Welcome to the Join Up Dots business coaching podcast interview With Matthew Taylor RSA
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Introducing Matthew Taylor From The RSA
Matthew Taylor RSA is today’s guest joining us on the Join Up Dots business coaching podcast interview.
He is a man who since 2006 has performed the role of Chief Executive of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) in the United Kingdom.
Now if that’s doesn’t mean anything to you, then let’s give you an understanding of the mission, and of course the size of the task that he has taken on.
The RSA Boldly state this as “creating the conditions for the enlightened thinking and collaborative action needed to address today’s most pressing social challenges.
How The Dots Joined Up For Matthew
We serve this mission by acting as a global hub.
By enabling millions of people to access the most creative ideas, by nurturing networks of innovators, and through researching, testing and sharing practical interventions.”
So if you are sitting at your desk, thinking big dreams, and craving the individual freedom to make your own decisions then you have already tapped into this mission.
You are our guests target audience.
You are someone who is eager to live a creative life.
But how do you do it?
How do you go against the status quo and the conditioning of life.
How do you start moving towards something that seems at the start too big for you to create?
Well lets find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots, with the one and only Mr Matthew Taylor RSA.
During the show we discussed such weighty topics with Matthew Taylor RSA such as:
How companies and organisations are frightened to hand over control to the employees, and such are holding themselves back from true progress and innovation.
Why performers will always critique themselves more harshly than they need to, dissecting their performance in away that isn’t helpful.
Why he is focused on leaving a legacy that can be taken forward by his organisation when a new challenge beckons for him.
Why the entrepreneurial spirit isn’t something that should be encouraged in everyone as the world needs employees to function.
Connect With Matthew Taylor
Or if you prefer just pop over to our podcast archive for thousands of amazing episodes to choose from.
Audio Transcription Of Matthew Taylor Interview
David Ralph [0:00]
Do you have a business that can’t get going or would love to create your own one that works whilst you sleep and is built around the things you love? Well, podcasters mastery is the place to go to learn the six simple steps to create a business that flourishes connecting with thousands of customers that tell you what products they want. podcasters mastery is the online route to business success. Check us out now. When we’re young, we have an amazing positive outlook about how great life is going to be. But somewhere along the line we forget to dream and end up settling in join up dots features amazing people who refuse to give up and chose to go after their dreams. This is your blueprint for greatness. So here’s your host live from the back of his garden in the UK. David Ralph.
Yes, hello, everybody and welcome to another powerhouse episode of those. Yes, I’ve been away. I have walked away from the microphone for about two weeks now. Come back, dusted it down. And the very first thing I had was my guest today serenade me with a beautiful voice he’s got. So maybe we’ll get him to sing live on the show a little bit later. But now, one thing for certain is, he is a man we have a kind of an eclectic career actually, he’s a man who since 2006, as performing the role of Chief Executive of the Royal Society, by the encouragement of arts manufacture, and commerce, the obviously in the United Kingdom. Now, that doesn’t mean anything to you. And let’s give you an understanding of the mission. And of course, the size of the task that he’s taken on. The army say boldly state this as creating the conditions for the enlightened thinking and collaborative action needed to address today’s most pressing social challenges. We serve this mission by acting as a global hub, by enabling millions of people to access the most creative ideas by nurturing networks of innovators and through researching, testing and sharing practical interventions. Well, they just changed the world. So you’re sitting at your desk thinking big dreams and craving the individual freedom to make your own decisions when you’ve already tapped into this mission. You all have guessed target audience, you’re someone who’s eager to live a creative life. But how do you do it? How do you go against the status quo and the conditioning of life? And how do you start moving towards something? But seems that the start too big for you to create? Well, let’s find out as we bring on to the show to start joining up with the one and only Mr. sweet voice himself. Mr. Matthew Taylor. How are you sir?
Matthew Taylor [2:30]
I’m fine. David, nice to be with you.
David Ralph [2:32]
It is lovely to be here with you because I haven’t been doing this for ages. So I feel I feel slightly on age. So I’m gonna I’m gonna hang on to your professionalism, because you’ve got those kind of dulcet tones. That has gravitas Have you have you always had those dulcet tones?
Matthew Taylor [2:48]
I don’t know. I’ve done quite a lot of broadcasting. So last night I was in my regular slot on moral mais on radio four. So over those years of broadcasting, I guess I’ve kind of come to understand the best tone of voice for me Actually, I would trace it all the way back to when I was a university student in Southampton. And we had a big debate in the Students Union. This isn’t the days when lots of students would go to debates and the students, you know, I think the students, you know, Sandra’s now turned into a bar, which tells you something about the way the world has changed, but we’re having a big debate and I had to speak in this debate. And I think something I don’t know why but instead of what I’d previously done in speeches, which is kind of standing in the well of the auditorium and declaiming, I just sat on the edge of the desk or the chair sat and just spoke very calmly, and built up my argument gradually, and it went down incredibly well and we won the vote and ever since then, the tone of voice I’ve had is I’ve tried it, sometimes you get carried away Actually, I’m more amazed last night, I got very angry, and I I don’t like it when that happens. I think I’m at my best and I think people do their best if they try to stay calm and to enjoy people partly because if you’re angry and you’re shouting, you’re not able really to get you don’t notice the feedback that people are giving you you don’t notice the way in which they’re responding to your argument. Whereas if you slow down and you speak more clearly, you pick up clues.
David Ralph [4:15]
Because you’ve got one of those voices that is like a doctor’s voice isn’t it? If I walked into a room even if I didn’t know you and you told me to drop my trousers or something, I think I would do it.
Matthew Taylor [4:26]
Well, that’s an interesting thought for me to juggle with an overcast Thursday afternoon, don’t
David Ralph [4:33]
we won’t go over to
Matthew Taylor [4:34]
one of the one of the most embarrassing instances ever happened to me actually
David Ralph [4:38]
go for it. You tell us was this to do with alcohol as well.
Matthew Taylor [4:41]
Now I went to my GP when I was 18 or 19 I had pain in my lower back. And the GP wasn’t my normal GP It was a attractive young woman. Of course, you know, when you’re a 19 year old boy attractive young women are kind of your sex with a tractor your movie so anyway, she to my utter horror said well given where the pain is we probably ought to make a kind of internal examination So I was completely mortified by this anyway. She said we’ll go behind the curtains and prepare yourself I was sweating I was I just this is that I can’t You can’t imagine my 19 year old boys is just the worst thing you can possibly imagine. You can imagine unless you’ve unless it’s something you’re into, I suppose.
David Ralph [5:29]
Anyway, I think now thinking about it. Is that how it still gets you?
Matthew Taylor [5:33]
What exactly anyway, I went behind the curtains, and I prepared myself. And then a few months later, I heard the curtains being open. And then a few seconds later, I heard what was unmistakeably, the sound of somebody giggling. And then she said to me, no Mr. Taylor, in on your side will be perfectly satisfactory, because in my panic, I adopted the doggy position. Which you can imagine she opens the curtains and there I am red faced and sweating in that particular position. So that is probably one of the most embarrassing things that’s happened to me. And I’ve shared it with thousands of people listening to this program.
David Ralph [6:13]
More than that, more than that, or googling your name. Now, there’s always, you know, desperate to find out what was going on. So you you are a member with a mission in the introduction. We were talking about it, but it’s that there’s many things in life that you kind of think surely that’s too big to be able to do that when you got approached to do the role, right? In the early days. 2006? Did you have that same feeling of Oh, hang on busy, this is big.
Matthew Taylor [6:40]
We don’t actually. And this, this might sound arrogant, but it was almost the reverse, really, because I had been Director of Policy and director political strategy for the Prime Minister. And before that, I’d run arguably the most successful conventional kind of political Think Tank I PPR. And I built up a reason my profile in that position. So the RSA was a bit of a sleeping giant, be honest, my predecessor had done a good job and brings stability to an organization because when she inherited it really was in chaos. But in terms of profile impact, in terms of credibility, it wasn’t in a very strong position. So generally speaking, people’s attitude when I took the RSA job was why are you doing that? You know, why are you taking that one, you can go into that rather old rather, or draw the cookie organization? Isn’t there something more high powered that you can do? So actually, all I had to do with the first few months was to explain to people why I taken the job on but they
David Ralph [7:42]
did you not in your heart of hearts, think to yourself this is you know, this is too big? Because it’s something that’s been around for 260 years, or something which shocked me when I looked at that. And they’re still kind of pushing forward. Do you kind of think to yourself, how much more can we push forward? Or is that the next citing part?
Matthew Taylor [8:01]
Not really david i think if there’s a theme to my career, it’s it’s going into organizations or bits of organizations that have slightly lost their way, they’ll become slightly becalmed and turning them around, and I’ve done that on kind of four or five occasions. So I looked at the RSA, and what I looked at was its potential, I didn’t feel I’m taking something on, which is intimidating in terms of what it was when I started. In fact, to be honest, in those early days, I kind of felt I was disappearing, you know, because we didn’t really have much profile. And there wasn’t much that we were doing that particularly kind of engaged me at that stage. So what what brought me to the RSA was what I thought I could do with it. Yeah. And the great thing about talking to you now is that I think that’s happening, but it’s taken me nine years, I’ve never done a job in my life and more than five years, and it’s taken me nine years, I’ve made mistakes along the way, some big mistakes, I think, if I could have my time again, I could have got to where I’ve got to in six or seven years. And so I’ve got a couple of more years of were on the tires. But where we are now is is kind of what I had in my mind back in 2006, not fully established, I mean, I would never have been able to predict exactly the way in which we’ve gone about the change but but the idea of an organization working in the way we now work, that is what inspired me and I had to be inspired because really the organization 2006 was a long way away from that.
David Ralph [9:28]
So you sit in a pub, and somebody comes up and says, I recognize you from somewhere. What do you do for a living? How do you actually explain what you do?
Matthew Taylor [9:39]
I say I run the RSA. And what is interesting is that there’s one group of people, fellows or people who have thought about fellowship or who know the organization who, who generally speaking, say, Wow, that’s great, what a fantastic organization. And then there’s a lot of people, more people who say, well, what’s that? Yeah. Or thing, we’re Ross on the lions, or the Republic of South Africa. And then I have to explain it. And what I say is, well, we’re an organization committed to the idea of giving it to the idea of every person being able to live a creative life, being the author of their own lives, fully expressing themselves. That’s our goal. So kind of combination of a notion of freedom and notion of social justice and inclusion. And we go about that through bringing the best ideas in the world into our headquarters and then filming them and broadcasting. So I think 100 million RSA lectures have been watched online in the last few years. We do it through research, desk based research, but also innovation on the ground, like, for example, sponsoring a set of Academy schools. And we do it through engaging our amazing fellowship, our amazing 27,000 fellows. And in the end, although lots and lots of things have changed about the RSA, the very big story over these nine years has been about that fellowship engagement. And we are now really fun was really on our partners, how partners with us and how we we change the world. And that’s what it’s always been about. And it’s great to see that now really starting to happen.
David Ralph [11:05]
Because you’ve sort of operated in prime Google time having you but before Google came along, and Yahoo, the kind of things that you were just quoting about so many people watching stuff online and getting your message out, is a totally different ball game. Has that sort of accelerated it? Or does that give you so many different opportunities? It’s hard to focus which way you’re going to go?
Matthew Taylor [11:28]
Yeah, I think there’s a you’re absolutely right David there’s a there’s a, if you’re in the business of content, and potentially online content, you have to innovate almost continuously. And even if you do innovate almost continuously, you will never catch up with the really big players, because they have got a lot of money. I think someone was telling me the other day that I’m not sure whether it was Facebook, or I think was Facebook, that they kind of make over 1000 tweaks and changes and improvements in their code and what they do every day, you know, so you’ve got kind of continue their capacity for continuous improvement. So you have to recognize that you can’t compete with people who have got those kinds of resources, you have to find a niche. So in relation to that online content, I was inspired by Ted. Ted was starting to, to be noticed. And people started to talk about Ted lectures and watch Ted lectures. Soon after I joined here, and we had a lecture program. So I said quite early on to my lectures to look, we need to start filming these lectures. And then the question was, what else could we do. And so we developed an amazing product called animate, which is a kind of, by this sounds animation of our lectures. And we’ve developed a set of kind of products, short films, short animations around our lectures, and it’s those ones, those ones that have been animated or turned into short films that are the ones that have been watched millions and millions of times. But my events team is always thinking about what can we do next? How can we do things differently? And I think we have a slightly different brand of Ted, I always refer to Ted as being kind of CSI ideas, it’s kind of about people in white coats with microscopes discovering the secrets that will make the world a wonderful place. And if you watch Ted, you think, why is not every problem in the world been solved? Because all these people are so clever, and they all seem to have brilliant answers.
Our lectures are slightly more.
They’re less about finding solutions, and more about discussing the complexity of the world, reflecting on things slightly more deeply. So I think we’re different to Ted. But you know, it’s great to have that kind of global footprint, I can go anywhere in the world, and I’ll meet people who’ve watched, you know, Ken Robbins, or, you know, other of our Dan pink, all the people who’ve, you know, lectures that have been watch what 1020 million times,
David Ralph [13:41]
I think that was the first Ted one I ever watch Ken Robinson, and I’d never heard of it before, then some people might throw it over to me.
Matthew Taylor [13:48]
And it’s fantastic. And our and our animated version of that Ken Robinson of a different Ken Robinson talk that he gave here has been watched even more times in the 10 original.
David Ralph [13:56]
Well, when you listen to that, Ken Robinson and if people don’t don’t know about it, I’ll put the link on the show notes. So you can sort of go across Otherwise, this won’t make sense. But the theme that he was talking about very much was that education just doesn’t inspire. It should be more inspiration as inspiration, education combined more than just teaching you how to do things. So you can come out the upper end, with a sort of diploma or graduation is the key message or creativity that you’re trying to get over. as well.
Matthew Taylor [14:28]
Yeah, so we work in, in three areas, public services, and communities, economy, enterprise and manufacturing. And the third area is we call it Creative Learning and Development. But basically, it’s what goes on in schools, colleges, higher education, lifelong learning. And we, as I said, we sponsor a number of Academy schools in the West Midlands. And yes, absolutely. What we’re interested in is forms of learning, teaching types of schools, which foster a wider curiosity, sense of agency, creative capacity in young people. And and that isn’t to say that we don’t care about standards isn’t to say that we don’t care about subjects, or knowledge. But it’s to say that we think that education is most powerful when people young people engage with it, when they understand it, when they feel a sense of curiosity, themselves. And when they feel that it’s about something which is relevant to their lives, not just kind of abstract knowledge. And schools we work in or in deprived areas. So this is very challenging, because these are schools that have to perform well, if they don’t perform while they are still breathing down their necks. They need to get the young people in those schools from disadvantaged backgrounds to get the basics right or us there are problems by employability. But we’re also asking them to be genuinely innovative institutions and, and they know the progress is slow. But I think we’re making good progress. I think they’re great. They’re great schools, they achieve good results, but they have a strong story about what they’re trying to do differently as well.
David Ralph [15:51]
Because through the show, I’ve met so many people that have literally after the recording told me but by either can barely read and write, they’re passable, but they’ve got street wise knowledge, they can get out and they can hustle, and they can make money and they’re creative with their choices. Nowadays, the fact that you’re saying that we need to teach people to be employable. Is it not the risky route to get them to be employable? Should we not be trying to inspire them to be entrepreneurial?
Matthew Taylor [16:21]
Yeah, absolutely. I, someone said to me a few years ago, I think was a very powerful point I’ve quoted often, which is we shouldn’t be preparing young people for jobs, we should be preparing young people to create their own jobs. Yeah. And yes, we’re very interested in self employment micro enterprise that continues to grow. I also think that the modern workplace needs to be much more than it is a workplace where everybody has a chance to take initiative, to be autonomous to take responsibility. So we do quite a lot of work on organizations, and how organizations can be more creative because a shotgun proportion of workers in Britain say that at work, they don’t really get an opportunity to express themselves to use their skills fully, to show judgment and to make choices. And in fact, research shows that the biggest thing that leads people to feel ill, whether it’s mentally or physically, all is that lack of autonomy, that sense of having no capacity to express themselves, no capacity to make any kind of judgment, but just, you know, in a kind of job where they are told what to do, and then micromanage.
David Ralph [17:29]
I think that’s true. I think that’s totally true. And that’s one of the reasons I quit my job to do this. I was a financial trainer, and I was a presenter. And I used to try and create training courses, in a very innovative ways like I would do money laundering, because I was in banking and insurance. And we did it as Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. And I was always been told, but I had to Tow the line. I was a maverick, I was making it up as I go along. But I used to argue that I was being creative. I was inspiring people to want to do better for themselves. And ultimately, it come to a loggerhead and I had to leave. Now, funnily enough, all those things where I was being told was wrong in this environment, a total strengths. So it is about finding that individual passion, isn’t it and finding the place where that passion can flourish?
Matthew Taylor [18:18]
Yeah, it is. And I would always say to people, try to find what it is that really excites you. And by the way, one of the things I think that every school should do, and very few schools do this systematically is to say, our responsibility is to find the thing that every child feels passionate about the thing that every child can excel in. Because in a sense, it doesn’t really matter what it is that you excel in, the idea that you are very good at something is incredibly powerful for people in their self confidence. And so we should be trying to make sure that every child leaves school saying, oh, there’s something that I’m really good at, you know, and the schools work with them to find out what that is. Having said that, I think we got to be a little bit careful. We’re not going to live in a world where everybody can do the kind of job that I’m doing and the kind of job that you’re doing which our jobs which are just intrinsically pretty interesting. We are going to need people to work and trainers are us and we are going to need people to to sweep the streets and leave them and the robots come along, there’s going to be a lot of those kinds of jobs. So I think we’ve also got to think about how it is we make sure that the way we organize work, whatever work it is, means that everybody has got the chance for growth, job satisfaction, autonomy. I’m very keen, for example, on the idea of public services, bits of public services becoming Mutual’s and I’ve met a lot of people who’ve worked in bits of public service that have kind of been outsourced and turned into Mutual’s, and I think they get a much stronger sense of agency and fulfillment at work, because they no longer feel like they’re there. In the fall tentacle of a huge national octopus, they kind of feel like they’re an independent unit, which can make its own decisions.
David Ralph [19:54]
I don’t think that you’re ever going to be able to inspire everyone to be entrepreneurial. I think there’s always going to be people that no matter how you try to, you know, show them a different way by r1. They do want to be a dustman, they do just want to work in an office nine to five and go home, you’re never going to motivate them. But surely the mission of your organization and my organization here I say organization loosely, is to inspire but ones that have got it in them. They’ve got that small fire burning in them.
Matthew Taylor [20:25]
I think that’s a false dichotomy. If I if I could, if I might say today, I mean, I completely agree with you that that that we should encourage entrepreneurial ism and people and I think we should see entrepreneur ism isn’t just about kind of Alan sugar notions of enterprise. It’s about social entrepreneurial ism, it’s about kind of capacity to take initiative and to solve problems, not just the capacity to make money. But you. I think when you talk about a document or a care worker, there are ways of organizing work, which gives people a high degree of satisfaction and autonomy. They don’t have to be entrepreneurial, exactly, but just respected as human beings. Let me give you an example, a fantastic speaker at the RSA a few years a few months ago, called Yasuda block, you can watch his lecture on the RSI website, you also runs an organization in Holland called book courts. And he set it up because when he entered into community, nothing diamonds that are in us. And what he found is what we’ve got and Britain, which is the found systems that have been designed by management consultants and everything was passed that part parceled up into 15 minutes slots. And the nurses were all given specialist functions. And they went around and they saw someone for 15 minutes, and then they scan the barcode to show they’ve been there and move on to the next but it’s all very, very efficient. But But as he said, what he also found was everyone was miserable to send. People just felt they were going on a conveyor belt from one person to another, the people who were being receiving the care never knew who was going to come and see them next season will not do this. So he set up a little team of 12 nurses and he said right between us, we’re going to meet all the needs in our community. And we’re going to focus potentially on prevention and building support from the community. So the anything they would do is that if they had a client in a street and a new family moved into the street, they knock on the door of the new family and say By the way, there’s you know, elderly frail past nudists, a few doors down a few really great if you ever have a chance to say hello, knock on the door, go around and visit them and this kind of thing. Anyway, all sounds amazing, doesn’t it kind of idealistic. If I tell you now that his company runs 80%, of Dharma surgery, healthcare in Poland, 80% is not 12 nurses anymore, it’s six and a half thousand nurses. And in that organization, there is no hierarchy. So the entire organization is based upon teams of 12 nurses, who are more or less self managing head offices, 30 people and they many rank of IT systems, things are not managers. And the only kind of oversight is that the team is given regularly data about their performance. And they can call in a coach. So if the team feels they’re not performing well, they will call in a coach and the coach will work with a team as a whole team and say, how is it we can work more effectively, what he has is very satisfied people, very satisfied nurses and very satisfied people receiving care. So that’s just an example of how you can take something which might not look like it’s got an enormous amount of scope for people to take control, make their own choices, do things differently. And you can transform it, you can run it in a completely different way away that’s based on human dignity and assumption that people try to sponsors you when you first came to speak here. Someone said to me, yeah, but what if these nurses Juju juice, do something awful, and he said, you know, generally speaking, if you want to do something awful, he wouldn’t become a nurse. It’s not really a very good career choice for somebody who wants to go around doing awful things. And he said, it’s one of the things I’ve tried to go on. But he’s an inspirational person. He said this other thing, he said, we only got so much capacity to cope with complexity. I want my nurses using all their capacity to cope with complexity and dealing with patients and their needs not dealing with the organization. They work. And now you asked most public service workers in Britain, and you say, do you have to use most of your capacity in helping people are dealing with the bureaucracy, the regulation, the rules, the oversight? And they will say no, I have to use huge amounts of energy up coping with the system. So this isn’t just about enterprise. It’s also about workplaces, which treat people like adults and give them the scope to take responsibility, take decisions to show initiative.
David Ralph [24:18]
There’s a guy in Brazil and I’m desperately trying to think of what his name is in my head is Ricardo Ricardo Semler, have you heard of Ricardo Semler? Matthew?
Matthew Taylor [24:28]
I think, what what was the organization he was involved with?
David Ralph [24:31]
He had a company in Brazil, and it was some kind of manufacturing basically. Yeah, yeah.
Matthew Taylor [24:35]
Yeah, I know. Exactly. You’re talking about? Yeah, I can’t I can’t remember the name of the company. Oh, yeah. I know. Yeah, exactly.
David Ralph [24:40]
Yeah, I think it was Sam Co. And you really, this is for the listeners, you need to sort of go over this, because this really sort of emphasizes what Matthews talking about giving them the members of a staff and organization empowerment to do their things. But Ricardo was a young guy, and he’s died, was running this company. And he thought he wasn’t doing a very good job. So he kind of gets into the boardroom. And over a period of time, he basically sacks his dad, and he says to his dad, you’re not going to work in this company anymore. And he took this company to great success. But because of that success, he was integral to it all, and ended up having a heart attack. And when he was in his hospital ward, he realized he had to turn the company around, so that he wasn’t part of it. And basically, he went to everyone. And he said to them, okay, I want you to make the decisions, you’re there, you’re on the floor, you know how it runs, you make the decisions. And if you want to earn 100,000, a year, when most people earn 10,000 a year, then go for it. But at the end of the year, you’ve got to justify your salary. So they started sort of sorting out the round salaries and employing people and it just worked perfectly. Now that is something that touches into what you’re saying hugely, isn’t it? And it’s something that most companies could do. But I’d be frightened wouldn’t later allow the staff to actually take control?
Matthew Taylor [26:00]
Yeah, that’s absolutely right. And I think it is precisely about fear that stops people doing this. We had speaking, funnily enough today, here at the RSA, Charles handy us, you know, one of the world’s most distinguished experts and organizations, and use that should be the chair of the RSA many years ago. And he, we were talking about uncertainty and about mess, actually, we were saying that people have to be willing managers that they want crazy organizations, leaders have to be willing to accept a certain amount of mess and uncertainty, because it’s out of that the creativity comes. But I think that if you are going to transition from a traditional hierarchy, critical bureaucratic organization, to one that was much flatter, which really devolved power, much more kind of democratic and egalitarian, it would be painful, you’d have to go through a lot of uncertainty before you would get to a new state. And I think people aren’t willing to do that, particularly in business because our model of capitalism is so short term shareholder pressure, so much that anyone who said I need to embark on a process of culture change, it might take two or three years before it pays off. They just be laughed at, you know, two or three days maybe.
David Ralph [27:09]
And would you do that in your organization? As you’re running it? Is it like that?
Matthew Taylor [27:12]
We’re trying to get there. So I had a very interesting conversation with a guy called Frederick Loewe, who’s written a book called reinventing organizations. That’s how I heard about your success. This book, reinventing organizations is all about companies like book goals. And I said to him when he came to speak here at the RSA, can you do this gradually? And he said, No, no, you can’t, you’ve got to kind of do it completely. And I, in the end, I kind of just disagree with that. And I pushed him on it a bit, and he wasn’t quite as black and white, I think you you can, if you’re really committed to moving towards that kind of organization, you can take your time about it, because you recognize that you can’t have too much instability on the way. And so the first step that we’ve taken at the RSA is to work on much more kind of collegial basis. So it used to be here that there would be very the department like a lot of organizations and departments, the big departments, the research department, the fellowship department, the events, External Affairs Department. And now what we’ve done is created teams in those areas, I described area earlier public services, communities, for example, and they cross cut the whole organization. And when we think about change, we put together a project, that project will combine events, research, innovation, and particularly the mobilization of our fellows. So we’re developing models have changed, I think, a much more powerful, and that is breaking down lots of barriers in the organization. It’s giving people opportunities to learn things and take on tasks they have not taken before. And I think that is a step towards. Ultimately, I think, ultimately, the kind of organization the 21st century needs is organizations, which basically feel that they are not big, rigid hierarchies, but their platforms, platforms, which provide people with the resources and support and skills and mission that they need to be creative. And that’s what we’re trying to become
David Ralph [29:08]
now that that sort of evidence is what I said at the very beginning how big your your task is, because the change mindsets within an organization, you know, you can speak to me and you’ve converted me instantly, I was basically on the same sheet anyway. And most people as individuals would buy in totally to what you’re saying. But as you go up the the hierarchy, it gets less and less. How do you do that? How do you overcome these companies mindset?
Matthew Taylor [29:35]
Well, I think it’s hard to be honest. And in fact, just today, I’ve written a blog that’s going to be posted tomorrow, I’ll be talking about corporate social responsibility. And, and what I say in the blog is that, in my view, when you see things like VW, the problem isn’t ethical. The problem is organizational. It’s not that there are bad people at the top who tell people to do bad things, it’s that there are people somewhere in the organization who kind of didn’t really, who thought, Well, here’s a clever thing to do. And the incentive, we’re wrong, or the communication systems were wrong, all the values weren’t really embedded in the organization. So I think, actually, what Charles handy said at lunchtime, that he believes that really once you go beyond 150 people organization starts to become dysfunctional in all kinds of ways. Now, you can be bigger than that, if you break your organization down into units 450. And those units are largely autonomous. But once you get organizations that have got a single kind of command structure, once they get over 150 people, there’s a set of problems which just happen and they keep happening. Now, the one I think the one really good thing about to say, however, is that I think there’s a new breed of leaders coming through, I was talking to the woman who runs Grant Thornton the other day, and you know, she’s gone into that job. This is a very big management services company, Business Services management services company, they’ve come in, and she’s come in, and she’s got a completely different mindset. You know, she said, on day one, I’m not going to allow my salary to be that much greater than the salaries of the average salary, my firm, I want everyone in the firm to become a partner. I think the firm is not just got to be ethical in itself. But we’ve also got to make a contribution to tackling the big challenges that society faces. And when I met her, this wasn’t somebody who’d kind of basically was a traditional business person, and it had a bolted on these ethical concerns, she had just taken the job she’d been elected to run Grant Thornton by the partners, this is in her blood and bones, there was no other way she would be wanting to be lead, leading then leading in this kind of enlightened way. So I think we are going to see a new generation of leaders coming along, who will start at the whole challenge with a different set of assumptions.
David Ralph [31:36]
But she must have got those inner bones and sharpen the bones sharpen the tools because of bad experience. She must have passionately believed it kind of lost it somehow and been been reignited by this opportunity. Surely,
Matthew Taylor [31:50]
I think she she basically traveled around the world took time off, you know, did a bit of meditation stuff like this, I think she just she’s got one of the problems in our society is people who enter into a particular area and never really step outside the area. And I you know, don’t get me wrong, but the people listening, you’ve only ever done one job. And that’s absolutely fine. Because there are also other ways in which you can connect. But when I meet a middle aged teacher, and it all I’ve ever been as a teacher, when I meet a middle aged politician and the wall ever been as a politician, when I meet someone who runs a business, he’s only ever really wanted to run a business. I worry about them, because I think that not having experienced other lives, other perspectives, other ways of getting satisfaction is is a real problem, particularly in the modern world because of the complexity of the modern world. So I think what, you know why Sasha Grant Thornton is so impressive is because she’s just got a hinterland, she’s got a life experience that she brings, she’s not someone who spent her entire life thinking, all I need to do is get to the top of Grant Thornton, and then then all my problems will be solved.
David Ralph [32:52]
Well, let’s play some words now and then bring the conversation as we normally doing join up dots back to you. These are words Jim Carrey said recently,
Jim Carrey [33:01]
my father could have been a great comedian, but he didn’t believe that that was possible for him. And so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant. And when I was 12 years old, he was let go from that safe job. And our family had to do whatever we could to survive. I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want. So you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.
David Ralph [33:28]
Now, is that the right message that we should get out to the audience or the listeners? Or is that too simplistic?
Matthew Taylor [33:37]
I think it’s a good message. But I think you’re going to be a little bit careful about helping people develop a realistic account of the kinds of things that they think they could flourish. So Jim Carrey says that his dad was a funny man, a comedian, you know, so he had talent. And if he had checked that you had that a lot of people said, you have got that talent, then I think Jim Carrey is right to suggest that his father should have gone for it. It is however, the case that when you go into schools, very often, a lot of young people will say they want to be on X Factor, and they want to play professional football. And the fact of the matter is, well put x factor to one side. But if you want to be a professional footballer, for example, you’re going to have to work incredibly hard and be incredibly lucky. And even then, it’s point naught naught naught naught naught 1% of people are actually going to make a living out of it. So, I think, let’s encourage people to do the stuff that they love. But let’s not not, make not net, let’s also encourage them to understand the odds of success in terms of the things they’ve chosen and say to them, you know, there are other things that you could do that could also be really fulfilling. So if you want to be a professional footballer, what is it about that that you really love? Is? Is it being outside? is it doing something physical? If it is, what other things might you be able to do that would give you a similar satisfaction given that your chances of becoming a better gospel footballer, so slim, so I would say pursue the passion, pursue the thing you love, but have a plan B, have a plan B?
David Ralph [35:05]
So how did you find yours? When when you seem to be somebody that likes change? It is no surprise when talking to you that you’re doing this job? And I can see that in the political environment, you is probably in your element as well. Was that a natural thing? Or did you just sort of fall into it? Like most of us?
Matthew Taylor [35:24]
Yeah, I think I was brought up by parents who were interested in politics and ideas. Albeit, they didn’t make any money out of it. So I kind of peculiar upbringing, really, I kind of went to lots of lots of different schools, all of them in very poor areas, because my parents didn’t really have any money and they split up and stuff. But so we were kind of economically working class, but culturally middle class, that was my experience. And so, you know, I pick that stuff up. My father was a kind of Trotskyites, sociology lecture in the 1970s. You know, so I kind of Yeah, I was gonna happen, people, those kind of ideas quite early on. But also, I, I don’t know, I look, those of us who want to change the world, I think we have to recognize that there’s probably something missing in our lives as well, that you know, there’s a kind of existential gap in the heart of us, which we have to fill all the time. You know, I don’t know whether really satisfied really contented people want to change the world, I think they too busy enjoying their lives very often and, and if they do want to change the world, they’re quite humble about it. They change the world through 100 different ways of just being nice to people and planting a nice garden and doing stuff other people like me, who kind of think they can change the world and the kind of I can run an organization. And I think it’s kind of it’s, it’s hot. It’s a hungriness that we’re trying to fulfill. It’s not entirely healthy, I get up every morning. And I kind of think, how can I change the world today. And that’s led me to do some good things, it’s probably led me to be a bit pompous and full of myself and have ambitions that were I was unable to fulfill. So I’m not one of those people who says, everyone should want to change the world. I kind of think it’s a it’s a bug that some of us have got.
David Ralph [37:12]
But that’s astonishing, isn’t it, but you wake up every morning thinking, I want to change the world, most people will get up and thing, how many days to the weekend? And the fact that you got that burning in you, as that just got bigger and bigger? The more you get involved in these organizations, do you see so much that needs to be done? So that powers the fire?
Matthew Taylor [37:34]
I can’t, I can’t abide? irrelevance, I can’t if if the thing that most shocked me when I got to the RSA, which is as I say, was a perfectly well run organization to my predecessor done a really good job. But there were quite a few issues that hadn’t really been addressed for a while. And one of those issues was that a lot of what we’re doing really didn’t didn’t seem very relevant. And I find it I can’t really deal with when, you know, when you ask somebody, what, what, what they do, and they describe it. And then you say to them, well, why’d you do it? And when people can’t answer the why question, I think that is a problem. So I don’t think people ought to change or not want to change the world. And that’s a slightly mad thing. But as I say, it’s a bug that some of us have got, I think everybody should be able to say why they do what they do. And if possible, take some pride. And that’s one of the reasons going back to our earlier conversation about the way in which we’re called to organize so it you know, if someone gets up, and they’re a dustman, I don’t want to change the world. But I think it will be really good. If they got up saying today I’m going to be a really great dustman. And I’m going to make people smile. And I’m going to do things in a really great way. And I’m going to contribute to the neighborhood that I live in being a nice tidy, clean neighborhood. That’s a perfectly good calling in life. What worries me is when people get out of bed in the morning, I think today I’m going to do what someone is going to tell me to do. Do you remember a few months ago, a couple years ago, I think that guy called David Graber, who’s at LSE published a blog called bullshit jobs. And he just wrote this blog, and it one of the most retweeted blogs that’s ever been written. And he just said, so many people, and it wasn’t here just talking about low paid people and trainers or us he was talking about, you know, corporate lawyers and people like this, the fact that he was talking about a friend of his, I think, in New York, who was a corporate lawyer, and his friend said, I just woke up and realized my job was bullshit. My job just wasn’t adding anything to the world. I was just kind of going through the motions. And I think it’s a tragedy that so many people feel that way.
David Ralph [39:25]
Because I look at Bessemer, or garbage collectors or refuse collectors, as they say, in America. And I think it’s like the most perfect little team, and you see them, one of them’s driving, and then the next day, the other ones driving and then they’re running down the side and they seem to just make their own decisions. And there’s no training, they just pick it up as they go along. There’s a big move for you. But um, it is i was
Matthew Taylor [39:47]
i was David I was a street cleaner in the 1970s for you
David Ralph [39:50]
Matthew Taylor [39:51]
yeah, in Kensington, Chelsea. And I never forget my first day, and this is a anyone who’s, you know, under the age of 40 went kind of believe this, but this is the kind of world in the 1970s of public services where there was hack on I put it, there was a certain amount of inefficiency built into the system. Anyway, I remember, it was a wonderful job. I remember walking across Chelsea bridge, half or six in the morning and beautiful wonderful. But I remember my first day I arrived and they said right off you go rage. So I went off with rage and Evan, those that all trollers that they will along and a couple of brooms, and we were behind Sloane Square, and he gave me the broom. And he said, right, okay, you know, you start sweeping up there. So I started sweeping. And you know, it was a warm morning and the dust rises. And I’ve been doing it for about kind of half an hour done about hundred meters, 200 meters or whatever. And I was thinking this is not easy. This is hard work, you know, anyway, rich came over to see many he looked at the area of ground I swept. And he put his hand on my shoulder. And he said this to me, he said, this is a job, not bleeding vocation. Slow down, he said slow down, you get us all into trouble. From that point on, I realized that it wasn’t such a hard job. Those were the days public services in the 1970s. Now, you know, nobody wants to return to those times of inefficiency. But you go back to your group, your group adjustment over you’re talking about. And I hope that team has got a bit of autonomy, that team is able to stop the dust van and go and help someone out. If they see somebody who needs a bit of help moving on the in the gold that they are empowered to say, keep an eye out for houses where it looks like nobody has taken the mainland for a few days. Because there might be somebody there who’s isolated or, you know, take initiative, recognize that you’re part of the community as well as providing a service. And I hope they’re not in a situation where they’re told you’ve got to do X number of houses and X number of minutes, you’re not allowed to do anything except the most basic service,
David Ralph [41:46]
I think is the perfect, perfect example of a company isn’t it really, if you could get back and you could translate it into an organization where people make their own decisions, and they run around and they have family and they look like they’re enjoying it is it’s that’s utopia, isn’t it?
Matthew Taylor [42:04]
Yeah, I think that there’s a lot of research that shows that, well, the thing that makes people happy, it’s just what a famous social psychologist called flow. And flow is the feeling that you have when you’re doing a job. And you are competent at it, and you lose yourself in it. And you just have that sense, you know, when we I’m trying to teach myself the guitar, which is a pretty hopeless task, I have absolutely no musical ability at all. But the part The reason I’m kind of plugging away at it is I want to reach that point of flow, want to reach that point where I can pick up the guitar and I’m never going to be you know, Jose Feliciano, I’m not going to be brilliant, but get to that point where I can strum a few tunes and just be in the zone. Yeah. You know, and so I think whatever we do, whatever job we do, if we get to that point of flow, that sense of being in it, and actually I’ve worked in pubs, when they’re really busy, and you get to that point of flow, because you’re you’re serving people and people are smiling and you’re moving around and time goes really quickly. And you feel like you’re contributing to people having a great evening. So it’s not it doesn’t just have to be people running the RSA or doing really interesting social media stuff. Any job as long as you’ve got that capacity to really be part of it. I think I actually
David Ralph [43:17]
lose hours. You know, I just looked at the clock and we’ve been talking for 43 minutes, it could have been five minutes I my whole days just zip by like I’ve never known and I’ve had quite a few experts in flow on the show. And it is the state that we’ve got to aim for isn’t it it’s a state when it all comes together our strengths are effortless somehow.
Matthew Taylor [43:40]
And can you remember the guy who made up the concept
David Ralph [43:42]
while ago and I spoke to was Chris Randall and he’s called flow culture which is quite good
Matthew Taylor [43:48]
the first person to come up there with called Mikheil chicks chicks make me Hi
David Ralph [43:53]
know you’re so clever. You’re You’re like the world class we just
Matthew Taylor [43:56]
spell it babies comical chicks chicks make chicks makes me I can’t take it. The way I break it down. It’s such a long name his cheeks make me high. So McHale cheeks make me I and it says concept. And he based on a lot of research on an image he asked people about well being very interesting, you see, because the government asks people about whether they’re happy in their lives, but well being but actually, when we answer these questions about whether we’re happy, it doesn’t actually equate to whether we’re happy two minutes, two minutes, it’s a kind of general assessment, you kind of think, well, I’ve got a good job and I got a nice family and you know, yeah, I’ve got a good well being but then when you say to people, okay, actually keep a diary, keep a diary of how happy you are, then you get quite different findings. And so that flow is about that moment to moment sense of contentment that we have, and it is different than the kind of broad sense of well being.
David Ralph [44:47]
But doesn’t that take us back to the words that Jim Carrey was saying, Do what you love do the stuff that when he was a kid, you would have done anyway because you just love doing it? Is that not where we’re aiming for in this
Matthew Taylor [44:59]
yet, do what you love, but also try to make whatever it is you do something which you can get satisfaction from? And if you can’t, then you really do need to change if there’s no way that you can do the things that you’re doing and a joyful creative way then you really doing this fast on the Oscars is, I think john lennon said life is not a dress rehearsal.
David Ralph [45:23]
So So when were you last in flow? When did you last look at the clock humping? last four hours here.
Matthew Taylor [45:31]
I get it writing. So I write a couple of blogs a week. And I love writing I love potentially curve writing 1000 words. You know the way a blog just takes one idea and runs with that idea. I find longer writing a bit more difficult. I find it hard to sit still. And I find it hard to do anything without getting constant acknowledgement and approval. So I kind of slightly like the patients for longer pieces of web. I enjoy the blogging. And I enjoyed sharing things I chair a lot of events I chair. You know I said Charles handy today I chair events for other people as well. And I really enjoy sharing things. I have a rapport with the audience and matters a lot to me to make an event successful. So I kind of lose myself in that as well.
David Ralph [46:11]
Are you a performer at heart? Do you think?
Matthew Taylor [46:13]
Yeah, no, I am. I am absolutely. And I’m the performer but without hope wanting to sound kind of pious. What makes what gives me satisfaction is not people saying well, what a great performer you were but but people saying you really helped this event be a success, you made it possible for everybody to participate and to get something out of it. So, you know, when people evaluate things that I’ve been involved, I’m less interested in them saying points out of five for Matthew as a chair, although of course, I always get five. But I’m more interested in points at five for whether the event felt it was useful. So for me, the great thing about sharing is that sense that you’ve got you know, you It drives me mad when I go to a conference and there are hundreds of people who have given up time they’ve spent money they come to London to go to a conference and it’s not really been thought through the speakers haven’t been bitten. The debates are all of it turgid. Everyone’s falling asleep. I think what a waste of time and effort that is. So I always try whenever I’m asked to do something, I’ll talk to the organizers and say, how can we make this work? How can we make it different? How can we really make it come alive?
David Ralph [47:16]
In my last job, I was the training manager and I had to go to a day of speeches by the FSA with the compliance manager. And I am the most anti FSA person, it’s just not my thing. I like to cut corners and be creative and, and you know, compliance is straight down the line. And it was the most boring day ever. And people were falling asleep at 20 pounds nine in the morning. We actually rallied about 11 o’clock when this guy suddenly got very confused about Southampton football club and all the guys started just having this. It had no relevance to anything. But he just kind of went off on his own thing so badly. so badly formed. So I think the RSA is going to win out on the epic whether or not there anymore like that you’re going to win out over time. Did you do you actually accept that praise? Vo one of the things that I find with performers is even if you get five stars, part of you kind of think yeah, that’s all right. Five stars is all right. But God I could have done better. I missed I missed a trick bear. Do you beat yourself up about it?
Matthew Taylor [48:20]
Yeah, no, I think you’re absolutely right David that is I think in the nature of performance. I remember him. Adrian Charles, who I know because we support the same football club. And that’s not a joyful experience. He told me a story once he was on when he was presenting football. on ITV. He I think he got the date wrong of something. So he was chatting away. And he said something I don’t it’s like it’s Halloween today when it wasn’t it was yesterday, and George’s does. I just got something wrong. And he was traveling back. And he was in I promise, I won’t name the name, but he was in the a car with a football a professional footballer. And a professional footballer said you’re, you’re thinking about that mistake, aren’t you? Because everyone was being quiet? And he said, Yes, I you know, yes, no, probably almost nobody would else would have noticed that the broadcast was fine otherwise, but I can’t get out of my head. And the professional footballer said, you know, when I made a mistake, I was unable to speak on a Saturday afternoon, I was unable to speak to anyone for about three days. So I think, you know, performers do really set themselves those kinds of standards. And they you’re quite right, they find it much harder to hug themselves, and they do should beat themselves around the head.
David Ralph [49:38]
Well, just before we send you back in time, on the Sermon on the mic, the big question that sort of popped into my head is being a performer, somebody that’s interested in their own performance and the legacy that they’re leaving, when your time is finished at the RSA? Will you be able to just walk away from it? Or will you be thinking Oh, yeah, once again, I should have done that. I could have done that, or were you just quite happy to draw a line under it?
Matthew Taylor [50:03]
It’s very interesting question is when I think about a lot, because I never thought I’d be anywhere for nine years. And when you’ve been somewhere for as long as I have, you have to continuously ask yourself whether or not you’ve become as or institutionalized and where, whether you’ve got to the stage where you are convincing yourself that you still are needed? I suppose. For me, the question really is, have I can I pass the RSA on in a way in which lot, one of the things about leadership, I would say, as my leadership talks is, you’ve got to be stoic as a leader, because however good you are, as a leader, how wherever you achieve whatever you do two weeks after you’ve gone, they’ll be a new leader saying, Well, time, first time for change. You know, that’s just the way it is. And if you if you believe that you can control the organization from beyond the grave, as it were, you know, you’ll go mad, because you can’t. Having said that, what I want to happen at the RSA, because I think the model we’ve now developed is a really good model. And I’m really excited by is I want to go, not being pretty confident that whoever comes after me will say I want to build on what has been achieved and take it to new levels, new heights, I don’t really want someone to come in and say, Well, I’m going to take it all apart again and have another look at it, because I think there will be a lot of huge loss of energy. So when I was at IPC PR, for example, which I took from 20 people to 60 people, and it was you know, it was the country’s leading thing time, but the time I left there, part of the reason I finally left was because I had a deputy who I knew was pretty certain to get the job, man, I didn’t interfere in the appointment process, it was independent process, but I could see he was really good at he, I felt I can pass it on, and I can know it’s going to thrive. So I’d like to get to a point where there is a way that I will feel dead desperately sad, bereft when I leave this beautiful building, having invested so much time in it, but a big source of comfort for me will be to know that I have built something which will be built upon not something that will be pulled apart.
David Ralph [51:49]
Well, on that message, let’s send you back in time, we’re not going to send you forward, but on this one, we’re gonna send you back in time. And normally, we dropping quite a lot of motivational speeches, but you were so motivational self. So we’re gonna end up on the Sermon on the Mount, where we’re going to send you back in time to have a one on one with your younger self. And if you could go back in time and speak to the young Matthew, what age would you choose them? What advice would you give? Well, we’re going to find out, because I’m going to play the theme tune. And when it Phaedra up, this is the Sermon on the mic.
Matthew Taylor [52:43]
So this is me talking to myself, I think probably in my kind of early 20s, coming out of university with a pretty good degree and the world is my oyster. And I would have said three things to myself. I wish I had to say three things to myself. Firstly, you’ve got longer than you think. If you want to do something different, you can retrain, you can take a different route, you can take a couple of years out and travel around the world, you don’t have to do everything immediately, the next day. Now the next thing now take a bit of time. And consider the possibility that you might want to do something very different in your life from the course that you’re set on. I even in my 20s amazes me when I go back. And I think that even my 20s I kind of thought, Well, I can’t do anything that’s going to take three years because somehow the world will pass me by if I do that. So possibilities, I closed possibilities, because I didn’t realize I had more time than I thought I had. Secondly, I would say to myself, get over yourself, Matthew, I had hang ups, I had things that I felt I couldn’t do. It wasn’t until I 1015 years later had a lot of luck. And I suddenly went from being kind of fairly insignificant to having a very significant management post. And I happened to be around at the beginning of new label with Tony Blair. And suddenly, I realized I was able to get people to listen to me, was able to operate at a senior level. And that was obviously me before but I had too many hang ups, I was too fearful of failure. So I’d say to myself, get over yourself, man, just get out there. And then thirdly, I would say recognize your assumptions. Because there were a set of things I thought about the world in my 20s and carried on thinking about for many years, which I now realize were wrong. And I did things I shouldn’t have done things that were wrong things I’m ashamed of. Because I thought that certain behaviors, which were just kind of prevalent around me, were the kind of way that everyone behaved. And it took me a while to realize that that really wasn’t how everybody behaved. And it was just the kind of world the media that I was in. So I would say that you don’t don’t assume that the norms that surround you are the norms that you have to live by question those assumptions, look at how other people live their lives. Determine your own moral compass. So you’ve got more time than you think. Get over yourself, and try to understand the assumptions that you’re making about the world and challenge them. Those are the advisors, bits of advice I’ve given to myself.
David Ralph [55:06]
Perfect stuff. Matthew, what’s the number one best way that our audience can connect with you and your organization?
Matthew Taylor [55:15]
Go to the RSA. So if you go to search engine and putting RSA we’re such a wonderful organization, we come up above horizontal lines now. So go to the go to RSA and website changes every day. It’s got all our content on the people I spoken about your block and Frederick Loewe, Charles handy. It’s all there, watch it all free. It’s part of our charitable service. If you’re interested in me personally, I tweet at RSA, Matthew. And I tweet out on my blogs and stuff like that. And I love to have new followers and I often follow back to the people who follow me because the kind of people who follow me tend to be tend to be nice, interesting people.
David Ralph [55:49]
Generally, that’s the way it happens. Yeah. Matthew, thank you so much for spending time with us. Thank you. And yeah, please come back again, when you have more dots to join up. Because I do believe that by joining the saying connecting our past is the best way to build our futures. Mr. Matthew Taylor, thank you so much. And there you have it. And now that episode, I enjoyed that one. I thought I was a different type of join up dots. And hopefully you enjoyed it as well. So until the next time, thank you so much for listening. Thank you so much for supporting the show. And we’ll see you at the top this is David Ralph saying goodbye. See you next time. Cheers bye bye
David doesn’t want you to become a faded version of the brilliant self you are wants to become. So he’s put together an amazing guide for you called the eight pieces of advice that every successful entrepreneur practices, including the two that changed his life. Head over to join up.com to download this amazing guide for free and we’ll see you tomorrow on join up dots.