Build a Better Business Using Psychology with Aaron Hurst, Imperative

June 16, 2021

In this episode, Aaron Hurst discusses how his business, Imperative, is transforming mentoring and corporate relationships with psychology. His company uses psychology and neuroscience to help people build more meaningful relationships at work. 

Tune in to learn how to assess the value you produce, how to foster an environment of meaningful engagement at work, and how to leverage psychology to gain more market share. 

About our Guest: 

Aaron Hurst is the CEO of Imperative, a psychologically designed peer coaching company. Previously, he founded Taproot foundation which connected not-for-profit organizations with business executives who are willing to offer pro bono work. Aaron Hurst is the author of The Purpose Economy. 

On today’s episode: 

  • The 2 existential threats to the world that Aaron Hurst is solving.- 04:00
  • A new way to get career coaching (4 questions). – 06:09 
  • Has remote work strengthened relationships at work?- 08:18
  • Why reverse the corporate culture around relationship building at work (two inflection points). – 09:13
  • Why mentoring usually fails (and how Aaron’s company fixes that). -10:27
  • Aaron’s journey as an entrepreneur in many different spaces. – 11:23
  • What kinds of companies need venture capital and why he chose the VC route. – 13:00
  • How does your role as a founder change when you become VC backed? (the 3 main things you have to focus on). – 14:39
  • What is the biggest driver of value in our economy? – 16:14
  • The dark side of using psychology to grow your company and what needs to change. – 18:08
  • Creating the foundation for grassroots change vs. getting involved in the political world. – 21:45
  • “Repair the world” how that principle guides him and keeps him humble.- 24:53
  • Why you shouldn’t get too attached to the concept of legacy. – 28:54
  • What is your value above replacement? (a good way to make decisions AND assess if you are adding enough value) – 31:03
  • Lesson 1: Looking at your efforts with more detail (more on value above replacement)- 35:35
  • Lesson 2: Removing fear from our environments – 36:35
  • Lesson 3: What are you doing that pushes you on your journey and what do you do to elevate your standards? – 37:47

Key Takeaways: 

  • Sustainability and lack of social cohesion are the two largest existential threats to our human race. 
  • According to a Microsoft study, people’s connections with their immediate team have strengthened during covid. However, it was found that their broader networks have been decimated. 
  • According to an MIT article, traditional mentoring has been proven not to be terribly effective while mentoring that is based on relationship building reaps better results.
  • Mentoring usually doesn’t tend to work well because the workplace is asymmetrical. 
  • When you are looking to make a big change, not just build a X million dollar company, but rather be an integral part of lots of people’s lives you need venture capital to get there.
  • The only way you scale as a venture backed business is by building systems and by building a team. As a CEO, you must be the person who plays a major role in defining the vision, creating the company culture and allocating the resources strategically. 
  • Psychology is the biggest economic driver of value. Most successful companies leverage psychology and neuroscience to grow. A good example is Facebook. 
  • The use of psychology to grow businesses has a dark side where businesses can negatively impact and manipulate their customers. Effectively, it almost makes businesses into drug dealers. Regulation is needed to keep the psychological influence of companies under control.
  • In buddhist belief, you are taught to let go of attachment. The concept of legacy can be an attachment. Getting too fixated on legacy may prevent you from focusing on your happiness. 
  • Removing fear from our environments helps us build more meaningful and stronger relationships. 


The biggest driver of economic value in 2021 is leveraging psychology to capture the market: 

“There is a tremendous opportunity, which we’ve seen across every sector,  to innovate and capture more market by meeting the human need for meaning, the human need for these positive psychological attributes in the market but also exploiting the negative ones…which is the dark side of this whole industry” –  Aaron Hurst (17:57)


How does your business leverage psychology to capture the market? Tell us in the comments and don’t forget to say hello if you would like to share your entrepreneurship story on our podcast. 

Connect with Aaron Hurst:

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