Das Wichtige tun, auch wenn scheinbar keine Zeit dafür ist – mit Carl Pullein

79 des Smart mit Zeitmanagement und Produktivität Experte Carl Pullein. Wir unterhalten uns über Organisations Basics für engagierte Entrepreneure, Innovations Manager, Product Owner und Unternehmensentwickler.

Carl Pullein
(c) Carl Pullein

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Ein weiteres Experiment, wir haben den Podcast auf Englisch aufgenommen. Wir unterhalten uns darüber, wie wir das Wichtige tun, obwohl wir scheinbar keine Zeit dafür haben. Wir erleben es häufig: „Ich kann kein Innovationsprojekt beginnen, ich habe keine Zeit“ und schon verspielen wir nach und nach unsere Zukunft.

Diese Episode soll helfen, Zeitmanagement Basics sowie einfach zu erlernende Werkzeuge zu vermitteln, um Wichtiges zu priorisieren und scheinbar Dringendes besser zu kontrollieren.

Gesprächspartner ist Carl Pullein. Er ist Zeitmanagement Berater und Coach und erreicht mit seinem Youtube Kanal, Social Medias, Newsletter und Kurse jede Woche hundert Tausende Menschen.



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Podcast Transkript

Das Transkript wurde manuell erstellt.

Klaus Reichert: Willkommen zur Live Aufnahme des Smart Innovation Podcast. 

Wir haben heute ein spezielles Thema und wir machen auch ein kleines Experiment, weil dieses Mal findet der ansonsten deutsche Podcast auf Englisch statt. 

Interessant fand ich an dieser Stelle, dass wir alle das Wichtige tun wollen, aber immer ein Problem haben, es tatsächlich zu tun, weil nämlich das Dringende dazwischen kommt. Da gibt es viel Möglichkeiten, damit umzugehen, aber es ist nicht so einfach.

Also, ein weiteres Experiment heute, der Podcast auf Englisch.

Klaus Reichert: Innovation, Weiterdenken und Zukunft einfach machen.

Hallo Klaus Reichert hier! Ich bin unabhängiger Unternehmensberater und Business Coach für Innovation und Business Design. 

Ich begleite engagierte Unternehmerinnen und Führungskräfte sowie ihre Teams mit Smart Innovation auf dem Weg von der Vision zu enkeltauglichen Leistungen.

Meine Mission ist es, Unternehmen und seine Menschen kreativer und innovativer zu machen. Ich arbeite remote von Baden-Württemberg aus.

Im Smart Innovation Podcast spreche ich mit engagierten und kreativen Menschen über Innovationen, über , Unternehmertum und Verantwortung gerade im Kontext des Klimawandels.

Zuhörer können bei den Liveaufnahmen mitmachen und Fragen stellen. So wird Innovation lebendig und leicht umsetzbar. Die Live Aufnahmen sind mittwochs, Episoden erscheinen montags. Den Link zu Terminen, Newsletter und dem Transkript finden Sie in den Show Notes.

Bleiben Sie auf dem Laufenden und folgen Sie der Show, wo immer Sie Ihre Podcasts oder auf klausreichert.de/linkedin

Und denken Sie daran Es gibt kein Ende von Innovation, nur Starts.

Klaus Reichert: Do the important things, even if there is seemingly no time for it. My guest is Carl Pullein. He is a and productivity coach, and reaches a worldwide audience with his weekly videos, podcasts, newsletters, social media posts, courses, etcetera. Lots of stuff happening every week. Welcome, Carl. Thank you for taking the time for this conversation today.

Carl Pullein: Thank you for having me.

Klaus Reichert: Carl, people that are listening are entrepreneurs. They're innovation managers, product owners, people in research and development. And their focus is on innovation, on innovation projects, like creating a vision or new products, new services. They work on new innovation processes, new technologies. They have all kinds of stuff on their plates. And all of these things are, let's put it that way, important for the future of their organization and take a lot of time. But at the same time, they -or all of us- are faced with stuff that seems to be pressing, that seems to have to happen right now, but is usually not important. So oftentimes I hear something like this, “I can't think about innovation. I don't have the time right now.” My question to you is, how can we do the important things even if there is seemingly not time for it?

Carl Pullein: With that, there are two parts, really, that you need to… well, one thing you need to understand and the second thing you need to work out. The first thing you need to understand is there's a time vs activity equation playing out every single day. On the time side, there's 24 hours. That's it. Everybody gets it. It's 24 hours. On the activity side, there's an infinite amount of stuff that we can do. Now the problem I find is a lot of people are trying to change the time side of that equation, and you will never, ever win that battle because time, we're dealing with the laws of nature, and you cannot win there. That's fixed. It's done. It's fixed. But that's actually good news because it means that we now only have one side of the equation that we can change, we can manipulate, we can manage, which is the activity side of that equation.

But therein lies the second point, which is we need to know what is, what I describe -if we are looking at work first- what I would describe as your core work. I think the best way to put it is, how do you define what you actually do? Now, some jobs are quite easy. For example, a teacher teaches. You know, a salesperson sells. So those are quite easy to define. But the modern world [laughter] we have, like, wonderful, amazing job titles that can be very difficult to define what that role actually means. But it's important that we do define that. And even with business owners. I'm a business owner. You know, when I look at my business and I ask myself, “Well, what is the core work that I do?” which is, well, essentially anything that helps my followers, my customers, my clients, to become better organized and more productive. That's the way I define my core work. How do I do that at the task level? That means I write a blog post every week, two newsletters, a podcast, and two YouTube videos. So it's like six pieces of content. So I'm kind of drilling down…and engineers would love this. People, if you've coming from an engineering background, this is brilliant, this is wonderful stuff, because you drill down and down and down to the basics and the essentials. But ultimately, for me, it's content. I provide content so that people can become better organized and more productive. But you also have to do that yourself. You have to define what your core work is. What is it that defines the work that you do? And it's not easy. I would never suggest [laughs] that it's easy. Well, I suppose it's easy if you're a truck driver or a bus driver, or a teacher, or a salesperson, because what you do is in your job title. You teach. So any activity related to teaching is going to be your core work. And, you know, as a salesperson, any activity that potentially could result in a sale is going to be your core work. Completing activity reports, expenses, and updating the company's CRM is not your core work. It needs to be done, but it should never be prioritized over activities that may result in a sale.

Klaus Reichert: We start with knowing what our core work is, and knowing that for ourselves, and telling others in our team or in our organization about that, so they are also aware of that.

Carl Pullein: Well, it depends again on your role. A leader's role, to me, is fascinating, because a leader's role… there's lots and lots, I mean, there's millions of definitions of what a leader is. But I actually like Toto Wolff, of the Mercedes Formula One team and Christian Hornet… I know they're not friends, Red Bull CEO and Mercedes CEO [laughter]. They're not particularly close, but interestingly they have the same philosophy about leadership, which is: my job is to remove barriers so my team can get on and do the work to their best abilities. I love that. It's a wonderful definition because it makes your life so much easier. Your number one concern is to make sure that your -in terms of Formula One- your aerodynamicists, your engineers, have no barriers to them getting the best out of the car. I mean, it's the brilliant definition.

Klaus Reichert: So we have defined for ourselves our core mission. Now it sort of gets tricky because we have to think about like the doing, the motivation, maybe some processes, we need to learn a lot all the time, we need to have tools and stuff. So you are the expert. I'm hoping that you can show us the silver bullet, like, in five minutes and then we are done for today.

Carl Pullein: [laughs] I wish you could do it in five minutes. But the interesting thing there, again, is I would always recommend that the number one tool that anyone could use is their calendar. Now, you are talking about, let's say, somebody who's working in innovation and they need to always be on top of what is happening in their industry. So, for example, we have Chat GTP and AI. I mean, it's changing almost every day. There's news stories, there's innovations coming out weekly, if not daily. How do you stay on top of that? And with something like that, you can take a leaf out of Warren Buffet's playbook if you like, in that Warren Buffet understands that to stay on top of the financial markets he has to read. Now, he sees reading as his core work. So I wouldn't necessarily suggest that everybody should do this, but he reads between five and six hours a day. Now that might be a little bit too much [laughs] but he has scheduled that basically into his day. It's there. I read five… four to six hours a day. But for somebody who obviously may be not quite as into reading as Warren Buffet, how much time would you like to spend reading each day or researching -if you want to call it- researching each day? I mean, how important is research to you, in terms of your core work? And, you know, for me, if I was working in AI and Chat GTP, for example, I would definitely have one hour set aside every single day for the latest news on what's happening in that industry because it is changing so fast. So it depends on what industry you're in, the key to getting the right things done at the right time is to use your calendar to block the time out. And it always comes back to this: we can't change the time. That is fixed. So where are we gonna put our resources? Where are we gonna use our time? And again, it depends on what role you are doing, but if reading is a key part of your work or researching, then how much time a day or week do you want to spend doing that? Once you know that, block it out in your calendar. Protect that time.

Klaus Reichert: Whenever I say that, people say, “I can't do that because my boss, my colleagues, my whatever, want to talk to me and they don't allow me to block time in the calendar. So how do I do that?” I mean, it's easy to set a, like, recurring block in your calendar at a specific time, but then there is the rest of the company. Do they respect that, for example? How do you communicate that?

Carl Pullein: Actually, I was writing my podcast script today. That was a question I got over the weekend [laughter], which I've done in my podcast for next week. Okay. So before I came to Korea 20 years ago, I worked in law. I was dealing in residential property sales, and I also did family law. Now, if you imagine family law, we're dealing with divorce and we're dealing with child custody. Now, who gets the children? The father or the mother? So it's a very, very, very emotional area of law. So you can imagine panicking parents calling me, clients calling me at all times of the day, and it was impossible for me to do my work. An old lawyer told me the secret is to tell them that for 90 minutes a day, you are not available because you're in the law library. Most law offices have a law library. And so I started doing that. And you know what? I never, ever, ever had an upset client. Everybody started to respect it because I set my boundaries. What I find is people generally don't have that conversation with the boss or their colleagues. They're afraid. I don't know why. You know, I read about the modern leadership practices and how you should be kind and gentle, and yet I keep hearing from my clients that this is not allowed. You know, bosses won't let me do this and won't let me do that. I think there's a disconnect going on somewhere. But I really do believe that the key is to communicate, to have those difficult conversations, to say, “Please, could you just give me an hour? I need to do some reading” or “I need to do some research.” In 35 years of working, I've never come across anyone who's said, [harsh voice] “No. No. You can't have that hour.” Equally, I worked with Korean human resources departments. Now I know maybe you or your listeners have never come across Korean human resources departments, but they are probably the most demanding people you could ever, ever wish to work with. And they don't worry about messaging you at six o'clock in the morning or calling you at 10 o'clock at night. You know, there's no problem. And I realized when that was happening, I had to set some, you know, some barriers here. So I just told them, “You know, when I'm teaching I cannot answer my phone. So don't try. It's on silent and it's upside down.” And again, I was surprised because nobody believed me when they said, you know, human resources. “No, no, no, no. They won't respect that.” Well, they did, they respected it. I never got calls again between… I think I told them between nine and 11 in the morning, “I'm teaching. So please, I cannot answer my phone. If you do want me, call me after 11.” And they did, but they never called me before. So you can do it with your clients, you can do it with your bosses, you can do it with your colleagues. But it comes down to how much do you want that time to do that research? How will that change your work relationship? How much time will that give you if you have an hour a day to do those vital key tasks that must be done each day? Just have the conversation. What's the worst that could happen?

Klaus Reichert: You're right. Even if it is difficult, talk to the people that you are working with and inform them about that. Is there, like, a best practice for doing something like that on a company-wide level, or on a team-wide level, so a team could decide, “We'll always have like a quiet hour or two between X and Y in the mornings.”?

Carl Pullein: I've seen companies adopt this, and it does work, if everyone signs up to it, you know, if everyone's on board, which means basically the bosses are also on board with it, that you can state that, “Okay, between 8:30 and 9:30, it's quiet time. We get on with our focused work.” The beauty of that is once employees know that they're going to have an hour every day for quiet focused work, productivity levels just start growing up immediately. Because… I discovered today, I was doing some work which needed a lot of focus, and my wife came in and asked me a question and it took me 20 minutes to find myself back to where I was before I was interrupted. You know, we don't notice it, but I took the opportunity to kind of check how long will it take me now to get back to where I was before? And it was about 20 minutes. Today, because it's project day, I don't have 20 minutes to spare. So, I'm gonna have to come up with a sign on my door, “Do not disturb.” [laughs]

Klaus Reichert: Thank you for mentioning that sign, because this is, I think, important if you are doing the home office stuff, working from home stuff, and also if you have your own office, right? There should be some sort of signage that says, “Please, do not disturb” or “Please, come in” because I'm free for the conversation right now.

Carl Pullein: I mean, I remember when, again, when I was working 20 years ago in the law firm, our partner who was in charge of our department, he was the only one who had an office. All of us were in an open plan space, but he was the one who had the office in the corner, and he always, again, he told us “When my door's shut, don't disturb me.” Now, his door was open, I'd say, at least six hours out of eight every single day. I mean, we probably worked nine hours, but I would say, I recall now maybe his door was shut for two hours a day. And that still leaves us six hours where we can go in and ask him questions. [laughter] Yeah. So I suppose we can say in the old days, the rule was “if my door's shut, don't come in” The rest of the time… you know, this is where the expression policy comes from. You know, my door's open. You can come in and ask me a question.

Klaus Reichert: So it's a good thing to have some sort of signage, “open door /closed door,” whatever that might be, and also be clear about, communicate about that, that rules or people understand what you're aiming for.

Carl Pullein: I mean, if you think about it, if you are asking for one or two hours a day out of a typical eight or nine hour day, you're still leaving the vast majority of the day where you are open to discussion, open to interruption, and you still get that one or two hours a day where you are deep-focus work. But that then leads to one more critical, critical part of that: don't leave it to chance that you will think of something to do in that focus time. If you know you've got one hour where nobody's gonna disturb you, you need to know before you start what you are going to work on. Because you will waste half that time trying to decide what to do if you haven't decided already. So my trick of doing that is the night before, before I close down my computer, I look at my task list of things to do tomorrow and I pick the one thing I'm gonna work on in the morning, because I usually have an hour in the morning where I do “not disturbed.” So when I start that hour, I know exactly what I'm working on.

Klaus Reichert: You just mentioned your task list. If we open that kind of worms right now, that would be like really, really troublesome because we could talk for hours and hours and hours about tools and stuff. But I think one of the main challenges here is to have some idea of a tool or the use of a tool that is not just for yourself, that works also for the team, and that helps you communicate about these tasks and goals that you have as a team. Am I right here or is there anything…? 

Carl Pullein: There's a lot of tools out there that do work. It's called . You know, I can think of Asana, Trello, Todoist, Microsoft To Do, I should say, either is or will be able to do it very soon. And Reminders can also do it as well. You can share lists. So what you would do there is if you have a project, for example, that you are working on and you want to nominate certain key people within your team to do certain tasks, then these tools will allow you to do it. So Trello and Asana, for example, are two that are very common. And most people seem to prefer those because it's based on boards. But you can do this -if you're in the Microsoft world- you can do this with Microsoft Planner. Planner is brilliant for that kind of thing and being able to allocate tasks to individual team members.

Klaus Reichert: I also like Open Project, which is an open source solution, and I have also worked with them before. But let's not get fooled. It's not about the tool, it's about how we have established the tool in our workflows, in our communication, how we are using it. And sometimes people are afraid, I find, of writing their tasks down and making them public to the rest of the team, for example. So there is this… yes, it's angst in a way, once in a while. What can be helpful here to sort of share the tasks and make that meaningful for the others so that they see that it is a work towards that common goal, that common project.

Carl Pullein: Well, that again, comes down to communicating what the project goals are at a very early stage and who is going to be responsible for what part of that project. Now, one of the things… when I'm working with companies, I generally ask them to develop a principle that's called Directly Responsible Individual. It's called DRI, Directly Responsible Individual. Now, this is stolen from Apple. Apple implemented this, I think, probably around about 20 years ago and they still run it today. And what it means is any project, any task, always must have a directly responsible individual. And that person has the power and the authority to drive that project to completion or that task to completion. So they can go above their supervisor, they can go above their direct manager, they can go to the CEO, if they need to, in order to get that project completed. Now it's often, like in Korea, for example, where it's a very hierarchical management structure. I always find it fascinating when I go into a Korean company to see how many levels they are because like there's freshman year one, freshman year two, freshman year three, and then there's a supervisor and then, I think, it's assistant manager and then manager and… oh, it's a very deep structure. So when you start applying the DRI principle, the direct responsible individual there, they can be very uncomfortable going above their direct boss. Now all being well, that doesn't happen often, but when you apply this Directly Responsible Individual, that person is the person who has to drive whatever it is, whether it's a project or a task, to completion. So, for instance, I'll give a really simple example. If you need to get a copy of a presentation from another company that you may be doing a joint collaboration with, emailing the person asking for the presentation is not completing the task. Calling the person, messaging the person is not completing the task. The task is complete when you are in receipt of the presentation. So a DRI is responsible for following up, chasing and making sure that they have that presentation file in their hand or on their computer by the deadline, whatever that may be. So we mustn't confuse activity with actually completing the task.

Klaus Reichert: [laughs] But there is a connection because sometimes I see that people don't actually have a good formulation for the task to attend or for the activity. Then I see something like, “Call Bob” or whatever. [laughs] But actually the thing should be, get the presentation file by calling Bob, for example.

Carl Pullein: Yeah, It would be something like, “Call Bob and ask him for the presentation file.”

Klaus Reichert: Right. And there's so much power in suggestion, in the right wording, I think.

Carl Pullein: Well, what we often say is “Write your tasks in an intelligent way, knowing that when you read it, you will be your dumb self.” You're writing intelligently so your dumb self will understand it. So, you know, “Call Bob” two weeks later might not mean anything to you.

Klaus Reichert: Okay, I understand. [laughs] We will have some extra information and a transcript of our conversation in the show notes. So, if everybody is wondering what we are talking about, you will find extra links there. In Germany, possibly in Korea -I don't know- there's people that want to do the things right all the time. You want to do things and you never start if you are not in the right position and it just has to be perfect, the result. And if I can't achieve the perfect result, I'm not even going to start. How can I cope with something like that?

Carl Pullein: Well, something I was always inspired by was something that a gentleman called Robin Sharma said that any project is exciting at the beginning, messy in the middle, and gorgeous at the end. And it's so true. I'm in the process of writing a book right now, and I'm in that middle phase where we're kind of… and I have to be honest: it is a complete mess. And the only way I can get it into a position that I'm happy… I'm very fortunate. I have a publisher and he's guiding me as well, so I'm very lucky. But, you know, today I spent all day pretty much writing and it's… Well, I say writing. I probably only wrote about 500 words, but I've been reading like 30,000 words trying to make sure that the section that I'm working on fits together. Now, when I started, this exercise that I'm doing at the moment, I started it yesterday. “Oh,” I just thought, “I'm never gonna get there.” But you know, when I finished writing this afternoon, I think it was about five o'clock, I thought, “Ooh, ooh, ooh. It's getting there.” I can now see a light at the end of the tunnel. But, you know, 10 hours of work ago, it was a complete mess. [laughs] It was scary, but I knew that, you know, just sitting there and thinking, “This is a complete mess. This is a complete mess.” it would not change unless I just sat down and just went through it, bit by bit, bit by bit, and gradually I tidied it up and brought it together. And by the time I finished the day, it's pretty much there. I'm quite happy with it. Now I can send it to the publisher for editing. But yesterday, I just wanted to cry. [laughter] And it's not perfect yet, and I know we will have rewrites and I know it'll come back with suggestions, but that's fine. I've now got it in a place where I'm happy with it. It's not perfect, but nothing ever will be perfect.

Klaus Reichert: So it's a good thing to understand that there is no perfection. Maybe somebody has perfection, but it's not on day one. Then there is a process to getting there. And first thing is also always a sort of draft that you build on over time.

Carl Pullein: I think, yeah. And when I was doing presentations for companies here in Korea, I was doing English communication presentations. You know, the first draft of my presentation file… because I was speaking in English, not Korean, I realized the slides had to be very visual, so that even if they didn't understand my words, they would be able to understand the context from the slide. So the slides were really, really important. They had to be designed right. And I always remember sitting in coffee shops on Sunday afternoons, trying to fit it all together and make it blend well together. But, you know, it was never perfect. I don't think even delivering it when I finished the presentation, “Oh, I could have done that” or “I could have done that,” you know. But I always used to… one thing I would always say, if you're ever doing that immediately after finishing whatever project you've finished and you've delivered it, your brain is gonna say, “Oh, you should have done this.” “You, you should have done that.” “You could have done that.” Write those things down, because that's when your brain is at its most critical in a positive way. I've picked up so many tips from… just like, my brain just automatically said, “Oh, okay, I'm glad that's over.” You know, that five-hour session this afternoon is now finished, but sitting in the subway, on the train, going home, my brain was just saying, “Oh, you could have done that better.” “You could have done that.” I used to just capture that, write it all down, because that meant that the next time would be so much better.

Klaus Reichert: Yeah. Is that something that is also like the 80-20 rule that helps a lot to just not finish everything a hundred percent, but do stuff 80% in 20% of the time?

Carl Pullein: Yeah, I mean, to me, when writing… I mean, I'm fortunate. I wrote the first draft of this book, for example, two years ago. So I have like a 60,000 word manuscript, which now I am working on to get it right for publication. It'll end up being a hundred thousand words plus, but I've got the basis, so those 60,000 words to me was the 80%. Now it's a lot easier. Had I not done that and I was trying to write the whole script together, now it would be, “Oh!”[laughs] Yeah, it wouldn't be nice.

Klaus Reichert: Doing is something very important, right? You have to do the things and not just manage the things. Then there's other things that we talked about, like tools. We talked about some possibly processes, also. Learning is very important and, and the right motivation. I'd like to dig into, the learning section because what I find fascinating with you is, you offer lots of resources for the things we talk about. I mean, you do the podcast, you do the videos, you do a newsletter, which is actually really helpful. It's not just advertising for something. I mean, this is a really, really good example of a newsletter, I think. Then you do the blog posts and all the social media stuff. But you also do courses and productivity workshops. So what would be something where you basically teach also to get a team or an individual in the right mind set and do all these things that we talked about, actually hands on and deliver some results in the course or in the workshop? What would be something, say for a team in a company, to ideally start with, looking at your resources that you offer?

Carl Pullein: Well, just stepping back a little bit, I found that the way to get things working within a company is it needs to start with one individual, one person. Because we talked a little bit about how do you block time out so that you are not disturbed. One thing that I find is that if you take that step and you have that conversation and you start protecting an hour or two hours a day for focused work, your colleagues will go, “Whoa, I like that idea!” and they will start wanting to do the same. It spreads. Great ideas spread. So what I found when it comes to productivity systems, particularly when you work within a company… I was very fortunate recently, for example. The CEO had taken my time sector system course, which is basing your work around when you're going to do it. He loved it and he wanted me to coach his executive team. And I was a little bit skeptical because I've done a few talks before where a boss has said, “I want my team to learn this.” And…

Klaus Reichert: …and they didn't want to learn it.

Carl Pullein: They didn't want to learn it. But this time, almost… I think there were seven… Yeah, there were seven people in the team. And I spoke to them all individually. And every time the first question was, “How did you teach our CEO to do this? What's the secret?” And I knew at that point that I had the captive audience and I thought… I realized then that, yeah, it's trickled down. Somebody needs to start following good time management and productivity practices. And once other people see how organized you are, how on time you are with your deadlines, they want to know how you do it. And then you can teach them. And it's just… [laughs] it just works brilliantly. What I would always suggest is, to any individual, particularly if they're leading a team, is start with you, get your stuff together and then you'll find that it trickles down to your team. You can teach them. You can say, “Ah!” because they will ask you questions and they will notice, for example, that you say, “Okay, I'm available for meetings, but not between 9:00 and 10:30. 9:00 and 10:30 I need to get on with my own work.” They will see that you are doing this. “Oh, this is a good idea.” And they will start following you.

Klaus Reichert: I understand it's like a crystallization point in the team and the company. But, as a next step, I think it's important that people have the same experience, the same words when they talk about what they learn, for example. And that also means that they should do something at the same time, basically, not with weeks apart, because then there can be a conversation in the team about what was learned and there can be implementation, also, of what was learned.

Carl Pullein: Absolutely. And I mentioned their time sector system, for example. That works brilliantly within organizations because each week, you have a meeting on the Monday and everyone within the team agrees what their objectives for that week is. Now we're working on objectives, not individual tasks. So what is it that you want to have accomplished by the end of the week? Now, the key to success with this is you trust that your team will do the work that needs to be done in order to achieve those objectives. So it could be that if your software programming, you want to get a particular part of the software completed by Friday, and you get agreement from the team and they say, “Yes, we can do this. Right. Okay, let's go.” You know, each individual knows their part and they know what needs to be focused on this week. So you're not worrying about next week, next month, next quarter, because right now the only thing that matters is what is our objective for this week.

Klaus Reichert: And there is always a short daily meeting that can be done in the team to keep you on track and ask for help, for example.

Carl Pullein: Absolutely. I would always recommend the Monday morning meeting where you agree, or Friday afternoon, depends where you prefer, but to agree the objectives for that week. Now, of course, the leader of the team [laughs] needs to be aware of the bigger picture, like the bigger project needs to be completed, for example, by the end of the year. Well, that's two quarters away, so they need to have mapped out how long they anticipate each part's going to take. But on a week-to-week basis, that's all that really matters, what are we going to get accomplished this week to stay on track to completing this project.

Klaus Reichert: Yeah. And I also like to do these short dailies that help to stay on track and also stay focused in a way. We started with defining your own mission or your core objectives in your job, which is a very basic thing to have, because it helps you to know what to do and what not to do but it helps also the others to understand what you do and what you don't do. And we got into and blocking time on your calendar for actually these things and communicating about that, which is not that easy for some people at least. We talked about using a tool. And we had some examples, also, although there is many, many, many around which always causes discussions. We talked about, also, communicating what you do next and what is important to do so you can do things together and get to that objective by the end of, say, a week. And what we also talked about is some resources that are available, but also how you start using the resources. That is saying one individual in the company, in the team starts using it, maybe the leader, and then sort of leading by example in that way, and that way getting others into using the same systems. I understand that you like systems because they deliver results, also.

Carl Pullein: I tend to use the word process, but processes for me is the key to pretty much everything that people do. I mean, we are employed to do a specific thing. You know, this comes from watching pilots, you know, doing their job and pilots use checklists. But essentially it's a process from the moment they wake up in the morning, you know, they have a briefing and in that briefing the pilot, the co-pilot and the flight crew, everyone's involved in that meeting. This is our objective today. We're going from Paris to Seoul, for example, [laughs] which is the airport I usually fly from. Now that flight -for me I think is 11:00 AM in the morning, it's usually the one I take is 11:00 AM in the morning, Paris time- and I know at nine… it was probably 8:00 AM that morning, the pilot and the flight crew sat down and said, “What's our objective today?” Now, you don't necessarily need to do that in a company, “What's our objective today?” but weekly, I think it's really important. You need to know where you are going, you know, where do you want to arrive on Friday afternoon at 5:36 PM. And so the way to do that is a process. There is a process for doing your work. Doctors have processes, pilots have processes, and, you know, it's the key to getting your work done in the most effective and efficient way.

Klaus Reichert: I like that example because people hardly ever know that piloting is also a lot of checklists. And that means that adhering to the checklists and to processes means also hardly any accidents, for example, in flying, and always good results, and being on time and stuff like that, even if you fly half across the earth, the globe.

Carl Pullein: Exactly. I think one of the good examples of this is, you know… I remember watching or reading an article about Aston Martin cars and they decided to do an SUV, I think about three years ago. Now, the current factory that they have wasn't big enough to build this SUV, so they had to build a new factory. Now, building the new factory, that is a project. It's a one-off. They only… I think the last time Aston Martin built a factory was about 60 years ago. So it's not something they do every year or even every five years. It's very rare. So that is a project, so building the factory. But if they treated each individual car as an individual project, a) they would have so many mistakes, and b) they would never be able to speed it up, so the car would be astronomically expensive -actually it is very expensive, anyway, it's Aston Martin– but it would be way out there in terms of price. So once they start, you know, the first car goes through the factory, now it's a process. So each car goes through the same process, it gets painted at the same position, you know, the engine is put in at the same time. Everything is done as part of a process. But the great thing about processes, and as Toyota -I think there's many books about the Toyota process- which is if they need to change the productivity within the company or within the flow of a car, they only need to look at individual points rather than trying to look at the whole thing, they can say, “You know what? This isn't very efficient. How can we make this part of the process more efficient?” And this is why I love processes, like, how can I make, you know, doing my social media every day more efficient? It's a process. Is there a way I can make it, so instead of it taking me 45 minutes, how can I get it down to 20 minutes? Which is what I did about four years ago. I managed to figure out how to get my social media posting time down to 20 minutes a day from 45 minutes. So I was really pleased with that one. [laughs]

Klaus Reichert: So not just factories can improve processes, but also individuals can.

Carl Pullein: Yeah, once you've got a process in place, it's not gonna be perfect the first time you run it, but that's okay because you are gonna be forever tweaking it, adjusting it, and making it more and more efficient. But after about, you know, a year, two years, three years, wow! You've got an incredibly efficient process for getting the work done.

Klaus Reichert: We will have a page with a transcript and all the resources and the link will be in the show notes. There will be some link also to the time system course that you talked about and other things. So I advise everybody that listens and is interested in checking this page out.

Carl, what motivates you to do your work? I mean, you are actually helping people a lot every week with producing free stuff, but you also write books and courses that you sell, but what motivates you to do that work?

Carl Pullein: Well, you know, it's funny. We were talking about the process, just that. First of all, I love the process. I love the process of making videos, of writing blog posts or writing books. I just love the process. It took me until I was about 36 or 37 to figure out that my purpose in life was to help people. Now, I do that through teaching because… and I never knew this in my twenties, by the way. [laughs] I mean, in my twenties, I had no idea what my purpose was, but purely by accident, when I came to Korea 20 years ago and started teaching, I realized “I'm getting paid to help people here. You know, I'm getting paid to help people improve their career.” This was just like something I'd never, ever considered. And you know, English teacher in Korea -or anywhere- is not a high salary. I didn't care because I was just… every day I was coming home buzzing, thinking, “Wow, I've helped 50, 60 people today.” Maybe only a tiny little amount, but that was enough to give… It took me forever to go to sleep, actually, [laughs] because [makes a buzzing sound] I had this buzz. But when I was working in law, which I was doing before I came to Korea, I never had that feeling. You know, on a Sunday night, we had what in English we call the “Sunday night Blues,” where you just sat there watching rubbish on TV, feeling very, very gloomy because you knew you had to go back to work tomorrow. Now, from the moment I started teaching, I've never ever felt that. So my motivation comes from the fact that every day I get to help people and nothing beats that feeling. But equally, I've fallen in love with the process of what I do as well. I love sitting down and writing. I love sitting down and planning out a video. I love putting courses together. It's just the whole process that I love.

Klaus Reichert: Thank you very much for taking the time today, Carl.

Carl Pullein: Oh, you are welcome. It's been a pleasure.

Klaus Reichert: Das war der Smart Innovation Podcast. Er wurde mit einem interessierten Publikum live aufgenommen. Vielen Dank fürs Dabeisein und Zuhören. Diese Episode gibt es auch zum Lesen. Der direkte Link ist in den Shownotes. Noch kein Abonnent? Die Show ist überall zu finden, wo es Podcast gibt. Weitere Informationen und meine Kontaktdaten sind bei klausreichert.de/podcast

Dort gibt es auch eine Übersicht der nächsten Live Aufnahme Termine.

Ich bin Klaus Reichert und das war der Smart Innovation Podcast. 

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