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BoS2015 Matthew Bellows – CEO, Yesware. The Case for Mindfullness at Work

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BoS2015 Matthew Bellows – CEO, Yesware. The Case for Mindfullness at Work

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You’ve likely heard of Intel Corp’s mindfulness training for 100,000 global employees. Maybe you know that Google, Aetna, General Mills, Goldman Sacks and many other companies sponsor mindfulness programs for their workers. You might be experimenting with a mindfulness program at your own company.
In this direct and personal talk, Matthew Bellows explains why. Drawing on 25 years as a meditator and 20 years as an entrepreneur, Matthew links mindfulness and work in a way that makes clear why training in this skill is so helpful for managers in the 21st century.

You’ve likely heard of Intel Corp’s mindfulness training for 100,000 global employees. Maybe you know that Google, Aetna, General Mills, Goldman Sacks and many other companies sponsor mindfulness programs for their workers. You might be experimenting with a mindfulness program at your own company.
In this direct and personal talk, Matthew Bellows explains why. Drawing on 25 years as a meditator and 20 years as an entrepreneur, Matthew links mindfulness and work in a way that makes clear why training in this skill is so helpful for managers in the 21st century.

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BoS2015 Matthew Bellows – CEO, Yesware. The Case for Mindfullness at Work

  1. 1. 1 MIND THE GAP Matthew Bellows CEO, Yesware Business of Software
  2. 2. 2 Kyle Blair
  3. 3. 3
  4. 4. 4 Source: Neeraj Agrawal, Battery Ventures
  5. 5. 5 Source: nitrateville.com
  6. 6. 6 Source: nitrateville.com
  7. 7. 7 Source: nitrateville.com
  8. 8. 8 Source: upfrontanalytics.com
  9. 9. 9
  10. 10. 10 Source: Yesware Opportunity Engagement Report
  11. 11. 11
  12. 12. 12
  13. 13. 13 0.125 points +2.5% profit
  14. 14. 14 THE PLAN
  15. 15. 15
  16. 16. 16
  17. 17. 17 HOW TO SPOT THE GAP
  18. 18. 18
  19. 19. 19 Source: pieandbovril.com
  20. 20. 20 jim@mindfulaware.com
  21. 21. 21 DISCUSSION matthew@yesware.com @mbellows

Editor's Notes

  • Startup salesperson my whole career.

    The first I bootstrapped to $3m in revenue and sold to CNET, now CBS Interactive.
     
    5 Years CEO Yesware: Box, Yelp, IBM, Groupon. 700,000 users, $35m in VC.

    VP Sales resigned. Had to step back into the saddle.

    This story happened when I was still running the team

    Two SMB reps, Kyle and Blair, each had over 500 accounts assigned to them. Tons of leads. Crushing their quotas.
  • Who could I promote? Should I bring someone down from the mid-market territory?

    I came up with a solution, talked with the manager of the team and thought that was that.
     
    All the managers in the room are shaking their heads now… “Are you a complete idiot?”
     
    Sure enough, the next day the manager….
  • Now, in addition to being a CEO and a sales manager, I’m also a Buddhist.

    I’ve spent many thousands of hours meditating, developing mindfulness and compassion.

    Try to bring it into work .
  • But I’m under a lot of pressure. Not super patient. This chart is…
     
     1st reaction: Fuck off.

    Then I paused. That pause is what this talk is about.
  • The space between the first instinctual reaction and the opportunity for a more creative response is called “The Gap”.
     
    Remember movies?

    Two parts: image and frame.

    Phi Phenomenon. 60 millisecond Our brains are tricked.
  • You see the analogy? The first is the content of the experience – what she said and what she was wearing, and the room around her.
  • The second is part is the space between the movie frames. That space is called The Gap.

    The biggest achievements in our life… individual frames.

    And in between each of those individual frames is a little space with nothing going on in it.
     
    Life is a series of moments strung together with Gaps. At the speed we are all moving, the Psi Phenomenon kicks.
     
    I’m going to argue in this talk that recognizing The Gap and expanding our experience of The Gap is a crucial management skill that we can learn. It will not only help us resolve difficult conflicts, but it will open up new avenues of creativity.


  • In his award winning book Thinking Fast and Slow, Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman describes two types of human thinking: System 1, which is immediate, habitual and very fast, and System 2, which is slower, more considered and generally better for complex problems.
     
    System 1 can also be looked at as the “Fight or Flight” response that all animals exhibit. Someone jumps at me from around a dark corner? I instantly have to decide – hit him or run away?
     
    Luckily, as humans, we have System 2. Beyond fight or flight, we have another option. We can do nothing. We can look again.
  • Good thing too, because it was my son jumping at me. I wouldn’t want to hit him, and if I ran away, he would laugh at me for the rest of my life. According to Kahneman, as we engage our System 2 thinking, we incorporate data into our reasoning. We can make tradeoffs between attractive alternatives. We can contemplate the best ways to explain ourselves to others.
  • You are all familiar with these two systems. For sales managers, there are some numbers that come instantly.
     
    The System 2 questions are ones you want to gather data on, contemplate, think about

    “The Gap” that the Buddhists talk about is the time and space between System 1 and System 2 thinking.
     
    even though we aren’t REALLY in a life-or-death situation, it often feels like we are.
     
    One big problem with missing the gap is that we apply System 1 reactions to System 2 problems. Like the situation I faced with my SMB team, my System 1, Fight or Flight first reaction “F-YOU” usually starts an emotional chain reaction with many unpredictable consequences.

     

  • It’s very much like the First World War.
     
    Brought down to our scale, the SMB team wants to meet with me. I tell them buzz off…

    In less dramatic terms: when you try to be a good/kind/decent manager but then blow up in a pressure situation, the negative emotions linger even after the explicit issue has been "settled". Trust erodes. Like barnacles on a ship, each incremental unresolved conflict creates drag on the team's performance. Team members' motivation and drive for success declines. Therefore productivity and compensation declines.
  • About ten years ago, Tony Simons and Judi McLean Parks

    When employees sense an inconsistency between what their managers say and how they act, trust, commitment and effort all decrease. These effects reduce customer satisfaction, increase employee turnover and lower profitability.
     
    Tony and Judi interviewed more than 6,500 employees at 76 US and Canadian Holiday Inn hotels. They asked workers to rank on a five-point scale, how closely their managers words matched their actions.

    Correlated the worker responses to the hotels’ customer satisfaction surveys, personnel records and financial records.
  • A 1/8th of a point improvement in a hotel’s score could be expected to increase the hotel’s profitability by 2.5% of revenues!  

    The Halo Effect… In the course of writing this talk, though, I read a book called The Halo Effect which posits that all these business studies are bullshit. But directionally…

    The Costs of Missing the Gap for You Personally
     
    But on a more personal, subtle and more important level, there is a day-to-day dissonance between being unskilled at conflict resolution and being successful…

    When we repress feelings of doubt, resentment or anger at work, these feelings boil over into life outside work, causing harm to people we love.
     
    To avoid these costs, and to get better at seeing The Gap, we need a plan.

  • Life is a string of moments. There is a Gap. We miss those gaps.
     
    We react with Fight-or-Flight behavior, System 1 behavior, instead of the more appropriate and helpful System 2 thinking.
     
    So, when faced with conflict, when we’re about to lash back with System 1, the first thing we need to do is create more time. We need to switch from System 1 to System 2. We need to find The Gap.
     
    “You crazy person,” I hear you say, “You can’t create more time.”
     
    Ah. But I can. And so can everyone in this room.
  • Ready? Go.
      
    But intellectually knowing that time is relative is not enough…
     
    The way I did it was to live in the mountains of Colorado for a year and meditate six to twelve hours a day.
     
    But you don’t have to do that!

    Here’s my favorite: Headspace.

  • I like it so much that my company pays for any employee that wants to keep using it after the trial period is up.
     
    Honestly, I wish this app was around when I was meditating in the mountains. It might have saved me a lot of time.
  • Now hopefully you know about the Gap, you know the importance of Minding the Gap and you know you can train yourself to see it more often.

    Do you do this all the time
     
    Luckily not.
     
    To show you when to look for The Gap, I have to tell you about the Three Poisons.
  • Three Poisons are Passion, Aggression and Ignorance. These are the three main, basic, root neuroses that really mess up everything.

    Iconographically, they are represented by a bird (passion), a snake (aggression) and a pig (ignorance).
     
    In our life, they refer to the three main neurotic behaviors:
    Passion – seducing, sweet talking, convincing, the smooth operator that brings people around to his point of view no matter what it is.
    Aggression – pushing back, pre-emptive attacks, lashing out whenever anything remotely threatening appears… it’s basically being That Guy.
    Ignorance – Whatevs. Spacing out. NBD. It’s all good. No problem.
      
    But when you notice one of the Three Poisons… Look OUT!
     
    So that’s the plan.
     
    Develop mindfulness of The Gap. Or, as the Brits say “Mind The Gap”.
  • Practice for five or ten minutes a day if you can so that when conflicts arise in your team or at your company, you can switch from System 1 to System 2 thinking.
     
    If you start practicing mindfulness this way, you won’t be alone.
     
    Intel Corporation has developed a mindfulness program for all 100,000 employees worldwide. Google, Novartis, General Mills, Aetna, even Goldman Sacks all offer mindfulness training programs. Employees who go through these programs report higher levels of happiness and productivity. Aetna saw health care costs drop. Factory workers at Green Mountain Coffee saw injury rates decline. [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/24/david-gelles-mindful-work_n_6933042.html]
     


  • How do we do this at Yesware?

    Jim Rosen. Coaching. Weekly and special classes. Much more to do.
     
    Let’s return to my story about the SMB team. / Thanks to my training, I Minded the Gap. I didn’t lash out at the team…

    So the next time someone comes at you with an annoying request, a verbal jab or a slap of aggression, don’t just react.

    Now that you know about The Gap, look for it.
     
    Thank you.



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