Purpose Driven Engagement

In this, The Faces of Business, Doug Manuel, Founder, Doug Manuel International, talks about purpose-driven engagement and how it can bring more meaning to what you say and do.

In this, The Faces of Business, Doug Manuel, Founder, Doug Manuel International, talks about purpose-driven engagement and how it can bring more meaning to what you say and do.

Doug believes empathy, wellness, communication, personal leadership, agility, and a shared sense of purpose are the keys to better collaboration and purpose-driven engagement. He has demonstrated this belief in various settings, including virtual management teams, networking events, Oprah’s SuperSoul Sessions, and TED Talks.

As a gifted leader, Doug knows how to use stage presence to generate empathy, connection, and collaboration. He credits his keynote speaking skills to his three decades of experience leading interactive programs for organizations around the globe, his extensive travel, and his fluency in multiple languages.

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Damon is excited to talk about purpose-driven engagement and wants to discuss how Doug’s experience as a producer for the BBC in Africa introduced him to jambay and drumming and how it has impacted his life.

Doug replies that he left school and worked various jobs including washing dishes and working on a beach in Cannes. There, he got a job as a runner during the Cannes Film Festival, leading him to start working in film and television. He eventually produced documentaries for the BBC and worked on a documentary about African elephants, which allowed him to travel all over Africa and have an extraordinary experience.

The guest narrates that he worked on a documentary about African elephants which allowed him to travel all over Africa and see how these animals adapt to different habitats. He describes how elephants in Kenya have huge tusks, while those in Namibia have massive long legs and huge splayed feet to walk in dunes, and those in Central Africa are smaller to navigate through the forest. He also notes how elephants in areas affected by the ivory trade have either very small tusks or no tusks at all, showing their ability to adapt and survive in a short time.

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While answering Damon’s query, Doug reveals that the adaptation of elephants is due to hundreds of thousands of years.

Doug mentions several locations and periods in their story. He expresses an interest in Africa and drumming, which he pursued after leaving their job at the BBC. The guest traveled to West Africa. He spent time in Gambia, Guinea, and Senegal, learning to play Jenga.

The guest later returned to London and took fifteen drums with him. In 2000, he transitioned to running drumming workshops in the private sector, after struggling to make money from workshops in schools, prisons, and refugee centers.

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Damon acknowledges Doug’s life-changing trip.

Doug talks about valuable lessons from his time in West Africa, including observing his learning process, adapting to different ways of learning, and “the wisdom of indigenous culture in terms of feeling and emotional intelligence.” There, he also observed a sense of inherent community and collaboration in West African culture, where people work together intuitively without the need for a five-star hotel or team-building program. He believes that organizations can benefit from bringing back this wisdom and focusing on enhancing each other’s experiences and breaking down silos.

Damon discusses the importance of resourcefulness and perseverance in solving problems, especially in the context of humanitarian work.

The focus of the conversation then shifts to the topic of jambay drumming, and how Doug transitioned from teaching it in schools to working in the commercial sector with it.

Doug reveals that attending a class by Arts and Business in the UK inspired him to bring his drumming skills into the commercial sector after that showed artists how their art form could be useful for organizations.

He realized that the skills involved in drumming, such as active listening, emotional intelligence, collaboration, innovation, and creativity, could be applied to the business world. He also emphasizes the importance of diversity, inclusion, and equity in the workplace, as these are crucial factors for staff retention and employee engagement.

Overall, he believes that highlighting origin stories and developing skill sets is crucial for telling a different story to employees and making a difference in today’s world.

Similarly, Doug finds that origin stories have the power to create a sense of shared purpose and connection among team members, which can lead to increased engagement, collaboration, and productivity. It’s a great way to align everyone around a common goal and values.

Damon requests the guest to talk about how the latter understands the importance of purpose-driven engagement and how it ties into what he is doing.

Doug’s business was based on in-person events, but COVID caused everything to shut down, and his business suffered. During COVID, he realized that he needed to adapt to the circumstances. He reflected on the purpose of his work, which is to bring people together with engagement and purpose.

The guest saw technology, including the most primal form of technology like the jambay, as a means to fulfill that purpose. This led to a focus on purpose-driven engagement, which became more important to him during and after COVID.

Doug narrates an interesting story. Once he went on a study trip to Africa where he was inspired to get as many people as possible to play Jeopardy. Later, while living in Switzerland around 2006-2007, he met an orchestral conductor at a conference who inspired him to create a stage show together. The show involved a small African band, a symphony orchestra, and 36 people on stage, and was produced by Doug to raise money for UNICEF in Geneva. A producer in the audience from a production company in Paris was impressed by the show’s concept, but concerned about the financial losses from having so many people on stage.


They continued touring France and French-speaking Switzerland before bringing the production to the United States, where they performed at TEDx Hollywood and the Super Soul Sessions at UCLA with Oprah Winfrey. They eventually did a four-month run in Chicago and were nominated for the Jeff Awards before COVID caused the show to close down.

Damon asks him to explain how he has changed and how he currently feels about what he is doing.

The guest explains that during COVID, he initially felt uncertain about his future. Soon, realized that he could use technology to bring people together differently. He created a course called the Energy Circle, which focuses on bringing interpersonal connections back into the virtual workspace. Doug believes that work-life integration is more important than work-life balance and that organizations can incorporate icebreakers and shared experiences to boost energy and productivity. He encourages people to challenge traditional work norms and create their own rules.

Damon, amused, discloses that he grew up on a family farm in the Dakotas where there was no work-life balance, and work was integrated into his life. He believes that it is easier when work and life are integrated rather than separated, and COVID has taught people how to do that.

Doug goes on to talk about his current ventures. He has an hour-long interactive keynote where he helps organizations connect the personal purpose of employees to the organization’s purpose through the organization’s origin story. He also has a new keynote called “The Soul of that Business,” where he links personal purpose to the purpose of the organization and incorporates interactive musical exercises.

He mentions that he couldn’t play a West African hub at home due to noise pollution in Switzerland, but he found a teacher in Senegal who sent him music to practice. The instrument is known to play the music of the soul, and he uses it in his keynote to connect personal purpose and organizational purpose.

Damon emphasizes the importance of aligning personal purpose with an organizational purpose to create a better outcome than what was envisioned, resulting in increased shareholder value. When people’s hearts, minds, and bodies are aligned, it leads to passion, care, and collaboration, leading to innovative ideas and solutions.

Damon has had the privilege of working for a few companies where the alignment of personal and organizational purpose was present, resulting in a powerful sense of passion, care, and collaboration among the employees. He remembers those experiences vividly and believes that Doug is helping people to find their purpose and align it with their work.

Doug is working on a documentary about his business, which is based on the wisdom of indigenous culture. He was inspired by a conversation with a client who suggested that someone should make a documentary about him. He contacted a production company and they agreed to make the documentary with him. The documentary will explore the values of purpose-driven collaboration, respect, tolerance, and listening. It will be released in October and there will be snippets on LinkedIn. The production company is an amazing partner and Doug hopes to reach a wider audience with the documentary.

Before the curtains fall, Damon expresses his admiration for Doug’s journey, from his early days at the BBC to his current project, a documentary about his purpose-driven collaboration with West African drumming. Despite the setbacks caused by COVID, Damon notes that Doug has found a way to reinvent himself and create something even more impactful.

The conversation comes to an end with Damon thanking Doug for his precious time.

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Damon Pistulka  00:00

All right, everyone, welcome once again to the faces of business. I’m your host, Damon Pistulka. And I am so happy today, because I am terribly excited about our guests. We have Doug Manuel, from Doug Manuel International. And do you speak Jim Bay and how to media? Doug? Awesome having here today.


Doug Manuel  00:26

Okay, well, thank you so much for inviting me to be a part of this. This Damon, it’s really, really exciting to be here with you.


Damon Pistulka  00:32

I am excited. I’m just really, really jumping up and down here because we’re gonna talk about purpose driven engagement. We’re going to go back through some of your history we’re going to talk about how you know as a producer for the BBC, you got introduced the drumming and how that’s really affected your life from from there on. So as we always like to start out let’s start back there you are a you’re a producer for the BBC you you did work in, in Africa and some other things. So let’s talk about that a little bit and how you really just discovered jambay and drumming.


Doug Manuel  01:11

So I was I left I we can go back even further. Actually I very good failed, it failed everything that school when wash dishes, and we resort in Switzerland in the winter, and then in summer, ended up in in Cannes, where the famous film festival is working on a beach down there. That led me to, to someone actually who needed a runner during the Cannes Film Festival. And that led me to going into film and TV.

So I took this job as a runner during the Cannes Film Festival, that led me into to starting working in film and television. And I kind of climb my way out. And by the end, I was producing documentaries for the BBC. The last two years I worked in the BBC or for the BBC. I was working on a documentary about African elephants. So I got to travel all over Africa, amazing animals. They changed according to their habitat. So it was just an extraordinary experience. Oh, my goodness.


Damon Pistulka  02:16

Yes. Yeah, that was


Doug Manuel  02:19

really amazing. So So you know, in kind of Kenya, weather, in theory protected that these model elephants with these huge tusks, if you go to Namibia, in the desert, their life is one constant track between food and water. So they have massive long legs and huge splayed feet, so they can cope walking in sand dunes. And then if you go into the forests in Central Africa, they’re much smaller to be able to navigate through the forest. So it’s like pygmies.

And then if you go wonder where you know, the ivory trade was with Idi Amin, and kind of late 70s. The elephants then today either have very small tasks or no tasks at all. So they found their way to evolve and survive in a relatively short period of time, in fact, so yeah, these animals can adapt. It’s really extraordinary, really extraordinary.


Damon Pistulka  03:10

It is amazing. It is amazing. The cultures in you because the diversity of places you are at the cultures, the animals, yes, that fantastic to be able to see how the animals develop differently based on their environment. So that alone, just to think because that didn’t happen over hundreds of 1000s of years, did it or was it shorter?


Doug Manuel  03:35

But probably in the rain forest, and then in the savanna. That was hundreds of years. But certainly, in Uganda, that was a matter of


Damon Pistulka  03:44

quick. Yeah,


Doug Manuel  03:46

I mean, a few decades, really extraordinary. So yeah. And so when I was looking at the BBC, I kind of had this double whammy, Introduction to Africa. A friend of mine when I was there, I said, on the Jimmy workshop, the Jimmy is one of these drums. And I had an amazing day. And I said to myself, at the end of that day, one day, I’m gonna go to Africa, and I’m going to study the music.

So at the end of making this film about elephants, my boss turned around and said, Well, I’d like you to work on a film about gorillas. And when I put the budget and the sheduled together, I realized I was only going to get between seven and 12 weeks trouble over three years. So it was essentially going to be an office based job. And so I said, you know, I have to go now, I’m sorry, I’m gonna leave and I said, I’ll train up anyone you want me to train up, I’ll give you all the contacts I made in Central Africa.

But I have to go. So I packed in my job, took myself off to West Africa found a job a teacher, initially in Gambia and basically spent six months traveling around Gambia, Guinea and Senegal learning how to play Jenga, and I was playing Five, six hours every day with the African masters till I couldn’t move my fingers. So Oh, yeah. And then then I went back to England where I was living in London.

And I took 15 Drums back with me, did one more job in TV making a documentary for Channel Four it was and realized I just couldn’t do that anymore. So to running workshops, generally workshops in schools, and prisons and refugee centers, and struggled to make any money and thought, well, the only way I’m going to make this work is if I take this into into the private sector, which I did. That was back in 2000 2000. And never looked back. What can I say? That’s basically been my life.


Damon Pistulka  05:46

That’s awesome. So let’s, let’s just back up a little bit, because you you gloss over the fact that you learn how to play jambay For six months traveling around Africa? I mean, what were some of the things the lasting memories of that, because that’s a, that’s an incredible, life changing trip, I’ve got to believe,


Doug Manuel  06:12

really was, I think, I mean, apart from the fact that it’s an entirely entirely different culture. And, and we can talk about it a little bit later. But I take my corporate clients now to, to West Africa, on leadership retreats. And often they’re saying, Okay, well, what time are we doing this? What time? Are we doing this? What time are we doing this to say? You have to think that, you know, here in the West, we have watches, and they’re they have time. And so it’s a completely different approach to life.

You know, magic happens in the moment, I think one of the biggest things that was that’s really stayed with me is how I observed my own learning process. They don’t necessarily break down rhythms in the way that the Western mind would want to understand them. And actually, my first teacher, he was left handed, and I didn’t get it for a few weeks, and I was sitting next to him.

And I was trying to copy what his hands were doing. And then when I realized he was left handed, rather than sitting next to him, when I was taking my classes, I sat opposite him. And I could be his mirror. And all of a sudden, that was like a breakthrough moment where it was like, Okay, I get this, I can, I can follow his hands now. And so I think it’s, it’s just interesting to always observe our own learning process and how we get from A to B, or, you know, individually to Zed when we’re learning something new.

And just to possess resistance to find, find solutions to different ways of learning. And we all right, so So, that was kind of a breakthrough moment for me. But then just the different way of life. I mean, a lot of them a lot of the times in West Africa, people don’t know what they can eat tomorrow. And they’re smiling. They’re smiling all the time. This is the sense of inherent community, the sense of inherent collaboration.

And if you look, if you sit there, and you watch the fishermen on the beach, going fishing, and then how they bring their massive boats back onto the beach, they’re all working together, they’re everyone has their role. And none of them, none of them have been to a five star hotel or a team building program. You know, so, yeah, they just fit in, and they know how to do it, because they have to, but it’s also very intuitive. And it’s, it’s much more a culture where it’s around feeling as opposed to thinking.

And of course, you know, we need our brilliant thinking minds in business today. Because we, we have to put our strategies together, and we have to learn and we have to, you know, we, we have to think about data and all of those things, I get all of that. But the wisdom of indigenous culture, we really need to bring that back into our organizations just in terms of feeling you can link that to emotional intelligence, how do we connect to each other?

How can I enhance your experience? And how can you enhance my experience and make each other’s lives better? I mean, that whole thing, the amount of times that companies say to me, oh, you know, we’re working in silos, we’re working in silos. I mean, that’s just a mindset thing. That how can I make your life more interesting and better by, you know, sharing and finding ways that we really come together? You know, there were all sorts of lessons that I learned during my time there that that are really valuable to what I do today.


Damon Pistulka  09:38

One of the things that you said that I that just really impacts me, and, and the triviality of, of a lot of things that that I personally worry about, as you said, people don’t know what to eat, but they’re smiling and what they’re going to eat tomorrow, but they’re still smiling, and I think we get so caught up in that In the USA, that’s my frame of reference on things that have very little to do with what we mean, it just really doesn’t shouldn’t impact our happiness. No, it doesn’t impact our happiness nearly as much as we allow it to.


Doug Manuel  10:16

There’s actually a house in in Senegal, in West Africa. And I do quite a lot of humanitarian work there. And one of the recent more recent trips, I went to the health center, it was at night and the medical center, and the midwife was there giving birth, there was a woman giving birth and and there was the power cut.

And actually, the midwife then took a pocket torch, and she stuck it between her shoulder and her ear. And that’s how she delivered the baby. And I was witness to that. And it was like, Oh, we just find the way to do it, you know, and here, we’ve got so much. And of course, there’s complications. And, you know, from time to time, there’s, there’s, there’s deaths, and but they just find ways through and in such a resourceful way. And I think that we’ve just lost a sense of that here in the west today. Really?


Damon Pistulka  11:11

Yeah. Yeah. Just different, just different. But that says, I just I love that. I love that line, what you said, because it really does the perseverance and the and the, the approach to life is, just get it done, do what we need to do, and then move on. I just love that. Love that. Yeah.

So So yeah, get off that because that’s a that’s a huge topic for me personally, and thanks so much for sharing that it is because I think that I just know, I don’t think I know, we get too wrapped up in in things that are just like, why are we even, you know? And why? In the Yeah, exactly it to us that we spend trillions of dollars on stupid, not shouldn’t say, trivial stuff that really doesn’t make a difference. And, and, and, and time and effort. But it’s great that you said that. So moving on. You’re you’re you’re doing.

You’re helping people now. And you’re we’re going to talk about your documentary a little bit, but less how did you, you, you decided that you were in the trying to do teach jambay in schools and other things like that. And then you decided to go into the commercial sector with it. What what really was the impetus for you to and not the impetus, but what was really your thought process? And what am I going to help them with in the commercial sector with the with Jimmy?


Doug Manuel  12:42

So so there was an organization in the UK in London, that’s called Arts and Business. And what they did, I’m not sure whether they still do it, or what they did at the time was they they gave classes to artists to show artists how their art form could be useful for, for organizations.

Yeah, so what they did was, it was an amazing exercise, actually, they they said, when you’re drumming, I mean, for me, it was drumming, but there were artists there. And there were singers, you know, there was a whole array of different different mediums and artists that that that were there that day. But from a drumming perspective, it’s like, what what are you doing when you’re drumming? So you’re feeling as opposed to thinking? So active listening, you have to be agile, and listen to what other musicians are doing.

So even there, you’ve got, if you’re feeling then there’s a whole piece there around emotional intelligence. Is that how do you know if you trust somebody? It’s because you feel it you don’t think trust active listening? It’s like, are we listening to to respond? Or are we listening to react? When we’re listening? Do we respond or do we react? And again, if you take that back into the musical context, we have to respond to each other?

It’s not it’s not about reaction. Okay, yes. If you think about collaboration, you have to be collaborating, you can’t have five people playing a solo at the same time. Someone has to hold down the foundation so that somebody else can fly. There’s innovation, there’s creativity. I mean, it’s just it goes on and on and on. And then you know, from my perspective, as well today is whenever I you know, whenever we’re whenever I run a program I’m you know, really conscious as well I’m, I’m a white guy who has been to Africa.

And so I always bring in these amazing African musicians that even though I’ve been playing for 20 years make me look like a complete beginner. And then there’s moves around diversity and inclusion and equity and these are all things that really matter today. This is what we come up with. Looking for that? Yeah, that really matter?

I mean, I think that’s, we’re in a situation today where, you know, staff retention is pretty much at an all time low. Employee engagement is at an all time low. And we have to find ways to tell a different story to employees in an organization, so that we go back to origin stories of things. Yeah. And we she had skill sets. Because that’s what makes a difference today. So


Damon Pistulka  15:38

yeah, I was just a part of a of a leadership retreat last week where they went through the origin story and shared the vision of the owner and the place, and it was very powerful experience. And I don’t think I don’t think a lot of the people there, I didn’t know the entire story either in it, and it was really something to hear the founder of the company, give the origin story of his background, how that how the business has affected him and others in his life and how he’s affected other people. And it was a healthcare business. So but yeah, that origin story, you could you could feel it, pulling the team together?


Doug Manuel  16:19

Absolutely. I mean, it’s all about what value an organization creates, rather than, you know, let’s not call competitor off the off the number one spot. I mean, that doesn’t I don’t think that really motivates anybody. Yeah, we need to be looking much more. Well, it’s purpose driven, right. It’s, it’s the value that we’re and how we’re making a difference in the world.


Damon Pistulka  16:42

Yeah. I can see now how the purpose driven engagement, so that explain how you started to tie the purpose driven engagement in into what you’re doing.


Doug Manuel  16:59

I was always doing that to a certain degree. But I think the turning points of that was COVID. Okay, so my entire business was based on in person events, and you’ll probably want to ask me about my, the concert, the stage show that I created. Yeah. And, you know, all of a sudden, COVID came along, and everything shut down. And life changed for so many of us in so many different ways.

But my business, you know, just went completely south. I mean, yeah, everything was in person live events. And, you know, if you, when I started really thinking about it, I thought to myself, if you ask any of the jambay, masters, you know, the West African master dramas, according to Jimmy folders, why does the gemba exist?

And they would turn around to you. And they say, they would say, well, in the mulink am Bambara tribes of West Africa, they used to say anchor J and Kobe, anchor J Anchor Bay, which the literal translation means everyone gathered together. So anchored J and Kobe jambay. That’s how the word jambay originated.

So I thought to myself, hang on a second, the gemba is just technology, actually, it’s just the most primal form of technology that exists. And if my purpose is to bring people together with some kind of engagement and purpose, and I do that with technology, then I can do it with a different type of technology.

And so that whole notion of just being much more reflective, and coming back to why am I doing what I’m doing? What’s my purpose? And I think, you know, as any consultant, or speaker, we can only take our audiences where we’ve been ourselves, because otherwise it’s just and so so the whole purpose, the whole piece around, you know, purpose driven, let’s get back to purpose driven, why are we doing what we’re doing? That really enhance became much more enhanced during an after COVID? So,


Damon Pistulka  19:04

yeah, so let’s, let’s talk about your stage show a little bit. And then then we’ll talk about then we’ll talk about how you just did during COVID. Good thank you, you did or you did not so minor pivot as your as you know, people used to talk about COVID. But talk about the state show because you I mean, use you your stage show.

I mean, you you did a TEDx talk, we were talking about that we could talk about the stage show. So let’s start with a stage show because I think I mean, you you’ve done I don’t even know where to start. You’ve done so many things that your stage show, but tell me about it. Tell me about what why you put together what was fun for for you. What were some of the challenges somewhat, who were some of the people you got, I thought oh my goodness, I would never thought I would have been able to perform for them.


Doug Manuel  19:52

So when I was in Africa, the first time on the first study trip something woke up inside me. I And when I came back, the first thing I said was, everybody has to play Jeopardy, the whole world has to play Jeopardy, I need to get as many people as possible.

That was kind of my, that was kind of my my trip. Nice. And so anyway, so you know, running these programs in the corporate corporate world. And I guess it was, it must have been like 2006 2007, it was around then, I was living in Europe, I was living in Switzerland. And there was this conference speaker who was an orchestral conductor. And he was called into these big company events with the orchestra in the morning.

And he was talking about how the orchestra is like, a company and everyone has to hold their own role, and we have to listen to each other and tons of messages. And then what happened, what was happening was I got brought in, in the afternoon with, you know, hundreds or 1000s of generalists to turn everybody into the orchestra to reinforce the metaphor. So it wasn’t just you know, it wasn’t just him giving theory it was then let’s do it. Now, this is the practice. Now he’s putting it into. And we kept following each other around.

And eventually I called him and I said, you know, we must be we must, it must be that we need to do something together, we keep running into each other. So we are creating this stage show together. And we were 36 people on stage, it was a small African band, the whole symphony orchestra, everyone in the audience got a drum. And we, you know, we put this show together, and we we had lots of fun. And then I produced the show myself in Geneva, to raise money for UNICEF.

And we did that under the patronage of cirurgia more than the the best James Bond in my life, anyway. Yeah. And that night, there was a i, unbeknownst to me, there was a producer in the audience who had a production company in Paris. And he said to me, you know, this is an amazing concept. But your 36 people on stage who must be losing a fortune, I said, Yeah, we’re losing a fortune. But we’re having a great time.


Damon Pistulka  22:13



Doug Manuel  22:15

if you can negotiate your way out of this with the orchestra, I have a production company in Paris, and I’ll give you one month run it Paris. So I did just that. And we did this month run in Paris. At three and a half weeks, TF one, which is the French national TV station, we were on them, use the main news.

And the phone was just ringing off the hook. And we had to then extend the production by another six weeks. So we ended up doing pretty well. Three months, basically. Yeah, we were at virtually every night, doing the stage show. And we created a story with it. The story was was basically that ancestrally and, you know, this is this is science, ancestry. If you trace this all far enough back, we all come from Africa, Africa being the cradle of humanity.

I mean, there’s that book sapiens. I mean, that’s, you know, how New South Africa and then the fun part of that was, was explored the influence of the rhythms of the gym beyond all the pop music we listen to today. So we had this whole audience playing with Michael Jackson, with a whole band on stage. And anyway, so we did, we did. We did that show.

Then we went on tour around France, and French speaking Switzerland. We went back to Paris that was 2015. And there was the terrorist attack at the Vatican, in Paris, in sell any tickets, so had to close the production down in France. I took the the the production to a bunch of producers that I had met along the way in Europe, and they all said, you know, if you want to make it big in Europe, you have to you have to make it big in the States. Got to worry.

So much like crazy. And this amazing woman who I’d met, had an amazing network in LA, and she found a way of doing a part of the show at TEDx Hollywood. So we did like a 1516 minute slot at TEDx Hollywood, which was all about how technology enhances humanity, or should do anyway.

And I think it was through this woman that kind of unbeknownst to me. Oprah heard about it, she’d sent a team, and we ended up opening openers. Third Super Soul sessions at UCLA with 1750 drummers in the audience with Oprah drumming and then off the back of that I found some investors. And we did a four month run in Chicago in 2019. And we were nominated for the Jeff It’s the Chicago theater awards. And then well, COVID. Yeah, gonna close down lots of things in this way.


Damon Pistulka  25:10

But during COVID, you you change what you were doing a little bit. And now, I mean, it, it really looks like yes, it’s it, that was a hard end to a probably a pretty productive part. But do you explain how you’ve changed and how you really feel about what you’re doing now?


Doug Manuel  25:36

So, I mean, during COVID, I, you know, when it started, like anyone else, I spent, you know, two weeks on the sofa, bawling my eyes out thinking, what am I going to do? What am I going to do? Work? How am I going to feed myself out, you know, all these questions. And then there was that technology piece that I spoke of earlier, that, you know, that I could still be put together in a different way, you can’t do anything with collective music making online because there’s like this inherent sound delay.

So you, but then having been on stage, so much, at so many events, it was like, there’s a whole thing around performance. And I’ve thought to myself, Why have I never left the stage, tired, you know, performance, energy playing and playing and playing and playing gem bass physical.

And I was never tired when I came offstage. And I had the same script every night. And I realized that actually, what I was doing was I was, I was putting a different energy out every evening to bring the audience with me, because I was like, the the MC. And it made me realize that actually, if we can circulate energy between us between people, then we don’t need to go into burnout. And we don’t need to get tired.

And so anyway, I created this whole course, which I called the Energy circle, which was, you know, how to do virtual properly, based on the foundation that, that, you know, business became very transactional. And the intrapersonal went missing, and it was like, How can we bring that back? In the virtual spot? believe we can? Actually, yes, I believe we can. And I still think that, that, you know, we haven’t, a lot of organizations haven’t figured out how to run breakouts properly.

There’s all sorts of icebreakers that we can do at the beginning of a meeting, or when you know, people get stuck in a meeting or, you know, when energy kind of get too low, there’s all sorts of things we can do. And, you know, all of us in this situation where if I think about Africa, and any indigenous culture, actually, there’s no separation between work and life. So this whole notion of work life balance is is really nonsense.

If you go if you go to Africa is work like integration, the kids are running around, there’s music, the food’s cooking, there’s people coming past and, and all of a sudden, you know, in in the COVID space, there were kids coming in, they were I mean, I remember a meeting I had with an HR director of a huge company and a Swiss company.

And I heard birds singing, and I thought, Oh, he’s probably got his window open. And it was a warm summer day. And the next thing I knew there was a bungee that landed on his shoulder, and he spent the rest of the call, you know, tickling this bird under its chin.

And I mean, every time I’d seen him, this guy, he was in a suit in his office. Yeah. And will he be human? You know? And? And so who makes the rules? You know, do we have to sit down all day long? Yeah, what’s wrong with just standing up? And putting some music on which we can do in the virtual space and dancing around for for 30 seconds, one minute, if it makes us more productive, exists together?

On how can we create those shared experiences in a different way, so that we’re just at the end of the day closer as people more connected and more productive. And we can make our own rules, but we go into this kind of work owner, that that kills everything. And that’s what happens when we separate work and life and we have to integrate. That’s the point.


Damon Pistulka  29:25

That’s, I laugh because and I’m just, I’m just flabbergasted here because I never realized what you were. My heritage. I grew up on a family farm and in the Dakotas, a working family farm, there was no work life balance. It was it was like you said, I remember walking out my my father is working on a piece of equipment or driving you know, or working with animals or doing all this kind of stuff. It wasn’t day night. It wasn’t it was where We’re living in, it’s all together. And I never really have seen work life balance, and I even call my, my life is just work is integrated into my life.

And when you said that, how there’s no real separation between work and life, that it always rings, the rings a strong chord with me because we try to separate. And there is always, there’s always competition when you separate, but when you integrate, you find that it is so much easier. And I and I’d hadn’t heard anyone use COVID as and the working from home or virtual work and the other ways that we, we learned how to do that.

Because it is that if you can integrate, you don’t have to go home. tired at the end of the day, or finish your day, wherever you are, you don’t have to finish it tired because you are doing things throughout the day, including work that really keeps you energized. Keeps you better as a person and better as as a professional. And yeah. Awesome. Yeah. So you started. So then did you start to to teach people how to really understand the work life integration part? Or what were you doing then during co Yeah.


Doug Manuel  31:26

So I have a kind of hour long, super interactive keynote, that know that people through the exercises and ask questions that we’re going to break out and we come back, and it’s asking another question, another Energizer. And so it’s partly to help organizations link the personal purpose of any given employee to the purpose of the organization through the organization’s origin story.

And mixed up with you can do this, and you can do this and you can do this to, to make your virtual interactions more interesting. So yeah, that’s one of the things that I do so. And the other thing that that kind of really touched me during COVID, I couldn’t play jambay At home.

Because I living in Switzerland, Switzerland is an amazing country. But noise pollution is a big problem in some parts of the country. To the point where and, and I kid, you know, in some parts of the country, you can’t even run a bath or flush your toilet after 10 o’clock at night. In some parts of Switzerland, honestly. Usually what that that in some parts. And so, on one of the trips to West Africa, I bought back one of these instruments, which is a it’s a calabash. It’s basically a West African hub.

And I wanted to make music home. And you know, I could I could play that whenever I wanted in the middle of the night, or whatever. And I found myself a teacher in Senegal, in West Africa, and he used to send me these little bits. And I used to practice and practice and practice, and then feel myself, and then I’d send them back to him. And then he gave me another thing to practice and play. And what’s interesting about this instrument is in West Africa, the core is known to play the music of the soul.

And if you think, you know, the, without wanting to go esoteric and fluffy, but organizations are made up of people, and people have souls. And anyway, so a whole new keynote was born, called this, the soul of that business, where we go back to personal purpose, Link purpose to the personal purpose, the purpose of the organization. And then we live it through, you know, some interactive musical exercises. So all sorts of COVID was like, amazing. I mean, it was amazing. Yeah.


Damon Pistulka  33:55

Well, I think when, if you use it like you did a yes. Yeah. I mean, to, to, to think and really contemplate and reinvent some of the things that you’re doing in the way that you’re now helping people link their personal purpose to the organizational purpose. After you do that, that has to be that has to be dramatically different. The organizations have to feel dramatic and operate dramatically different. When when that happened.


Doug Manuel  34:22

I think that that’s where productivity really source. Yes, yes. And that’s what people need, I mean, and why people disengaged, and it’s because, you know, the senior leaders often telling their people the wrong story. It’s interested about looking at competitor off off the number one spot. I don’t think anyone really cares about that today, of course, shareholders, etc, etc. And I realized, yeah, the souls in the organization, they just, they want to go to work, feeling like they’ve contributed to Something, yes and the currency value.


Damon Pistulka  35:05

I’m thinking about what you just said about the, the leaders and how they sometimes do that. They talk about shareholder value and those kinds of things. And I think if you everybody understands that’s what you want to do in business by the end of the day. But if it’s a focus, if a focus or the focus, and not the focus, like you’re saying, how do we get personal purpose aligned with organizational purpose to drive something better than we ever envisioned? Because once you drive what’s better than we ever envisioned, we will create shareholder value, we will be better than everyone else.

That’s, that all happens. But it happens because we’ve aligned the people and their hearts, their minds, and their bodies together. In that alignment, you feel it in organizations. When you do this, you feel it, you feel the passion, you feel the caring, you feel, the people working together to do what they need to do.

And honestly, you see, the one plus one equals three in those businesses where they they come up with ideas that you had no idea, the two people walk into a situation, neither one of them has the idea of the solution, but the solution they came up with was better than either one of theirs to start with. And that purpose, that alignment of purpose is where you get where you connect that together. So super cool, man. Super cool.


Doug Manuel  36:35

I think you had experience as opposed to theory. So people need to be taken through the process. That’s not something that you would get from a book, even if it’s something we all know, you know, it’s kind of I know,


Damon Pistulka  36:52

I’ve had I’ve been fortunate enough for a couple of companies where it’s hit me like that. And, and when it does, it is one of those things, you remember that you’re it’s I mean, I’m talking 20 years ago, I still remember that kind of thing. And so you’re really helping people. Well find purpose, personal purpose and what they’re doing. Yeah.


Doug Manuel  37:14

Because, you know, the world needs. We need companies. I mean, companies do create value in their life. But we just need to make that we need to switch flip that switch, you know, so


Damon Pistulka  37:27

yes, yes. You had to have seen some pretty powerful. I just X situations and experiences doing this helping people just had to be some real powerful things that you’re just like, yeah, it’s been


Doug Manuel  37:45

amazing. It’s been an amazing, amazing journey. And it’s still at the beginning. Yeah,


Damon Pistulka  37:51

yeah. Oh, that’s why it’s probably I hope it’s still very exciting for you, because we got a lot of people that need to know about it.


Doug Manuel  38:00

It’s the beginning. When you say a lot of people, that’s kind of the reason for the next project that I’m working on right now. Which is, which is a documentary? Yeah. To film in, in West Africa in March.


Damon Pistulka  38:16

Let’s talk about that. So


Doug Manuel  38:19

it came about in a in an interesting way. I was talking to a client just before Christmas, and she said to me, you know, I’ve never met anyone who, who has based their business on the wisdom of indigenous culture, and has made a success of it. And I’m like, Oh, is that what I do? You know, kind of, when you’re in something, you don’t see what someone else’s perspective might be. And she said, Oh, someone should make a documentary about you.

And I was like, Oh, okay. So I follow this guy called Richard D. Pillar on. I saw in his title that he his role had changed, or his job description had changed. And all of a sudden, he’d become the, the chief growth officer of a production company in West Palm Beach called How to media. And I sent them an email and said, Oh, you know, someone should make a documentary. Anyway, we got talking, and indeed, that’s what’s happening. So I went to my investors who helped me in an incredibly generous way with a stage show.

And when I take things to them, and they like it, you know, they say, Okay, we’ll, we’ll put in some more. And, and so we’re making this documentary. And it’s, it’s all basically, I’m going to see a bunch of stuff in West Africa I’ve never seen before, despite the fact I’ve been traveling there for, you know, 25 odd years. Yes. Director is working with this master drummer, and they’re going to take me on this journey, and we’re going to basically explore all the values that I’ve talked about purpose driven collaboration.

Respect tolerance, listening And we’re going to tell that story through. I’m not sure quite what story it will be, because I don’t know, the whole the whole thing. It’s, it’ll be due out in October time. And how to media are amazing partners. I mean, really amazing. Awesome. And there’ll be snippets all over LinkedIn. And, you know, bring all of this stuff to life and hopefully reach a much, much wider audience. I mean, that’s what it means.


Damon Pistulka  40:29

Wow, that’s amazing. That’s amazing. It’s amazing. Like you said, 25 years of traveling in Africa, learning what you’re learning, you’re gonna get to travel in new places. And learn more about this. I can only imagine what you’re going to be doing with that knowledge after the documentary is done.


Doug Manuel  40:50

Yeah, I mean, I think, yeah, it’s such a, you know, it’s when something happens, then it just enhances, I mean, in what I do as a speaker, it only enhances the value I can create for others. So,


Damon Pistulka  41:06

yes, yes. That’s amazing, man. That’s, that’s amazing. I’m so happy for you. Because I mean, listen to what you’re doing. Listening to, you know, back from when, when you were at the BBC, how you found your way to Africa, and how you took your time to learn about the jambay and drumming and taking that and then bringing that back with your stage show.

And doing that. And then, of course, COVID to slap Jeff at but what it was, it was a time for you to reinvent into something that may actually prove to be more powerful or more life changing for people in the long term. And so, I mean, how cool is that? And it wasn’t,


Doug Manuel  41:51

it wasn’t easy. It’s not No, no,


Damon Pistulka  41:53

no, no, not easy. None of it’s easy.


Doug Manuel  41:56

It’s never easy, right? You know, yeah. Yeah. But it’s, that’s what life is. It’s incredible.


Damon Pistulka  42:02

It’s just incredible.


Doug Manuel  42:05

Tony Robbins, he always says, life doesn’t happen to us. It happens for us. And I really believe that’s true.


Damon Pistulka  42:13

Yeah. Wow. Doug, this has been incredible. This is incredible talking to you, man. I get so excited. I get so excited and how your your talking about purpose driven engagement, you’re helping people link their personal purpose in life with the organization and the way you’re tying that in with music and jambay and an indigenous cultures and how you’re it’s just it’s so it’s so appropriate for what we need a business today.


Doug Manuel  42:45

Back to the source.


Damon Pistulka  42:47

Yeah. I don’t even know what else to say. I just I just appreciate you so much for sharing this with with us because I just this is this is something that is going to continue to change people for decades, man.


Doug Manuel  43:08

I mean, I hope it just brings us back to what we are already. Yeah. Ministers, that whole notion of Yeah, we need to take things digital, but we need to keep things human.


Damon Pistulka  43:18

Yes. That’s the thing. Again, again, we take tape things digital, but keep them human. That’s it. Awesome. Well, Doug, thank you so much for being here today. Thanks. Thanks for talking about do he speak Jim Bay, the the How to media documentary and you said the working title before we got on its beats as one eats Islam. Yeah, yeah, that’s gonna be awesome. And that’s going to be coming out in October. If someone wants to get a hold view, what’s a good way to contact you?


Doug Manuel  43:58

I just through LinkedIn. Okay. On my website, which is Doug manual, ma n UE l.com.


Damon Pistulka  44:07

Very good. Well, Doug, thanks so much for being here today. I just can’t. I can’t express my appreciation for you sharing this today and talking about purpose driven engagement.


Doug Manuel  44:17

Thank you, David. It’s been a huge pleasure. Thanks to you for inviting me. Really appreciate it.


Damon Pistulka  44:22

You bet. Well hang out just for a minute. I want to say thank you to everyone else that was listening today making comments thanks for stopping by. You can always check the replay out on my profile on LinkedIn or on the wet eggs a year away website. We will be back again with another amazing guest. Thank you, every

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