The ‘growth mindset’ is a key ingredient in Greenlight Guru’s formula for success
With demands on tech companies increasing every day, leaders have turned to new ways to inspire, motivate and drive their teams toward success. While options like increased compensation, more time off and attractive office perks may come to mind, other companies are adopting more holistic approaches to preparing team members for difficult work challenges.
Indy-based Greenlight Guru has jumped wholeheartedly into incorporating the “growth mindset” into its work, especially with its sales teams. If meditation and EKG monitoring seem incongruous with a company’s plan for increasing sales and building better, fitter teams, you might want to rethink your stance.
Executive-level mindset training goes companywide
Adoption of the growth mindset has been accelerating in companies large and small. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella recently credited a shift to the growth mindset with tripling the company’s value. An impressive notch in the growth mindset’s belt, no doubt, but what goes into this mindset that’s making it more alluring to businesses?
“The growth mindset is basically a belief system; it’s adopting the belief that you’re capable of anything as long as you’re willing to put in the effort,” said Kevin Bailey, founder of Dreamfuel. His company touts the growth mindset and consults with firms on how to successfully shift into that mindset. Greenlight Guru is a client.
This concept likely seems familiar to many business executives, as personal mindset coaching has been a staple of executive development for years. But expanding the training for entire teams or the company has been a longer process to implement. Companies taking the leap, however, are finding success in short order, as Greenlight Guru has discovered in recent years.
Building emotional muscle leads to company success
Greenlight Guru’s sales team first sampled mindset coaching for a quarter-long trial in 2016. Sales can be a highly demanding and emotionally taxing role if companies forgo building what Greenlight Guru CEO David DeRam calls “emotional muscle” to resist the psychological pushback that high-pressure jobs can exert.
“In a company that’s growing as fast as ours, there are just as many problems as there are victories,” he said. “Those problems are tied to people skills—which involve relationships, giving and receiving feedback and social capital—all obviously closely linked to emotion. If we can build emotional muscle, maturity and strength, then that logically breeds the mental toughness we need.”
To exercise emotional muscle, Dreamfuel engaged Greenlight Guru team members in a host of mindfulness activities, like guided meditations or using EKG trackers to monitor heart rates, and tied them to sales work. “When we do a meditation with the team, I’ll ask them to visualize the perfect sales call,” said Kevin. “That lets them calm down a bit and get into the state where they feel comfortable and to feel what it’ll feel like to win before they win. Sometimes that makes all the difference.”
After three months of practicing these activities, Greenlight Guru’s sales team delivered the largest revenue-generating quarter in the company’s history.
During implementation, Kevin saw a shift in how sales team members perceived their work and approached the challenges inherent in sales. “I’m a huge advocate of sales techniques training, but mindset training uncovers a deeper layer, something at a psychological level,” he said. “It’s more about how you get salespeople one hundred percent focused on having the right energy on calls and thinking about the right things—not so much tactically what we’re going to say, but having the right vibe.”
Greenlight Guru’s alligator blood matches perfectly with growth mindset
Given past success, Greenlight Guru thought it wise to bring back the mindset training for this most recent sales quarter; again, the sales team broke revenue records in commanding fashion. Greenlight Guru is now extending growth mindset opportunities for team members across the organization on a more regular basis. For example, during Monday Meditations, team members gather at noon for a guided meditation session; this has proved to be a popular option.
Maybe it’s surprising to see a fast-growth scale-up like Greenlight Guru embrace meditations, EKG monitors and even simply this kind of ethos. Yet David sees a natural connection between the mindfulness approach and the company’s “alligator blood” mentality, of staying cool under pressure to deliver top-notch results.
“With the alligator blood, we like to do things that are really hard—we think it’s good to do hard things. That said, you can’t just burn the candle down,” David said. “Something Kevin’s taught us is that you have to balance the fire in your eyes when you’re going to be working really, really hard like we do. You have to build in some recovery so that your engine can keep running.”
While the growth mindset has helped the company’s bottom line, it’s also helped team members lead their lives and bring mindfulness and balance into everything they do—a reward in and of itself. “Our people are taking what they’re learning here and they’re saying, ‘Hey, I had a really tough conversation at home or with my kids’ teacher, and I did some breathing to reset,’” said David. “It’s not just something that we do at work; it’s becoming integrated into our lives.”