Paul Teasdale – If you want to change tires, bring in the ballerinas

Paul Teasdale
Paul Teasdale discusses why you should “Look for the eyes”, tells you “Don’t get bitter, get better”, the importance of “Controlling the controllables” and more. Hosted by Diana White.

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About Paul Teasdale

Paul Teasdale helps people perform using insights from his 7 years working with the Formula one team McLaren, while also incorporating lessons from other high-performance organizations he has worked with. From sausage making to banking to Formula one, and lots of other stuff in between, working in both the UK and in New Zealand, Paul has a lot of stories to tell his audiences. Whether you’re looking for practical tips for bringing a Formula one mindset to your organization, or stories of how sausage making changed the world of business banking, Paul has some insight to share.

Episode Notes

Lesson 1: Decisions at the point of most knowledge 01:43
Lesson 2: Look for the eyes. 05:24
Lesson 3: Use data to build a culture of responsibility. 07:33
Lesson 4: Data-driven decisions end, not start, with data. 11:06
Lesson 5: If you want to change tires, bring in the ballerinas. 13:39
Lesson 6: Sausages can change banking. 18:22
Lesson 7: Pick up the phone. 22:39
Lesson 8: Control the controllables. 24:50
Lesson 9: Don’t get bitter, get better. 27:26
Lesson 10: Be humble, be kind. 29:10

Paul Teasdale – If you want to change tires, bring in the ballerinas

[00:00:05] Diana White: Hello and welcome to the 10 lessons learned show where we talk to leaders and luminaries from all over the world to dispense wisdom for career business and life in order to make the world wiser. Lesson by lesson. My name is Diana white and I am your host for this episode.
[00:00:21] Diana White: Our guest today is Paul Teasdale. Paul helps people perform using insights from his 7 years working with the Formula 1 team McLaren while also incorporating lessons from other high performance organizations he has worked with.
[00:00:37] Diana White: From sausage making to banking to formula 1 and lots of other stuff in between working both in the UK and in New Zealand. Paul has a lot of stories to tell his audiences,
[00:00:50] Diana White: Whether you’re looking for practical tips for bringing a Formula One mindset to your organization, or stories of how sausage making changed the world of business banking, Paul has some insight to share. Welcome, Paul.
[00:01:03] Paul Teasdale: Thanks for having me, Diana.
[00:01:05] Diana White: I’m super excited to talk to you.
[00:01:06] Diana White: Your lessons are intriguing. But the first thing I want to ask is, what would you tell your 30 year old self?
[00:01:15] Paul Teasdale: Oh, go for it and trust yourself. You know, I think it’s a, it’s something that you never know what’s ahead of you. my journey has been one that’s taken me in all sorts of different directions and I think you’ve just got to, I wouldn’t say fake it till you make it because I think that that maybe incorporates too much of, of blagging your way through things, but certainly have faith in, in yourself and what you can bring and, and just go for it and see what happens. You never know where it’s going to go next.
[00:01:41] Diana White: I love that.
[00:01:42] Diana White: I love that.

[00:01:43] Lesson 1: Decisions at the point of most knowledge.

[00:01:43] Diana White: Let’s start with your first lesson. Lesson number one, decisions at the point of most knowledge. That sounds a little bit Yodaish. Tell me about it.
[00:01:54] Paul Teasdale: So, as you’ve mentioned in the intro there, and thanks for that, it was, one of these lessons that I learned from my time working in the world of Formula One.
[00:02:02] Paul Teasdale: And I had the privilege of working with this, this team McLaren and got some amazing insights and, and different points of view and different perspectives on all sorts of different things to do with performance. And one of the key ones was about where do you allow decisions to be made in your organization?
[00:02:20] Paul Teasdale: And traditionally those decisions and particularly the big decisions would be hierarchical and whoever’s in charge of that organization would be making that decision as to what’s happening in that moment at that time. And the story that this comes from is one where, at the point of, a race is about to start.
[00:02:40] Paul Teasdale: So put yourself in this position where we’re about to start a Formula 1 race. There’s millions of pounds, millions of dollars invested in all of this and a lot on the line. And you’re about two minutes out before the start of the race and your car isn’t going.
[00:02:54] Diana White: Oh, my.
[00:02:55] Paul Teasdale: I’m not the most technical of Formula One people, but I do know that the car needs to start, right?
[00:03:02] Paul Teasdale: A good starting point for anything. And it also needs to be on the grid. If your car isn’t on the grid, you can’t start the race. If you can’t start, you can’t finish. You can’t finish. You can’t win or at least gain points. And so two minutes before this race, you’ve got a group of engineers. Literally underneath the car with spanners and looking for where the problems are and trying to get that resolved.
[00:03:22] Paul Teasdale: And the story at the time was that one of our senior leaders was standing in the pit lane with a client and the client was saying to him, what are you doing? You look so calm. Why are you not in amongst that shouting at these guys and get them to do what they need to do in this moment? And this leader said, it’s, it’s, that’s not my job.
[00:03:43] Paul Teasdale: My job is to make sure that in these moments, the people who have the most knowledge, in this case, a young guy, with his, you know, his backside sticking out of a car and trying to, trying to fix this thing. he’s got all the knowledge, so he makes the decision as to what happens. So that’s what we need to do is we need to make sure that all the systems, all the training is put in place so that when it comes to those big moments, the people who have the most knowledge, make the decisions.
[00:04:13] Paul Teasdale: And a lot of organizations I’ve worked with since and before then as well, you look back and you think, where are these decisions being made? And it’s not at the point of most knowledge, it’s the point of most experience or most, hierarchy, whatever you want to call that. And it makes a huge difference.
[00:04:30] Diana White: That is a powerful lesson to start with. It really is. And when you were talking about this, I had had an image of, you know, somebody trying to concentrate and a hummingbird just fluttering around them, you know, distracting them. It’s kind of the same thing, right?
[00:04:47] Paul Teasdale: Yeah, exactly. I mean, we’ve all been there.
[00:04:49] Paul Teasdale: I’m sure, you know, I’ve certainly experienced it where you are trying to do something you’re trying to, and your manager is trying to help you in that moment. And it’s not good for your self esteem. It’s not good for your development. and it’s also not good for the business generally, you know, because you end up with micromanagement and you end up with people who are involved in decisions that they’re not best equipped to make, and actually you’ve got to put the trust in the people that you’ve been brought into your organization to actually make those decisions. So, yeah, it’s a, it’s an interesting one to take out of that.

[00:05:24] Lesson 2: Look for the eyes

[00:05:24] Diana White: I love it. Number two, look for the eyes.
[00:05:28] Paul Teasdale: Yeah. So this is something I often use for how do you identify the leaders in your organization or the future leaders in your organization?
[00:05:38] Paul Teasdale: Because leadership is one of those things that you can train into people, and you can help them develop their leadership, but there’s got to be an innate sense within people as to who those leaders are and who has the capability to be a great leader in that organization as well. And it actually stems, the story stems from the same story I was talking about before, you know, the car’s about to start and that senior leader saying my job is to make sure that those people have been equipped to make those decisions.
[00:06:07] Paul Teasdale: But the other side of my job is to look for the eyes. I’m looking for where does that team naturally look towards. in those times of high pressure and high stakes. Because where they look are the natural leaders in this organization. And it doesn’t matter how senior they are, how new to the business they are.
[00:06:27] Paul Teasdale: If your people in those times of huge pressure are looking at certain individuals in their organization, those are leaders already, whether they know it or not. So I always challenge the leaders that I work with is to, are you looking for those eyes in those moments of high pressure? Are you just watching things happen and unfolding in front of you?
[00:06:48] Paul Teasdale: Or are you actually taking the opportunity to see how your team’s reacting and looking for where they’re looking so that you know how to develop those leaders in the future.
[00:06:57] Diana White: Such a powerful point when I, when I coach founders, I always tell them you have to start thinking about your organizational culture now, because culture will happen.
[00:07:09] Diana White: It’ll happen because you cultivate it, or it’ll take you kicking and screaming with it, but it’s going to happen. And there are going to be. you know, de facto leaders that people look to and they might not be you and you might not be happy with where they’re leading them. So you have to I love it.
[00:07:28] Diana White: Look for the I’m going to I’m going to steal that from you. Paul. I’m so sorry. Look for the eyes. Look for the eyes.

[00:07:33] Lesson 3: Use data to build a culture of responsibility.

[00:07:33] Diana White: lesson. Number 3. Use data to build a culture of responsibility.
[00:07:39] Paul Teasdale: Yeah, I mean, one of the big things that I did in my time at McLaren was to help take the data driven decision making, that Formula One is renowned for, and highly technical elements of what Formula One do, and actually bring that down into something that can be taken out to other organizations.
[00:07:58] Paul Teasdale: And so how do you take The culture that is being drafted and, and built over the years in that high performing world of formula one and pick out the bits that can be applied anywhere else. And one of the key things was, how do you use data? How are you using the information that the data that you have in your organization and how are you using it in the sense of your culture?
[00:08:24] Paul Teasdale: And one of the key things that came out was if your data is trusted. And this is the key bit, you know, is if your data is trusted, then you can use it to drive that culture. And that’s certainly that culture of responsibility. And I think it was the, David Coulthard, who’s one of the,previous McLaren drivers, said that within McLaren, the culture that he felt was one of responsibility, because It couldn’t go anywhere else.
[00:08:53] Paul Teasdale: The data gave him nowhere to hide. Now, if you imagine this world of Formula One, particularly outside of the race, there’s lots more sensors and technology involved than even within a race. And so every little thing that you do is being measured and monitored in a way that actually helps you to understand performance and to drive that performance.
[00:09:15] Paul Teasdale: And so you would go into a corner. And he’d be breaking at a certain point and his, steering angle would be at a certain angle and his acceleration outside out of that corner would be at a certain time and he would say. The data is there and the data is so trusted that as soon as I come out of that corner, everybody knows whether I perform well or not, whether I’ve done the best I could as a driver into that corner.
[00:09:43] Paul Teasdale: And it’s not the data is so trusted that they know whether it’s the car to blame or whether it’s me to blame. And what that means is there’s no arguments as to what the data means. What whose fault is the day is the result. We all know it’s all being measured. It’s all trusted. Therefore, the only thing he could do as a driver in those circumstances was to say that was my fault.
[00:10:07] Paul Teasdale: Now, what do we do to get it better next time? And in so many organizations that I’ve worked in. So much time is spent in every meeting, for instance, and looking at every report going, I’m not sure the downtime for yesterday was 23 minutes. I think it was more like 26 minutes, or I think it was 18 minutes and it wasn’t that problem.
[00:10:27] Paul Teasdale: It was another problem and it wasn’t my fault. It was another department. All of that energy is down to the fact that your people don’t trust the data in front of them. And so I always challenge people again to say, what are you doing to make sure that not that your data is accurate, accurate data is brilliant.
[00:10:45] Paul Teasdale: It helps blur the, you know, get those blurry edges really sharp and clear. But if your data isn’t trusted, it doesn’t matter how accurate your data is. So what are you doing to measure the trust of your data? So that you can use that to drive responsible culture in your organization.
[00:11:05] Diana White: Brilliant.

[00:11:06] Lesson 4: Data driven decisions end, not start with data.

[00:11:06] Diana White: And that actually segues into lesson number four, which is data driven decisions end, not start with data.
[00:11:15] Paul Teasdale: Precisely. And this is one of the things, the key insights and the key sort of counterintuitive things that I learned in my time there. but when you think about it, it all starts to make sense. Now. I mentioned before there’s lots of sensors, lots of data coming off a Formula 1 car, particularly outside of the race weekend.
[00:11:34] Paul Teasdale: But every bit of data needs to be captured with some sort of sensor, and it needs to be transmitted using some sort of telemetry, some sort of electronics to get that data somewhere so they can analyze and do something with it. No matter how light your telemetry is, It adds weight to the car and weight is counterintuitive to the results that you’re actually trying to drive.
[00:12:01] Paul Teasdale: So, when you think about this and take this concept, and this is one of the things that I’ve, I’ve helped so many people with this view is to say, think about data in terms of just the headspace that you’ve got, how much data information, all this reports that come at you from all different sources, within your organization, external social media, the news, whatever’s going on, you’ve got all this data flying at you.
[00:12:28] Paul Teasdale: And I came across a great term of infobesity. Everybody’s consuming so much data. It’s bad for you. And what that means is the assumption is that more data leads to better performance, but that’s not always the case. So what I encourage people to do is start. With results, what are those results that you’re trying to drive and be crystal clear on that?
[00:12:52] Paul Teasdale: Understand the actions that you have at your disposal that impact those results. Who are the people involved in deciding and enacting those actions? What insights do those people need? So what are the things that are going to help them with the decisions? And then finally, what’s the smallest data set that you need to drive the insights?
[00:13:13] Paul Teasdale: And that’s the sort of rapid performance, as I call it, RAPID, approach that puts data last and still gives you amazing data driven decisions as well. Oh,
[00:13:25] Diana White: man, everything that you’re talking about, Paul, if you’re, if you’re not embraced in this already, it takes a massive mind shift. To do these things, but but it’s spectacular.

[00:13:39] Lesson 5: If you want to change tires, bring in the ballerinas.

[00:13:39] Diana White: But you’re going to have to help me with lesson number 5, because this this 1, 3, 4 loop. Viewers and listeners I kind of laughed when I read it, but I was like, I know there’s something behind it.
[00:13:50] Diana White: So, lesson number 5. If you want to change tires, bring in the ballerinas, please, because they’re going to be some ballerinas that consume this content, Paul, and they’re going to say, I know nothing about changing tires on a car.
[00:14:05] Diana White: So talk to me.
[00:14:06] Paul Teasdale: Well, this is all about transferable skills and learning from external, providers as well, because the world of Formula One is probably best known in all sorts of different organizations for the pit stop. So when they’re changing tires in about just over two seconds these days. So it’s, you know, this is high performance at its absolute pinnacle.
[00:14:29] Paul Teasdale: And so the amount of time and effort and practice that goes into making sure that the teams know how to change those tires properly. means that you can’t just focus on your own game. You’ve got to take in some, some expertise, some different perspectives from different areas. And one of the great stories that I came across was actually.
[00:14:52] Paul Teasdale: If you want to change those tires if you want to be a team of people working together and individuals working so well in those tight timeframes, then you’ve got to be really confident in how your body moves. And you’ve got to be really synchronized in how you move as a troop. So who does that really well?
[00:15:13] Paul Teasdale: Who else can we learn from? Actually, the Royal Ballet School, which is, over in the UK. And it’s just like, let’s bring those in, those people in, to learn about how do, how should our bodies be moving? Because it’s a, you know, that sort of go slow to go fast, you know, how do you get the flow of what you’re doing?
[00:15:30] Paul Teasdale: How do you get the team flowing together as opposed to just frantically Jumping in, trying to change the tire and jumping back out again, the slower you feel like you’re moving, the more flow you’ve got, the better your speed is at the end of the end of the day. So it’s all about learning, understanding first and foremost, what is it you’re trying to achieve and what does that involve?
[00:15:52] Paul Teasdale: And then really thinking outside the box and going, who else is doing this really well? You know, you can, you can look at different sports teams. You can look at different,career paths and things like that. So I know facilitators who work with comedians, you know, because actually the way in which you address an audience and the way in which you bring your messages across can really, really help them.
[00:16:13] Paul Teasdale: That’s, it’s about finding those bits outside of your normal day to day workspace and getting the inspiration from those external providers.
[00:16:23] Diana White: I agree 100 percent but I would have never correlated, the delicacy of how a ballet troupe trusts each other, trusts their bodies, handles each other. I mean, they’re throwing ballerinas in the air and catching them like they weigh 2 pounds.
[00:16:40] Diana White: I never thought to equate that to really the dance of, of the pit stop. Because if you look at it on TV. If you can, if you slow it down enough, because it’s very fast, it is a dance. It really is a very choreographed effort. And, but I would have never have thought to say, oh, we could learn some of that from ballerinas.
[00:17:06] Diana White: That is phenomenal. That’s phenomenal.
[00:17:08] Paul Teasdale: I think it actually came about originally from literally somebody having those conversations of. You know, how do we choreograph this better or, you know, the dance of the pit stops. One little phrase like that. If you learn to pick up on those things and say, actually, yes, that’s a different, different way of looking at that.
[00:17:26] Paul Teasdale: Then you can start to free your mind up. And this is where having diverse teams and external people coming in and having a look really, really helps because if you keep that narrow focus, you can get really good up to a point. Right. And you need that external input, shall we say, to drive your output.
[00:17:44] Diana White: Wonderful.

[00:17:46] Affiliate Break

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[00:18:22] Lesson 6: Sausages can change banking.

[00:18:22] Diana White: Let’s welcome back Paul Teasdale and continue on with lesson number six. Lesson number six.
[00:18:28] Diana White: Sausages can change banking. You’ve got a lot of explaining to do.
[00:18:35] Paul Teasdale: Ah, dear. Yeah, my background and my training is in manufacturing engineering. That’s what I did my degree in. And I went into that world in my early days and I found myself in a job where I was a production manager in a sausage factory.
[00:18:50] Paul Teasdale: And it was an amazing experience. Lots of people management side, fast moving consumer goods, a high paced environment, and lots of lessons to be learned as a young leader. And lots of things happen there. My career moved on, through a couple of different steps, well, I’m thinking what went next container shipping, and, logistics of shipping containers around the world was the next step.
[00:19:15] Paul Teasdale: And then I went into consulting for a few years before moving to New Zealand, where I worked for a big dairy exporter and then finally found myself working in banking. So I randomly got a job in the world of banking, business banking in particular, which in the world of New Zealand, business banking is sort of small mom and pop style stuff.
[00:19:37] Paul Teasdale: It’s not corporate. It’s, it’s small business piece. and so the people who are, I was brought into to look at performance. How do we measure and manage performance in that space? And. I had some ideas coming in of going, you know, this, how would I face this? You know, what, what’s my experience tell me about how we should be measuring and managing this.
[00:19:59] Paul Teasdale: And I got caught up in the day to day. I became native in some ways, you know, got, got too engrossed in what’s the, you know, how do things actually work here today and what’s going on. And it was only with the help of a coach that it was like. No, you’ve been brought in to bring your experience. What can you bring from your experience that adds value to this organization?
[00:20:21] Paul Teasdale: So I started to think about if these, people in the business banking team are making loans, they’re making credit card, applications, they’re making business loans and other other financial products that are out there, each of which has a different metric associated to it, or a different time scale for how long it takes to process and a different, sort of, profit performance for the organization as well.
[00:20:48] Paul Teasdale: So I started thinking about these as sausages, you know, when I was making sausages, we had, you know, we had the standard sausages that were there that moved fast and we did lots of volume. We also had some,some lower volume, higher value sort of products as well. We’d have different standards associated to them.
[00:21:05] Paul Teasdale: And what I found in that business banking world was everyone was being measured and managed purely on a dollar figure. How many dollars are you lending? And so this was leading to behaviors where people would want to lend more dollars, even if that wasn’t necessarily the right product for that customer, because ultimately that’s how they’re getting bonused.
[00:21:27] Paul Teasdale: Because they couldn’t think of a way to make it fair. You know, it’s like a business loan might be 10, 000. A, a home loan might be a hundred thousand dollars. So what are you going to do? You can do 10 business loans. You can do one home loan. What’s it going to be? So. By applying different standards to those things and looking at them in terms of different types of sausages, we’re really able to put in different metrics that help people drive the right behaviors as well as providing the right service for customers as well.
[00:21:56] Paul Teasdale: So it’s all about what from your experience can you bring that adds value to that situation? You’ve got a different perspective and a unique perspective. Nobody’s got the same experience that you have. So, think about what it is that you’ll bring to the table and find ways to apply that to the organizations you work with.
[00:22:17] Diana White: And the ability to take what would be a myopic view. I dealt with sausages, the, the ability to say, how can I translate that into banking? I can’t, I can’t even explain to you. I think you have a superpower. My friend, I think you have a superpower that is amazing.

[00:22:39] Lesson 7: Pick up the phone.

[00:22:39] Diana White: Lesson number 7, it’s pretty simple.
[00:22:43] Diana White: Pick up the phone.
[00:22:45] Paul Teasdale: Yeah, it’s, it’s one that I’ve put in here partly to remind myself, but also to share, share that message around is there’s so many situations where this lesson can be appropriate. It can either be that, you know, I now work, I’m independent. So working by yourself in your own organization, this is my office.
[00:23:03] Paul Teasdale: This is where I live and work, you know, and so you don’t see that many people apart from these virtual conversations that you’re having and. just the act of picking up the phone can just connect you with people more and more. I’m probably of a generation where I’m more used to phone calls than text, but, you know, it’s a lot, and, and messages, that’s becoming much more prevalent, but nothing beats a phone call for that connection to people.
[00:23:27] Paul Teasdale: And also the ability to step to sit back and not necessarily have any awkwardness that you might have,when you’re doing this sort of person to person, those moments can be great as well. but I also came across this lesson in a different situation as well recently, where I was in a networking event and there was a keynote speaker and he gave this amazing speech.
[00:23:48] Paul Teasdale: And one of the things he said was, here’s my phone number. It was about. 60, 65 people on this call. He said, here’s my phone number. Anybody wants to have a chat on this, pick up the phone and call me.
[00:24:00] Diana White: Wow.
[00:24:00] Paul Teasdale: And I thought, he’s said that to so many groups and so many, even 65 people here. And a couple of days later, I went, you know what?
[00:24:08] Paul Teasdale: That really inspired me. I’m just, I want to speak to this guy more. Literally picked up the phone. You know, I saw you on Wednesday. You said to call, I’d love to chat. Have you got time to chat? Of course I have. That’s why I say it. I don’t say these things. And just that started a conversation and that started a connection that is, you know, is continued on from there as well.
[00:24:31] Paul Teasdale: And so do just take those opportunities to pick up the phone and have a call. It doesn’t have to be a phone call. Obviously, it can be a virtual meet. It can be a message chat, whatever it might be. Just connect with people. You never know where it’s going to take you.
[00:24:47] Diana White: I can’t keep saying amazing and brilliant. I sound like a broken record.

[00:24:50] Lesson 8: Control the controllables

[00:24:50] Diana White: Lesson number eight, control the controllables.
[00:24:56] Paul Teasdale: Yeah. this is something that, so I, I’ve now got a son and a daughter. My, my daughter’s five, my son’s nine now. And a lot of these later lessons are things that I find myself saying to him a lot.
[00:25:09] Paul Teasdale: So I’m like, if I’m saying this to my son, I’m saying these things to my daughter, then it must be something that stuck with me and the controller controllables came about when I was in New Zealand. this really sort of stuck home to me then, I was working for a big dairy company doing really well.
[00:25:24] Paul Teasdale: There was a restructure in the organization, found myself redundant or being made redundant. And never faced redundancy before, and my wife happened to be six months pregnant with my son at the time. And so the timing of right, I’ve got to find a new job, just before my son arrives and got to get, you know, all this sort of stuff going on.
[00:25:46] Paul Teasdale: When I first heard the news, I may or may not have gone home and had a few glasses of wine and sort of drowned my sorrows a bit. But the following day, I just found myself going, you can only control the controllables. What is it that’s under your control? And… I’m a facilitator by trade and by training.
[00:26:05] Paul Teasdale: And so, post it notes are never too far away from me, whether they’re scribbled on by my daughter or not. But,but I found myself going, right, I’ve got some red post it notes. What can’t I control? I can’t control the decision. I can’t control how I’ve been viewed until this point. What can I control?
[00:26:21] Paul Teasdale: Where I go from here, how I’m perceived through this process. And I can control how I help others through this process and what I learn from it as well. And so just by that act of, I find that writing it down and sticking it up on walls or getting it on into a document of some sort really helps me to say, right, that’s a thing, as opposed to just thinking it through in my head.
[00:26:47] Paul Teasdale: But as soon as I physically move those non controllables out the way, it was like a weight’s been lifted. And a focus of now, these are the things in front of me that I can control, do that. If you do that, you’ll move on, you’ll do better.
[00:27:03] Diana White: And I dare say, if you do that kind of almost don’t have time to get in your feelings and take things personally, because now you’ve given yourself a task.
[00:27:12] Diana White: You, you have a, you have a road that, you know, you can go down. I love that. I love that. And I think that. part of what you said, you know, you can’t control, how they feel about your performance up to this point.

[00:27:26] Lesson 9: Don’t get bitter, get better.

[00:27:26] Diana White: And I think that leads directly into lesson number nine, which is don’t get bitter, get better.
[00:27:34] Paul Teasdale: Yeah, it doesn’t, it fits in so nicely in that circumstance, as well as a lot of others, which is life’s going to throw you some curve balls and it’s going to throw you things that You know, you’ll, you might have a contract that is coming up and that’s really important to you and your organization and suddenly something happens and that contract goes away, or it’s pushed back a few months, or something happens that’s going to affect you in your personal life.
[00:28:00] Paul Teasdale: If you can’t control it. If you get bitter about it, that’s what consumes you. So I’m, I always say this to myself, I’ll say this to my kids as well. It’s like, in those circumstances, don’t get bitter, get better. How do you find the good in this thing that’s just happened to you?
[00:28:18] Paul Teasdale: Or the opportunity that says that, no matter how small. that says, right, this has been a bit of a knockback. How do I get better from here? And if you can think of those little things, and if you take that next one little step, it usually leads to another thing as well. If you take one little step towards the bitter, it consumes you completely.
[00:28:38] Paul Teasdale: So focus on that, you know, it’s like, what can I control? Don’t get bitter, get better.
[00:28:44] Diana White: I’m going to, I’m a foodie. I love food. No, no denying that. But I feel like that’s such a food analogy, right? Because if, if you, if you swallow a whole mouthful of bitter, you can’t taste anything else. You can’t taste the sweet.
[00:29:00] Diana White: You can’t taste the savory and it’s still there. It’s still all around you. You just can’t taste it because you’ve got a mouthful of bitter. I think I think that is amazing.

[00:29:10] Lesson 10: Be humble, be kind.

[00:29:10] Diana White: And again, leading into lesson number 10 final lesson, which is. Be humble, be kind.
[00:29:18] Paul Teasdale: Yeah, this has always been a big reflection of mine, particularly when I’ve been working with people.
[00:29:23] Paul Teasdale: Back in those early sausage making days, but this is one of the first moments that really struck home to me. I was put in charge of what they call meat prep . So it’s the, the team of guys, and it was all guys at the time who are lugging around the, I think the 25 kilo blocks of meat and. Putting it in the mixer and putting all the spices in and making the, preparing the, the mixtures that would then go and get packed as sausages.
[00:29:47] Paul Teasdale: And one of my first jobs that I brought upon myself with this team was, I’m going to see if I can make them more productive. And I’m just going to observe and watch how they take their breaks. And so I came in and I was like writing notes, writing down on the notepad and didn’t really say much to the team at all.
[00:30:06] Paul Teasdale: Just watch them and observe them. And then I said at the end of the day, I said, right, come on in. Bring the whole team in. I found a way, great news team. I found a way of making you more productive. I’m going to change your breaks. And. This was a small factory, relatively small factory, just outside Manchester in the middle of the UK, and lots of the people in that organization were related to others as well.
[00:30:32] Paul Teasdale: And so things like people were having, lunch and breaks with their loved ones who worked in a different department, or their friends or their family. And. I sort of came in and thought, right, I know it all. I’ve been to university. I’ve learned these things. Let’s apply that and everyone will be happy.
[00:30:49] Paul Teasdale: And the impact of just seeing how badly this went down, like a lead balloon, and sort of immediately took it upon myself to go, you know what, right, I messed up. I’ve tried to do something. I didn’t do it the right way. Tell me how, tell me how, and tell me why this doesn’t work, you know, and what else could we do?
[00:31:12] Paul Teasdale: And as soon as I started getting that input from the team and start, and most importantly, recognize that I hadn’t done something right. You know, I, I’d messed up in one way or another, and I was trying to make amends to that the amount of input that I got from that team. And they had loads of different opportunities.
[00:31:29] Paul Teasdale: Most of them were much better than I could have come up with. And so it’s about first and foremost, viewing your people as that as people as human beings who have so much knowledge and so much information in their heads and so much experience that you don’t have.
[00:31:49] Paul Teasdale: So if you go in as someone humble and say, right, I don’t know everything here, please tell me, why is that not the case?
[00:31:56] Paul Teasdale: You can still add your own value, but you’re listening to people, you’re being kind, you’re being considerate to what their needs are and why those things happen. And you can start to come up with and solutions instead of the, the but solutions as well. So it’s a, it’s actually making sure that you. Put yourself out there to be humble with the teams in front of you and just be kind and that kindness will pay off.
[00:32:19] Paul Teasdale: It might not be that day. It might not be that week, but it will come back to you.
[00:32:23] Diana White: And I love this Paul, because it comes back full circle to the. You had the data, you had the data, but they didn’t trust you the way you delivered it. They didn’t trust you. So, therefore data couldn’t be trusted and it all went down the drain.
[00:32:39] Diana White: I love that. You shared that story because it’s it’s a, it’s a visual example of of how that can go wrong, even though everything you probably were going to suggest was spot on, but it just didn’t work for that environment. You know, I, Applaud you for being able to course correct and be humble and go back and, and I’m pretty sure, it wasn’t long before you got a lot of buy in once you included them in that.
[00:33:07] Paul Teasdale: Oh, definitely. As soon as you start showing respect and you start showing that kindness to people and understanding that it impacts their lives, not just in the work situation as well. It impacts their lives elsewhere, has wider implications. Just listen and find out and it will repay.

[00:33:23] Diana White: Well, we finished with your 10 lessons, but I’ve got one more question for you.
[00:33:28] Diana White: What have you had to unlearn?
[00:33:31] Paul Teasdale: Oh, lots. probably one of the most things that’s probably most prevalent at the moment for me, having most of my life being employed and now working independently is this element of, price versus value. and understanding the, your own value as opposed to thinking about things from a price perspective.
[00:33:56] Paul Teasdale: and so I’m trying to find ways to gain, sort of gain insight into the value that I bring and help people to say, right, what value is it bringing? Not what price do I want to pay? But that’s always been part of my day to day, you know, it’s like if I compare my salary and break that down to an hourly figure and compare what a talk or a workshop might be, then you start to compare the wrong things.
[00:34:22] Paul Teasdale: And it’s that element of comparison, you can, another thing that I thought of as well, when thinking about this question was about comparing myself to others, you know, there are so many people out there who have brilliant facilitators, brilliant storytellers, whatever it might be, but they don’t have my story.
[00:34:39] Paul Teasdale: And they don’t have my experience. So that’s the thing that I’m having to unlearn and unpick is comparison in the wrong way. How do you just focus on the value that you bring and, work with people to add that value as much as you possibly can.
[00:34:56] Diana White: I think we could have an entire other episode just on that alone. Paul, that was amazing. What are you up to now? Where can we find you? What are you doing?
[00:35:07] Paul Teasdale: So I work with organizations to help them apply a lot of these learnings that I’ve talked about, you know, particularly those lessons from the world of formula one they really resonate with people and organizations and help them bring that performance mindset to their their organization. So I do a lot of speaking events. I do workshops and programs of work associated with that. And if people want to find out more, you can either reach out to me on LinkedIn. there’s not many Paul Teasdale’s out there. I think there’s, someone in Utah who does, realty, but, there’s not many of us out there.
[00:35:39] Paul Teasdale: So find me, I think I’m under Paul James Teasdale on LinkedIn, or go to paulteasdale.co.uk which is my website and you’ll find everything that I’ve got on there, everything from my services. I’ve got an online course and various other bits and pieces. My podcast is all managed through there as well.
[00:35:55] Paul Teasdale: Love it. I want to thank my guest, Paul Teasdale, for sharing his lessons with us today. Paul, you are amazing. Thank you so much. And I am, I’m forever changed now with the sausage and banking and the ballerinas and pit stops. I’ll tell you that for sure. We’ll close out the show. You’ve been listening to 10 Lessons Learned.
[00:36:18] Diana White: This episode is produced by Robert Hossary, supported as always by the Professional Development Forum. Please tell us what you think of today’s lessons. You can email us at podcast@10lessonslearned.com that’s podcast at the number 10 lessons learned. com. Go ahead and hit that like button, subscribe and turn on the notification bell.
[00:36:40] Diana White: So you don’t miss an episode of the only podcast that makes the world wiser lesson by lesson. Thank you everybody.
[00:36:48]

 

 This episode is produced by Robert Hossary. Sponsored as always by Professional Development Forum. You can find the www.professionaldevelopmentforum.org you’ve heard from us we’d like to hear from you. Email us it’s podcast@10lessonslearned.com. Remember, this is the podcast the only podcast. That’s makes the world wiser lesson by lesson.

Paul Teasdale

Paul Teasdale – If you want to change tires, bring in the ballerinas

Paul Teasdale discusses why you should “Look for the eyes”, tells you “Don’t get bitter, get better”, the importance of “Controlling the controllables” and more. Hosted by Diana White.

About Paul Teasdale

Paul Teasdale helps people perform using insights from his 7 years working with the Formula one team McLaren, while also incorporating lessons from other high-performance organizations he has worked with. From sausage making to banking to Formula one, and lots of other stuff in between, working in both the UK and in New Zealand, Paul has a lot of stories to tell his audiences. Whether you’re looking for practical tips for bringing a Formula one mindset to your organization, or stories of how sausage making changed the world of business banking, Paul has some insight to share.

Episode Notes

Lesson 1: Decisions at the point of most knowledge 01:43
Lesson 2: Look for the eyes. 05:24
Lesson 3: Use data to build a culture of responsibility. 07:33
Lesson 4: Data-driven decisions end, not start, with data. 11:06
Lesson 5: If you want to change tires, bring in the ballerinas. 13:39
Lesson 6: Sausages can change banking. 18:22
Lesson 7: Pick up the phone. 22:39
Lesson 8: Control the controllables. 24:50
Lesson 9: Don’t get bitter, get better. 27:26
Lesson 10: Be humble, be kind. 29:10

Paul Teasdale – If you want to change tires, bring in the ballerinas

[00:00:05] Diana White: Hello and welcome to the 10 lessons learned show where we talk to leaders and luminaries from all over the world to dispense wisdom for career business and life in order to make the world wiser. Lesson by lesson. My name is Diana white and I am your host for this episode.
[00:00:21] Diana White: Our guest today is Paul Teasdale. Paul helps people perform using insights from his 7 years working with the Formula 1 team McLaren while also incorporating lessons from other high performance organizations he has worked with.
[00:00:37] Diana White: From sausage making to banking to formula 1 and lots of other stuff in between working both in the UK and in New Zealand. Paul has a lot of stories to tell his audiences,
[00:00:50] Diana White: Whether you’re looking for practical tips for bringing a Formula One mindset to your organization, or stories of how sausage making changed the world of business banking, Paul has some insight to share. Welcome, Paul.
[00:01:03] Paul Teasdale: Thanks for having me, Diana.
[00:01:05] Diana White: I’m super excited to talk to you.
[00:01:06] Diana White: Your lessons are intriguing. But the first thing I want to ask is, what would you tell your 30 year old self?
[00:01:15] Paul Teasdale: Oh, go for it and trust yourself. You know, I think it’s a, it’s something that you never know what’s ahead of you. my journey has been one that’s taken me in all sorts of different directions and I think you’ve just got to, I wouldn’t say fake it till you make it because I think that that maybe incorporates too much of, of blagging your way through things, but certainly have faith in, in yourself and what you can bring and, and just go for it and see what happens. You never know where it’s going to go next.
[00:01:41] Diana White: I love that.
[00:01:42] Diana White: I love that.

[00:01:43] Lesson 1: Decisions at the point of most knowledge.

[00:01:43] Diana White: Let’s start with your first lesson. Lesson number one, decisions at the point of most knowledge. That sounds a little bit Yodaish. Tell me about it.
[00:01:54] Paul Teasdale: So, as you’ve mentioned in the intro there, and thanks for that, it was, one of these lessons that I learned from my time working in the world of Formula One.
[00:02:02] Paul Teasdale: And I had the privilege of working with this, this team McLaren and got some amazing insights and, and different points of view and different perspectives on all sorts of different things to do with performance. And one of the key ones was about where do you allow decisions to be made in your organization?
[00:02:20] Paul Teasdale: And traditionally those decisions and particularly the big decisions would be hierarchical and whoever’s in charge of that organization would be making that decision as to what’s happening in that moment at that time. And the story that this comes from is one where, at the point of, a race is about to start.
[00:02:40] Paul Teasdale: So put yourself in this position where we’re about to start a Formula 1 race. There’s millions of pounds, millions of dollars invested in all of this and a lot on the line. And you’re about two minutes out before the start of the race and your car isn’t going.
[00:02:54] Diana White: Oh, my.
[00:02:55] Paul Teasdale: I’m not the most technical of Formula One people, but I do know that the car needs to start, right?
[00:03:02] Paul Teasdale: A good starting point for anything. And it also needs to be on the grid. If your car isn’t on the grid, you can’t start the race. If you can’t start, you can’t finish. You can’t finish. You can’t win or at least gain points. And so two minutes before this race, you’ve got a group of engineers. Literally underneath the car with spanners and looking for where the problems are and trying to get that resolved.
[00:03:22] Paul Teasdale: And the story at the time was that one of our senior leaders was standing in the pit lane with a client and the client was saying to him, what are you doing? You look so calm. Why are you not in amongst that shouting at these guys and get them to do what they need to do in this moment? And this leader said, it’s, it’s, that’s not my job.
[00:03:43] Paul Teasdale: My job is to make sure that in these moments, the people who have the most knowledge, in this case, a young guy, with his, you know, his backside sticking out of a car and trying to, trying to fix this thing. he’s got all the knowledge, so he makes the decision as to what happens. So that’s what we need to do is we need to make sure that all the systems, all the training is put in place so that when it comes to those big moments, the people who have the most knowledge, make the decisions.
[00:04:13] Paul Teasdale: And a lot of organizations I’ve worked with since and before then as well, you look back and you think, where are these decisions being made? And it’s not at the point of most knowledge, it’s the point of most experience or most, hierarchy, whatever you want to call that. And it makes a huge difference.
[00:04:30] Diana White: That is a powerful lesson to start with. It really is. And when you were talking about this, I had had an image of, you know, somebody trying to concentrate and a hummingbird just fluttering around them, you know, distracting them. It’s kind of the same thing, right?
[00:04:47] Paul Teasdale: Yeah, exactly. I mean, we’ve all been there.
[00:04:49] Paul Teasdale: I’m sure, you know, I’ve certainly experienced it where you are trying to do something you’re trying to, and your manager is trying to help you in that moment. And it’s not good for your self esteem. It’s not good for your development. and it’s also not good for the business generally, you know, because you end up with micromanagement and you end up with people who are involved in decisions that they’re not best equipped to make, and actually you’ve got to put the trust in the people that you’ve been brought into your organization to actually make those decisions. So, yeah, it’s a, it’s an interesting one to take out of that.

[00:05:24] Lesson 2: Look for the eyes

[00:05:24] Diana White: I love it. Number two, look for the eyes.
[00:05:28] Paul Teasdale: Yeah. So this is something I often use for how do you identify the leaders in your organization or the future leaders in your organization?
[00:05:38] Paul Teasdale: Because leadership is one of those things that you can train into people, and you can help them develop their leadership, but there’s got to be an innate sense within people as to who those leaders are and who has the capability to be a great leader in that organization as well. And it actually stems, the story stems from the same story I was talking about before, you know, the car’s about to start and that senior leader saying my job is to make sure that those people have been equipped to make those decisions.
[00:06:07] Paul Teasdale: But the other side of my job is to look for the eyes. I’m looking for where does that team naturally look towards. in those times of high pressure and high stakes. Because where they look are the natural leaders in this organization. And it doesn’t matter how senior they are, how new to the business they are.
[00:06:27] Paul Teasdale: If your people in those times of huge pressure are looking at certain individuals in their organization, those are leaders already, whether they know it or not. So I always challenge the leaders that I work with is to, are you looking for those eyes in those moments of high pressure? Are you just watching things happen and unfolding in front of you?
[00:06:48] Paul Teasdale: Or are you actually taking the opportunity to see how your team’s reacting and looking for where they’re looking so that you know how to develop those leaders in the future.
[00:06:57] Diana White: Such a powerful point when I, when I coach founders, I always tell them you have to start thinking about your organizational culture now, because culture will happen.
[00:07:09] Diana White: It’ll happen because you cultivate it, or it’ll take you kicking and screaming with it, but it’s going to happen. And there are going to be. you know, de facto leaders that people look to and they might not be you and you might not be happy with where they’re leading them. So you have to I love it.
[00:07:28] Diana White: Look for the I’m going to I’m going to steal that from you. Paul. I’m so sorry. Look for the eyes. Look for the eyes.

[00:07:33] Lesson 3: Use data to build a culture of responsibility.

[00:07:33] Diana White: lesson. Number 3. Use data to build a culture of responsibility.
[00:07:39] Paul Teasdale: Yeah, I mean, one of the big things that I did in my time at McLaren was to help take the data driven decision making, that Formula One is renowned for, and highly technical elements of what Formula One do, and actually bring that down into something that can be taken out to other organizations.
[00:07:58] Paul Teasdale: And so how do you take The culture that is being drafted and, and built over the years in that high performing world of formula one and pick out the bits that can be applied anywhere else. And one of the key things was, how do you use data? How are you using the information that the data that you have in your organization and how are you using it in the sense of your culture?
[00:08:24] Paul Teasdale: And one of the key things that came out was if your data is trusted. And this is the key bit, you know, is if your data is trusted, then you can use it to drive that culture. And that’s certainly that culture of responsibility. And I think it was the, David Coulthard, who’s one of the,previous McLaren drivers, said that within McLaren, the culture that he felt was one of responsibility, because It couldn’t go anywhere else.
[00:08:53] Paul Teasdale: The data gave him nowhere to hide. Now, if you imagine this world of Formula One, particularly outside of the race, there’s lots more sensors and technology involved than even within a race. And so every little thing that you do is being measured and monitored in a way that actually helps you to understand performance and to drive that performance.
[00:09:15] Paul Teasdale: And so you would go into a corner. And he’d be breaking at a certain point and his, steering angle would be at a certain angle and his acceleration outside out of that corner would be at a certain time and he would say. The data is there and the data is so trusted that as soon as I come out of that corner, everybody knows whether I perform well or not, whether I’ve done the best I could as a driver into that corner.
[00:09:43] Paul Teasdale: And it’s not the data is so trusted that they know whether it’s the car to blame or whether it’s me to blame. And what that means is there’s no arguments as to what the data means. What whose fault is the day is the result. We all know it’s all being measured. It’s all trusted. Therefore, the only thing he could do as a driver in those circumstances was to say that was my fault.
[00:10:07] Paul Teasdale: Now, what do we do to get it better next time? And in so many organizations that I’ve worked in. So much time is spent in every meeting, for instance, and looking at every report going, I’m not sure the downtime for yesterday was 23 minutes. I think it was more like 26 minutes, or I think it was 18 minutes and it wasn’t that problem.
[00:10:27] Paul Teasdale: It was another problem and it wasn’t my fault. It was another department. All of that energy is down to the fact that your people don’t trust the data in front of them. And so I always challenge people again to say, what are you doing to make sure that not that your data is accurate, accurate data is brilliant.
[00:10:45] Paul Teasdale: It helps blur the, you know, get those blurry edges really sharp and clear. But if your data isn’t trusted, it doesn’t matter how accurate your data is. So what are you doing to measure the trust of your data? So that you can use that to drive responsible culture in your organization.
[00:11:05] Diana White: Brilliant.

[00:11:06] Lesson 4: Data driven decisions end, not start with data.

[00:11:06] Diana White: And that actually segues into lesson number four, which is data driven decisions end, not start with data.
[00:11:15] Paul Teasdale: Precisely. And this is one of the things, the key insights and the key sort of counterintuitive things that I learned in my time there. but when you think about it, it all starts to make sense. Now. I mentioned before there’s lots of sensors, lots of data coming off a Formula 1 car, particularly outside of the race weekend.
[00:11:34] Paul Teasdale: But every bit of data needs to be captured with some sort of sensor, and it needs to be transmitted using some sort of telemetry, some sort of electronics to get that data somewhere so they can analyze and do something with it. No matter how light your telemetry is, It adds weight to the car and weight is counterintuitive to the results that you’re actually trying to drive.
[00:12:01] Paul Teasdale: So, when you think about this and take this concept, and this is one of the things that I’ve, I’ve helped so many people with this view is to say, think about data in terms of just the headspace that you’ve got, how much data information, all this reports that come at you from all different sources, within your organization, external social media, the news, whatever’s going on, you’ve got all this data flying at you.
[00:12:28] Paul Teasdale: And I came across a great term of infobesity. Everybody’s consuming so much data. It’s bad for you. And what that means is the assumption is that more data leads to better performance, but that’s not always the case. So what I encourage people to do is start. With results, what are those results that you’re trying to drive and be crystal clear on that?
[00:12:52] Paul Teasdale: Understand the actions that you have at your disposal that impact those results. Who are the people involved in deciding and enacting those actions? What insights do those people need? So what are the things that are going to help them with the decisions? And then finally, what’s the smallest data set that you need to drive the insights?
[00:13:13] Paul Teasdale: And that’s the sort of rapid performance, as I call it, RAPID, approach that puts data last and still gives you amazing data driven decisions as well. Oh,
[00:13:25] Diana White: man, everything that you’re talking about, Paul, if you’re, if you’re not embraced in this already, it takes a massive mind shift. To do these things, but but it’s spectacular.

[00:13:39] Lesson 5: If you want to change tires, bring in the ballerinas.

[00:13:39] Diana White: But you’re going to have to help me with lesson number 5, because this this 1, 3, 4 loop. Viewers and listeners I kind of laughed when I read it, but I was like, I know there’s something behind it.
[00:13:50] Diana White: So, lesson number 5. If you want to change tires, bring in the ballerinas, please, because they’re going to be some ballerinas that consume this content, Paul, and they’re going to say, I know nothing about changing tires on a car.
[00:14:05] Diana White: So talk to me.
[00:14:06] Paul Teasdale: Well, this is all about transferable skills and learning from external, providers as well, because the world of Formula One is probably best known in all sorts of different organizations for the pit stop. So when they’re changing tires in about just over two seconds these days. So it’s, you know, this is high performance at its absolute pinnacle.
[00:14:29] Paul Teasdale: And so the amount of time and effort and practice that goes into making sure that the teams know how to change those tires properly. means that you can’t just focus on your own game. You’ve got to take in some, some expertise, some different perspectives from different areas. And one of the great stories that I came across was actually.
[00:14:52] Paul Teasdale: If you want to change those tires if you want to be a team of people working together and individuals working so well in those tight timeframes, then you’ve got to be really confident in how your body moves. And you’ve got to be really synchronized in how you move as a troop. So who does that really well?
[00:15:13] Paul Teasdale: Who else can we learn from? Actually, the Royal Ballet School, which is, over in the UK. And it’s just like, let’s bring those in, those people in, to learn about how do, how should our bodies be moving? Because it’s a, you know, that sort of go slow to go fast, you know, how do you get the flow of what you’re doing?
[00:15:30] Paul Teasdale: How do you get the team flowing together as opposed to just frantically Jumping in, trying to change the tire and jumping back out again, the slower you feel like you’re moving, the more flow you’ve got, the better your speed is at the end of the end of the day. So it’s all about learning, understanding first and foremost, what is it you’re trying to achieve and what does that involve?
[00:15:52] Paul Teasdale: And then really thinking outside the box and going, who else is doing this really well? You know, you can, you can look at different sports teams. You can look at different,career paths and things like that. So I know facilitators who work with comedians, you know, because actually the way in which you address an audience and the way in which you bring your messages across can really, really help them.
[00:16:13] Paul Teasdale: That’s, it’s about finding those bits outside of your normal day to day workspace and getting the inspiration from those external providers.
[00:16:23] Diana White: I agree 100 percent but I would have never correlated, the delicacy of how a ballet troupe trusts each other, trusts their bodies, handles each other. I mean, they’re throwing ballerinas in the air and catching them like they weigh 2 pounds.
[00:16:40] Diana White: I never thought to equate that to really the dance of, of the pit stop. Because if you look at it on TV. If you can, if you slow it down enough, because it’s very fast, it is a dance. It really is a very choreographed effort. And, but I would have never have thought to say, oh, we could learn some of that from ballerinas.
[00:17:06] Diana White: That is phenomenal. That’s phenomenal.
[00:17:08] Paul Teasdale: I think it actually came about originally from literally somebody having those conversations of. You know, how do we choreograph this better or, you know, the dance of the pit stops. One little phrase like that. If you learn to pick up on those things and say, actually, yes, that’s a different, different way of looking at that.
[00:17:26] Paul Teasdale: Then you can start to free your mind up. And this is where having diverse teams and external people coming in and having a look really, really helps because if you keep that narrow focus, you can get really good up to a point. Right. And you need that external input, shall we say, to drive your output.
[00:17:44] Diana White: Wonderful.

[00:17:46] Affiliate Break

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[00:18:22] Lesson 6: Sausages can change banking.

[00:18:22] Diana White: Let’s welcome back Paul Teasdale and continue on with lesson number six. Lesson number six.
[00:18:28] Diana White: Sausages can change banking. You’ve got a lot of explaining to do.
[00:18:35] Paul Teasdale: Ah, dear. Yeah, my background and my training is in manufacturing engineering. That’s what I did my degree in. And I went into that world in my early days and I found myself in a job where I was a production manager in a sausage factory.
[00:18:50] Paul Teasdale: And it was an amazing experience. Lots of people management side, fast moving consumer goods, a high paced environment, and lots of lessons to be learned as a young leader. And lots of things happen there. My career moved on, through a couple of different steps, well, I’m thinking what went next container shipping, and, logistics of shipping containers around the world was the next step.
[00:19:15] Paul Teasdale: And then I went into consulting for a few years before moving to New Zealand, where I worked for a big dairy exporter and then finally found myself working in banking. So I randomly got a job in the world of banking, business banking in particular, which in the world of New Zealand, business banking is sort of small mom and pop style stuff.
[00:19:37] Paul Teasdale: It’s not corporate. It’s, it’s small business piece. and so the people who are, I was brought into to look at performance. How do we measure and manage performance in that space? And. I had some ideas coming in of going, you know, this, how would I face this? You know, what, what’s my experience tell me about how we should be measuring and managing this.
[00:19:59] Paul Teasdale: And I got caught up in the day to day. I became native in some ways, you know, got, got too engrossed in what’s the, you know, how do things actually work here today and what’s going on. And it was only with the help of a coach that it was like. No, you’ve been brought in to bring your experience. What can you bring from your experience that adds value to this organization?
[00:20:21] Paul Teasdale: So I started to think about if these, people in the business banking team are making loans, they’re making credit card, applications, they’re making business loans and other other financial products that are out there, each of which has a different metric associated to it, or a different time scale for how long it takes to process and a different, sort of, profit performance for the organization as well.
[00:20:48] Paul Teasdale: So I started thinking about these as sausages, you know, when I was making sausages, we had, you know, we had the standard sausages that were there that moved fast and we did lots of volume. We also had some,some lower volume, higher value sort of products as well. We’d have different standards associated to them.
[00:21:05] Paul Teasdale: And what I found in that business banking world was everyone was being measured and managed purely on a dollar figure. How many dollars are you lending? And so this was leading to behaviors where people would want to lend more dollars, even if that wasn’t necessarily the right product for that customer, because ultimately that’s how they’re getting bonused.
[00:21:27] Paul Teasdale: Because they couldn’t think of a way to make it fair. You know, it’s like a business loan might be 10, 000. A, a home loan might be a hundred thousand dollars. So what are you going to do? You can do 10 business loans. You can do one home loan. What’s it going to be? So. By applying different standards to those things and looking at them in terms of different types of sausages, we’re really able to put in different metrics that help people drive the right behaviors as well as providing the right service for customers as well.
[00:21:56] Paul Teasdale: So it’s all about what from your experience can you bring that adds value to that situation? You’ve got a different perspective and a unique perspective. Nobody’s got the same experience that you have. So, think about what it is that you’ll bring to the table and find ways to apply that to the organizations you work with.
[00:22:17] Diana White: And the ability to take what would be a myopic view. I dealt with sausages, the, the ability to say, how can I translate that into banking? I can’t, I can’t even explain to you. I think you have a superpower. My friend, I think you have a superpower that is amazing.

[00:22:39] Lesson 7: Pick up the phone.

[00:22:39] Diana White: Lesson number 7, it’s pretty simple.
[00:22:43] Diana White: Pick up the phone.
[00:22:45] Paul Teasdale: Yeah, it’s, it’s one that I’ve put in here partly to remind myself, but also to share, share that message around is there’s so many situations where this lesson can be appropriate. It can either be that, you know, I now work, I’m independent. So working by yourself in your own organization, this is my office.
[00:23:03] Paul Teasdale: This is where I live and work, you know, and so you don’t see that many people apart from these virtual conversations that you’re having and. just the act of picking up the phone can just connect you with people more and more. I’m probably of a generation where I’m more used to phone calls than text, but, you know, it’s a lot, and, and messages, that’s becoming much more prevalent, but nothing beats a phone call for that connection to people.
[00:23:27] Paul Teasdale: And also the ability to step to sit back and not necessarily have any awkwardness that you might have,when you’re doing this sort of person to person, those moments can be great as well. but I also came across this lesson in a different situation as well recently, where I was in a networking event and there was a keynote speaker and he gave this amazing speech.
[00:23:48] Paul Teasdale: And one of the things he said was, here’s my phone number. It was about. 60, 65 people on this call. He said, here’s my phone number. Anybody wants to have a chat on this, pick up the phone and call me.
[00:24:00] Diana White: Wow.
[00:24:00] Paul Teasdale: And I thought, he’s said that to so many groups and so many, even 65 people here. And a couple of days later, I went, you know what?
[00:24:08] Paul Teasdale: That really inspired me. I’m just, I want to speak to this guy more. Literally picked up the phone. You know, I saw you on Wednesday. You said to call, I’d love to chat. Have you got time to chat? Of course I have. That’s why I say it. I don’t say these things. And just that started a conversation and that started a connection that is, you know, is continued on from there as well.
[00:24:31] Paul Teasdale: And so do just take those opportunities to pick up the phone and have a call. It doesn’t have to be a phone call. Obviously, it can be a virtual meet. It can be a message chat, whatever it might be. Just connect with people. You never know where it’s going to take you.
[00:24:47] Diana White: I can’t keep saying amazing and brilliant. I sound like a broken record.

[00:24:50] Lesson 8: Control the controllables

[00:24:50] Diana White: Lesson number eight, control the controllables.
[00:24:56] Paul Teasdale: Yeah. this is something that, so I, I’ve now got a son and a daughter. My, my daughter’s five, my son’s nine now. And a lot of these later lessons are things that I find myself saying to him a lot.
[00:25:09] Paul Teasdale: So I’m like, if I’m saying this to my son, I’m saying these things to my daughter, then it must be something that stuck with me and the controller controllables came about when I was in New Zealand. this really sort of stuck home to me then, I was working for a big dairy company doing really well.
[00:25:24] Paul Teasdale: There was a restructure in the organization, found myself redundant or being made redundant. And never faced redundancy before, and my wife happened to be six months pregnant with my son at the time. And so the timing of right, I’ve got to find a new job, just before my son arrives and got to get, you know, all this sort of stuff going on.
[00:25:46] Paul Teasdale: When I first heard the news, I may or may not have gone home and had a few glasses of wine and sort of drowned my sorrows a bit. But the following day, I just found myself going, you can only control the controllables. What is it that’s under your control? And… I’m a facilitator by trade and by training.
[00:26:05] Paul Teasdale: And so, post it notes are never too far away from me, whether they’re scribbled on by my daughter or not. But,but I found myself going, right, I’ve got some red post it notes. What can’t I control? I can’t control the decision. I can’t control how I’ve been viewed until this point. What can I control?
[00:26:21] Paul Teasdale: Where I go from here, how I’m perceived through this process. And I can control how I help others through this process and what I learn from it as well. And so just by that act of, I find that writing it down and sticking it up on walls or getting it on into a document of some sort really helps me to say, right, that’s a thing, as opposed to just thinking it through in my head.
[00:26:47] Paul Teasdale: But as soon as I physically move those non controllables out the way, it was like a weight’s been lifted. And a focus of now, these are the things in front of me that I can control, do that. If you do that, you’ll move on, you’ll do better.
[00:27:03] Diana White: And I dare say, if you do that kind of almost don’t have time to get in your feelings and take things personally, because now you’ve given yourself a task.
[00:27:12] Diana White: You, you have a, you have a road that, you know, you can go down. I love that. I love that. And I think that. part of what you said, you know, you can’t control, how they feel about your performance up to this point.

[00:27:26] Lesson 9: Don’t get bitter, get better.

[00:27:26] Diana White: And I think that leads directly into lesson number nine, which is don’t get bitter, get better.
[00:27:34] Paul Teasdale: Yeah, it doesn’t, it fits in so nicely in that circumstance, as well as a lot of others, which is life’s going to throw you some curve balls and it’s going to throw you things that You know, you’ll, you might have a contract that is coming up and that’s really important to you and your organization and suddenly something happens and that contract goes away, or it’s pushed back a few months, or something happens that’s going to affect you in your personal life.
[00:28:00] Paul Teasdale: If you can’t control it. If you get bitter about it, that’s what consumes you. So I’m, I always say this to myself, I’ll say this to my kids as well. It’s like, in those circumstances, don’t get bitter, get better. How do you find the good in this thing that’s just happened to you?
[00:28:18] Paul Teasdale: Or the opportunity that says that, no matter how small. that says, right, this has been a bit of a knockback. How do I get better from here? And if you can think of those little things, and if you take that next one little step, it usually leads to another thing as well. If you take one little step towards the bitter, it consumes you completely.
[00:28:38] Paul Teasdale: So focus on that, you know, it’s like, what can I control? Don’t get bitter, get better.
[00:28:44] Diana White: I’m going to, I’m a foodie. I love food. No, no denying that. But I feel like that’s such a food analogy, right? Because if, if you, if you swallow a whole mouthful of bitter, you can’t taste anything else. You can’t taste the sweet.
[00:29:00] Diana White: You can’t taste the savory and it’s still there. It’s still all around you. You just can’t taste it because you’ve got a mouthful of bitter. I think I think that is amazing.

[00:29:10] Lesson 10: Be humble, be kind.

[00:29:10] Diana White: And again, leading into lesson number 10 final lesson, which is. Be humble, be kind.
[00:29:18] Paul Teasdale: Yeah, this has always been a big reflection of mine, particularly when I’ve been working with people.
[00:29:23] Paul Teasdale: Back in those early sausage making days, but this is one of the first moments that really struck home to me. I was put in charge of what they call meat prep . So it’s the, the team of guys, and it was all guys at the time who are lugging around the, I think the 25 kilo blocks of meat and. Putting it in the mixer and putting all the spices in and making the, preparing the, the mixtures that would then go and get packed as sausages.
[00:29:47] Paul Teasdale: And one of my first jobs that I brought upon myself with this team was, I’m going to see if I can make them more productive. And I’m just going to observe and watch how they take their breaks. And so I came in and I was like writing notes, writing down on the notepad and didn’t really say much to the team at all.
[00:30:06] Paul Teasdale: Just watch them and observe them. And then I said at the end of the day, I said, right, come on in. Bring the whole team in. I found a way, great news team. I found a way of making you more productive. I’m going to change your breaks. And. This was a small factory, relatively small factory, just outside Manchester in the middle of the UK, and lots of the people in that organization were related to others as well.
[00:30:32] Paul Teasdale: And so things like people were having, lunch and breaks with their loved ones who worked in a different department, or their friends or their family. And. I sort of came in and thought, right, I know it all. I’ve been to university. I’ve learned these things. Let’s apply that and everyone will be happy.
[00:30:49] Paul Teasdale: And the impact of just seeing how badly this went down, like a lead balloon, and sort of immediately took it upon myself to go, you know what, right, I messed up. I’ve tried to do something. I didn’t do it the right way. Tell me how, tell me how, and tell me why this doesn’t work, you know, and what else could we do?
[00:31:12] Paul Teasdale: And as soon as I started getting that input from the team and start, and most importantly, recognize that I hadn’t done something right. You know, I, I’d messed up in one way or another, and I was trying to make amends to that the amount of input that I got from that team. And they had loads of different opportunities.
[00:31:29] Paul Teasdale: Most of them were much better than I could have come up with. And so it’s about first and foremost, viewing your people as that as people as human beings who have so much knowledge and so much information in their heads and so much experience that you don’t have.
[00:31:49] Paul Teasdale: So if you go in as someone humble and say, right, I don’t know everything here, please tell me, why is that not the case?
[00:31:56] Paul Teasdale: You can still add your own value, but you’re listening to people, you’re being kind, you’re being considerate to what their needs are and why those things happen. And you can start to come up with and solutions instead of the, the but solutions as well. So it’s a, it’s actually making sure that you. Put yourself out there to be humble with the teams in front of you and just be kind and that kindness will pay off.
[00:32:19] Paul Teasdale: It might not be that day. It might not be that week, but it will come back to you.
[00:32:23] Diana White: And I love this Paul, because it comes back full circle to the. You had the data, you had the data, but they didn’t trust you the way you delivered it. They didn’t trust you. So, therefore data couldn’t be trusted and it all went down the drain.
[00:32:39] Diana White: I love that. You shared that story because it’s it’s a, it’s a visual example of of how that can go wrong, even though everything you probably were going to suggest was spot on, but it just didn’t work for that environment. You know, I, Applaud you for being able to course correct and be humble and go back and, and I’m pretty sure, it wasn’t long before you got a lot of buy in once you included them in that.
[00:33:07] Paul Teasdale: Oh, definitely. As soon as you start showing respect and you start showing that kindness to people and understanding that it impacts their lives, not just in the work situation as well. It impacts their lives elsewhere, has wider implications. Just listen and find out and it will repay.

[00:33:23] Diana White: Well, we finished with your 10 lessons, but I’ve got one more question for you.
[00:33:28] Diana White: What have you had to unlearn?
[00:33:31] Paul Teasdale: Oh, lots. probably one of the most things that’s probably most prevalent at the moment for me, having most of my life being employed and now working independently is this element of, price versus value. and understanding the, your own value as opposed to thinking about things from a price perspective.
[00:33:56] Paul Teasdale: and so I’m trying to find ways to gain, sort of gain insight into the value that I bring and help people to say, right, what value is it bringing? Not what price do I want to pay? But that’s always been part of my day to day, you know, it’s like if I compare my salary and break that down to an hourly figure and compare what a talk or a workshop might be, then you start to compare the wrong things.
[00:34:22] Paul Teasdale: And it’s that element of comparison, you can, another thing that I thought of as well, when thinking about this question was about comparing myself to others, you know, there are so many people out there who have brilliant facilitators, brilliant storytellers, whatever it might be, but they don’t have my story.
[00:34:39] Paul Teasdale: And they don’t have my experience. So that’s the thing that I’m having to unlearn and unpick is comparison in the wrong way. How do you just focus on the value that you bring and, work with people to add that value as much as you possibly can.
[00:34:56] Diana White: I think we could have an entire other episode just on that alone. Paul, that was amazing. What are you up to now? Where can we find you? What are you doing?
[00:35:07] Paul Teasdale: So I work with organizations to help them apply a lot of these learnings that I’ve talked about, you know, particularly those lessons from the world of formula one they really resonate with people and organizations and help them bring that performance mindset to their their organization. So I do a lot of speaking events. I do workshops and programs of work associated with that. And if people want to find out more, you can either reach out to me on LinkedIn. there’s not many Paul Teasdale’s out there. I think there’s, someone in Utah who does, realty, but, there’s not many of us out there.
[00:35:39] Paul Teasdale: So find me, I think I’m under Paul James Teasdale on LinkedIn, or go to paulteasdale.co.uk which is my website and you’ll find everything that I’ve got on there, everything from my services. I’ve got an online course and various other bits and pieces. My podcast is all managed through there as well.
[00:35:55] Paul Teasdale: Love it. I want to thank my guest, Paul Teasdale, for sharing his lessons with us today. Paul, you are amazing. Thank you so much. And I am, I’m forever changed now with the sausage and banking and the ballerinas and pit stops. I’ll tell you that for sure. We’ll close out the show. You’ve been listening to 10 Lessons Learned.
[00:36:18] Diana White: This episode is produced by Robert Hossary, supported as always by the Professional Development Forum. Please tell us what you think of today’s lessons. You can email us at podcast@10lessonslearned.com that’s podcast at the number 10 lessons learned. com. Go ahead and hit that like button, subscribe and turn on the notification bell.
[00:36:40] Diana White: So you don’t miss an episode of the only podcast that makes the world wiser lesson by lesson. Thank you everybody.
[00:36:48]

 

 This episode is produced by Robert Hossary. Sponsored as always by Professional Development Forum. You can find the www.professionaldevelopmentforum.org you’ve heard from us we’d like to hear from you. Email us it’s podcast@10lessonslearned.com. Remember, this is the podcast the only podcast. That’s makes the world wiser lesson by lesson.

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