people, talk, team, burnout, purpose, leaders, business, leadership, organization, downtime, working, conversation, started, burned, high, day, performance, bit, thinking, program
Jimmy Burroughes, Damon Pistulka
Damon Pistulka 00:01
All right, everyone, welcome once again to the faces of business. I’m your host, Damon Pistulka. And I am excited for our guests today, because we’ve got Jimmy burrows talking with us today about creating better results and happier teams. And Jimmy is a high performance culture coach. Jimmy, thanks for being here today,
Jimmy Burroughes 00:22
David, and thank you so much for the opportunity to dial in and have a chat. I’m genuinely excited.
Damon Pistulka 00:28
Yes, yes. Well, I’m glad to have you because you know what, it in the past few years, there’s been a little extra stress in business, you know, and it’s always good to kind of think about how you actually keep a business performing at a high level without burning out people. And I think it’s a great topic for us to cover today. So let’s start out Jimmy, with your background. And kind of how you got into what you’re doing today
Jimmy Burroughes 00:58
is a lovely question. Thank you for the, for the for the start. You know, if we rewind the clock 20 something years, which makes me feel older than I probably should feel my first job out of university was hitching a commercial plane to Kuwait and hitchhiking my way up into Bosnia to catch up with Gulf War Two, who had been at it for for some weeks, and as a brand new, fresh faced 23 year old, my fresh out of training. My first job was working in Bowser, resupplying the combat units with materials and ammunition and the like.
And you know what, talk about imposter syndrome out of the gate and talk about a high pressure high responsibility job out of the gate. But you know, that’s kind of set the tone for my entire career. This led to where we are today. So in order to get to that no hitchhiking trip up from Kuwait City, I had to go through 44 weeks of intensive leadership training at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, in the UK, kind of the equivalent of West Point, I guess, for the US audience.
And when you pop out at the far end of that you’ve been, my partner would say, brainwashed, I would say transformed into a military officer. And so I had a really exciting few years in the military six years in the military, where I got to do three pretty exciting operational tours doing various different convoy protection, VIP protection and force protection roles, and also a variety of sort of training and development roles. And that’s what I carried into the rest of my career.
So I moved over to New Zealand, in 2008. And I set up a corporate HR career. So did the large organization, internal HR operator and specifically focusing in that learning and development, organizational development, leadership, talent, culture engagement.
And for me, it was fascinating to see that when leaders were supported, trained and developed, their teams were generally supported, trained and developed. And those teams have significantly higher engagement and outperformed those teams that the leader does was either a significantly awesome high performing themselves a real talent, but didn’t know how to convey it to their team, or hadn’t done some of the groundwork that got the team to come along. So I took that through a corporate HR career, and then at about 2016, I decided I also needed to get some operational experience.
So switched out of HR took on an eight figure p&l as a GM and ran a very complex 26 Country business, a team of about 45 people running this organization. And within about three months of being in a job. The, the organization had a very significant legislative shift, which meant that immediately 50% of my p&l disappeared, and I had to find out a way of getting that back. So $20 million, evaporated in one decision overnight by the government, which was tough.
We transformed the operating model of the entire business, how we can how we acquired customers, how we retain those customers, how we did how we do business with those customers and everything was being transformed at the same time. And you know, what, a lot of people started to burn out a lot of my peers were struggling a lot of them decided to leave a lot of them were like what’s the point in doing anything because they’re just going to change everything anyway, they were getting very negative.
All the network started to fall apart. Nobody was trying anything new because there’s no point where it wasn’t allowed and everybody was worn out. And I noticed the same thing starting to happen to me right I noticed myself starting to become a bit low in energy my my you see, I’m quite peppy, my pet was gone.
And in 2017 I burned out and since 2017, I’ve been working my way back so took about six months to recover from, from that experience, and then built a business, which is now I think, a pretty successful business, working with large organizations saying to the leaders in those organizations, hey, you know what, sometimes, though now is a reality.
But my goal is to say, I use my battle scars, I use my experiences, I use 20 years and working in the world of leadership. So you can stay in work. And you can find some practical things that are going to help you to keep earning, keep working, keep supporting your family, keep supporting your team. And there may be people in your team who are struggling with the same thing. So we’ll also give me some practical tips for that. And that was where my business was born.
Damon Pistulka 05:39
Very cool. Very cool. So when you go all the way back to the beginning of your medical career, or to a military career, excuse me, sleeping, medical unwind? What do you think we’re one of the challenges that you because I because I’m thinking you gotta be like in your early 20s, you’re dropped off, you kind of got that you kind of make your way, in a very strange land to you. What were some of the things there that you think you’ve carried through all the way that have really helped you dig deep when you need to?
Jimmy Burroughes 06:15
Oh, my goodness, where do we start? Where do we start? My I have a couple of brothers who I went with, with through Santos with and we still always say that company Sergeant Major and Bowen who was at the World guard is still in our heads every single day. And one of the things that he always said, and it stuck with me every single day, is that it doesn’t matter how hard it is, it doesn’t matter if you’re scared, it doesn’t matter if you’re tired. Your job is to get it done. So get it done. Oh, and, and this at a senior leadership level, there are occasions of course, the word of ambiguity.
There are occasions where sometimes it’s better to let a dead dog drop, and just you know, go that’s not working sunk cost fallacy. Let’s ignore that let’s move on. Equally, that passion for delivery, that passion for accountability, and the passion to get it done is something that’s carried me through my entire career and has made me successful, because when other people were giving up when other people were dropping away when other people were like, Hey, I’m tired, I’m gonna stop or I don’t want to do this anymore.
I might not I’m showing up on time delivery, no matter what. And I mentioned to you just before we came on the call that it’s been seven weeks, almost back to back delivering every day, and it was like what my job is to get this done, my job is to be good for you. So I can serve you and you can get the outcome you need from me.
So we get it done. So that’s probably the first one. The The other thing I think that I’ve learned later in life, but it was taught to me back in my 20s, but I didn’t pay attention. Maybe there’s a lesson for it. There’s a lesson for a time, right. And it was probably one of the greatest insights I’ve had in the last 12 months as my team has grown, and my business has grown to the point where I’m not involved in everything anymore.
And it’s don’t expect you have others. And yes, what does that mean? Well, it’s the if the concept that the reason you’re the CEO, or the senior leadership team member, or the member of the board, or whatever it is, whatever level of the organization you’re sitting at, you come with a certain level of qualities and experience and drive the puts you here on the ladder. And when you’re dealing with somebody who’s here on the ladder, and they’re not performing like you would well, there’s no surprise there, right? Because they’re down here.
And when you were down here, you perform like that, or maybe a little bit better. But you can’t expect you have others. And so for me that learning of patience and tolerance and coaching that and lead and we act as a essentially Executive Advisory Service for for senior leaders, saying to them, when you’re getting frustrated with your team, when you’re getting frustrated with people not delivering, are you expecting the same way that you would do it? Or are you asking and coming back to where they’re at down here?
Are you meeting them here and you helping them to climb one rung on the ladder, and then keep helping them to keep climbing because somebody gave you a break, right? Somebody helped you somebody mentored you? Now it’s your turn.
Damon Pistulka 09:07
Oh, that’s so great. You’re meeting them where they’re at and in weed. It’s funny because we talk about that a lot too. When people are actually scaling their business and they start to bring more people on you really have to you have to just get away from thinking that I’m going to hire somebody like me is going to do the same way I am and you really have to go can they do 80% of what I do. As good as 80% plenty good. Just just try to and
Jimmy Burroughes 09:36
I can’t remember who said that quote, but it’s it I think it was Richard Branson, but I’m not 100% Sure. You said Hi people better than you and then get out their way. And I think it’s beautiful you know, don’t expect you have others just hire awesome people.
Damon Pistulka 09:48
Yeah, yeah, it is. It really is about that. So great, great learning lessons learned early and then beyond and as you do it. So when when you’re Helping people now? Well, first of all, let’s back up. So how did you really find your purpose in this? I mean, you talked about you were burnt out. But you know, a lot of people wouldn’t have said, well, I’m gonna go in and do this. What was really your, your thing that sparked you to go listen, I’m gonna go help other people not experienced what I did? Or what I yeah,
Jimmy Burroughes 10:26
that’s such a good question. And you know, I wouldn’t it wasn’t like a light bulb overnight moment, it was a journey, of course. And to get back to the sort of that moment in 2017, where, for me, life pretty much imploded. It was the end of a relationship, it was leaving the country, it was the end of employed, my employed career. It was leaving a family behind.
And the all of these things were, you know, going to have a bit of an introspective moment when I moved back in with mom and dad at the age of no 37. And had to kind of look at myself and go, Well, what am I going to do with the rest of my life, like, I can’t retire at 37 at the bank to support it, and be I think I’ve got some gas in the tank somewhere. And so I decided to take myself off to do something that I always wanted to do, which was to travel Latin America. And so I booked myself on a couple of months trip.
And I ended up becoming immersed in a digital nomad community traveling digital nomad community where we would move cities every month, and they provided the ecosystem, the infrastructure, and we could do our jobs on the road. But I didn’t have a job. So I was thinking, Well, what am I going to do myself? So I started just talking to all of these traveling nomads and entrepreneurs and would say, you know, how’s your day? And how did it go and you know, be having a beer at the end of the night, and one of the frustrations that are coming up.
And unbeknown to me, a lot of these people were extremely successful entrepreneurs and business owners and business leaders who were just taking some time out, because they were tired, or they were burned out as well. And often it would be the board asking these unreasonable demands, or I’m trying to get this paper done. And I’ve just got so many priorities, or, you know, what, there’s just no clarity in what anybody wants.
And I started to see patterns I started and one of the things I have been blessed with is the ability to spot patterns quite readily. And over time, I said, Well, would you like some help with that? Could I, you know, would you like to just throw some ideas around? And maybe I can share some wisdom from what I’ve been through? Or maybe we’ll get there together?
Who knows. And so I started doing that. And then the word got out that there was this ex army officer, MBA qualified former GM, who was just basically talking to people and giving them ideas. And that turned into some invitations from some, some reasonably large organizations, to partner with them, and build leadership development programs, and high potential programs and the like. And then I managed to get involved in the world of consulting. And I’ve partnered with a couple of organizations to be a consultant and built programs and in development initiatives for for them.
And all the time as I was going through this, I was still like, leadership development doesn’t really cut it for me, and not really fit, like, what’s the real problem here. And it always came down to three things. People didn’t trust themselves, or their team, or their team didn’t trust them. So trust, people weren’t connected to each other. They didn’t have a network. They weren’t connected into the organization. The plan didn’t have any development roadmap, and people were purposeless.
So they didn’t know why we’re doing what we’re doing. And what’s the purpose of this? And is there any reason? It what’s the big why. And so I thought, well, hold on, this isn’t a leadership problem. This is a culture problem. And I know about culture, I’ve been building culture in corporate organizations for a while I’ve built cultures in my own teams have built cultures in various contexts. And, and I’ve been a traveler for the last 20 something years, I’ve been to nearly 70 countries, I’ve experienced cultures in different contexts.
So I thought, well, there’s got to be something in this. So I started just testing, high performance culture, high performance culture, and what can we do to what does a high performance culture look like? And how does this compare to your organization, what I’m thinking and what you’re seeing in your business, what does that look like? And well, actually, there’s a big gap. And so I would say, would you like to help? And it just turned into a business now it almost snowballed.
And I probably started about two years ago, and I thought, You know what, I’m in my sweet spot. I get to have conversations with incredible people at the senior levels of organizations to help them because they’re all passionate, they all care driven. They want to do a great job, but they’re almost getting in their own way and tripping themselves up. So I was like, I get this privilege to go and stand with these people and talk to them and help them have conversations and it makes a difference to these big organizations.
And then I realized that was truly working in my purpose. I also got to just be me, I got to be Jim and that was a blessing because I think for many executives out there, there being something because they think they should be something you know, I was the pinstripes. suit and shirt and tie guy. And now I’m like, I’m the open shirt in living cupboard guy. And I’m okay with that. And I have a lot of value to offer to those people who are a good match for me. Yeah, I’m authentic about it. And so there’s a lot of stress that gets removed from am I living on purpose when you just living authentically?
Damon Pistulka 15:20
Yeah, I’m writing that down. Because it is a tell you if you can tell here and you speak about this, that you found your true purpose, at least now in your life? Because I think sometimes that changes for us over over
over time. Yeah. But that is one thing. I think even no matter how difficult it is, you don’t have the stress of wondering if I’m doing what I really should be doing. And that’s a huge regret that a lot of people live with every single day.
Jimmy Burroughes 15:52
A lot of hamsters on wheels, or playing whack a mole, you know, they’re just trying to pay the mortgage or feed their kids or pay the car payment. And they don’t love what they do. And I’m lucky and I try and help other leaders get to the same place where we go, this is almost not work like it is work because you have to do work. Yeah, it’s fun, like it’s fun to be in a room of executives are like, Oh my god, I never thought of it like that. We should we should change that. We’re like, cool. So what’s that gonna look like? Let’s do it. And that’s exciting, right?
Damon Pistulka 16:20
Yeah, yeah, no doubt. It’s great here. And you heard you speak like this? Because you could it comes out, it comes out that you do and that’s, that’s what I like to like to see. I mean, because a lot of people can do a lot of things, right. But if I’m a heart surgeon, and I’m really my heart’s not into it, it’s not the right thing.
So as you’re as you’re talking to these, these high level executives and teams, you’re you’re talking to them about beating burnout. And in two, we’ll talk about your book this, let’s talk about your book just for a minute. So your your book, beat burnout, and ignite performance. Let’s talk about that a little bit, then I’ve got a bunch of questions after this.
Jimmy Burroughes 17:01
Okay. So essentially, one I was building the ways of working program, which you can see down here, I always get that wrong. We were trying to systematize or framework eyes, if that’s a word, the modules of the program, and we wanted to make it so it kind of made sense to people. Because with the best will in a world, we all like something that you can pick it up. And it just works. That’s why we love iPhones, you know, the simple on the outside or thinking is on the inside.
Yeah. And so when you’re talking to leaders who are rich, working in a highly VUCA environment in a really volatile, really uncertain, very complex and extremely ambiguous environment. They just don’t have the headspace for complicated stuff. So we were like, well, we want to make this almost common sensical to the point where you are the way we position all the messaging, the way we do all the things is almost so obvious that they go, Oh, my god, yeah, I can do that. I can’t believe I haven’t been doing that before.
And you’re like, cool. So let’s go do it. And there’s a lot of neuroscience and a lot of deep research and a lot of academia that goes behind all the stuff that we talked about. But on the surface, when we have the facilitated conversations through the program, it’s it’s all about what I’m going to plant some some some seeds, or run some wires and turn some light bulbs on in your head.
And during the course of doing this for a couple of years, we realized there were these five elements. And the analogy we use is kind of like the old 1980s graphic equalizers on the front of your stereo. Yeah. And if you imagine if you imagine a graphic equalizer with five dials, and if you go into the Negative Zone with one of those dials, then you’re leaning towards burnout. If you go into the positive zone, in one of those dials, you’re leaning towards high performance.
So the scale is is burnout to high performance. And those five elements were the concept of purpose. So do we have a purpose and we break purpose down into into what we call the purpose pyramid, which is four layers of purpose through my The reason I was put on this planet, the purpose of my role, the purpose of my team and the purpose of this organization? Then we move into the concept of abundance. And this was a fantastic one because how many are how many of us are basically running scared?
How many of us are in the fight or flight reaction for 80% of our working day? There’s not enough funding, we’re going to have to do a restructure. Our customers might not buy from us. My boss is going to tell me off. There’s a whole mountain of scary saber toothed Tiger retype factors that we’re scared. So we say in order to be so you move from scarcity to abundance. The next one is connection. So we talked about connection previously, am I connected to my business, my tribe, my plan, my team, my development.
The fourth area of research we did was around the concept of exploration or curiosity. So instead of being the Isn’t who is the hamster on the wheel doing the same thing day after day after day? Are you trying new things? Are you exploring stuff? And we see that people who just do the same things with the same tools for 20 years, and they want more, or they’re not allowed to do anything that’s, that’s one of the significant contributors to burnout is a high accountability with a low, low influence or responsibility.
So I really want to make change, but I’m not, I’m not able to do it frustrates people. So am I allowed to explore? Am I allowed to be curious, then that gets people towards high performance? And the final one is downtime, which is, how do I rest, recover and make sure I do that in an effective way. So we’ve got purpose, abundance, connection, exploration and downtime, and they land with the acronym of paste. So the book is basically what is each of those things, what does good look like?
And then we finish every section of every chapter, there’s three sections per chapter with some what we call action tips. So if you want to get your personal purpose really clear, here’s the steps to follow to get that if you want to connect your team with a development plan, here’s the here’s the conversation map that helps you do that. So we call it a leaders playbook for building a high performance culture.
Because it’s not just theoretical, it’s down in the weeds of famous ask this, right? This, your flip chart should look like this, your book will probably have these three things in it. Here’s what good looks like. Because, again, when you’re a really busy, really overloaded leader, you don’t have the headspace to go and create this stuff. So you want a recipe book to follow, we made a recipe book for building a high performance culture.
Damon Pistulka 21:38
Wow, that’s awesome. And it’s so so important to like you said to carry it all the way through to the point that not just explain what you want to do. But then give me examples or give me actually the template to use kind of thing. So I can scribble it on a piece of paper while I’m walking, working with my team or whatever, just so simple, that it’s I don’t like you said, I don’t have the headspace to learn something new right now I want to be told what to do. I’ll execute it. And then we’ll keep going
Jimmy Burroughes 22:06
and make it seem obvious, right? So all the practice that we’ll do is around neuroscientific framing and planting of concepts. So everything we do, and the entire book is is like a Russian nesting doll. So every chapter fits into the next chapter. And you might have noticed that downtime is the last chapter of the book. And we often get challenged on this and it will surely if people are burning out, signing them off on sick leave, or sending them off for a vacation is the solution, right that people will recover.
And, and that’s what we do is as a corporate entity in most businesses, it’s like somebody’s burned out, just sign them off for three months, and they’ll come back and it’ll be okay. And the argument that we always have is if there’s a thunderstorm outside, and you come in and dry off, and then you go back out, and it’s still raining, you’re gonna get wet.
And the same thing happens with downtime, you know, somebody’s melted in full burnout, they go on vacation, nothing has really changed, and they come back, they’re going to be burned out again, within weeks to months. So we deliberately leave downtime until the end of the book, because what we want to do is start with the foundational elements, which is the purpose, and then we nest and build those building blocks towards high performance culture.
Damon Pistulka 23:20
That that’s awesome, because I was just in a situation last fall, where we were working with a client, and people were talking about burnout. And we said, you know, our organization is not structured, and that’s what’s causing obstruction appropriately. And that’s what’s causing a lot of this, you know, the purpose.
You know, the connection, just a lot of things weren’t there, like you’re you’ve discussed, and we purposely didn’t, didn’t go to, like you said, downtime. Until we, we took care of some of the other things in that core in that corporation. And it worked. Like you said, it actually curbed a lot of the burnout just by people just having structure in their day and understanding what my purpose is, like you said, my purpose, my team’s purpose and what we’re doing rather than, you know, what is my purpose, that’s a huge thing for people. And
Jimmy Burroughes 24:12
that’s the biggest single differentiator is a clear sense of purpose. Because when you have a very clear sense of individual role, team and organizational purpose, that also then starts to overflow into things like priority, profit priority decisions, resource allocation decisions, staffing decisions, all of those things, if you haven’t got a very clear purpose, and what we normally find is we ask leadership teams know what’s the purpose of this team.
And they will write down their answers and they’re all within a couple of degrees of each other. But they’re not quite aligned. And so over a period of time, if we’re in if you and I are two degrees apart over time, right, we’re going to end up quite a long way apart. And when it comes down to making that resource decision of what Should we put funding into this or into this, you and I are going to be fighting over those resources, because we both believe that our intention is fully on purpose.
But in the reality, we’re making slightly different decisions. It’s like, you know, putting 10 people in a boat, couple of them are facing forwards couple of facing backwards, two of them haven’t got all ears. Some of them don’t even know what a boat is, and then expecting them to be an Oxford, Cambridge and Oxford versus Cambridge, high performance rowing team, it doesn’t work.
Damon Pistulka 25:30
That’s awesome. That’s awesome. So when you come into these teams and these situations now, what are some of the common aspects that you see? Because they’re I mean, there’s a lot of high pressure high. You know, were they just either if they’re not performing at a super high level, they’re just not going to make it right. And what are some of the commonalities that you see before you start working with people?
Jimmy Burroughes 26:00
Yeah, great question. And, you know, before we even get to, what do I see, I think it’s really important to highlight that nearly every business that we work in is full of very passionate, very driven, people who genuinely are trying to do their best, but they’re just like wading through treacle, or they’re running into walls.
And so this is not in any sense of form of disrespect to say, what we see, this is, hey, we’ve just seen this a number of times, and the patterns are met. And we can help so that I would say, you know, the common things we see coming up high turnover, people are just leaving the business, and there’s not enough talent in the market to be able to replace them.
So you’ve then got, you know, Bob’s covering three jobs, and Rebecca is covering five jobs. And, and people are just working around the clock and sacrificing their weekend getting worse, it’s getting worse and worse, we call it the spiral of death. Because people are just doing more and more and more, the number of priorities that team is working on probably hasn’t dropped, because we’re still catching up from COVID.
So we’ve had to inoffensive run to keep up through COVID. And we kind of haven’t gone back to what we call peak time leadership. We’ve stayed in wartime leadership, which is everybody rallied together. And that war time, you know, World War Two bunker mentality is stuck with us. And we just keep going in that sense. So we see a lot of that war time star leadership, crisis leadership still happening.
And that’s good for a time, but people are tired. We see. We see things that are inappropriate for the post COVID, post supply chain, crash, processes, procedures, reporting, stuff that people don’t even know why it’s being done anymore. They just do it, because it’s always been done, and somebody wants to ask for it. So we do that. So we see a lot of superfluous work without real clarity of what can we strip away?
And we do a great exercise in, in our prioritization is what’s the purpose of everything you do? And what we normally see is like, I’m really clear on the purpose and what it does. I’m not really clear on the purpose, but I know, I know it’s useful, or somebody wants told me to do this. And I’m kind of just sticking with it until somebody says stop, but I’ll give it my weekends. And I’ll give it my evenings to make sure that my own expense, we see those things.
We also see silos ation is a really big one. So if those guys over there were just sort themselves out, we could do a good job. Or, you know, we’re all trying to work really hard. But those, those people in that team over there, they’re just getting in our way, or they never talked to us about stuff or they keep making mistakes, or we never get the report in the right format.
We see a lot of that silo causation. And so we’re wanting to go and talk to them, and want you to sit down and work it through and get on, put yourself in their shoes and see what they’re seeing. Find out what’s happening for them. And maybe you can come to some common ground or some agreement, the receive stylization, we see. People who were undertrained, quite frankly, the Oh yeah.
The leaders, the leadership model that most of you and my generation were were brought up with was a 1990s, early 2000s leadership framework, which is predominantly based around that standardized, let’s make it efficient, let’s get an optimized let’s let’s try and remove decision making variability and just like make things as six sigma as lean as possible.
And the reality is the world is not operating like that now, we might lose COVID. And then it’s a war in Ukraine minutes the supply chain shortage, and we’re gonna have more and more and more and more of the things. So the reality is a lot of our leadership teams are not equipped with the toolkit to be able to lead their teams through these through these new levels of complexity that they haven’t experienced before.
They feel like they have to still lead by being the ideas person and the decision maker. They feel like they have to have all the answers because that’s what they were told when they were brought up through through the election levels. And that’s not the case anymore. So that we see a lot of that. And probably the final thing is, it’s just that massive sense of we can’t fail because there’s no jobs out there, the markets tight. So people are hanging on probably longer than they should have done.
And it’s causing a real cost to their health, their livelihood and their relationships and their families. And so sometimes it’s having that really honest conversation, why are you still doing this? Why are you still here? And can we support you to do something different? It’s the end of the road for that person. They may be past burnout, they’re already burned out. And they just need a bit of a break to reset and recharge, but they’re too scared because they have a mortgage to pay and have kids defeat.
Damon Pistulka 30:46
Yeah. Yeah. What’s the situation I think a lot of people find themselves in from time to time to you know, it’s just it’s situational. But, but not being able to get beyond that for the long term is where I think that you know, like you said, you can I mean, you can fall over dead and your job if it’s if the burnouts bad enough, you know, and it’s, it’s something that we really need to, to take personal stock of, or personal inventory of to know when it’s time to say no, that’s for sure.
Jimmy Burroughes 31:17
I so agree. And, you know, it’s really humbling when you’re having a conversation with a senior leader and organization and their, their, their, their decision making state now is, I will try and get tomorrow morning. But actually, my life insurance payout might be better for my family. You know, that’s the stage when these people get to that. Wow, okay. My job is has even more purpose now. Because my job is to keep you working and help you find a way through this without getting any worse.
Damon Pistulka 31:46
Wow. Yeah. If you had a conversation, that’s that’s an eye opening conversation to have, isn’t it?
Jimmy Burroughes 31:54
Too many? Unfortunately. Yeah. Wow.
Damon Pistulka 31:57
So when you see so so let’s talk a bit about the ways of working this is your facilitated High Performance Training. Let’s talk about that a little bit, to see, you know, just what it’s about how you’re helping people. Yeah.
Jimmy Burroughes 32:12
So I guess it was a couple of years in the making, which would have been 20 years in the making, but a couple of years formation, the concept came from from two pieces of work. Number one, I’ve spent a lifetime building leadership programs. And what normally happens on leadership programs is you take a leader out of their day job for a couple of days, up to a couple of months. And you know, they go to these workshops off site with some of the leaders and they drink from a fire hose of content, which just rammed down their throat. Now you need to know this. And this is the framework, and this is the tool.
And these are the things you need to know. And they’re feverishly taking notes, they’re checking their emails and the break, we’re watching the inbox get bigger, they know they’ve got to go back to work tomorrow with a day full of meetings. And they never have the headspace to assimilate the stuff that’s taught to them.
So what you normally get is a really great leadership program content, some fantastic operators in the marketplace, who are delivering super cool stuff. But the leader doesn’t have the ability to take that back to their own team. contextualize it for what are our problems? And what are our issues in our team? What’s real for us right now? And how do I use some of those things with a bit of support to to get a solution.
So in my mind, leadership development training is reasonably flawed, because that’s about 80% of what we see in the marketplace is going cheap, get people through a course and then send them back to work and expect them to be better leaders. The other piece that we saw from the other end of the scale, was high performance team training, which is often run by former sports people, former athletes, and it’s about you know, setting goals and being uncompromising in an in the pursuit of reaching those goals.
And I’m a kind of a hypocrite in one way, because I say no, it doesn’t matter how tired you are deliver. The reality is, that’s the the theme of high performing teams programs. And again, to me there was a bit of a gap, because some of those teams, they don’t have the capacity to do those things right now. And actually, what they need is to just get off the hamster wheel to slow down for a day and be a little bit reflective, and think and talk. So what we did was we created a program that does two things.
It takes the leader and helps them to have those conversations with their team in their team’s context, that we have a framework of what we call elements, but essentially the little mini modules, activities. And we take them through these elements based on a diagnostic of what’s the situation in their team, and it has one or two effects. It either validates the leader is already doing some really good stuff. So they feel good about themselves, they feel more confident to do more of that stuff. Or it shows them in the way.
So it might be they said Look, I don’t I don’t want to stand up in front of my team and lead a session. I don’t know how to lead this conversation. I don’t have enough trust with my team to be that vulnerable. So we support the leader through that process, and open up the conversation with the team. So the team starts to talk about things like, Well, what does trust mean to us? And what is our purpose, and I want to share my opinion and what the psychological safety looked like here.
And we just try and slow the tempo enough that we don’t know how much you know about the neuroscience. But in our brains, there’s like the problemsolving TV channel, which is where we go, go, go, and there’s the I’m standing in the shower, and a bright idea came to me TV channel, and we want to activate that one where all the little dots get connected, all the little things start to join up in their minds. And performance starts to come from those things.
And we all know that we’ve all been known or washing the dishes, or walking the dog or in the middle of a shower. And we have that great bright idea, or we solve that problem we’ve been trying to work on consciously for ages, we try and create that type of context for leadership teams to say, Okay, let’s just think about the things we really need to do that are going to make a difference, and focus on those and work out how we stop doing the things that aren’t serving us. Or we can just turn them down.
Or we’ll try and remove some of those conflicting priorities and say often it’s that we don’t even know why we’re doing this, we’re just doing it because somebody has asked for it one time, and maybe it’s relevant, maybe it’s not, we’re not really sure. So we just try and help teams through that journey. We have 38 elements that the team has access to.
Normally our ways of working journey over the three modules that we do first module is around alignment. Second module is around acceleration. Third module is around sustaining. But essentially, we choose about 12 to 15 elements out of those 38 that are particularly going to make a difference to that team based on their context. And the idea is that everybody walks out the end of the program going, wow, we really feel connected as a team. We’re talking to each other.
We’re talking to other teams, we know what we’re doing, we know why we’re doing it, we know what difference that makes, we have some tools and some skills that allow us to have tough conversations that allow us to deal with biases that might crop up for us. And when things go wrong, we’ve got some, we’ve got some some agreed parameters as a team that we’re going to work through to make sure that we don’t descend into chaos or conflict. And that’s what we want to try and avoid.
Damon Pistulka 37:12
Wow, it’s so much good stuff in there, man. Because I’m very proud of it. Yeah, no doubt, because first of all, just backing up to get getting to a point to where you, the leaders and their teams can have a conversation where we get out of the, the the point that everyone’s trying to be heard, rather than taking the time, like you said, to listen to something, reflect on it, and then come back with with you know, contribute to the conversation or the solutions.
That’s because that’s that’s a key point in in so many things that, especially when you’re when you’re in a high pressure, high stress kind of environment, it’s like we don’t have time, but that time, like you said to slow down, will allow you to speed up when you do move forward really does.
Jimmy Burroughes 38:08
And I don’t know if you’ve probably come across this researchers, the Boston Consulting Group did a fascinating piece of research on this. And they Boston Consulting Group consultants are famous for long hours at high pace, they’re probably the archetypal burnout candidates. And they did, they did a three tier pilot, they said one group group A, you’re going to keep doing what you do. Group B, we want you to finish at 5pm at least once a week, close your laptops go home, do whatever you want to do. Group C, we want you to finish at five o’clock every day and never work a weekend.
And there was obviously a lot of resistance from our client work is going to suffer and results are going to suffer. Obviously, fast forward, we can all imagine what the result of the pilot was, is that group C, are actually outperformed Groups A and B by about 20%. In terms of performance. Interestingly, the whatever called wraparound measurements, were even more indicative that it was the right thing to do.
So employee engagement was higher cholesterol and cortisol levels in their blood will lower their mental acuity to solve problems and be creative was higher. There was fantastic data that basically says slowing down and giving yourself time to recharge and taking those micro downtimes not just taking two weeks off, but actually saying, Hey, I am going to shut the laptop at five o’clock tonight.
So I can go meet it with my friends and connect important parameter, middle chapter in the book. I can maybe this watch a bit of TV and let my subconscious do some work. I can maybe do some journaling, those things make a big difference. So we try and encourage all of those principles through the hallways of working programs.
So for example, very simple one, we asked people to leave their phones on the desk at lunchtime, and just go and sit and look out of a window for 10 minutes and then when they come back to the room we say what did you notice during this 10 minutes and half of the group couldn’t resist and they either stole their phones back or what went and talk to people, because they could get that business done over lunch, right?
They could solve that problem, get that thing done. Those people who got to the end, who came back from lunch and maybe had done the 10 minutes looking out the window, they said, Wow, actually, like, all these things started to make sense. And you see, you see this happening? And for me, it’s like, I know, it’s cool, right? But for them, it’s that moment of oh, okay, maybe maybe the way I’m operating is not serving me as effectively as it might do.
Damon Pistulka 40:27
Yeah, yeah. That is so great. That is so great. You know, because like you said, a lot of us are taught in that 90s 2000s kind of mentality of you know, you gotta just, you gotta grind, you gotta gotta grind, grind, do the grind the hustle. Yeah, you gotta hustle hard, you got to do that. And, and oh, personally, too, I’ve I’ve realized that too. You can, you can, like you said, the Boston Consulting Group.
You can set reasonable boundaries around what you’re going to do, and you will get more work done, I believe, because like you said, you refreshed your the time when you’re not working, your mind is still processing stuff in the background, even if you’re just relaxing. And I think that’s a that’s a big thing. A lot of people don’t realize, especially as you get move up into an organization, I always told it, I read it a long time ago says, hey, the higher you move in the organization, the more time you need to spend outside of it, just thinking.
And that is golden. Because if you look at these peoples, these high performing people, and you wonder, well, why why are they on sabbatical? Or why are they this or that is because they’re they’re letting these things marinate in their mind, because it works beyond what we really even realize to solve the big problems, the big challenges.
Jimmy Burroughes 41:45
I completely agree. And this is nothing new. You know, this isn’t a thing that we haven’t seen before. You know, think about Abe Lincoln, if I had 10 hours to cut down a tree, I’d spend nine hours sharpening the axe. Yeah. So perfect example, Daniel Kahneman has research on fast and slow thinking, you know, the, the heuristic quick decision might be good as a manager. But as a senior leader, there’s a whole lot more ambiguity and other factors that may need to be considered. So slow thinking could serve you and that’s that instance. And there’s, there’s multiple other pieces of research that support this stuff.
Damon Pistulka 42:16
Oh, yes. Yes, this is so great. This is so great. Well, Jimmy, I tell you, I’m looking through my notes, I think we could talk an awful long time, but we’re getting close. Close it because this is so great. I mean, because you are helping people actually get their lives back, like you said, you know, get their weekends and evenings back. And, and you know, probably in most of your cases, they got better results. And they still have their like nights and weekends back.
Jimmy Burroughes 42:44
We exactly that. So my goal is to keep you working initially keep you able to function and give you some stuff you can do right now, and then work with you to build towards high performance. So you get that, you know, maybe you’ve flatlined on your career, maybe the team is not performing how you wanted it to maybe not hitting the targets like you used to, maybe young and up and comers are coming up behind you and you’re feeling a little bit threatened.
My goal is to let let go of all that, because we can, we can do some really, really practical, tangible stuff. That’s going to accelerate your performance. And he’s going to get you that promotion that bonus, those those results that you want, whatever it might be, get you noticed again, in your field. And I say none of this stuff is rocket science. It’s just knowing how to put it into practice. Yeah,
Damon Pistulka 43:28
so awesome. Well, Jimmy, if someone wants to get a hold of you, what’s the best way to reach out?
Jimmy Burroughes 43:34
Um, a couple of ways. We are obviously have LinkedIn is the way that you and I connected. So I’m very active on LinkedIn and always happy to have a have a conversation about as you can see, I’m a complete nerd for this stuff. So if you’ve got questions, happy to answer them. We’re on the website, Jimmy burrows.com. And we’re also available in the ways of working podcast so we have oh,
Damon Pistulka 43:57
I forgot to say about the experts. Yeah, it’s also about, we haven’t missed that.
Jimmy Burroughes 44:03
So the podcast is essentially me nerding out with people who I think is super interesting about super interesting subjects. And what we again, we take this principle of people are looking for the performance edge, they’re looking for that little thing that they can walk into the leadership team meeting. And so ladies and gentlemen, we should be thinking about this. So each week, I invite on a guest who has a particular area of expertise, and we talk about a subject that I think is super cool, and we just literally nerd out on it.
So it could be Have you considered employing neuro diverse consultants because they have different pattern recognition and programming skills in your technology team? Have you considered building a coaching culture? How are you using data in the same way that Formula One teams you data? Have you employed some of the Navy SEALs principles of grit?
So we just have like very, very cool people, world authorities in their fields, and they come on and we nerd out for 35 minutes and the the ways of working podcast is is is pretty you’d like we’ve only been going for five months. And it’s already chatting. And we’re really, really proud of the people that are starting to reach out to us to say, hey, can we come on the podcast? So I feel very humbled that I get to I get to have access to people like that. Have cool conversations.
Damon Pistulka 45:14
Yeah. Yeah. So cool. Well, Jimmy, thanks for your thanks for being here today. And I wanted to thank the people listening say thanks for being out there. Thanks for evangelists for being here today and bed automation. Thanks for dropping the comments in here and I really want to thank everyone that’s listening. That wasn’t able to comment to be here today and thank you so much, Jimmy for be here being here. Hold on just for a minute and we will shut down for now.
Jimmy Burroughes 45:42
Thank you. Awesome. Thanks, Damon. Appreciate it.