Despite running over a dozen different businesses under Mindvalley, I’m against the idea of working more than 60-70 hours a week. One of the ways I run my 200-person team is through a simple and elegant 5-step management process that has enabled my company to double in growth and in number of launches every month.
1. Establish Your Company Vision
Some companies have a two or three-year vision; I tend to have a 10-20 year vision that sets the overall direction of the company.
Of course, most people can’t handle a vision set that far ahead, especially on a day-to-day working basis. So while our teams are aware of our long term vision, we’re only focused on a year at a time – also because changes and innovations unravel so rapidly in our industry.
The 1-year vision is explained not just in values of numbers and actuals, but also in values of principle and purpose – this is an integral motivator for Mindvalley.
For example, our vision for the Mindvalley Academy is to become the top online university for transformational education in the world, but this must always abide by our 3-part doctrine:
- Great value in the product we publish
- Great customer service (we make it clear that our customers have a 90-day return policy, and our customer support team ranks in the top 2% of all American companies that use Nice Reply, a feedback tracker)
- Great user experience (we have a dedicated team of designers and builders that work to provide our users with elegant and seamless platform design)
We innovate and develop daily on these areas , but it’s where we want to be as we hit that next milestone.
So you start with that vision. Every business has its vision, but you got to have values supporting that vision. You need to know what your values are.
2. Establish Your Smart Number
The first goal you need to establish is your “Smart Number” – this is the one unifying goal that will determine how fast your business grows no matter what your company industry or specialty is, or whether you’re a cash-flow business or valuation business.
Cash-flow businesses are typically businesses in the internet marketing field, designed to bring in revenue to sustain a particular founder’s way of life (nothing wrong with that). So the Smart Number for a-cash flow business is simply profit. How much profit are you making? Revenue does not matter as much – profit does.
Mindvalley businesses are designed for valuation. We’re looking to serve a long-term goal, so we may even go with minimal profit for a year or two as we build and grow the company towards that goal. That’s how we play it. This is common for Silicon Valley-type businesses.
Take Mindvalley Academy again – we are going with valuation, not cash flow, so increasing valuation is what we want to do for our business so that we can impact the lives of as many customers as possible.
Therefore our smart number is Subscribers – the number of registered users do we have on Mindvalley Academy. So as this number goes up, the better we know how we are doing because our reach increases too.
Yet the Smart Number alone should not be the only metric you pay attention to; it’s just your number one metric.
3. Establish Your KPIs
Knowing how many registered users I have for Mindvalley Academy ensures me that my valuation and business value will grow. But that Smart Number does not secure the business entirely, of course. We have supporting numbers, which are our Key Performance Indicators (KPI). For Mindvalley Academy, we monitor these five indicators consistently:
- Total Active Email Subscribers (a person can be a registered user, but they may not be actively opening our emails. We want them to be actively engaged).
- Number of Authors we publish on our portfolio
- Customer Service Score
4. Establish Your Quarterly Goals
To recap: You have your 1-year vision, you have your smart number and you have your KPIs. Now how do you manage your progress and plan your strategy throughout that year? I run so many teams that I only spend one or two hours with them a week, but I need a way to keep on track with every team.
At Mindvalley we conduct a strategy meeting at the beginning of each quarter with the question: What would we have to accomplish in the next three months to meet our 1-year vision?
This is where we set our “Key Thrust” – projects or massive items with a clear target that takes several months to complete, such as:
- Establish an e-commerce store with over 100 products
- Design campaigns to hit 1 million subscribers
Key thrusts make sure that you are moving in the right direction as they are related to a KPI. This also helps us determine the 10-12 tasks or items we need to work on that key thrust for the quarter.
But to manage this seamlessly, we need to systemize what each team is doing on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.
And it’s got nothing to do with micro-management.
5. Establish an Effective Project Management System
For this we use our chosen Project Management Tool – Basecamp.
So we’ve set the quarterly goal and your key thrust for the team, and the 12 items we’ve listed to complete it. This list is all I care about – I don’t need to know about the nitty gritty behind it. As the guy supervising the company, I just want to know that in the course of the next three months, these 12 items are gonna be checked off. Because I know if we focus on these 12 items we will make amazing weeks.
Next, we arrange the 12 items in order of priority, based on what we need to launch first. Quarterly priorities are usually our top 5 items, but it can go up to 10 depending on the project. These quarterly items are all big items, but sometimes you want to have a more micro view and you want to know what is your team doing on a weekly basis rather than the entire quarter.
That’s why directly below the quarterly priorities you will see the team’s KPI’s. They are ranked in order of importance. KPI one is always more important than KPI two, KPI three and so on. So you know your number one most important thing. Every item has a star attached to it. We set this during a brainstorm on a gut level per item. We don’t execute that item right away, but put them on BC to the KPI its going to contribute to and with that we get a really interesting picture of how the team is running.
For example under KPI 1 there is a 5-star item and a 4-star item. KPI 3 might have a 5-star item too. When the team comes to work every single day, they know what is their number one priority is besides BAU. They have to look at any 5-star item that is there and that has to be executed on.
Every single item has a value ranking so every single day you know exactly what to focus on. And now I can hold my teams accountable to what’s absolutely necessary.
5-star items need to be executed on. But among 5 star items there are certain rules: 5-star items under KPI 1 are always more important than 5-star items under KPI 2. However, a 5-star item under KPI 3 has higher priority over a 4-star item in KPI one. So if someone were to look at a Basecamp project, they would instantly know what item or task to prioritize.
By taking ideas and distributing like this, you have an effective system that helps your teams plan, innovate on and execute ideas strategically. Having identified your key KPIs, your metrics and your quarterly goals help you achieve your 1-year vision .