How Mindvalley is building a global culture

by Jobbatical April 19, 2016

A Q&A with the CEO of Mindvalley, Vishen Lakhiani

Based in Malaysia, Mindvalley—a global learning experience company—has built a team of over 200 people from more than 40 nationalities. The company makes it a point to celebrate this diversity in many ways, including through their Culture Day, which takes place every other Thursday, following a different cultural theme each time.

Given this astonishing diversity, team Jobbatical indulged a bit in picking the brains of Vishen, the guy who made it all happen. Just as expected, it was some pretty inspiring stuff.

Team Mindvalley

What made you decide to look beyond Malaysia in your search for talent?

I choose not to recognize many of the mental constructs of the world as it currently operates. One of them is the idea of nationhood. I see the world as one global system. When you think that way, you start to realize that you do not have to be limited to the country in which your company is based. You can have customers outside your nation. You can have employees from and outside your nation.

When I started Mindvalley, I noticed that more and more talents were willing to see the world, to travel to different countries and to experience new cultures. I thought to myself — if I wanted to assemble a team of the smartest people in the world, why should I limit myself just to my own country? So I started advertising internationally.

How do you think the international culture of your company sets you apart from more localized workplaces?

There are numerous studies that show how the diversity in thoughts, opinions and backgrounds create innovative cultures and environments; and I believe this is certainly what is happening at Mindvalley. We’ve been successful with innovating on so many different products as a result of our diversity. By opening your company to the world, you have greater access to amazing global talent. Today 90% of our applicants are from outside the country (Malaysia).

[Credit: Stephen via Flickr]

What are some tangible benefits of bringing in talent from abroad?

It is really about the range and quality of people we attract, which has helped turn Mindvalley into a global company. For example, only about 1% of our customers actually come from Malaysia. The other 99% percent are from the rest of the world. Our customer support team in Malaysia serves people from 100 countries, and each member of that team of 14 people is from a different nation and speaks a different language.

What are some challenges you face when trying to attract global talent?

One current challenge we do experience is visa restrictions for foreign talents. I think many governments today still operate based on old-­fashioned models of security when it comes to foreign talent, in fear of limiting opportunities to local talents. I disagree. I believe smart people should be allowed the mobility to move to or set up companies anywhere in the world, because this contributes to the country and ultimately the global community. So more governments need to expand their minds and be more welcoming of great talent into their country.

Kuala Lumpur [Credit: Klim Levene via Flickr]

How do you find overseas talent that shares the same values as you?

Because we often don’t get to meet a talent in person, what we request from our applicants is a video cover letter. Without video cover letters we were getting hundreds of applications for a single position, most of which were job seekers randomly responding to every job ad available without studying the company. This was frustrating and made it hard for us to identify the gems among the crowd. After we made video cover letters a condition, we attracted talents who truly cared about our mission, shared our values and genuinely wanted to work with Mindvalley. It narrowed our selection down to about 20 candidates per position, but our options were always great and enabled us to truly see their personality and where they stand.

Do you have any fun anecdotes that happened as a result of the multicultural environment?

This was never part of our plan, but one of the most interesting things that do happen at Mindvalley is that because we attract brilliant women and men from around the world into a setting of like­minded personalities and goals, we have reached the stage where one in three people in Mindvalley is dating or married to someone else in Mindvalley. And in most cases these are interracial couples (we have over 40 nationalities in our headquarters alone), which is really a beautiful thing to see.

What are your thoughts on the global future of work? How important do you think it is to keep a global mindset?

If you want to be a company that survives the next 10 years, you’re going to need a global mindset. According to Ray Kurzweil, there will be more changes in the world between 2015 and 2022 than there was in all of the 20th century. The world is changing at an exponential pace and this makes the world more global. Eventually our transit systems will be operated based on Hyperloop technology. Apps and platforms for connectivity will bring us even closer together. So if you’re not building a company that has a global mindset, you may be putting yourself at a disadvantage.

And where do you see Mindvalley going in the next few years?

We always strive to think big, and by big I mean audacious and sometimes scary, but always exciting. Mindvalley is on track to build a school for a billion people and make health, wellness, spiritual and personal growth practices a key part of a billion lives worldwide :­)

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Mindvalley is hiring in Kuala Lumpur. Take a look at their open positions and apply on Jobbatical:

Building a global team of your own? Hire beyond borders with Jobbatical!

This interview was originally published for Jobbatical by Loni Klara.

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