create the biggest leap in human consciousness our species has ever experienced, by completely and radically transforming human education globally.
Traci: I love it Vishen and sign me up! I've been so impressed and I've done many of the Mindvalley courses through the years and this vision you have coming from the pain and struggle in the early days of your life to go, “Wait a second, there is a whole another level that we need to be learning on these life skills!” The self knowledge, the self-growth, all these things to really help us live a world-class life and optimize life in every area.
I love that it's a global vision, and what's been so incredible is as you grow your this vision, which is now a multi-million dollar company, you've been building Mindvalley, using freedom and organizational democracy along the way, which I think really does help with scaling and growth.
Vishen: I have to share something with you. The reason we have to do that wasn't because we thought it was cool or anything, but the reason we had to do that is because-- and this is a crazy story -- it's because in 2003 I was working in the United States. I'd lived there for about a decade with my wife who's from Europe. And that's when I started building up the company that would eventually become Mindvalley.
So I registered as a US company in 2004 or 2003 and I got added to a Muslim watchlist, the same kind that Trump now wants to send back. I mean, I'm not trying to get political. But that watchlist existed in 2003. It was two years after September 11th, in the world was a very different place and I was born in Muslim country and I happened to be brown and I sometimes don't even shave, so I have a beard.
So all of a sudden I have to report to the government every 28 days to be fingerprinted and to have my mug shot taken and to give them my credit cards in case I bought fertilizer or something like that. My wife and I we wanted our kid born in America and we wanted to raise a nice little American baby, but all of a sudden we decided that we can't I can't live in the US if I feel like I'm on parole.
And so I packed my bags and I moved back to Malaysia and Mindvalley takes form in Malaysia. And in Malaysia there is no way to get investment. The country is a developing country 1% of the population is leaving every year and so I go into the second biggest depression of my life and I'm wondering what the hell do I do!? And I realized, “Look if this country has such big brain drain, what if I could flip the switch?”
Buckminster Fuller always inspired me and he has a quote which goes something like this: “When faced with an intractable problem, don't try to solve the problem, rather create a vision that renders that problem obsolete.”
So I said I want to build the world's greatest place to work. So this was around this was 2004, and right away I started hacking away at it and all of a sudden it starts taking shape. Driven by that goal, we start attracting talent from around the world and all of a sudden we stop draining brains and people from other countries started coming to Malaysia to work for Mindvalley, because we've created this super unique culture. We started growing and growing and growing and the crazy thought was this – there was no VC money, and so we had to hack that as well and so we end up overtaking our competition in the U.S. We end up overtaking our competition which had been fueled by $5-20 million worth of VC money, completely bootstrapping because all of this amazing talent was flocking to Mindvalley.
If you go to our website right now at www.Mindvalley.com and you click on “About Us” and you look at my team, they come from 47 different countries. I was in the offer today and there's probably about 40 different nationalities working from that one office – 40 different nationalities, so this focus on culture on democracy in the workplace was key.
We became the first Asian company to win the WorldBlu award, it was 2008. We just started attracting more and more and more and more talent and so I really want to emphasize the power of culture and organizational democracy. It helped us overcome being in a developing nation and it helped us overcome being rejected by every darn investor that I tried to pitch my crazy idea to. And we are still growing at a ridiculous rate, attracting amazing talent and it's all about culture.
Traci: Thank you for sharing that story because here you started with basically nothing and everything comes down to culture. It doesn't matter how great your product or service is, if you don't have a world-class culture that's sustaining it and are able to attract world-class people, forget it. And you've been able to do that with people from 47 nationalities worldwide, because of a freedom-centered and democratic approach. I firmly believe – and this is why we teach this at WorldBlu -- that organizational democracy, which are 10 principles that create a democratic system, like transparency ,accountability and choice, is the best way of designing a company.
When all of those principles are in operation, it creates the optimal conditions for success. We have companies coming to us every day going, “I want to scale, I want to attract the best and brightest talent, how do we keep them and how do we retain them in this competitive job market?”
And it’s not about operating in that same hierarchical command and control way. It's about giving real power to your people -- its freedom with accountability. Freedom isn't a free-for-all and it's not laissez-faire and it's not anarchy. There has to be accountability with it but the results are amazing!
As you know, we often ask our WorldBlu certified Freedom-Centered Workplaces for a statement from your employees, telling us what it's like to work in this kind of environment. I want to read this quote by your colleague Jason, who's a sales consultant there at Mindvalley, Here's what he says about working at Mindvalley.
He says, “The moment I joined Mindvalley I was respected for my opinions and feedback. I was able to push amazing ideas forward and everyone there is pushing the boundaries of excellence. I love seeing the new people and inspiring them to take ownership, bring ideas and to voice an opinion. There isn't any kind of manager/employee friction but more of a master/apprentice relationship. Proof of Freedom at Work's benefit is the rapid innovations happening every week and the rapid growth, that we see year-on-year.”
What do you think about that? What do you think about the fact that this is how your employees feel, working at Mindvalley?
Vishen: That's really cool, Jason is an exceptional guy. I think he's now been with us five maybe six years and he came from Canada and moved all the way to Kuala Lumpur and yes I would say that's true in many ways. However, I think there are a couple of misconceptions about organizational democracy. I'd love to talk about that.
Traci: Yeah let’s do it, go ahead.
Vishen: The first thing is because of the fact that you know we were the first company in this part of the world to win the WorldBlu award, a lot of people here think Freedom at Work and organizational democracy means laissez-faire and that it means that everybody has a voice. Actually that's not really how it works in the real world. Ray Dalio who runs his company based on really powerful principles wrote about how he had sort of an algorithm to rank ideas and certain people who had a proven track record. Any idea from them would score higher in this algorithm and was more likely to be listened to. And at Mindvalley, we have something like this as well. So everyone in the company has my Whatsapp number. You can join the company and within 24 hours of joining as soon as you have a Mindvalley email account, even before you've passed induction or probation, you can Whatsapp me, any time any day with an idea.
Traci: And just so people have context, how many employees does Mindvalley now have?
Vishen: We have 300 employees. And all of them can text me. I get about 50 messages a day and then all of them can be in direct communication with me. So that's the first thing, anybody can reach out to me, but they all know that it doesn't mean that their idea is going to go forward. Every idea is like a switchboard, if the idea shows promise, I'll send it to the right department. For example a random new person just sent me an idea for a new design for a Mindvalley T-shirt, and it sounds so random since we're not even looking for such ideas, but there was a mark of genius in it so boom! it gets sent to a different department.
But 90% of the ideas just get trashed and people get that if one idea sucks, it doesn't mean your second or your 30th or 40th or 50th. Everybody can communicate all the time but everybody knows that there idea doesn't always win and we are really straightforward about that. If your idea sucks, your ideas sucks. I don't have to adopt every idea.
Now, the second thing that we do and this is really interesting and it really stretches democracy is that we created a process in a company called envisioning. It means every department in the company maintains a Google Doc called an Envisioning Doc” and that Googledoc is essentially a vision of where they want to take that department.
So customer support might set a vision to be the world's best customer support team in Asia. Our event division might set a vision to launch a festival and have 20,000 people attend. They go deep into these Googledocs and they paste images, they paste diagrams, they paste articles they've read in books, but here's the thing. From day one at Mindvalley, from day one as soon as you have a Mindvalley email account, you can go to any Envisioning Doc and edit it. You can go to the Envisioning Doc for HR and make an edit, you can say I want to see HR doing this thing even if you're not part of that HR team. So imagine being able to go and see thousands of pages of company vision and actually go ahead and edit those things.
Traci: I love that!
Vishen: It's absolute trust, now so direct communication through Whatsapp and Envisioning Doc's are two principles we bring in for organizational democracy and we're not chaotic about it. W also run the company based on OKR’s. OKR’s were popularized at Intel, they're used by Google and OKR’s stand for “Objective and Key Results,” so we have trickled-down OKR’s, all the way from the company's big five goals, for the next 20 years. We really think 20 years ahead, all the way down to every individual, every team, every division, all the OKR’s are aligned, but here's the thing. In terms of the OKR principle, what we practice is top-down 50/50 and it means roughly, if you're working in a team 50% of your OKRs are coming from the top and 50% are coming from you and your team. So it's top-down 50/50 and so in any particular set of OKR’s, you know there's this beautiful mixture of things between upper management, the CEO and the employees.
The creates that healthy balance and there's a constant battle of ideas. In the end, it’s only about one thing, which is the better idea? People get to test the ideas and everything is aligned with OKR’s and numbers.
So these three democratic ideas -- everybody can Whatsapp the CEO at any time with any crazy idea, the ability for anyone from day one to come and edit the company's vision and literally leave their mark one the company's vision and third, top-down OKR’s. Those three things were probably some of the biggest things we put into place.
Traci: For our listeners who may just be joining us and learning about WorldBlu and what we teach, let me explain real quick the Freedom at Work system and that Mindvalley is operationalized. Freedom at Work three parts to it – Mindset, Leadership and Design and the optimal framework for organizational design is organizational democracy.
Also, when we say the word “democracy” we're not talking about a political system here. We're talking about a way of organizing that gives real power to the people, like you just talked about at Mindvalley. When you say the word democracy, people often think you're talking about voting and I love to point out that they voted in Saddam Hussein's Iraq, and did that make it democratic? No! Voting is a way of making a decision, but it's not the system of democracy.
Just like you pointed out that democracy is about dialogue and listening, it's also about transparency and accountability.
I want to take a step back though Vishen and talk about how it really starts with mindset. You told your story of meditation and how that brought you into now building the number one transformational education company in the world within the next 20 to 25 years. But the thing that I noticed is how it really does start with the mindset of the CEO. In my early days of starting WorldBlu over 20 years ago, I kind of thought, “Oh yeah, you know we can teach these ideas at any level within the organization and hopefully they'll trickle up.”
And there were some hard lessons that we had to learn from that beginning if the CEO is not on board, it's just not going to fly and it’s not going to be sustainable. So I want to hear from you, why do you think the mindset of the CEO is so vital to saying, “We're going to work in freedom rather than fear. We're going to operate in a more democratic way rather than command and control.”
Vishen: So firstly, it's not a binary thing to me. There are times when command and control are necessary. For example there was a time when we were going through a massive series of back-to-back loss months, right? Basically, an enterprise platform we had used was failing and our customers were not getting our emails and we were bleeding money. Now in those scenarios, I go from being a peacetime CEO to a wartime CEO. When you go to a wartime CEO, it means this is a struggle for survival and certain democratic things are going to be halved. Innovation is going be suppressed because it's all about fixing this bug that's causing us to bleed money. So we survived that quarter, so again, you’ve got to understand that companies go through different stages.
I've been in stages where I've had to fight it out to survive and every entrepreneur knows what I'm talking about. It's those times when you're running out of cash and if you don't do something and shut down the ideas which aren't helping, you're going die and have to lay off everyone. So yeah, like most of the last four or five years, it's been a peacetime CEO role for me.
Now my philosophy comes from this. Patty McCord is the woman who worked with Reed Hastings to create the culture for Netflix. So in her book, Powerful, she has this amazing quote, which is really the essence of the book and it goes something like this. She talks about how she had such disdain for the word empowerment. She says, “Look your people do not need to be empowered, your people are powerful. They are powerful as soon as they walk in through the door. Your goal is to let them use this power.” Now that is a very key aspect of how I run. I try to bring in the most powerful people I can.
Ten percent of the people I bring in don’t work out. They are a mis-hire and we move them to a different place or in certain situations we have to let them go, but 90 percent have this thing that they’re bringing in. And my job is to ensure they can use this power.
Here’s how we can do that. I tell them, look I want you to do something so fricking powerful that one to two years from now, I won’t be able to afford you. I want you to create software that’s so revolutionary that Google wants to poach you or create a marketing team that is so incredible that you can leave knowing that you never have to worry about a job again, because every damn advertising agency will want you at their table. I challenge people to do that, and sometimes people do that and they leave and that’s great and we stay friends.
Many of my friends around the world are my ex-employees. But more often than not, people do these epic things and they stay because they get to do epic things and they get to be powerful. Now 1 out of 10 people I hire will really go far in this area. And they become legends, end up speaking on Tedx stages and several of them have written their own books and been in documentary films and they still are a part of Mindvalley. I love that and so I’ve created this organization where – it’s like a multi- headed dragon, it’s not just me, I’m the CEO. There are so many incredibly powerful and capable people just crushing it in different divisions because we’ve given them that mindset to be powerful. This power, by the way, comes from having a vision.
You see the one thing I’ve learned over the past years is that you can hire people who are visionaries and they take the company forward or you can hire people who lack vision and when you lack vision, they lack forward momentum. They can’t inspire their team and because of that lack of vision, they tend to get obsessed with the here and now, with the nitty gritty of management and drama. And so at Mindvalley if you want to be a leader, it’s not about your management skills, it’s about your ability to envision a better world, your ability to see forward into the future and to create and build. And so we’ve tried to create a company that’s led by such visionaries.
Traci: I love that Vishen and this whole thing that you’re talking about around power, you’re taking the words right out of my mouth! Part of what we teach at WorldBlu is Freedom-Centered Leadership™ and how we lead from a place of freedom, rather than fear. And we teach that there are three core attributes to being a Freedom-Centered Leader, and one of those attributes is “power.”
It’s knowing how to be powerful, how to be in your power in the right way. I love what you’re saying about creating an environment where everyone can be in their power. I completely agree, we don’t need to run around, how do I empower my people?
No how do we create an environment where they can truly be at their best and be in their power and it’s so inspiring to share how you are doing it.
Vishen: I want to share a practical way that people can do this. First, definitely read Patty McCord’s book and definitely make a note to buy my book when it comes out, Code of the Extraordinary Team because I go deep into this.
Also, read John Doerr, Measure what Matters. It’s a book on OKR’s. John Doerr came from Intel and he’s one of the early investors in Google. And there’s a really interesting philosophy of OKR’s that comes from Google, actually it came from the mind of Larry Paige, and I love him.
At Google, when you are setting your goals as a team, 50 percent of your goals should be stretch goals. Goals which are so forward thinking, so revolutionary, that it’s about a coin flip, whether you are going to attain them or not. So there’s a 50 percent chance of failure.
Now the rate of failure is about 40 percent, so Google has many failures but they’ve also had incredible successes like Youtube and Gmail. We take that and we bring that to Mindvalley where 50 percent of the goals have to be stretch goals. If you cannot seriously say, “Look, I have a 50 percent chance of failing, but I’m going to give it my best,” then you’re thinking too small.
If this happens, you cannot tie compensation to these goals because as soon as you tie compensation to it, people start thinking small, they stop setting stretch goals.
So again, at Mindvalley, everyone sets stretch goals. They know that there’s a strong likelihood that they may fail but they do it anyway because all amazing people in the world love a challenge. We are goal-driven animals, and people want to leave a mark in the world. People want significance and by giving people a stretch goal, you inspire them, you give them significance, you make people completely intrinsically-driven and this changes the game of how your company works.
So we're able to do so many bold things, because our people are bold. They are setting these ridiculously ambitious goals for themselves and pulling them off.
Traci: You know Vishen, a lot of our listeners are entrepreneurs, business owners and C-suite leaders within their companies, and often we find that we have leaders coming to us saying, “Help our people become better leaders!” but the people at the top don't want to do the inner leadership development on themselves, which is shocking to me. I know that you've been on a journey, but will you please speak to why is it so important that top leaders also do the inner work necessary to lead a company from a place of freedom rather than fear?
Vishen: Well I'll put it this way, I'm going quote a conversation I had with one of the top teachers in an MBA programs and his name is professor Srikumar Rao.
Traci: Yes I know Srikumar, he’s a good friend!
Vishen: So Rao has taught at Columbia Business School, London Business School, Kellogg's business school and so on and his classes are really popular. I believe he's known for having classes where there's a waitlist to get in. He came to me once and he said, “Vishen, we have to change the way business schools teach.” And I'm like, “What do you mean?”
He goes on to say that we need to teach a more conscious way of running a business. I was like, “Rao they do that!” And he goes, “No, you don't understand. What Stanford and Harvard think is “conscious” is basically teaching business ethics. After Enron, ethics became all the rage. But no that's not what I'm talking about.
So I go, “Ok, tell me what do you mean.” He goes, ”Look, what they have to teach and where business schools are broken is with this one concept. Your business is NOT about your business, your business is about your growth. Everything has to be about your growth, if you're growing, your business grows. . .” And he went on to say that what he meant by that is that look, we have to make our lives about our transformation, our rate of learning, our rate of becoming a better human being.
He went on to say if your business fails, who cares? If your business becomes a billion-dollar business, who cares? Did you grow? He says that when you approach life like that you grow because your growth is the number one thing. And when you grow, your business cannot help but grow so that is basically a key principle that I bring into my life. I don't sacrifice my health, or my sleep, or my gym time for my business. I take ample holidays. I don't work more than 60 hours a week and even though I'm crazy busy and I bring this to my people as well.
For my people, one of their five OKR’s has to be a personal OKR, related to growth. So for example in my executive team, one person is getting an MBA on the side, another person is about to go on a diet and change his body fat percentage, another person is about to be certified in breath work, another person is about to run a Spartan race. I know this because this is my executive team. So an individual’s growth is so important. As CEO, I know the growth goals for everybody in my team, just like I know the KPI’s for the business.
Traci: That is so cool! You touched on something that I think is really important, which is this whole myth that to build a company you have to be burned-out, stressed-out, anxiety-ridden, destroy your relationships with your family and that’s how you achieve the success.
But the reality is that when I look at our WorldBlu certified Freedom-Centered Workplaces and I talk with the CEOs and leaders and the individuals working in those companies, there's a sense of peace and there's a sense of work/life balance. You know there's this sense of peace because they're not operating in this drama-full, frenzied and fear-based environment?
And even at WorldBlu, I'm a hard-working entrepreneur and CEO and my whole team is, but we're not stressed-out people. I have my daily spiritual practice, I exercise regularly, I eat healthy, I get a good night’s sleep. You know you're able to do that when you operate in a freedom-centered way. And in many ways our businesses are the mirror to who we are and if we’re growing in order to grow the business.
If we’re not doing our inner work and things aren't going as we’d like, we have to take a step back and go, “Where am I? Am I doing the inner work and am I doing that growth that is so vital and so necessary?” Plus just walking the talk! If you want your people to be at their best you've got to model that along the way.
Now Vishen I want to talk about organizational design. We talked earlier about some of the democratic practices that you all are doing and implementing. But one of them that I really want you to touch on is the “Awesomeness Report” because I think it also relates to what we're talking about here, about people being in their power, being awesome, being at their peak. . Will you tell our listeners what that's about?
Vishen: Sure! Every Thursday at 5:00 p.m., the entire company comes together and our CHRO, named Ezekiel, collects keynote slides from every division. It's not obligatory but people submit keynote slides on a big update or a learning they want to share with the company or someone or something they want to be grateful for, a new vision that they want to share, or a value that they want to tell a story about.
Today we just had one because it's Thursday, as we're recording this. Someone shared gratitude for a person who was part of our company and is now leaving and did an incredible job in five years at the company. We all expressed love for her on stage, gave her hugs and cried with her. I shared a video of a new author that we brought in and it was actually a video of him standing up for families who were separated at the US-Mexican border.
I stated that we as a company should seek authors who take a positive stand in the world and stand up for unity. Another person got up and shared great results in a marketing campaign that had been running and then thanked and acknowledged the people who had done it for him. Another person shared a new promotional video that had been created for a YouTube channel.
It was mind-blowing and people are celebrating together, they are practicing gratitude together. They are giving thanks together, they are sharing their value system. And what happens when you do something like this together as a company is that you establish a common code within the culture.
So here's what I mean by that. Today in our Awesomeness Report we had several hundred people there, maybe 250 and we had six new people and the six new people are watching and they immediately learn the rules of the tribe and they learned what to be grateful for, what is celebrated and what is good.
And so human beings basically tend to imitate what they see. There's a famous study that essentially says that when faced with a complex world, human being simplifying through imitation.
We look at what our peers are doing and we imitate. And so what's happening is that we're getting people to very rapidly imitate good behavior, good culture, good ideas and good value systems. It's a contagion of celebration, gratefulness, healthy values and culture and it infuses everyone with the right mindset. That's why these in reports are so powerful.
Traci: I've seen pictures of it in your beautiful and colorful offices and just hearing about it and what it's doing to teach the freedom-centered culture that you all have through these Awesomeness Reports every week is so inspiring.
Vishen, the last question I want to ask you, is for leaders who are listening and wondering about going down a path a building of freedom-centered workplace culture or not. When does a leader know that they're ready to build a freedom-centered culture?
Vishen: Well I think what leaders have to understand is that this isn't about when you're ready, this is like a modern way of doing business. I think it's so important that we start embracing work this way, because work is about to go to a massive disruption. As AI robotics enter the picture, jobs are going to change.
For example Elon Musk once said it's not a question of whether Universal Basic Income is going to come to America, it's question of when. Bill Gates has said robots will take our job, so let's tax the robots. Basically what's going happen is that work is going to be optional.
I believe this and I'm building my company to be a bulletproof to this. Work weeks are going to go down to 15 to 20 hours. People will be paid a Universal Basic Income and if you are trying to build a company and you want to get great people to work for you, guess what? It's no longer about money, it's no longer about a damn resume or a career because nobody will have to work 20 years from now and by the way, 20 years! It's happening that fast.
So what you need to do is to make work about a completely different set of rules. There are four things. The first is about happiness, so while work is about to become optional, loneliness is rising across the Western world. Loneliness is at 300 percent, and according to Harvard Business Review, loneliness is worse for you than smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
A lot of people who joined MindValley joined it because they had their own business but they were lonely working from home, so if you can find a way to resolve that bit by making work about community, about family, about connection, you give people a reason to wake up every morning and come to the office.
Now the second one is about growth. Are you helping your employees grow? I see a world where every company is not just asking the employees to be engaged in the company vision but the company is engaged in the employees’ vision. They're helping employees get the right health advice to run their next marathon, helping them find the right classes so they can get qualified in breath work or whatever else they want. It’s about companies helping an employee reach their vision. It's going to be a huge, huge trend, so that's growth.
Third is meaning. People want to feel part of something big. We use objectives and key results not just because it creates alignment but because it gives people meaning. The people understand why we want to do what we do. They know that we are seeking to improve the condition of humankind in massive ways and they want to be part of that.
The fourth one is significance; people want to know that their lives matter. And so you want to give people a chance to do something powerful and to achieve something. So when I look at work, it's not even about money. I mean we pay great salaries, we pay 10% above the market rate, it’s about making people happy and sharing profits with your employees and we do all that.
But those four things are what you want to do if you want to make your company not just survive but thrive in this disruptive age that we're about to be entering.
Traci: That's incredible! Ultimately is about freedom and possibility. So those four things are right on the mark. You have built a world-class, highly inspiring, freedom-centered company in Mindvalley. Vishen, it's been so great to have you with me today my friend! Thank you!
Vishen: Take care!
Traci: Thanks everyone for joining us and remember to live, lead and work in freedom!