Listen on Apple Podcasts
A purple plastic toy sloth asleep in a tree

59: Build a Ministry of Common Sense, with Martin Lindstrom

Get ready to strip away the bureaucratic red tape, excuses, and corporate BS.

Like this?

Join 112,000 listeners every month who get expert insights on building amazing workplace cultures!


In today’s episode, we’ve got a real treat for you.

We’re diving deep into the world of corporate nonsense, and we’ve brought in a true expert on the subject, Martin Lindstrom, author of “The Ministry of Common Sense: How to Eliminate Bureaucratic Red Tape, Bad Excuses, and Corporate BS.” Martin is here to help us navigate the treacherous waters of corporate nonsense and chart a course towards a more sensible, purpose-driven, and empathetic business world.

Segment 1: What is Corporate BS and Who’s Affected?

  • We kick things off by defining corporate BS and shedding light on why it’s a pervasive issue in today’s business world.
  • Martin shares insights into the types of businesses that are most affected by corporate BS and why it’s critical to address this problem.

Segment 2: Auditing Your Business for Corporate BS

  • Discover how to conduct a thorough audit of your organization to identify and eliminate corporate nonsense.
  • Martin outlines practical steps and strategies for pinpointing the areas in your business that are most vulnerable to BS.

Segment 3: The Critical Role of Purpose

  • We delve into the role of purpose in combating corporate nonsense and explore why a clear sense of purpose is crucial for organizations.
  • Martin shares inspiring stories of companies that have successfully aligned their operations with a meaningful purpose.

Segment 4: The Surprising Role of Empathy

  • Empathy isn’t often associated with the corporate world, but it can be a powerful tool for reducing BS.
  • Martin reveals how cultivating empathy among leaders and employees can lead to more sensible and compassionate workplaces.

Segment 5: Martin’s Hot Take on the Remote/On-Site Argument

  • As a renowned business thinker, Martin offers his unique perspective on the ongoing debate between remote and on-site work.
  • We discuss how the pandemic has reshaped work dynamics and what this means for the future of business operations.

We hope you enjoyed this eye-opening conversation with Martin Lindstrom. Remember, eliminating corporate BS starts with awareness and a commitment to change. By auditing your business, embracing purpose, and fostering empathy, you can create a workplace that makes common sense the common practice.


Connect with Martin:

Read The Ministry of Common Sense:

Connect with your hosts

Related Episodes

Loved this episode? Here are some more you might like:

💬 Want a chat about your workplace culture?

📣 Got feedback/questions/guest suggestions? Email

👍 Like this kinda stuff? Click here to subscribe…

The Transcript

⚠️ NOTE: This is an automated transcript, so it might not always be 100% accurate!

Like this?

Join 112,000 listeners every month who get expert insights on building amazing workplace cultures!


Speaker 1 0:00
The elderly man comes up to me crying. You hugged me and he says You saved my life. And I was kind of baffled because I never seen the person before. I didn’t know what this was all about.

Leanne Elliott 0:16
Hello, and welcome to the truth lies and workplace culture podcast, brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network, the audio destination for business professionals. My name is Leanne. I’m a Business psychologist.

Al Elliott 0:26
My name is Al and I’m a business owner.

Leanne Elliott 0:28
We are here to help you simplify the science of people and create amazing workplace cultures.

Al Elliott 0:32
Yeah, and you should definitely be grateful that Leanne’s here today because she’s not very well. You’re in bed all day yesterday, weren’t you?

Leanne Elliott 0:40
I was I’m not ill very often, but when I am, it seems to it’s like I save it all up for just one really bad cold. So yeah, apologies if I’m a bit bummed up. But you know, I’m here. The show must go on.

Al Elliott 0:52
I think it sounds sexy. I think I like it when you’re sad. bummed. I think thank you. Weird.

Leanne Elliott 0:58
So what are we talking about today? Very, very

Al Elliott 1:00
excited. today. We’ve got Martin Lindstrom on the on the pod. He’s just like the most famous guy in the world. He’s Danish author. He has been named one of the top 50 management thinkers in the world. His most recent book, the Ministry of common sense, which is how to eliminate bureaucratic red tape, bad excuses and corporate bullshit. It’s right up our street, even probably because he swears a little bit in it, which is obviously very much of our strict so we’re gonna be bringing you this exclusive interview, which we ended with Martin. Little bit later on in a few minutes. But first, it’s our favorite time of the week. Is the news roundup.

Unknown Speaker 1:37
Cue the jingle.

Al Elliott 1:39
Okay, Lee, what you got?

Unknown Speaker 1:40
I have a new word you weren’t allowed. Coffee budging.

Al Elliott 1:46
Normally, I don’t know what this is because it’s sprung on me. But I do know what this is because I sent it to Leanne earlier this week. So tell us what does coffee badging mean? And you tell me, you tell me it’s a coffee badging is from my understanding is, is when you get a badge for getting a coffee. For example, if you’ve got this sort of hybrid situation at work, where you can work from home some days and work in the office other days, then you get a badge by coming in for a coffee. And so you turn up have a coffee, everyone goes, Oh, yeah, Martin’s coming in. And that’s a bad example. Cuz Mark says, I guess Jeff’s come in. Oh, he’s always here, isn’t it? Yeah. Good luck, Jeff. And then you slip out the back door when no one’s looking and go back home, get your pajamas on and watch bit Netflix and do some work while you’re watching Netflix? How far away isn’t?

Leanne Elliott 2:27
Quite right. I’m not sure about the Netflix thing. I mean, that’s why people are being called back into the offices lack of trust. So I’m not sure I can endorse that part of the message. But in terms of definition, yeah, that is what coffee badging is basically going into the office long enough to have a coffee, see your colleagues get that badge that you’ve attended the office that day, and go back home? It was quite an interesting article. Was it in Forbes alcune budget for

Al Elliott 2:49
sounds like Yeah, I think it was Forbes. Yeah. Sounds about right.

Leanne Elliott 2:52
Yeah. So they were quoting some research. Apparently, 58% of hybrid work is our coffee badging while another 8% said they haven’t been coffered budging. But we’d like to try it. I guess it’s that same old argument, isn’t it? Is it? Is it the cost of living crisis? Is it better to work at home at the office? You know, why don’t people want to come into a fixed place of work? And it could because it could be the cost of commute, it could be the cost of childcare, pet care, then you’ve got a hidden cost like Office attire, you know, you can wear the same outfit every day at home, and no one’s gonna notice or judge you. And then of course, there’s the added time, you know, 61% of workers spend up to an hour commuting each day and 20% for up to two hours. Wow. You know, when you add that up over a week, that’s a lot.

Al Elliott 3:37
That’s pretty much season one and two of sopranos, I think.

Unknown Speaker 3:41
Indeed, I also saw another

Al Elliott 3:43
there’s a great Twitter account called fest Hall. And it’s all about confessing. And the whole thing is it’s anonymous confessions. And so his confession the other day, which is very similar to this, and this guy says I’ve collected all that up huge jar of change over the last five years from home. So what I do is I go into the office, I say hello to everyone, I go to the vending machine, put my two Ps in and then press the press the Cancel button, the return button, and I gotta quit back out. So he says, I’ve got about 40 quid left and then they’re never gonna sit in the office ever again. People think I got he’s coming in to say hello. And he’s not just going to change. Anyway, what else we got?

Leanne Elliott 4:16
Well, it is event season. I feel like we have two events seasons like this kind of run up to Christmas and usually in the spring I think everyone just kind of hypodense January, February, March don’t. Yeah, but yeah, event season is continuing in full swing. And once again, we have another event to tell you about and I have been invited to speak. We are going to be speakers,

Al Elliott 4:37
professional everything. I don’t think I can swear on this one.

Leanne Elliott 4:40
No, you can’t. It is a virtual event this Saturday seventh of October, called burnout, the silent pandemic hosted by Tiffany Castagna, founder of CTP HR and Meenakshi here founder of Northstar solutions and services. It’s a cool event is the first of a three part series. thought leaders and others navigate and prevent burnout. So we will be there leading in the first session, which is quite exciting. I’m a little bit nervous about putting our foot in that type of audience. So we’ll see how that goes, I’m sure fine. And the November one you’ll probably be interested in to as it is led by Sally Clark, who featured on so yes, join us Saturday seventh of October 10am, New York Time 3pm. UK time where Alan I will share our approach to burnout and creating amazing workplaces in which people experience positive well being will also answer all and any of the questions that you have, whether they are related to burnout wellbeing for indeed something else.

Al Elliott 5:43
Okay, we’ve got one last piece of news about events, do we not Leon? Yes, we mentioned

Leanne Elliott 5:49
we mentioned that we are the official podcast of six MadWorld summit this October. I’m not sure we’ve mentioned it enough, though. So let’s mention it one more time. So yes, we have been invited to sixth annual Mad World Summit happening October 12. in central London in the UK, we will be interviewing some of the events speakers from some incredible organizations, including the Royal Mail, L’Oreal, IBM, just to name but a few there is still time to register your tickets and come along to the event and me out and I and all the incredible speakers. Or if you can’t make it, don’t worry, we will be bringing you all the exclusive content. But to be honest, you probably do want to make it we’re good. But there’s only so much we can fit into a podcast episode. Now. It’s a full packed day of events, workshops, networking opportunities, there is so much so rather than me sit here and try and explain everything I spoke to the Global Head of Content at make a difference media, the company that hosts a mad world summit clap Pharaoh clap over to you.

Speaker 4 6:53
The Mad Wilson it’s been around this is it six year, and mad stands for make a difference. We’re all about helping employers support the mental health and well being of their employees. And we also look at how workplace cultures can improve to do that. So yeah, we’ve got a fantastic lineup of speakers, we think we’ve got 126 speakers and things like that, this year. So it’s bigger than ever. We’ve also co located the D E and I symposium this year, alongside MadWorld Summit. And that’s because we’re recognizing how interlinked dei and well being are moving forwards. So that’s just a quick overview of what the events are all about. So I think there’s a few things that make it different. One is that we’re very focused on sort of practical solutions. So you know, it’s it’s sort of where you go to really hear about best practice, share ideas and experiences with people from across different sectors in real time. And, you know, we have lots of opportunities to do that, like farm tables, and you know, coffee breaks and all the usual networking as well. The other thing that really sets us apart is the energy of the event. I mean, people often talk about what the great kind of positive energy that we have. And and actually, to be fair, that’s a lot of that is down to our co founders, Simon Berger, and Mark P Gu. And they kind of recognized right from the outset that this needed to be something that would really capture people’s hearts and minds. It really is going to

Leanne Elliott 8:29
be an awesome event and some hugely valuable insights and lessons are going to be really applicable to smaller businesses to Okay, Lee,

Al Elliott 8:38
let’s get on to our guest Martin Lindstrom, Martin is a Danish author, as I said, a Time Magazine influential 100 honoree never seen that word before. He just wrote you wrote it in the script. I’m gonna say it, but I don’t know what it means. He has written eight books, including small data, the tiny clues that uncover huge trends, biology, truth and lies about why we buy nice title. By the way, there Martin good choice on that word. Interesting. That was the first book I bought by Martin, before he even knew who he was. And then the obviously the one we’re talking about today, the Ministry of common sense, which is the focus of what we’re talking about today. He is the founder and CEO of Lindstrom company, which is the world’s largest business and culture transformation company. And he’s worked with some pretty big names standard charter, Burger King, with Burger King right now, Swiss airlines, and many, many more. So let’s go meet Martin and hear a bit more about his work.

Speaker 1 9:29
But I have been working with branding since I was 12 years of age, can you believe it? And I realized at some point that when you want to transform organizations, you can’t just put makeup on them, you actually have to go deeper. And that depth basically means that I have to understand the culture. And the culture, as you know, increasingly, is collapsing around the world. So we started to do an enormous amount of work on understanding the psychology of why people behave the way we do not just when it comes to the consumer, but also to, to when it comes to the employees. So what I’m doing is I’m helping companies to transform the brands, their culture, and their businesses. And we both look into brands and then to, to culture. And I’ve written eight books, eight New York Times bestselling books, which have been translated into more than 60 languages was this crazy. And then I help the who’s who of brands around the world, everything from Uber to Google, to Coca Cola, and Nestle and all these brands.

Leanne Elliott 10:32
So Martin’s latest book, which I have here is called the ministry of common sense had to eliminate bureaucratic red tape, bad excuses and corporate bullshit, it is brilliant. I read it. And then I was like, You know what, this will make a brilliant audio book, because the narrative that Martin puts in with his stories, and his turn is just brilliant. They do have an audio book, it’s not read by Martin is read by somebody else. But it is hilarious. I’m not sure I’ve ever read a business book before, that has made me laugh out loud. So highly recommend that. The Ministry of common sense is dedicated to restoring logic and sanity in organizations that are being crippled by pointless rules. Martin asked what happened to common sense and shows readers how they can get it back. If you’ve ever rolled your eyes at somebody, it just doesn’t make sense. your workplace, I think we all have, this is the book for you.

Al Elliott 11:22
So in this episode, we’re going to lead you through how you can start making your own ministry of sense in your business to transform it. And your culture will be asking Martin five key questions, we’re going to say, what is corporate bullshit, and what businesses are affected, to how to audit your business for corporate bullshit? Number three, the critical role of purpose, purpose is a huge one for us. The surprising role of empathy is number four, and number five is Marty’s hot take on the remote versus on site argument. Solely. And shall we crack on with that first one, which is what is corporate bullshit, let’s be honest, we’ve all experienced it. I haven’t worked in a company for like 20 years, but even back then I remember things like, you get locked out of your computer, and then you contact the IT department and they say, Oh, just go on our website. And there’s more information on that I’m locked out. That’s ridiculous. Being sucede into like, email threads, where there’s six and a half 1000 other people on the link, still get that

Leanne Elliott 12:15
word, we might not be in an organization. But we still get that.

Al Elliott 12:19
We had a conversation this week. And I’m like, there are 17 people on this email thread. If I was one of those 70. And I’m really pissed off. So Martin believes that leaders don’t usually think there’s much corporate bullshit in their organizations, but the actual number is off the charts. And he’s seen a lot of this firsthand.

Speaker 1 12:37
I actually remember when I went into the office of Standard Chartered Bank, and this lovely bank and lovely people in there for the American audience. It’s one of the 10th largest banks in the world. And I went up to a lady which were responsible for creating new regulations and guidelines in the company. And then she was talking a flick through these amazing books. He’s created with a 1000s of laws and guidelines, and God knows what. And I stopped that one. And it talked about how every contract you do has to be sent by fax as well. I said, Do you have a fax machine? He said, No, I don’t have a phone. Because Why do you ask people to do this? So Well, that’s an old one. But having your back and you remove it. You said I’m only paid to create new rules. I’m not paid to remove them once they’re not relevant anymore. Now, that changed later on. And in the case of Standard Chartered Bank, we actually started up what is called the ministry of common sense, is the first ever in the world where literally we have a whole team full time internally in the bank just to remove stupidities and nonsense. And this has been up running now for four years removed 1000s of stupidities in there. And it all came back to the fact that when you work in these big corporations there’s a lot of BS going through this system and my mission is to remove that. So

Leanne Elliott 14:04
in his book Martin defines common sense as the antidote to corporate bullshit. And the sum total of our ability to separate right from wrong efficient from inefficient valuable from worthless orderly from sloppy mature from childish The list goes on is a very funny book. His point is common sense is practical, common sense is reasonable. It’s dynamic, is interactive, it’s obvious or rather, it should be obvious. And when common sense is in place, it leads to a sense of happiness, productivity, and improved quality of life.

Al Elliott 14:39
The question I need to ask as a small business owner is this is this just the Giants This is the IBM that have this corporate bullshit, or do we have it as well in our in like any kind of business? Math explains that time is the key factor here. The longer

Speaker 1 14:51
a company has been around the more bureaucracy you have, mainly because a company which Let’s just go back in time, if you are a small startup, let me give you an example. There’s this two kids, they have this wonderful evening, they are smoking weeds in the dorm room. And they take a lot of photos to post them online. And the day after mom and dad is noticing these photos, and of course, panic breaks through. And they meet up and they say, Oh, how I wish we could retract those photos. Now, that became the foundation for Snapchat, today, a $50 billion company that was founded based on these kids feeling the pain, experiencing this pain themselves. That is how most companies are started, whether that’s IKEA, it’s Ubers, any company really. And then you could say empathy is really, really closely linked with a company and the people being employed in the company. But as a company grows, the company wants to protect what it has, it wants to protect his assets, they don’t want to be sued it don’t want to have people stealing their insights. So the credit all these rules and all these regulations. And with that comes all this red tape. So there’s a direct correlation between the age of a company and the degree of bureaucracy, the size of a company, but also the size of a country. And whether that country had rules, which is driven by lawyers a lot was like the cases in the United States, where everyone is petrified of being sued. And because of that, the companies have even more red tape. So there’s multiple factors. But I’ll tell you one interesting thing. We know we have something we call the bureaucracy index. And we know On average, the bureaucracy index among larger companies in the United States is 65% 100%. Basic means that 100% of the time is used a bureaucracy 65% means that 65% of the entire time you spend working is spent on nothing, basically only our productive 35% of your time in Europe is slightly lower, it’s around 52%. But it still gives you an idea of more than half of the time it’s basically wasted

Al Elliott 17:06
50 to 65% of your time at work is wasted. It’s spent doing nothing. It makes you wonder that if people have mad leaders are worried about people at home watching Netflix like I advise the people to do why bring people back to work because it’s just as bad in the office, if not worse. I don’t know about you, Lee, but if I work in an office, I get so distracted, they’ll go get a cup of tea, or we’re gonna go in a meeting and I’m like, I’ve got nothing done today. You sit down, you put your headphones on at home, you get two or three hours worked on like Cal Newport calls deep work, you get that done, and you feel like you just had a much better day Don’t you couldn’t agree more. Now, Martin, why not to explain the organizations with the best of intentions can suffer from this common sense crisis, especially if they operate in an industry we’ve got lots of red tape and bureaucracy. Red tape breeds red tape.

Speaker 1 17:53
Well, I think that during COVID-19, there was a very, very strong indication of how bureaucracy just was lost in many organizations. One example would be Lufthansa, the Lufthansa Group was one of the largest airline groups in Europe and in in the world, for that sake. Wanted to follow the regulations about COVID spread. So what they decided to do was to create these rules was a wonderful that when you disembark from the plane, they do it one soul at a time, the first the first three rows in the second, lots of rows and so forth. And these people will disembark out of the plane. Now, basically six passengers at a time with a nice taste and they will go down the staircase down on the time mock straight into a bus, okay, like, it would be like this big Jar Jar, you know, with a big mouth just eating all these models, and Dean’s right, going straight into this shoot pots. And it would be paired with everyone so much so that the sun behind you saying you have to keep one and a half meters distance of six feet to have tests you couldn’t even see design, because everyone would be standing like that. That is a classic example. And in particular, Lufthansa, but also many companies in the airline industry, had great struggles, managing days and are still lost in bureaucracy to a great degree. When I spoke to them at Lufthansa and I say to them, Hey, why do you do it? They said well as the one of Ireland companies doing it in the perfect way. So why don’t you learn from it? They said we paradise we just can’t do it. You will notice that industries which are driven by compliance a lot also is suffering a lot from that and that is banks, insurance companies and the medical sector travel whether so what life and death quite often is at play or where a lot of money is at play.

Leanne Elliott 19:49
So we’ve heard what corporate bullshit is and the types of organization industries that can be impacted, but the truth is, corporate bullshit can exist in any organization in any environment where have people come together so even smaller businesses can be affected, I have my own personal experience. So when I was a service delivery manager for the Department of Work and Pensions contract in the UK, I was asked to consult on the setup of a new contract in the south east of England, their leadership team are really struggling with the logistics when it came to reimbursing the travel of participants. So P basically, we’d support people either in terms of training courses, or work experience placements, who were claiming benefits looking for work. So it was important that we reimburse that travel for them. And and on a weekly basis, people can’t afford to wait a month before they get that, that travel money back. So I was listening to this meeting about how they would give the bus tickets and the petty cash to the host the placements who weren’t employed by the organization that they need to sign some sort of form, to say they understood the accountability of it and what they’re responsible for that they need to find another team, another form for the finance team so they could get paid. That would also require their bank details, some form of ID, and then they need to reconcile their petty cash and bus tickets on a monthly basis to show where they’re gone, they then have to get that specified special delivery, because it would contain customer details to the contract manager in a separate location, who would then have to send it special delivery, again, to the finance team in a different location. So they finalize this very convoluted process, and the MD turns to me and says, Liam, what do you think, well, this solution work? And I was like, Sure, in principle, but can ask a really stupid question. Why can’t the placement officers who see the end customers once a week, hand out the travel, reimbursements, silence, open mouths, and then howls of laughter for the end? who just turned to me? And sadly, that’s why you’re here? Is it? Because I had a great idea? No, it’s because I was removed enough. I wasn’t in the weeds of the setup of this contract. I was coming from an objective, more outside point of view. I think this is a problem with corporate bullshit. You know, often, we’re so involved in the day to day we’re so involved with this is just how things are. We don’t always have the time, nor the clarity and patience to stand back and go, is this best? Is this best solution? Or is this bordering on corporate bullshit? So that was my experience, even a small company of corporate bullshit.

Al Elliott 22:24
So Martin comes up with his idea of how to audit for common sense, which is part two of the episode. So the key thing here is how are you actually looking for this bullshit, Martin explains that everyone can fall into this trap, and even him a spring clean can be the solution.

Speaker 1 22:41
Yeah, you’re first of all, I think you need to do a spring cleaning, metaphorically speaking of your daily life. And the question is, when you did it the last time I didn’t do it for a long time, I have to admit, but I do do it at certain points of time. And spring cleaning means that you basically can categorize your daily life and work into four different pockets. One is stuff you do, what you’re really good at. One is stuff you do where yes, it could be better, or it could be more productive or more relevant. One pocket is stuff you should just remove, it’s a waste of time. And one is that we think about it. If you take and do an inventory check of the way you use your time, you’ll be very surprised that not everything is jumping into the first and the second pocket. There’ll be a lot of stuff which doesn’t fit into those was going into bucket three and bucket four private example. until about a year ago, it was too much YouTube videos. And don’t ask me what I was watching. I have no idea about it. There probably was cats jumping up and down or something, right. But the reality was that I was probably burning one and a half to two hours every day. And so I learned that by doing timesheets, and those timesheets helped me to not just look at my consumption of YouTube videos, but also unnecessary meetings, unnecessary stuff, which was just filling my diary, either because I was polite, or because I never thought about it was wasting my time. In the case of YouTube, by the way, I deleted all my cookies on YouTube, and suddenly I would find the most irritating, boring videos pop up in my feed and I would never watch YouTube again, literally. And I think this is my first advice, do an inventory check, do a spring cleanup. And look at those things which basically saying hey, you have to improve it, I had to get rid of it. If you do it the right way you will notice that around 30% of your time is in one way or another either wasted or could be optimized that will free you up with other stuff.

Al Elliott 24:52
Marcin says the once you’ve done your own sprinkly and then go and help your employees or your teams with their spring clean. I think a lot of leaders are see You know that that if they want implement this big change, there’s enough time that their team and their organization and the people have enough time to implement this, they just don’t, you need to start with any kind of change by giving them time back. So they can, they do have the time to make the changes you want.

Speaker 1 25:16
But you had to, when you make a change having an organization, you cannot assume that everyone has time to adopt your wonderful ideas of being more customer focused. And that is a general assumption and a general mistakes among corporates and corporates going through changes, when they’re transforming for the better. One assumes that person X sitting in department y can take aside 1/3 of his or her time, and she’s everything cut, because we are inundated with, we feel overwhelmed with work every day, we never have this little time and be humble. And we’re never been this busy. So the first thing you do is to free people up for time, go through that inventory check, you go through that spring cleaning, or use other methods to do it, we remove things from people’s desk, so the acid can breathe again. And once you do that, you put them in the shoes of consumers and have them experience what reality looks like. Once you do that, you identify what we call the low hanging fruit. That is one initiative, a small initiative you can implement straightaway. And you most likely will see a result within a week or two that lasts for 90 days. After 90 days, you look yourself in the mirror, and you ask yourself did it work? And what impact did it have on the organization, and you highly likely to learn three things. One is certainly people are more motivated, because you’re actually giving them time they needed in order to do changes that they wanted to do. But never were able to do, too, the customer probably will like your more, they’ll start to smile more. And they’ll say, Gosh, what happened here, and three, your attitude will start to have evidence it pays off. And what we learned by setting up ministries of common sense across the world is that the money you earn, you actually split into you earn some money. So 50% of those you take back to that division, or that function was now starting to earn money from cleaning up all the mess they made. And then other 50% you give back to other people in the organization to get them going. So it’s kind of a donation. And that means this is actually funding itself

Leanne Elliott 27:26
much a bit on to explain who should be responsible for this process, advising it that will really depend on the type and size of the organization.

Speaker 1 27:33
But it’s a really good question. And the answer is no, because it depends very much on what type of organization is the size of the organization. And what industry works in. If it’s a very small organization, it’s pretty obvious it’s the owner was doing it because the owner most likely will have a finger in every pie and therefore also have respect in every functional division. Whatever it is, you have, if you’re a small company, the problem is that there is no such thing as a culture person. And if there is a culture person, then you will notice that that function do not have enough power to make changes across the operation side, the legal side, the customer experience side, the marketing side, whatever it is. And that’s the reason why there is no one person you could go to what you can do, however, is start with the owner and start with the CEO, and created a task force where you have a small group of four people, each of them responsible for various areas collaborate in order to create a change through the organization, as a team, rather than as a one man show because as soon as it becomes a one man show, you can’t do it. And you can’t do it. Because quite often this is interlinked in organization across multiple different functions. You just can’t lift it yourself, you need to have the support and involvement and the passion from everyone right

Al Elliott 29:01
now this next bit I think is really cool. And something I wouldn’t have thought of if we hadn’t gone through this book and heard from Martin. He says that once you’ve done your own sprinkling, once you’ve done your employees, you should construct your customers you should ask them speaking to your customers and learning how they experience your product or service is absolutely gold when it comes to identifying corporate bullshit. Martin’s got some more great examples. Well, I

Speaker 1 29:24
think a very good way of indicating if this is the case or not, is basically to take the seat and see the world through the consumers point of view. And examine I’m writing about in my book, the Minister of common senses when I was in Miami watching television, and I had this highly complex remote control, which basically had to numerical notepads, and it had to have buttons and two on buttons. And I remember I had to watch up this television and I couldn’t switch it on because it was just so complex. Anyway, after finally In essence, succeeded, I watched television for 10 minutes, try to switch it off. But when I click the first off button, the light in the room beamed in cover movie six away. And when I click the second of button, the air conditioning system switched off, but the television was still running. And so I had to have my BOD in the air on plop the whole thing it was kind of running. And that’s really my story. Except that two or three months later, I’m flying from Miami to JFK. And I’m sitting next to this guy. And he’s with a small toggle button. And he asked me where I’m from. And I tell him, I’m from Lynchburg company and we transforming organizations and building cultures. And he asked, What are you from, and he says, he’s from this company. And I sort of fought for for swearing here. I said, What the heck went wrong with you guys, because that was that remote control. I’ve been fiddling around with two months prior. That was him working and developing that remote control. So he sat there like a deer in the headlight looked at me and of course, could not understand the thing. And I pull up my PowerPoint and explain this whole thing. And he said to me, Listen, this was very smart. I was doing it because we had an internal conflict. We had one department responsible for TiVo, another one from Netflix, the third one from audio streaming. And then we had the recording department. And all these ones were fighting for the real estate of the space on the remote control. And I decided to say, Well, why don’t we split into two zones. So one zone is owned by the TiVo people. One is by Netflix, one is by the recording. And I said that means you have two numerical notepads. Right, and you have two off buttons that you want on it. Yeah, he said, But you know what the good news he said was, it actually means that we know exactly what our roles and responsibilities are in our company. And I said, Yeah, and it means I can’t even switch off your remote control. This is a story about how there’s a disconnect between seeing the world from inside out and seeing the world from outside in. And it’s a little bit like metaphorically speaking of bridge, if you see a little crack on the outside of the bridge, you can be pretty sure the entire foundation is in jeopardy. That foundation is one experience from a remote control point of view. So the best thing you can do as a CEO, or co owner, or a senior executive, is to spend time with the consumer. And listen to what they experience, go out shopping with them, buy stuff online with them, go to the restaurant, or the customer service department, or whatever it is, I mean, a very big supermarket team we’re working for right now is open until 11 o’clock around the world opens up at seven in the morning. It’s open every single day, I get the concept of close down at five o’clock every day. And it’s close to in the weekends. So whenever there’s a complaint going on in the store, they can’t even say what a call the call center. But they have too few staff to actually handle the complaint in the store. So we have a limbo of two days up to two days. That is the lack of common sense. So you need to feel that pain of the consumers. And once you do that, well then you the ball is rolling? Oh, of course no. Sometimes companies come to us and, and they have asked measuring the bureaucracy index. And then we go on to measure that pie of serving the entire culture and figure out how much time people are spending on bureaucracy. Give them the number benchmark against other companies, and quite often people fall off the chair. Because they realize they’re wasting two thirds of the everyone’s time internally,

Al Elliott 33:37
corporate bullshit can be identified easily by how much time you spend on something. So assessing your time your team’s time, your customers time, a fundamental steps to auditing your business for this corporate bullshit. And you can reintroduce some common sense once you find that, how much time do you think you’re actually wasting due to red tape or bad excuses? Or worse? We’ve always done it this way. So we can’t do it any other way.

Leanne Elliott 33:59
I think that’s such a good thing, isn’t it? If you or anyone else has ever audited in your business? When someone asks, why do you why do you do it that way? That’s just the way we do. It smells like corporate bullshit me. You know, often when we work with clients, one of the biggest strains of employee experience and well being will identify his workload. So I’ll said one of the biggest gifts you can give your employees back is, is time when we feed this back to clients will often smile, roll their eyes and go Yeah, but you know, that’s SME live, maybe. But unless you’ve gone through this process, you spoke to your team, you spoke to your customers, you’ve audited for red tape and corporate bullshit, then that’s a bad excuse

Al Elliott 34:38
meetings. We all know this meetings. Usually you put half an hour in the diary. So you go well, I have to have half an hour. This is just ridiculous. Other examples. For example, you can just make sure you don’t have high value people working on low value tasks. Why should the head of sales be doing all of the admin for the sales when you can just get someone to come in and do that and for Hurry up that hour. I think a great example of this is The Four Hour Workweek, where you have to find out what high value tasks people need to be doing and take away all the other stuff, the greatest gift we can give our employees back is time. And as we’ve heard, they’re also gonna be more open to change and growth when they’ve got the time to think about it. But you

Leanne Elliott 35:17
might be saying, Leanne, what if I’m in an industry that is heavily regulated red tape is simply part of what we do. But as Martin explains, this excuse might actually be more reflective of a business owners not knowing how to break the cycle.

Speaker 1 35:33
I think the upside is there is an upside that these companies rarely do extremely big mistakes where they burn their fingers, meaning they mess it up legally, and receive huge lawsuits. But the problem is that as you have so much red tape wrapped around you, you are not very nimble, you’re very slow, you may slow at adopting innovation, adopting a behavioral change among the consumers and the customers, you’re going to slow at writing or reading the writing on the wall, in terms of my culture have a serious problem. And so the downside is much greater than the upside. And the upside, you could say is very temporary. In fact, I would claim that quite often, the operation succeeded, but the patient died. And that is, I think, the dilemma organizations kind of increasingly are aware of now that just don’t know how to break that catch. 22,

Al Elliott 36:39
Martin’s got a great story about Swiss International Airlines.

Speaker 1 36:43
Well, Swiss International Airlines, like any other airline companies out there, is driven by compliance. I mean, if plane crashes, a lot of people die. And that could be due to an instance of neglect, or where you simply want us not following rules and guidelines and regulations. So I don’t need to tell you that when you sit in meetings, and people are generating great ideas or thoughts, the first red card anyone can raise in a meeting like that is, well, wouldn’t that be dangerous? Are we not repeating that press we had in 19 185. And that’s exactly what happens in cyberspace. So when we began the journey with them, the first thing I did was to act as a employee in the cloud, serving passengers to understand how passengers are interacting with a cabin crew. And through this process, I realized that when you bought a plane, and maybe you are a connecting passenger, and you’ve had a dreadful trip, prior to boarding Swiss International Airlines, let’s say your lock is disappeared, you missed two connections, you were sitting on the tarmac for six hours, whatever, you will be in a certain mood, and that mood may not be delightful. But guess what you bought the plane, now there’s a new crew on board on this plane, and they have no idea about what mood you’re in. So you’re sitting there to see if now flying from Los Angeles to Zurich, let’s say. And as you are up in the cruising heights, and you switch on your screen, only to realize the whole screen is broken down. So now you have to sit there for 12 and a half hour, look into a black screen. Now if you’ve had that prior experience, you will be so to speak, a ticking bomb. And now the cabin crew comes down to you complain furiously, you tried to be slightly polite, you’re jet lagged on top of it, it doesn’t make you better. And of course, the cabin crew should be at this stage able to say well, I’m really sorry, what they actually are. But the problem is they can’t do more than saying I’m sorry, at that stage, that basically say, I’m really really sorry about this, here’s a custom complaint form. If you fill that out, we’ll get back to you within the next seven to nine weeks, which really was the case. So of course, at this stage, you have seven to nine weeks to basically abuse Swiss International Airlines on every possible social media challenge is to destroy that bloody airline company, right. And that was really the case. So what I realized through this process was when you when you look at the whole procedure, Why could we take that responsibility up in the cloud? One of the things I discovered was that an average customer complaint cost around $81 to handle and that is without the compensation. That’s just the ground handling. So we said well, why don’t we change that? Why don’t we instead, say well, let’s use those $81 for compensation and give the power to the cabin crew. And that’s exactly what we did. We gave them a palette of complaint tools they could use and we gave them the option to rack image Utley. And as a consequence of that, that was really interesting. We learned three things we learned, first of all, the customers loved it, the pastor loved it, because they were listened to taken care of and was sold straightaway. Yes, maybe they didn’t get the TV screen. But they’ve got free Wi Fi on the whole sector. Plus, they got an upgrade voucher for next time. Plus, they got free chocolate prostate got free champagne plus they got it was so much that people say, Oh, that’s fine. Okay, I get it. It’s bad, but not that bad. The second thing was happened was and that they actually saved money, believe it or not actually save money by changing it, because we could just use the, the handling money, and we didn’t have to get compensation money. But the third thing was even more interesting, we’ll learn that the purpose of the cabin crew increased, because suddenly they were given a mandate to add up what they signed up for the first time they got their job. This is a good example about how you empower people in the cloud, or in any parts of organization, by looking at things through a ministry of common sense lens, where you basically ask yourself, why haven’t we done that? And in the case of switching teams, as well, and so all sorts of different internet excuses. But when you peel the onion, you realize by just saying why you realize at some stage, there is more, there’s no more answers is like, I don’t know, we should we should change it. And that’s what we did there. I think that’s what most companies should do. But quite often, they give up very quickly. Because we see we sit on teams, we have to move on. And guess what, I’m not even paid for it. I’m not compensated for it. So why should I bother? Right?

Leanne Elliott 41:37
So as we’ve said before, values are words on a wall purpose is where your people will live, and breathe those values and everyday working life. Purpose is what happens when values are embedded in operations in working behaviors. It’s how we do things around here.

Speaker 1 41:56
Yeah, well, it sounds fluffy. And I didn’t believe in purpose until, I think 10 years ago. And I think the reason why I didn’t believe in purpose was because quite often we would have a vision statement in the reception, hanging up there a bit of dust on top of it, or we would look at the annual report, it will start with some vision, or some purpose statement, and it would ring hollow. And you would feel it would be sort of a piece of makeup put on top of something like veneer. But what happens is that generation See, or said, are looking at their parents now and the parents are my age. And then we’ll look at the gray hair, the look at how it’s worn down worn out. Generation, we work in the whole life, striving towards getting a higher title, more power or earning more money. And then we’ll have looked at their degree of depression and anxiety. And that was said to themselves, I don’t want to do that. I wouldn’t be like my dad, or my mom or my parents. And that’s where we see this generation. See, now they are increasingly saying to himself, I want to go against that. In fact, I don’t want to collect assets like they did, the more I collect, the more happier I am meaning consumption, I want to collect memories and experiences. Instead, I want to rent things. If companies do not take that into account, and they please you or anyone of generation sees it in front of a screen, and now they have to hammer away eight to 10 hours where 65% is bureaucracy, you’re gonna be pretty sure the loyalty is basically zero. And the new employer out there, it’s just a link away. So what I think is really important for organizations is to build a purpose into it was fundamentally true. And which resonates with this generation. And if you can do that, the go to work, and you’re not just doing it because you’re earning money, but you’re doing it because you change the world a little bit. You changed people’s happiness, liberal Olympic, you make people more happy or more content, then I think you will attract a lot of people. And you better get going with this because this is just the beginning. I fundamentally believe that companies in the future cannot survive. If they’re not supporting the environment. If they’re not supporting quality, if they’re not having a purpose. Those factors are not ticked. There will be old dinosaurs just fading away slowly.

Leanne Elliott 44:34
Another aspect of leadership behavior and culture that is critical to eliminating corporate bullshit. And building a ministry of common sense is empathy.

Speaker 1 44:43
But what it comes down to is that you need to build a culture where empathy is really driving the way you interact with the surroundings. Remember, empathy is the ability to put yourself in the shoes of another person and feel what that person is feeling. And this is really interesting, because common sense is almost the same it is your ability to see some something from a perspective, right from another person’s view, from a common point of view. So there’s a direct correlation between common sense and empathy. So basically, what it means is if you don’t have empathy and organization, you actually don’t have common sense. If you go into the medical space, for example, where it’s highly regulated, one of the things we worked a lot with is to find out how can you infuse common sense into the everyday lives of patients into healthcare providers into whatever it is, and I’ll give you one example. Out of many, but, for example, is one of the largest respiratory disease, pharmaceutical companies in the world based out of Italy. And they have been around for nearly 100 years, and they wanted to be more customer focused. So I said to them, when did you last spend time with your patients? And they said, Never, I said, it’s really for 100 years, you haven’t best to we couldn’t do it because of compliance. In a way we persuaded them to do it. And I ended up in a home of a 28 year old lady, and she had asthma her entire life. And I asked her one of these questions which led on soon to be profound. I said to her, you’ve had asthma your entire life, how did it feel like to have asthmatic child and to start to cry? is a totally it is very touching story about how she was bullied in school, she had no friends. She was ditched from parties, he was a disgrace for human mankind. This is me quoting her. So she was very impacted by the citizen. When I look at you today, if you come across as having a lot of confidence. Why is that happening? Let’s see, pulls out a handbag and out of a handbag, she kind of pulls out a straw. They said this is my secret. So what do you mean, once you said, Whenever I meet someone new, and you call it and you friend, whatever is always given this straw, and then ask them to hold themselves for the nose, and breathe through the straw for one minute. And after one minutes, they will exactly know how I feel as a person. So took that idea and hit the ball doing the same and after 30 seconds, one guy spits out the straw is it this is the most ridiculous thing ever. Coke can possibly look like this. And I said to him, that is how your patients live every minute of entire life, and they’re paying your salary. And if you could hear a penny drop, you would have heard it. And this is really the first step towards establishing a sense of empathy. Because as a consequence of that, we developed an onboarding key to all new employees where they actually received a straw that to break through the straw. We develop this to build it into marketing into r&d into operation. So literally, empathy took a centerpiece of everything they’re doing today. And with that the organization slowly changed around. So my experience is it’s possible to do in an organization which is compliance driven, but you too, will have to be different than empathy quite often is a powerful tool.

Leanne Elliott 48:16
As Martin explains in his book, empathy is in short supply, especially post pandemic, many of us are experiencing compassionate fatigue, you know, the physical, emotional, psychological impact of helping others. And research from the University of Michigan has also found empathy to be in decline. So this is a study that Martin quotes in his book looking at 14,000 college students between 1980 and 2010, they found a significant decrease in empathic concern and perspective taking. And perhaps controversially, the research concluded, and I’ll quote, a millennial mixture of video games social media, reality, reality TV and hyper competition have left young people self involved, shallow and unfettered in their individualism and ambition. I told you, I’ve said this before, before Gen Zed came along, the millennials were the devil. Martin quotes is research in his book and shares his belief that Anthony has declined even further since 2010. I asked, Why does he feel this is such a big problem?

Speaker 1 49:23
Well, it is a problem for multiple reasons. And one of them is when you remember the correlation between empathy and common sense. We live in a world where we don’t look each other in the eyes as much as we did in the past, whether I’m on the phone, so you don’t see people on the street or right now, I don’t see you in the eyes and you don’t see me in the eyes. Really. I’m looking at a lens. And so we losing eye contact and eye contact in meetings is a buffer. So when you sit in a meeting, and you’re 10 people and you come up with a crazy idea, there’s no way You can gather that feeling of if people like it or not, if it’s in a team’s meeting, if you just pause for five seconds, the first thing people will say is your mute unmute. So we can’t even think we can’t even reflect it, people would say an introvert can’t even attend, because there wouldn’t be like a machine gun talking, right? So empathy is slowly declining. And we’ve never seen such a big decline as we saw during COVID-19. But even before, you will notice that one experiment, done over 10 years showed a decline among denarius and see of 65%. So empathy, the ability to feel with other people is disappearing. We’ve built walls, we survive and thrive in small bubbles was a self fulfilling prophecies. And so that directly correlates with me working in large organizations where I basically do not have an interest in helping other people when it comes to empathy. I dig down in my little silo, I do my work. I do it with producing a lot of PowerPoints and a lot of bureaucracy, and then I move on, there is no feeling of I have to help that person. Let’s Stick Together, let’s create a teamwork because you could have to do it in a digital format. So yes, it is in a fast decline, and it probably will continue being in a decline for for for many years to come. I would say.

Al Elliott 51:21
Controversially, Martin believes that remote work isn’t always brilliant, it could have a detrimental impact on our kind of what he calls the interpersonal sensitivity. So Leon asked him, Where do you stand on this whole debate, debate of 2023 can remote and hybrid work

Speaker 1 51:37
work? I’m pretty sure you’re trying sometimes you have a good girlfriend or boyfriend, which you haven’t seen for some time. And then you meet up. And when you together, you say to yourself, Wow, I just missed this a completely forgot how it was to begin together with him and her. That is an emotional muscle, that muscle memory is like water in a glass deteriorating or evaporating. Over time, we forget the importance of the human interaction. Forget about that wild feeling when we go to a festival or concert, or we just hang around with friends without phones being the centerpiece. We have the same problem in organizations, we forget about the importance of human interaction, and basically create a one off rule which says, well, everything has to be happening online. There’s no travel anymore, we can be productive. But that leads me to the second problem. The second problem is we don’t have that emotional buffer. That means that there’s certain things online is really good at online is powerful when it comes to status meetings, for us sort of revealing how far you were as a problem, a very rational conversation. But this media is really, really bad when it comes to ideation or when it comes to consensus seeking. Or it comes to very emotional conversation whether you have to hire or promote a coach a person. So you have strengths and you have weaknesses. So you might

Al Elliott 53:05
think that means Oh, well, Martin is 100% bullish on office work. But it’s not exactly see Martin emphasizes there’s a need for individuality, compromise, and potentially hybrid working. And I

Speaker 1 53:17
think what organization have to come to realize is, you can’t just say one size fits all, you have to say if you want to be creative, if you want to use the right side of your brain, for certain purposes, then you schedule things in an in person meeting, if you want to create in a meeting culture is an in person meeting, if you want to do status meetings, it’s a rational exchange of information or education, you can use the online channel, and then you can mix it. And of course, that’s extremely tricky. If you have a bunch of women which got used to working from home because they’re the kids at home. And that’s actually pretty convenient. And I understand that, then suddenly they will say, Well, I don’t want to go to work at all. But I have to say, we need to understand just like you are using different skills at work, know some skills, maybe you’re really good at writing others, are you good at calculating, some are good at negotiation, some other presentation techniques, you need to also be aware of that each of those skills are amplified through different channels. And you can’t just say no, I don’t want to do it. You have to say okay, if I want to utilize my creative skills or culture skills, I also need to suffer a little bit with with being present. And it’s not just women, it’s men as well as young people is lots of different groups who have become somewhat addicted to the idea of we can do a nine to five in front of the screen. You also have to remember this last point when we don’t interact with people were to this suffering a lot. We don’t know it, we can’t feel it. But subconsciously we know today that the majority of the way we work and the reason why we live longer is because of human interaction. That’s the number one and number two reason why we live longer. You is when we have a sense of belonging and a purpose in life. If we take smoking or alcohol consumption or eating unhealthy is number seven, eight and nine on the global top 10. So when you sit behind a screen, you feel you’re interacting with other people, but actually that physical proximity, that tactile sensation is not stimulated. So there’s multiple factors, which you have to be aware of that it may seem, on a short period to, in a short period of time, being very convenient to do stuff at home. But you really have to understand has to be a combination of both sides to make the full picture complete, right,

Leanne Elliott 55:35
Martin does make the point in his book that a lack of common sense and an abundance of corporate bullshit could be making remote work, or hybrid work more difficult. And the recent research that’s come out in the last couple of years has shown that to be the case, if we look at things like employee engagement and well being remote work acts as what we call a moderator. So employee engagement is high, remote work will work really well. If employee engagement is low, remote work is really, really difficult. This can all be summed up by being intentional. And Martin also begs his readers to remember that not everything has to be a meeting, ask yourself, what is the goal of this interaction is a meeting the best or most effective way to achieve that goal, not everything needs to be a meeting,

Al Elliott 56:23
Matt has got this great idea that if you are remote working, it helps, then you can separate your home and your work life by getting in and back out of the right mindset.

Speaker 1 56:31
Make sure when you are jumping on teams, or su meetings that you first of all, are transferring yourself from one mindset to another. You try to yourself when you go to work in the old days, you will leave your apartment or your house, you will sit in the car. And when we didn’t have the phone to we will listen to the music to the radio, we’ll look at the landscape we look at people passing by. And we basically kind of synchronize into another Mindset. Right. And that mindset is extraordinary important for you to jump into. We call that enclosed cognition. And then close could this is really born out of the idea that some scientist gave a bunch of people, lab coats and about each of the lab coats, identical looking, by the way that we one sign saying doctor, the other set of lab coats will say dentist and the third one that wouldn’t be assignable. When they put on the doctors lab coat, they will answer questions faster, have fewer errors, and their self esteem would doctor, the dentist a little bit more than average, and the one without sign wouldn’t have an impact. That’s called enclosed cognition. And impulsiveness is really what we do when we go to the theater and dress up or I put on my fancy watch, or whatever we do, it changes our self esteem, it changes our mindset. So my second advice, besides the spring cleanup is for you to do transitions to when you go to work, you leave your home, you walk around the apartment block, as silly as it sounds, go back into that room, do your work. And once you’ve done your work, you walk around the whole block to reset your mind and go into to the room again, that will help your brain to synchronize. So these are two pieces of advice, a lot of advice I could give you. But hopefully that gives you a sense of that our brain is a very fine tuned mechanism, which is not like a machine which can just turn on and off. It has to be adapted to the surroundings and the new change of our work environment. And sometimes you really take it for granted that it will work. But we should be careful doing that because it will impact our mood, our self esteem, how productive we are and even how we look and interact with other people. Yeah,

Leanne Elliott 58:49
I mean, I think that there are moat hybrid in office debate is going to rage on for a good while. Yet there are pros and cons to each there are benefits and drawbacks to each and what works is likely going to depend on the individual and on their individual preferences and individual circumstances. But what we do know is that the only way is forward, there is no way of going back to the office set up the traditional office setup that we had pre pandemic the genie is out of the bottle, we have to think about work in an entirely new way that will incorporate remote work into it. So again, I think you know, it’s about intention when it comes to these new ways of working. And to quote our incredible guest today, Martin, you can either observe the future or influence it.

Al Elliott 59:35
Absolutely love, love, love that quote. So let’s finish up with a few final words from Martin about how you implement a ministry of common sense in your own business.

Speaker 1 59:44
You have to remember that Rome was not built in one day, or to use another metaphor when Mother Teresa started to change a revolution or Martin Luther King did or Gandhi did. Gandhi took one village at a time and you walk from one village to another, and he spread the word. And the word, we’re gathering momentum, what we call a movement and the moving movement became big and big. And suddenly it changed India and change the world. This is important to have in mind when you do transformations of organizations and of conscious, you cannot change an organization or let’s say 100,000 staff at one night, you have to start in the small and build small movements. And let those movements grow in an organic way and have people recruit people recruit people, based on energy based on passion, based on hope, and based on evidence. And if you create small pilot studies, like what we did with sweet international airlines, or with Senator Tyra bank, or any of these many companies, then this function as evidence to show to the world, it is possible, because you have to remember a lot of people, a lot of employees have given up the patient saying, Oh, here we go. And then project why, while I don’t understand why I will be doing it, project how project Transformation Project 2030, all these different initiatives with a new CEO was this, this is the moment we’re going to change it to make our company the best in the world. What people have been hurt so many times that cry, Wolf has really taken so much power that people have been more or less numb. And as they become numb, they don’t trust in the messages. So the only way you can make people trust MS is to prove it. And that’s where you do small interventions, what I call 90 Day intervention, small interventions, what’s immediately can be measured, they don’t need a lot of red tape to be removed. And then you can celebrate the success after they’ve succeeded. Then you create a movement around it, and you recruit more people, which is believers, they do the same experiment, and you recruit more, and suddenly you change an organization. So don’t be fooled by changing half a million or million staff for that sake or overnight, start with hundreds, then go to 200, then go to 510,000, and so forth.

Al Elliott 1:02:07
And he said he’s never going to underestimate the power of culture again.

Speaker 1 1:02:12
Well, it’s been a hidden miss, it’s been a hit in terms of I come up with, I think great ideas, I was asked many years ago to reinvent the happy meal for McDonald’s globally with a former former former CEO. Yet when we came up with the most wonderful concept, which were healthy, the machinery just couldn’t handle it. And the idea drowned and ended up with an apple in a happy meal, sliced apple bill. And I think what I realized there was it’s not just a matter of coming up with great ideas and concepts, you need to work with the immune system, as I call it. So the defense mechanism for chains. So ideas will only survive if you couldn’t navigate it, as Warren Buffett once said, and learn to eat strategy for breakfast. Why? And I think, you know, I think you can no doubt what we’re talking about here is that the culture is so powerful. That if we do not take that into account from day one, when you are changing organizations, building amazing cultures doing innovation, then you losing you losing immediately. So I’ve come to learn and respect the culture is a major ingredient in that cake. I’m baking everyday for millions of staff, I would say around the world. And I think that if you’re not passionate around it, you can’t send energy within the organization. And why would people believe in it? I’ll tell you one story to sort of wrap up story just to give you a sense of what really motivates me. One of our clients is Lowe’s in the United States. And I worked with him for 11 years. And the owner called me 11 years ago and said, Martin, we really would like you and your team to come in and help us. And because you’re close to bankrupt. And so we worked with them, we changed the culture, it became by far the most successful supermarkets in the United States. And about half a year ago, I went to one of the lowest stores in North Carolina and this elderly man comes up to me crying, he hugs me and he says You saved my life. And I was kind of baffled because I never seen the person before. I didn’t know what this was all about. So I said, Tell me more. And you said listen, we have three generations working here. My kids and their kids are working in those in a town that for basically last 55 years. Had we lost these jobs, our entire family would have been in ruins. You saved our lives. And that I realized was much more rewarding that money theme or the books behind me or whatever it is, because I changed lives as save lives. And I think you cannot imagine anything better. And that’s the reason why I’m so motivated because it actually had a purpose. And I think we all need a purpose into.

Al Elliott 1:05:11
Martin, thank you so much for joining us on this episode. So many good tips so many great books. If you just go and start with his ministry of common sense, you will love it.

Leanne Elliott 1:05:20
It really is. It’s such a good book, it might actually be my favorite, my favorite business book that I’ve read of 2023 It’s so good to get the audiobook as well. It’s so funny. It’s like a six hour long podcast. It’s just hilarious and brilliant. So yes, Martin, thank you. We will leave the link to Martin’s LinkedIn in the shownotes along with where you can buy the book. Next week, we will be bringing you a very special episode for World Mental Health Day which is next Tuesday, the 10th of October.

Al Elliott 1:05:49
And then if you are in London, I think we might mentioned before on the 12th Come and see us in London at Mad World Summit Mad World See you next week. Bye bye

Like this?

Join 112,000 listeners every month who get expert insights on building amazing workplace cultures!


💬 Want a chat about your workplace culture?

📣 Got feedback/questions/guest suggestions? Email

👍 Like this kinda stuff? Click here to subscribe…