ep. 110 - Juliet Funt:
Expert in Coping with the Age of Overload & CEO, WhiteSpace
Juliet Funt is the founder and owner of WhiteSpace at Work, training and consulting firm that helps organizations, their leaders and employees flip the norms of business in order to reclaim their creativity, productivity and engagement. With thought-provoking content and immediately actionable tools, she has become a nationally recognized expert in coping with the Age of Overload in which we all live and work.
Juliet helps people learn the pivotal difference between activity and productivity. She teaches them a streamlined method for personal process improvement – leading to more creativity and engagement. She helps executives, managers, and teams answer the critical question “What thoughts deserve my full attention today?”
Juliet Funt is a force for change in organizations around the world, helping them find their WhiteSpace, recharge their people and reclaim their passion for work.
Kyle Davis: With us today on GDA podcast, we have Juliet Funt. She is an expert in coping with the age of overload. She's also the CEO of Whitespace At Work and the daughter of Alan Funt of Candid Camera [00:01:00] fame. With that being said, Juliet, how are you?
Juliet Funt: I am great today. How are you?
Kyle Davis: I'm doing so well. I guess let's just hit the elephant in the room, you're the daughter of Alan Funt of Candid Camera. What was that like growing up and how many practical jokes did you get pulled on you?
Juliet Funt: Yes. Actually a couple, but not as many as everybody wishes that I had, I suppose. The sad fact is that it was much like growing up with any other father [00:01:30] for 364 days out of the year, and then every once in a while, you go visit him at work and he would put a hidden camera on you and just see what you had to say. So I would say I had a high percentage of average parenting days and some very, very strange ones.
Kyle Davis: I think it's always interesting when you have somebody who is kind of an icon, and I think it'd be even more interesting if they were a prankster, so I guess that's interesting.
Juliet Funt: Yes. You probably also have a lot of listeners who don't know what that show was. It was, for anybody here who's kind of looking at [00:02:00] their neighbor saying, "Huh." Candid Camera was a little like Punk'd back when taste was in style, that's what we like to say. And it was interesting in that it really did begin the genre of reality television shows, but in such a much different style of such kindness and empathy. And my father would just never stop being ill if he saw some of the things that were done in the name of kit-catching real people being themselves these days. Changed a lot.
Kyle Davis: Speaking [00:02:30] of kind of catching people as they are and in their real state, one of the things that, I guess you're known for, is being an expert in coping with the age of overload and I think when you catch people in their real state today, they're overwhelmed, overloaded and there's just so much going on. So how did you get into that space and how did it all come about for you?
Juliet Funt: Sure. So our company is called Whitespace At Work. We'll give you a little idea of kind of what we're up to [00:03:00] so you understand the context. We have one focus in our work, and that is that we help high achieving teams reduce busywork so they can execute better. So everything really is about this porting over of the tension from the exertion base, frenetic, reactive way that so many of us work, to a more thoughtful mindset where we step back, where there's time for strategy and creativity and reflection. And this small but mighty shift from exertion to thoughtfulness is one that we really believe will be absolutely critical to the future of work. [00:03:30] And it's the ability to keep talented people from burning out in an age of constantly intrusive technology.
And so that is what we care about. And we see it everywhere we go; finance, pharma, retail, CBD, food service, it doesn't matter what industry you're in anymore. Everybody has acclimated to a very busy, very pressed, long hours, hyper-connected work style and we have sort of all magically learned to take the pain so much so that we [00:04:00] really often do not even notice anymore that we are uncomfortable. And there are so many prices that we pay and so many prices that organizations pay. But we think that the acclimation is one of the most fascinating parts of this conversation.
Kyle Davis: I think when we ... Like what I'm thinking about, unless this is something we talked about prior to record, people sometimes have this idea of what work is or they don't think about the process or anything like that, it's just these little things [00:04:30] that, frenetic is, I guess, the greatest word that you used. They just kind of impede life when you should really be focusing on being more attentive to your customers needs, not loads of administrative work. Or really thinking about strategy versus always having to be a tactician on and making every single day count because you haven't really planned things out.
So what is it that you're seeing this shift in work that's kind of agnostic to industry when people are shifting [00:05:00] from this frenetic kind of busywork to this more thoughtfulness? And why are they doing it, and what are the benefits of it in the long term?
Juliet Funt: So there's like 17 chapters in what you just asked me, so I'm going to go back to the start and just sort of roll through. So the first thing you have to do is get a ... I think there's a lot of senior leaders listening and so for them, we want to kind of paint a picture of what this feels like for the frontline and maybe some of the small blind spots that some of us may be in about this kind of problem.
[00:05:30] What we often talk about is if you're a senior leader and you imagine two or three visual things that are the absolute apex of what you care about your team doing. So for a sales person, it's building those deep relationships, for a marketing person, it's allowing great innovative ideas to come through to them for ... On and on just thinking about what are the two or three things that are absolutely the hot golden opportunities that your folks should be touching.
And you imagine all the people that work for you running down a road toward these two or three things, running, [00:06:00] running with great effort and energy. And then as they're running, vines grow up around their ankles and then buzzards come down and pick them on the ears and then tumbleweeds come and block their path and boulders fall and they would have a very hard time getting to the gold. And we say, well of course we would do anything as leaders to relieve them of these obstacles and distractions, and we do say that in that hypothetical scenario.
But in the real world of work, though boulders and the buzzards and the vines are [00:06:30] stupid email, unnecessary meetings, stupid reports, nonsense work, unbelievable complexity, 30 page decks, on and on and on and on and on. And these distractions and annoyances somehow are not focused on as something that needs to be eliminated. And the larger the company is, the deeper the mire that folks are having to walk through in order to get to the work that they're meant to be doing.
And so, [00:07:00] one of the things that we're really fascinated by is looking at various areas of cost of being inured to working this way. So one of the big costs that we talked about I think before was this, the idea of looking at the top line, starting there, and understanding that in order for top line growth to occur, new ideas must form. But addled, exhausted, hyper connected minds that are soaked in dopamine and tired all the time can't generate breakthrough ideas.
First [00:07:30] of all, we're sacrificing the top line and we're sacrificing growth by working this way. Then there's the human cost, which appeals to, there's a certain kind of leader out there we call them the evolved leader, they could really care less about anything else about this problem, but they just can't stand to see their people working this way. They can't stand seeing them missing their families, not taking vacation, tired all the time, gaining weight. They are in pain feeling like they have to choose between people and profitability.
And then there's the bottom line costs, and [00:08:00] this is the one what we think is really the most under explored and where you and I have in common this fascination with quantification. We notice that very, very, very few companies ever quantify busywork. And so we started doing that, and we started asking people really simple questions at the beginning of what the typical initiative, we usually work with a company for about a year to do the first tranche of our very light work, and we ask them questions at the beginning and then we started doing some math.
I can unpack this for you further if you're interested. But what we [00:08:30] found is, we usually see about a million dollars of annual waste for every 50 people in a line of business. So if you start multiplying, these are extraordinary numbers that come from things like CC emails, interruptions and recovery time. One thing that we call overload related turnover, which is when employees lead correlated to certain keywords like stress, burnout, workload balance. And it's an extraordinary thing.
And it's an extraordinary thing that would never ever, ever be tolerated [00:09:00] if you worked in a factory. Because if you worked in a factory, you always are quantifying and you're always eliminating and you're always optimizing and you know that every dollar counts. And yet when we transition over to a place where people are just sitting at desks and coming up with ideas and building relationships, somehow that quantification lens goes out the window and we find a way to just be complacent about this waste despite its extraordinary cost.
And what's even more extraordinary is [00:09:30] that a million dollar number has already been cut in half because our formulas are very, very conservative to make up for the fact that the data is self-reporting. So it's really 2 million for 50, it's crazy numbers.
Kyle Davis: Yeah. There's just a number of different things, but one of the things that you talked about was, this wouldn't fly in an assembly line kind of process. And one of the conversations I had when I was working in Silicon Valley was with a franchise [00:10:00] company that's in the food space, and I thought it was weird and interesting but they were always worry about cook times and how fast it takes somebody to order, how fast it takes to ring somebody up down to the second. It all mattered.
And the reason it mattered and when I had someone explain to me is it's all about operational efficiency. If I can cut order time down by 10 seconds, I can get five more orders in and five ... Something like that, you can then increase your profitability just by being more efficient. [00:10:30] And then when we were talking about it prior trying to recording, it's like these little things that people have to do. It may not even have to be something as simple as like CCing on an email, it could be having to pay something in a note section because you just haven't bought a CRM that can just automatically up do an email and to catch an email.
It's these little aspects that waste a minute here, two minutes here, and then once you start quantifying it to your point, you begin to see the lost [00:11:00] efficiency and what the total cost is or on the flip side, how much more you could make just like freeing up the time of your employees, at least on the sale side, where I come from.
Juliet Funt: Yeah, that's a big part of it. And then we sort of want to keep a balance between this new awareness of quantification and kind of the efficiency side. And also the awareness of the more intangible cost that we can't really put into words or put into numbers but simply that cost of, "What would be different [00:11:30] if my team had time to think? If they could step back from an interaction and evaluate it a little bit, or they could prepare a little bit more for the next interaction or they could look internally and see where they had or had not improved their own professional behavior in the day."
A lot of senior executives are my age or older. I just turned 50 so we remember the time when you'd go into the boss's office and they would be thinking and they would be looking out the window and you would sneak out because you knew that that was the hour where [00:12:00] all the goodies in the world were created. We don't do that anymore. People don't do that anymore. Senior executives may recuse themselves and have moments where they have this deep thoughtful time that we would call white space, but most of the folks who work for them and for them and for them down the line don't even allow themselves a step of time.
And what's really the most tragic about it is, they will pick up another task right after a lost task, almost in fear of being in one moment of thoughtfulness [00:12:30] where someone's going to come around the corner and say, "What are you up to? What are you up to? What are you up to?" So they just grab the next thing regardless of whether it's a smart thing to be touching on that day and at that time. And that's what we see in, as I said, almost every industry, there's one or two, there are outliers but it's very common.
Kyle Davis: One of the things that I've picked up on when we are talking prior to record is that after this recording of our podcast, you have another call that you're going to jump on and you wanted to bake in like a five to 10 minute break. What you're going to do during [00:13:00] the break is really kind of inconsequential to me. But it's at least enough time for you to think about kind of what you're going into, to mentally de-brief over what just happened from this recording.
And I'm just reminded of one of the greatest things that I learned from one of my mentors was, baking in this time after a meeting to really reflect and think about what came out of it before I move into my next step because, and the line that he used was, don't confuse action with progress. And he always said something like, " [00:13:30] Someone drowning is pretty active but they're not going anywhere."
Juliet Funt: It's a nice one. Yeah, we say activity versus productivity, same kind of concept. This is great if you have sales people listening, it's a really interesting conversation for them. Most people like me who've been on the phones for 15 years running a company are selling something, I could incredibly easily hang up with you at 1:29 and dial in at 1:30 and they would never ever be a perception of anything missing from [00:14:00] the second call. Not a chance. But the truth is, that if I spent two full minutes staring at the profile, the notes, the picture of the person that I'm about to talk to and shifting my attention to truly think of their needs, prior conversations, maybe emphasizing a little bit with what their circumstances are like, it just completely changes the nature of how that next interaction or call goes.
And in our digital learning course, we call that hall time. And we analogize [00:14:30] it to in high school where you had to bells to transition from anything. You had to you have the stand up bell, which means you leave the classroom, and then you had to sit down bell. And there was time in between for a transition, for a bio break, for a power bar. And we just don't do that anymore. We sit at our corporate office in downtown Manhattan or wherever and we have our 12 to one meeting, and then we have a one to two meeting or two to three and or three to four and four to five. And there is never a moment to [00:15:00] process or prepare.
Kyle Davis: The processing and preparing, I think, is hugely important. It really transcends just being in sales because it can really be impactful anything, whether it's a meeting or whatever, you need time to process after so that you can start to reflect on it and put it into action.
Juliet Funt: Yes, and one of the subtlest ways of using that time is not really a business application but it's a very, very good for morale and energy [00:15:30] is to just use some of that processing time for the appreciation of a victory. So if you get off a wonderful call and you've built a relationship or you've started a project or you said something great, One thing that was wonderful, just a white space moment where you get off the call and go, "Damn, that was fun," or "That went well," or ""That that was more than I expected."
Those little buoying moments of self-appreciation or gratitude, those are also not inconsequential to keeping you going through [00:16:00] a power through day or power through week.
Kyle Davis: So when you mention names, because I was in Silicon Valley for a long time ago the importance is like a bio break and all the stuff, but we all talk about the importance of ... A meeting doesn't have to last as long. If it's schedule for 45 minutes, it's okay to end it at 30 minutes if there's nothing else to talk about.
Juliet Funt: Yeah. It's funny, we had an older gentleman who used to work with us named Lonnie and he told me a story about the late 80s where somewhere [00:16:30] in some leadership magazine or something they said that people should have weekly staff meetings. And he said, okay we'll do it. And he got his nine people together and he said, "We're having a weekly staff meeting." And then every week he'd be racking his brains saying, "What am I going to talk about in this meeting?"
And then we go from there where there's a vacuum with no content, to so much hyper collaborative, include everyone, have every single person vote on everything, comment on everything kind of collaboration, where we are dominated [00:17:00] by a meeting culture. And so yes, we love to see a shorter meeting. We love to schedule 20s or 45 instead of 30s or 60s, that's all very white space like. But it also does require a little bit of skill because if you want to leave a meeting on the 45, you actually have to start ... there's kind of a countdown. You have to start noticing the clock around 37, 38. Then you have to start putting your stuff together around the 41, you're sending visual cues, " I'm closing my Levenger now, I'm [00:17:30] putting my iPhone on top, I'm putting the top on my pen. 42, you're talking next steps and 45, you're out of the door.
It's not even easy for people who want to end the meeting on the 45 to do that because they think that they start that process at 44 and that's not effective. So you do need to get in the habit of it and have a team around you that kind of understands the importance of this as well and that will buoy everybody to do it together.
Kyle Davis: I'm glad you're talking about like these subtle cues that someone leading a meeting should start to say, "Hey, okay, [00:18:00] we're wrapping it up." Without saying whatever they're doing, they're just progressing and letting everybody kind of follow along and mirroring what they want say.
Juliet Funt: Yep. If you're in off site, you're picking up your keys. It's like having a conversation with someone who won't stop talking, you start by, you touch the elbow and then you touch the fore ... You're trying to sense physical cues first or visual cues first because it's less confrontational.
Kyle Davis: One of the things that you mentioned was those team meetings or these dictatorial, [00:18:30] very monologue-esque meeting where someone's kind of talking down to everybody. But then there's this hyper collaborative, and I begin seeing these a lot lately we're just like everybody has to have a voice and everybody has to have an opinion. And I have always left those meetings just feeling like what happened in like what ... "Why was this important?" Because I don't know why I'm even there.
I don't know what to think of this meeting because I have no action items, I don't know what to [00:19:00] do.
Juliet Funt: Right. Right. There are enormous, enormous amounts of meaning of inefficiencies in every direction but this particular problem of hyper collaboration is one that we interestingly see strongest in the Midwest because it's an incredibly polite culture. I have a sense it might be dominant in Canada too but we don't do enough work there. But this feeling of wanting to be sweet and include everybody and make them feel heard and it comes from such a lovely place in people's impulse. It [00:19:30] really does. And it is wonderful to work in a company where that is even thought of because obviously the opposite of that dictatorial meeting is not what you want either but there usually is no exit strategy.
So let's say you're opening the doors and you're going into collaboration. We kind of could confuse collaboration with consensus and we want to collaborate and collaborate and collaborate and the only way we feel we're done is if every single person happens to be exactly on the same page at one point and then we ring [00:20:00] a bell and we abow and we say we're done, but that's a consensus that's not collaboration. For true collaboration, what we want is, we want people to have some time where they can hash out pros and cons, throw in their ideas, but then there has to be some exit strategy, which says, "Either a certain leader is eventually going to make a call or at some point we're going to vote or we're going to allow this to go back and forth and back and forth for a prescribed amount of time."
There has to be a way that you exit the endless [00:20:30] funnel of everybody having the next idea. And that's the phase that most people ignore.
Kyle Davis: And I'm glad you're addressing that because it seems like sometimes that when people have these kind of hyper collaborative environments or something like that because nothing really comes out of it because no decision was made by the person organizing the meeting. They just threw a structure together but no one was in charge of making a decision, so just kind of like it [00:21:00] ends with with no end.
Juliet Funt: Right. And I think that there are ways to acknowledge people and include them without throwing away the fact that at the end of the day, it's okay in an organization for a leader to make a call. And if it's presented in a gentle way to say, "Hey folks, hey team. I really want to hear everything you have to say here but I'm going to be making a call myself at the end of this." I think that if that's presented correctly, it can [00:21:30] be received correctly, especially if the leader has the sensitivity to truly reconsider and take a reflection point after the feedback.
One of the worst ways to do that is to say, I care about your thoughts. Listen to the thoughts and then without a split second to digest anything, pronounce your opinion. It means that you didn't really give yourself any time to mull over the things that people say. But if you go away for 24 hours and you come back and you say, "I mulled all over and I'm appreciative for your feedback but I'm going to make this call." [00:22:00] That can be extremely effective technique while being kind and inclusive.
Kyle Davis: Can we talk for a moment about how implementing new ideas or implementing change or implementing, I guess it's all the same, new ideas and change. Of course they're the same. But when you start to kind of go down a path and I found this and this I had [00:22:30] another pack as I recorded prior to this one, but when things just aren't working and there's a little bit of tension there, sometimes leadership just doesn't want to acknowledge that and they want to keep going down this path. And instead of creating more white space for themselves like they thought that they were going to do with whatever this new initiative was, instead, it just created much more noise.
How can someone really by working with you or maybe some case studies that you've done, pull the blinders off to [00:23:00] really see that the progress that they're making is one that's detrimental to the organization versus one is beneficial.
Juliet Funt: Sure. We're kind of incorporations addicted to complexity. Organizational complexity has grown 600 percent since 1955 according to Boston Consulting Group and there is a recreational element, it seems, for whatever many, many reasons to making things more and more complicated. Maybe we feel like we're being big shots. Maybe we feel like we're playing in [00:23:30] the big leagues. Whatever it is, that complexity is a big problem. So what is really fascinating to us is even when people do culture change or even ironically and comedically, simplification work, they tend to make it really complicated.
I just had a large, probably a Fortune 100 food service company that just sent me a deck and they're doing simplification work and this deck is the densest forest of words and [00:24:00] charts and graphs and numbers. And this is two on board people to a simplification. And so this irony and fight all the time between complexity and the desire to change in a positive direction is one that we really, really see a lot.
And I'll tell you what I observe is mostly the missing ingredient. I'll be biased toward changes that involve simplification because that everything that we care about. Si if your change is toward a more diverse environment or your change [00:24:30] is toward a new layout where people do have open space or don't have open space, that's not as much our wheel house. But in the efforts of simplification, here's what we tend to see. We tend to see that people use three typical tools to create this change but they forget the critical fourth.
So the three typical tools are re-organization, which means that you take people and you put them in different seats, so that's step one. Technology, very common [00:25:00] to add or change or delete or implement or build new technology. And then the real true process improvement, that Lean Six Sigma type stuff that we were talking about. But that all together leaves out to us a critical, critical element of change management and simplification work, which is the human habit. Because you could take somebody and you can move them to another chair and you can give them better technology, but if their habits are still such that [00:25:30] they do not know how to say no to a task that's outside their job description, they do not know how to set a boundary so that they can recuperate in the evening and come back refueled, if they do not know how to get off a reply to all thread with grace, these human habits are going to constantly be sabotaging the work.
The other human habit piece that's missing is that people when they're in the process of change are very similar to grievers. And I actually have studied with a very, very brilliant man who passed away a year ago named Russell Friedman [00:26:00] who worked with grievers who were going through mostly death and dying experiences. But actually 18 different types of change from moving to divorce to all sorts of different things. And one of the things that they know about grievers is that they're intensely emotional. They're like little bugs with their antennas up all the time. They feel everything. They're slightly disoriented. They can snap at little things.
And so when people are in change in an organization, there is an emotion an emotional vulnerability that is naturally a part of that ambiguity and change process. [00:26:30] And when people move very fast and they have no white space, there isn't a moment for them to process that. There's never a moment for them to take a breath and just kind of let that fear and discomfort pass through them so that they can get back to work. And so that's yet another habit that we think is critically left out of a lot of change that should be re-included.
Kyle Davis: I'm like a huge fan and you probably are as well, the KISS philosophy; Keep It Simple, Stupid. But so often, [00:27:00] you'll hear people who are talking about like some simplification processes at their work or maybe in their relationships or whatnot. It's always like when a simple situation goes awry, they had this idea of, "We're going to do these things." But by simplifying into this, they've added more work that they thought that they maybe were going to do without or maybe they added work than I thought was important. But if they really thought about it, it's inconsequential [00:27:30] stuff.
Juliet Funt: Or they may have actually just created something brilliant that's not being utilized. I sat on a plane next to a guy from a large technology company and he said, "Oh, we do simplification stuff." But he said, "Our CEO is on this giant simplification kick great now and he sends out an email once a week with a little simplification tip, and he's incredibly enthusiastic about that." I said, "Oh have they been helpful to you?" He said, "Well, I really haven't read any of them. But let's take out my [00:28:00] phone now and I can show you some of them."
They actually were snappy and short and lovely and effective but nobody ever read them because they were thrown into a complex do of email junk and nobody really found a simplified way to highlight them and make them palatable and give people time to read them. And so there's a lot of mistakes that we make. But I think that people are starting to get a little smarter. I think there's this [00:28:30] small whisper in the air that the future of work is going to demand that we change this, and so you do see companies slowly moving toward.
It's not a mess, it's 80% of organizations say that people are inundated and overwhelmed and only 8% have programs in place to change it. But they are slowly starting to say, "This is not sustainable."
Kyle Davis: Can we talk maybe about a minor annoyance of mine, but it's the internal [crosstalk 00:28:56]
Juliet Funt: Sure.
Kyle Davis: Internal emails, [00:29:00] especially ... I know at GDA we have Slack as our internal communication tool that we use. Internal emails, the way I viewed it, and this is how I viewed it at other companies is, email now is strictly for external communication with a client or someone has outside my organization but everything internal is via an internal communication tool. And the reason behind it is that you don't have to come up with [00:29:30] a subject line, so you don't have to ... I've caught myself thinking in over analyzing what the subject line should say, and with the time wasted. And it's more informal, so it allows for quicker communication or a quicker way to do it. But kind of shifting away and maybe it's the habit of humans that you're talking about earlier, but shifting away from these internal emails to using more internal communication tools like a Slacker Hip Chat or something like that.
Juliet Funt: I think it is really cool, but you have to [00:30:00] be careful because the more diverse a focus, the more pain people are in. So, if they have Slack and email, and IAM and texting and the phone, there are better tools that you can upgrade to, but you have to be really careful to pick a couple of lanes. Teach everybody that that is a communication protocol and not allow all occurred extras to dive into people's personal view, because when you have the armor ...
I can just [00:30:30] go on and on, there's always going to be something new. People feel like, “Oh my God I have to check 17 inboxes now to do my work.” This way, a lot of people don't check voicemails anymore and they have an outbound voicemail that says, “I do not check my voicemail if you need me, send me an email.” Because the consolidation sort of that getting things done David Allan activity of consolidating where you have to dive in is really critical. So, yes, I think Slack as an example can be a fabulous replacement [00:31:00] and does save steps, but you just have to be aware of that splitting and splitting of attention.
Kyle Davis: Oh, yeah. And I’m [angling in 00:31:08] there too. There is something profoundly awesome, at least in my opinion when you begin to limit options. I've found it incredibly frustrating with one company when they provided us with a company phone and so we'd have these group text messages, but then we'd also have like these group HipChats, and then we'd have these group emails, and [00:31:30] somebody someday just broke and was like, “Look this is too much, find a lane and let's swim in that.”
And then the moment we decided to go to the internal communication tool versus email and group texts, it just was like praise, praise be. It was so much easier for everybody.
Juliet Funt: I'll tell you a personal story that that kind of brings up for me, my husband and I live in California with our three boys, and we have been wanting to leave California for a while, or wanting to leave Los Angeles at least. We can live anywhere and do [00:32:00] the work that we do, which is so thrilling and so lucky and something I never take for granted. And we have no particular family hub where we need to be nearby for elder family or extended family. So what you start doing is, you start looking at every single state, and city and beautiful area and you find yourself paralyzed by too many options.
So when a friend of ours will say, “Oh, my husband got a job in Austin, we're moving to Austin.” We go, “Oh God, that must be so nice [00:32:30] to just say you're moving to Austin or my mom's in Aurora." Or any other way to have those options artificially limited for you. So, that wide horizon where anything is possible is certainly a place of great gratitude, but also can be kind of paralyzing.
Kyle Davis: Yeah. I'm reminded of when I was in my sales career and we had a myriad of different solutions that we could sell to somebody. I remember seeing some of my sales [00:33:00] team members who would just send these incredibly long emails with every single option. It's like the same pitch deck that you were talking about earlier, and I’m like, “ Hey man, pick three and those paragraphs, make them two sentences and let's make it so that when they're reading this on their phone, they only have to hit the scroll thing once, let's simplify this.” And it limits the choice, whether you're selling something that doesn't [00:33:30] need to be more than three, and if those aren't your pick, then he come back around with the next three but limited.
Juliet Funt: I think it's very important especially for anyone more executive like on the phone to be constantly saying, "What is all of this simplification and optimization in tribute to?" And that is to bring back those freed moments, those reclaimed moments, for true high value work. Thoughtfulness, innovation, we always think it's funny, we go into every [00:34:00] company, there's a poster on the wall that says, “Innovate, innovate.” Either you look around and everybody is running through the hallways skipping lunch and you say, “When would they be innovating.”
The idea is to liberate time not simply for the worker mole joy of eliminating a few moments of an unproductive action, but actually for returning that time to the higher touch work, that's the goal of all of this.
Kyle Davis: I think in the honor of a customer service standpoint, whatever I can do to [00:34:30] save the time for my client, and I just say this as a sales person, it’s like, “If I can limit options and just be better at it and I can save them time, I'm providing them additional value.” That's just something that's more external than internal.
Juliet Funt: The other thing that you're providing that’s kind of cool, is a very subtle kind of modeling. Every time that you interact with a company, a website, a product, a salesperson, who has a simple and direct and relaxed manner about them, it reminds you that that is possible in the business world. It reminds [00:35:00] you to take a look at your own stuff or product or service and say, “Wow, are we getting a little complicated here?” And so that modeling is like leading the charge through the old halls of complexity and reminding people over and over, and over that simplicity is possible.
Kyle Davis: I know that simplicity is possible everywhere, but I wanted to make note, because this is something that we talked about, part of recording and I know we need to kind of wrap up here soon. You get a lot of opportunities to speak for a lot [00:35:30] of different organizations, but your real focus because you're selective on who you work with, is senior leadership. So I'm curious, just quickly if you could tell all the listeners why that is, and why your focus is toward senior leadership.
Juliet Funt: Sure. I do all sorts of different events, but there is a high majority where senior leaders are either the whole audience or at least the back half of the audience. And the reason for that is, I've been on the trenches for 18 years on the keynote circuit, and there are a lot of painful [00:36:00] moments where a well-meaning, exhausted, overloaded person will come up to you and say, “Man, this content is so helpful, it's so necessary, our company needs this. Can you please help me now up sell this through the four layers I would need to up-sell through, to have anybody try a solution or a pilot or some training.”
And those conversations are not only very unfruitful in terms of the time of everybody involved, but they're really a little sad to be honest with you, because it's so clear that they need help. [00:36:30] So when we get to liaison with senior leaders, we know that we're with the people who are driving what the culture will look like in the future, we know we're with the people who are not tolerant of this ridiculous waste and overspending and want to do something about it quickly. So we know that we're really accelerating the possibility of relief for everybody who is down line from that executive, and that's really why it's so exciting to be with them.
Kyle Davis: I think that is a great place for us to wrap up. Juliet, thanks again for joining [00:37:00] us. And look, if anybody has any questions, feel free to get in touch with GDA speakers and we'll help you out. But with that being said, thanks Juliet.
Juliet Funt: Thank you very much. Nice to meet you all.