Welcome back to the Snyder Showdown podcast. Host Chris Snyder is the successful, straight-talking Internet business expert with zero patience for losing, a potty mouth and a well earned chip on his shoulder.
Get tips on how to get sh*t done with 100% team commitment.
Chris promotes work-life balance as a necessity in modern business and encourages flexibility for employees. However, for that 22% of time at work, you should expect 100% commitment.
Using a simplistic approach, Chris gives you a complete break down on the hours in a month and allocates them to the essentials: sleep, family, and work.
Learn how to establish a culture where your team is willing to do what it takes.
Know when a job candidate is the right person. Hear how Chris successfully hired a referral without even reviewing her resume.
Discover concrete tactics to measure and monitor productivity, including a software that tracks employee output.
Finally, how to take risks and do your best to be productive.
Interested in Chris' thoughts on time recording this podcast? Listen to "What is the ROI on this Podcast" next.
“I do think it’s important that you think about the ratios in measuring how you spend your time and where that time goes relative to the things you’re trying to achieve.” (02:41)
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“I don’t think a lot of companies really understand productivity.” (04:03)
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“If you are on time, you are late.” (07:04)
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“My life is basically in thirds. There’s three major things I do—I work, I sleep, and I’m at home.” (13:52)
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“You are 100% in control of your own happiness; your own life. We live in America; you can do whatever you want.” (17:04)
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Chris: Can you imagine showing up for meeting and going, "Well, you know what? It feels good this week. The numbers feel great, and we pulled some data, and maybe I looked at it, maybe I didn't, but the way I feel right now Mr. and Mrs. Client, I'm feeling pretty good about your business." I mean how do you think that conversation's going to go?
The topic that I want to talk about today is along the lines of this notion of work/life balance, also giving whatever thing you committed to all you have in that moment for that time. Whether it's 20 minutes, or whether it's an hour, or whether it's eight hours, right? For a company that you signed an employment agreement with, and you agreed to work for.
If it's time that you said that you were going to spend time with your kids, like give your kid that time. Don't give it to everybody else, or if you're supposed to be sleeping, sleep, because guess what? You've got to sleep.
Harry: Everyone's different with that in terms of how much they need.
Chris: Everyone is different with that in terms of how much they need, but it is scientific, and I've read the studies for sure without a shadow of a doubt, most need 8 hours, some need 10. It's impossible to run for an extended amount of time on less than that. Your results, scientific fact, your results diminish exponentially as you get deeper into that sleep deprivation hole.
It is not productive, it's not productive, so one of the things I wanted to talk about today, and you'll just have to give me one second, because I have to open my app. Harry, I don't know if you've ever heard of an app called Life Cycle, so I may have showed you this when we met in Redondo at the Shade hotel a few weeks back, but I think I was showing everybody this.
Look, I'm never the guy who's up there Mr. Analysts. I mean I can crack open some Excel spreadsheets and do some quick math, but I'm no math elite, right? I do think it's important that you think about the ratios in measuring how you spend your time, and where that time goes relative to the things you're trying to achieve, right?
Chris: I don't know what the title of this show should be called, because this podcast is about agency life. This podcast is about working, this podcast is about entrepreneurialism. What I want to talk about is the 22% of your time you're supposed to be dedicated to your profession and being a professional. There's a lot of times though, that for one reason or another, not your fault, you get distracted, and you're not actually giving the time that you should be giving to that business to move the business forward.
Harry: Would you call that biz dev stuff?
Chris: No, I would call it, if you signed up to do work, and you're supposed to be doing work, whether it's the night crew wiping down the office, and you're supposed to be doing it for six hours, and making sure that every single desk gets wiped down, and every single trashcan is dumped. If it's the data analyst that comes in at 9 AM, and is supposed to give a solid until 6: 00, and with their brakes or whatever.
There are designated times for work, and it doesn't matter who you are, or what you do, I think that you should be giving it your all during those times. The reason why I want to have this discussion today, is because I don't think a lot of companies really understand productivity. I don't think they understand it, and I think that there's a notion out there about work/life balance, and how employees, or freelancers, or contractors, or whatever stage of this company you're in, how they perceive their work/life balance, or how they classify it.
It's interesting, getting into what I was mentioning, is a long time ago, two years ago now, two years ago I'd been tracking with an app called Life Cycle. It's on my iPhone, and I've been diligent about this, because the gap between perception and reality is huge in most cases for most people, unless you quantify your shit, right? It's like if I go to a meeting and we're a performance advertising agency, we do a lot of other stuff too, but if I go to a meeting, and I'm there to present numbers on a weekly spend, and I'm not super specific about where the money went, right?
Can you imagine showing up for a meeting and going, "Well, you know what? It feels good this week. The numbers feel great, and we pulled some data, and maybe I looked at it, maybe I didn't, but the way I feel right now Mr. And Mrs. Client, I'm feeling pretty good about your business." I mean, how do you think that conversation's going to go?
Harry: I think that would be a very short meeting.
Chris: I think that would be an extremely short meeting, unless the person sitting on the other side of you is dumb, right? They don't know what the meeting is supposed to be about, but the point is, you're right, it's going to be a very short meeting.
Harry: Have you always operated this way? When you were in the agency, when you first joined, did you always come in with that mindset that you wanted to be clear about that, so that your clients were comfortable knowing they were in good hands with you? Is this something just over time, like all business owners, we make our mistakes early, we do the things we know we're supposed to do.
We don't do them to the best of our abilities, and then we just get better?
Chris: We just evolve, I think you evolve. I think that I'll walk it all the way back to my military upbringing. I was a military kid, we traveled everywhere. I've got to tell you for sure, I was on the clock, I mean I was on the clock, right? Maybe it was just something that was given to me that, back obviously growing up, I didn't probably appreciate as much as I should.
If my ass wasn't out of bed by like 5: 30 AM, you were getting a bucket of water, I mean, bottom line, that's what was going to happen. If you were on time, you were late. If you're supposed to work at 9: 00, and you show up at 8: 58, you're late, because then you dick around getting your coffee, and you mess around getting your stuff, and by the time you sit down that's 30 minutes.
Like how was your weekend, and all this stuff and the stuff. It's like okay, that's 30 minutes times 10, that's 300 minutes a day across 10 employees. Start thinking about this stuff, right? For me, your question is like were you always this way? No, I think that a little plug of it was there for me growing up. I think having a sales and business development background, I watched the hours of the day and what I did during certain hours, because when you make prospect phone calls, or you go on biz dev meetings, there are certain days of the week and certain times of the day that you will be most productive reaching someone and having a productive conversation.
There was notions of it, but until I got into the agency services business, I would say, "Hell no, hell no." Then, once you get into the agency services business, then you have a family, and then the business grows, and then you start another business. Then your business partner starts another business, and then you start realizing like, "Well wait a second, like where am I spending my time? What am I really good at? How am I supposed to be productive, if I don't understand where my time is going," right?
Harry: It seems like it's something ... We talked about this in a previous episode, this idea of managing expectations with new employees, in terms of what type of environment they're stepping into. This piece about them coming early, or coming at 9: 00, and then dicking around, and then half hour later. In my mind, they don't feel like they're doing anything bad, and they're not putting dollars to their time.
I think they don't have the mindset of a business owner, and I think that's part of it. They don't see the big picture, and I think it's why some of what we talked about earlier is resonating. If you tell them, "Look, everything you do or don't do contributes to the bottom line and the success of this company, including how you manage your time."
Chris: Yeah, and here's the thing, I'm not sure to criticize whether companies are being as productive as they could or not. What I'm here to do, is let everybody know that based on the data that I've seen, and based on comments that I've heard at companies that I've both worked for and a couple of companies I own, there is a misconception out there about how much people really need to work to get the job done, and how much of their, "Balance," is really being taken up.
It's just not true, I mean, we just need to do a better job of understanding where our time goes, specifically what time do you come in, right? I don't care about 9: 00, right? I'm just saying that because that's what I'm saying. We have teams in India, we have employees in Florida, we have employees in Chicago, we have employees everywhere. I don't care about the exact term like the gap in the time, because I work LA time.
What I do want to do, is make sure that everybody's clear on the math, right? That's what I wanted to talk about today, because the older I get, and I'm not ancient, but I feel like whatever the 10 years you're an expert thing, and running the road that I've ran for the last 10 or 12 years, I know what's up. I've actually tracked this time for almost two years now, and I've got an inkling about the business professional I am, the husband I am, and the father I am, and how much time I am dedicated to certain things.
I was thinking about this, because I hear it a lot. The math is really simple to me, and I'm sure once this gets published, someone can start criticizing any which way they want, right? You can add your 40 days of PTO in, you can add your holidays and your happy hours and your Freaky Fridays and your mess around Mondays. Someone can find a way to pick this apart, but the point to this podcast is actually not to pick stuff like this apart.
The point of this podcast is to get the point, and the point is simple math for me, because I'm not a mathlete. The simple math, is of course, not all months have 30 days, some have 31, some have 28, right? I mean, but if you take 24 hours in a day, we all have the same amount of time, and you multiply that 24 hours in a day times 30 days, right? Just simple, 720 hours, that's all you got, that's all Harry has, that's all Chris has, that's all anyone has, right?
It's all Warren Buffett has by the way. Everybody has the same amount of time.
Chris: Then you think about it and it comes back to what I was talking about a little bit earlier about the sleep studies and stuff like that. Sleep is a very important thing, some people have trouble sleeping. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't, but if you look at it statistically, you should be getting eight hours of sleep every night. Seriously, stop watching Netflix, don't binge watch another thing. Stop playing video games, especially if you're 43 years old, stop doing that, right?
Take your ass to bed, right? Go to sleep, because you need it, because you have goals. You've got to wake up in the morning, and you've got to get shit done for yourself, and for your family, all right? Whether it's your wife or your kids or your relatives or whatever responsibilities you have, right? Unless you're a college kid, then you got work to do at class, right?
Maybe you've got some racquetball to play or something. 250 hours roughly, 8 times 30 days, it's like 244, but let's just give you 250, let's have you sleep a little bit more, right? You get that, and then your employer, if you have a job, like a real job, they want 160, they want 40 hours a week. I know some months are longer, some months are ... I know there's holidays, I get it, guess what?
That leaves you 310 hours a month to do whatever the fuck you want to do. The 250, and it's interesting, with the software, it basically, in my life anyway, I'll just tell you what it means for me. In my life it means that my life is basically in thirds. There's three major things I do, I work, I sleep, and I'm at home.
I'm not going to subdivide everything I do when I'm at home. Maybe I'm watching a football game, maybe I'm throwing the Nerf ball in the house with my son, and accidentally breaking shit, right? I don't know, whatever it is that I do during that time, but that's the deal. What I wanted to talk about today, is the 22%. If you take 160 divided by 720, you spend 22% of your time working, give or take.
Harry: Are you clear about the delineation of time that you're at home, that you're not working or doing anything related to work there?
Chris: Well, I'm an entrepreneur and a business owner, so no. I'm going to wind this track back to January when we had a larger team, and we had an office. I'm on my phone right now, and I'm looking at the time that I spent in January in different categories, okay? In January, I spent 235 hours sleeping according to the app, that's what I did. I spent 202 hours physically located at my office.
By the way, if I wound that back month, over month, over month, over month, unfortunately for me, it's pretty much the same story. By the way, this app tracks where you're physically located, physically located. If I walk down to the neighborhood bar and spend some time with my buddies just decompressing, I've got it. Guess what? If my wife gets after me about that, I'm like, "Look man, I spent 47 hours of family time this month, I spent 15 at the bar," right?
I got it, so I spent 235 hours sleeping. I spent 202 hours at work, the other third of this puzzle is the 202 hours I spent at home. It's the big chunks, right? It's the big chunks, and then that same month in January, I also managed to spend 34 hours of family time. When you go to places that families usually go, right? Like the Cinemark movie theater, you wouldn't catch me at a movie theater by myself.
Guess what? The app asks you what you did there, you put your little family icon there, and then you can see it, right? I don't go to the bowling alley by myself, I take my family bowling. There's things you just don't do by yourself, and there's really no gray area with this.
Harry: It's recognizing all these places, and it's got some markers, like what this type of businesses is tagged as typically?
Chris: Yeah, and they're probably integrated with the foursquare API, and they pull in enriched data from different places. Like if I go to my accountant's office, it knows, and it knows how much time I spend there. Even though you feel like you don't have that much time, you do have a lot of time. What you don't probably have, or what you do have if you're successful, is you have fundamental planning and prioritization of how you spend that time.
You are 100% in control of your own happiness, your own life. We live in America, you can do what ever you want. If you want to blow work off tomorrow, you are not going to get sent to Siberia, I promise you that. The reason why I wanted to bring this up, is because I've been thinking really hard about this, and I've been thinking about labor. I've been thinking about productivity, I mean, I don't tell a whole bunch of people this, but our staff knows it, and we've made no secret about it.
All of our computers have a software program called Teramind. This is not big brother, this is not monitoring, this is everyone understands at this agency, we are legitimately trying to figure out how to be the most effective and the most efficient, and have the best use of our time.
Harry: Talk to me a little bit about that app.
Chris: Well basically what it does, is it tracks when you login, when you log off. It tracks keystrokes, it tracks the applications that you visit. I mean, for our business, if you're on LinkedIn or Facebook, that's not really a big deal, because we by budget those systems. Again, like I said before, we're not trying to big brother stuff, we're not looking at it that way.
I'm looking at the data from a macro, and I'm trying to figure out, case in point, if you're an account manager, and you spend a lot of time on conference calls, your productivity's not going to be the same as someone that's pounding keyboard and pounding code and working in Excel spreadsheets, it's just not, right? It's just not, and basically the software just takes a snapshot no different than my phone, right?
It knows where I'm at, it knows where you're at. By the way, we're 100% remote, and I've also made it clear I don't care if you're in Switzerland, it doesn't matter to me. I just care about when you're using that time, and you're saying that it's for business purposes, I want all of it, I want every single minute of it, and so do the clients. If you give yourself, and you give your clients, and you give the agency every single minute of that time, guess what?
It's only 22% of your life, and by the way, that's what you're being paid to do, right? Yeah, I mean look, our team, we have task lists, don't check them daily, they're not for me, they're for you. Our calendars are all wide-open, anyone from any part of the team can go to any other team members calendar and see what they're working on. If you need a 28 minute break every day at 1 o'clock, put it on your calendar, I don't care, right?
Just put it there so everybody knows that ... You need focus time with an account name by that calendar, because you need to get some knowledge work done. If you need your daily lunch, go do it, I'm all good with that. If you need to come in at 6: 00, work until 9: 00, and then go for a two hour hike every single day until 11: 00, do it, please do it.
I'm going to check up, I'm going to follow-up. However, the one thing I do expect, is that if we're billing, I expect that you're on it, right? I expect you're getting knowledge work done for yourself, for the client, for the business. When I started thinking about it, and I started thinking about the work/life balance stuff. I started thinking about why is everybody so stressed out? All this stuff, I'm like, "Shit man, how are you stressed out when it's 22% of your life?"
Now, okay, that's a generalization, some companies think that a 60 hour work week is productive. You know what? In some cases, maybe it is. My opinion, very few cases it is, especially for 90% of your staff who don't have all the same shit going on as an entrepreneur or a business owner does.
Harry: Have you heard of the term Parkinson's principle?
Chris: I have not.
Harry: It is the idea that a task expands to fill the amount of time allotted.
Chris: I 100% agree with that, and I can tell you for sure it happens. I know it happens for sure. If you hire a freelancer or a contractor, and you tell them they have eight hours to do a task, it's eight hours.
Harry: It's eight hours.
Chris: It's eight hours every time.
Harry: Magically, it's eight hours.
Chris: Magically, but the beauty about someone like myself, and the beauty about a lot of people on my team, is they've been doing this stuff for so long, they know how long it should take to cut up a PSD file, they know. They know how long it should take to write 22 lines of copy for a Facebook ad. They know how long it should take to code a three page landing page with these elements, right?
They're using a little jQuery, or they're using a little CSS. Oh, it's bootstrap, it's faster, because we have a template. We're not sitting here trying to figure out how to not give you the 22%. We're trying to figure out how to give you exactly the 22% and even more if we need too, because we're all here to win, and we're all here be productive. It's interesting, I read just quickly an article today that there was a study over in the UK, and they also studied American men, and by the way, don't turn this into a political thing, it has nothing to do with men or women.
The article basically said that American men and UK men in this article, were happiest when they felt productive, the things that they were doing at work was meaningful, right? They were making impact, that's what it said. You worked in corporate America and so did I, how many people are dragging their ass in there at 8: 58 and 8: 59, just so they can barely make the clock, so they can go stand at the water cooler and bitch about how awful their life is, the 22% of it that they really can't stand, right?
Go on lunch, run out of there for lunch, because damn, you sit on your ass all day, you've got to have a full lunch, you have to, and then run out of there at 5 PM, because everything else in their life is so important, or they got there side gig work, and everything else is so much more important than this 22%. Guess what? Oh, I've got to have my health insurance, oh, I've got to have that stability with the job, but I'm going to come in there every day, and act like I hate it, not give it my all ...
That shit's contagious by the way, I've seen that too. I mean, that's it, that's basically it. I just wanted to riff on that a little bit today, and just let everybody know that just give yourself 22%. You know what? If you don't like it, take the other 310 hours you have in a month, do the math, take the other 310 hours you have in a month, and go figure out what's going to make you happy and productive and make your life meaningful, don't put that shit on me.
Harry: Let's round out the other side of the story. Talk to me a little bit about the conversations you've had with your employees about this approach, and what impact it's had on their productivity and on their mood or their feeling about ... How they feel about the job they have.
Chris: Look, a lot of the stuff that we talk about on this podcast, I have the same somewhat unstructured conversations with the people I work with. I have these conversations with clients, I have these conversations with everyone. I have these conversations of people sitting at the bar, right? I have these conversations with just across the spectrum.
The people that know me, know what I expect, and honestly, if I have to have a conversation like this with people to try to get them to understand that they're not giving it their all, I'm having the wrong conversation anyway. The other thing that I've learned, is you can't make human beings do anything they don't want to do, and which is another reason why, I think at the beginning of this show, in one of the prior episodes I said, "I'm not specifically here to motivate and inspire, I'm just here to tell the story," right?
Now, if you get motivated and inspired in realizing that you're the person that is not giving the 22% that you should, or if you're motivated and inspired and going, "Huh, well you know what? I give like 35%," like good for you. At the end of the day I'm not having those conversations actively with anyone on my team, because A, they don't need it, right? They just don't need it, because they know what the expectations are.
By the way, they're not my expectations, it's not even my company, it's my client's company. Seriously, this is not my company, my clients make the rules. If my clients want something, we negotiate about when they get it, and how much it costs, but then they get it. I'm just the person in the middle managing labor.
Harry: No clients, no company.
Chris: That's right, so for me, I understand what you're getting at. Who knows? Maybe they'll listen to my podcast, but maybe they'll go like, "Dude, that's just Chris doing his daily stuff, right? Just talking about whatever he's talking about." They don't need these talks.
Harry: What I think would be helpful, because you're going to get new listeners and people that have never met you, never worked with you, and this might be their first introduction to you. The question for them might be, what did you do to create an environment where your employees are comfortable in that setting, and in a way that everyone's happy, and stuff is getting done?
Harry: Yeah, talk about maybe ... We touched upon a little bit with the on boarding, but what else are you doing to manage those expectations with your employees as well?
Chris: Well, it's about accountability number one, and I think from day one, when anybody walks in here, they know. They know that our expectation, if you're in a certain role, is like, which by the way is not the high. It's like 67% productivity according to computer software that whatever. Over time, and you criticize it and say, "Oh well, I can just sit here all day and move my mouse around, and click ASDFG."
Dude, go ahead, because I'm going to look at your output as far as the work that you're getting done and overall client happiness, and I'm going to realize your full of shit. Even if you're 90% productive, that's still not going to fly, right? I think coming in here on day one, for people to understand that our agency and our clients expect high productivity, a passion for this business, right?
A high degree of strategic thinking as it relates to what they should spend their time on. There's always too much work, not enough hours, and the money's never good enough, right? Just go down on the crybaby list, at the end of the day, they know their software. They know the job is hard, and the people that come here, generally, they embrace that environment, because that's what they want.
It's not what I'm putting on them. I'm not forcing you to work at an agency that's the hardest business on the planet, right? That's not on me, that's on you, so now here we are 30, 60, 90 days later I check their calendars. What are you working on, right? I'll give you the hours, look, here, we'll load you up with hours. You said you know how to do this knowledge work, you say you know how to talk to clients.
You say you know how to do Excel spreadsheets, you say you know how to bid buy and budget on Google. You say you know how to write copy, here it is. I'm going to load it up, and then we're going to look at it, and then we're going to look at. Then I'm going to look at your job description, right? They know, and they know if it's taking them too long to get stuff done, they'll immediately feel that pressure.
Like I've said in another session too, they'll just leave, because it's not fun for me trust me. It's not fun for me, and it's not going to be fun for you. I don't make the rules, right? Clients make the rules, getting back to your point, I think what it comes down to, the take away from this, is it's about people. It's about the personality of the people that you hire and their desires to do this work.
Working 40 hours a week is just not that hard, it's not that hard. Now look, I'm sensitive, and I actually think that companies should do more to place some of the systems in place, and some of the business process in place that I have, and some of the management style in place that I have. Then in turn, allow their employees to work more from home, but with more accountability.
Harry: Which is what you're doing?
Chris: That's what I'm doing, and you know what? Honestly, just like our numbers show up on an Excel spreadsheet, your productivity numbers show up. Once a week, I meet with our operations person, everyone's rack and stack. I look at it, I don't dive into it, clients are happy, I'm happy, maybe was a slow week, maybe it was a busy week, stuff's getting done.
I think too often, the pendulum goes way too far to one side. In this case, what I'm talking about is my work/life balance sucks, my commute sucks. Then when I come into work, I've been spending all night in my side hustle, so my productivity when I get into work is basically just robotic and pushing through it, and I'm not giving it my all. In the end, let those guys work from home men, let them work from home, but hold them accountable.
Check their calendar, ask them what they're working on. Put monitoring on their computer and make sure that they're not just twiddling their thumbs. Guess what? Some people don't work well remotely. They'll say it, I'll say it, everyone will say it. You've got to give them a chance to work well remotely, and if they can't, then send them over to WeWork. They've got a pass over there for 45 bucks a month.
Dude, it's pretty easy, it's cheaper than an office space, and if you need the human interaction, go get it.
Harry: Do you provide the hardware for everyone? You get the software on their machine, and it syncs back to your stuff?
Chris: Oh no, we provide everything, no, everything is all ... We have very serious data flowing through the systems here at our company, proprietary data from very large companies. Every single thing is on Jewel Agency equipment, everything without a doubt bar none, no matter what. By the way, some of the offshore firms that we use, we actually made them install HiveDesk, and I monitor their productivity for sure.
I want to know what you're working on. Again, I don't need to look at it if you're doing your deal. It's in that off chance where your gut's telling you like, "Oh man, I've been asking for this, I keep asking for it," then you got to dig, right? Then you gotta dig, right? I don't know man, I think it would be awesome for all of us to look at other human beings and go you know what? Everyone is going to do the right thing all the time.
Everybody's super engaged, we're all rowing in the right direction. We're here for the cause, we're all bought in, right? That's not the case, that's not the case. More and more in today's world, it's less and less the case, right? Companies have to figure out ... Okay, you're buying this labor, you have clients in the other side who want the productivity. In the middle you've got a bit of a shift in the expectations around what folks are on the hook for, right?
In my view, it should be 22% you're on the hook for, all of it. I don't want you working 60 hours, I want all of the 40 that you're here, every single minute of it. I don't care if it's 1 AM, log your time, I don't care. I don't care if it's at 9: 00, I don't care, but I do want all that time, and so do our clients.
Harry: Yeah, it's interesting, because everybody works differently, and you could probably pick 10 people in your company, tell them they have eight hours, give them a pretty similar project, and you'd probably have people finishing it anywhere from two to not getting it done.
Chris: I agree.
Harry: I've always thought it was interesting, after having been out of corporate America for years, that we all think that every single corporate human being on this planet works the same exact way. To your point what happens, is not only are they waiting for the 5 o'clock bell, but the productivity drops around the 4 o'clock mark, because on the 4: 30 ... It's so funny, because you literally see people waiting for the tick of the clock.
I'm like, "Wait, you actually just finished ... You just magically finished everything you needed to do at 5 o'clock?"
Harry: I was like, "How did you do that?"
Chris: It's magic.
Harry: It's so interesting, because as the companies get bigger, I used to work for a consultant company, and my client was Unilever, which is a huge conglomerate. It was the office in New Jersey, and I would be roaming the halls of dozens and dozens of empty cubicles, empty cubicles. I'm just like whose paying for all this?
Chris: That's a great point, Harry, that is a great point. Let's pull that string a little bit, guess what? When everybody comes in with the attitude that they don't want to give the 20%, right? By the way, let me make a comment about 22%. The 22%, in my business, is assuming that you're 100% billable. That's not true, nobody's 100% billable, nobody, you know why? You have shit to do, like fill out your timecard, that ain't billable.
You have shit to do that's just regular, general operating, and it ain't billable. It's probably about 15% of your overall time, let's give you 10%, let's give you 20%, right? Take 20% of the 20, now you're 18%. Let me get back to the point that you were just trying to make. I don't know what everybody's afraid of. I don't know why managers, and I don't know why employees, and I don't know why consultants and contractors, and I don't know why business partners can't have realistic discussions about how much time they're spending on the stuff, how much it actually costs, and how they can work together to make it work, so you can win?
If you're not willing to have those conversations, guess what? People lose their jobs. To me, that is the shitty part, that's the hard conversation, where the conglomerate walks in, and they lay off 1500 people. You read it in the paper the next day, and then Billy and Susie that do have kids, and they're trying to figure out what to do, and they're in an area maybe where Amazon hasn't handed out 160 K jobs like candy, right?
That's going on right now in their new headquarter neighborhoods, right? What are these people going to do, right? Well, if you had the tough conversations in the beginning, and you got rid of the people that were unproductive, and the people that didn't want to be there, understood they didn't want to be there, and left on their own accord, and worked with their managers on an exit plan, instead of poising a bunch of the other people that maybe did want to be there, that were convinced that they shouldn't be ...
I mean, look what's going on at Facebook right now. I mean, it is getting really messy with what you read in the press and stuff like that.
Harry: With the privacy stuff?
Chris: It's not just the privacy stuff, it's all the ... I'll put a quote around whistleblowers, or just people badmouthing the company. It hasn't happened for the last 10 or 12 years or however long. They've had a very strong I think culture internally, however you want to interpret my word strength, right? I'm sure you could find a way to criticize that. That stuff traditionally just did not happen, and the wheels are coming off over there.
You can see it culturally, and I don't want to skip the topic, but at the end of the day, my point is, is look folks, why don't you, if you have an iPhone, instead of playing fucking Candy Crush, why don't you load up Life Cycle and be accountable for what you want to achieve in life, and figure out where you're spending your time? All of us have the exact same amount of it, all of us.
Harry: Chris, how has this approach translated into either bottom line for your company, or in the way you approach your interactions with clients, or deliver results?
Chris: Yeah, I mean, I think that's a great question. Whenever you go and do things like this that are scary, and by the way, scary means telling your employees that you're going to put monitoring software on their laptops, and you're not going to hide it, that's fucking scary. Guess what? Your star employee is going to go, "Dude, not in my world, I'm out." Your star employee is probably going to try to convince other people that you're a tyrant, and you're monitoring them, and it's not cool.
They're going to probably try to convince other people that they're going to be out too. Let me tell you something, it translates into results, because you quickly realize the people that are there for the right reasons. You also start to learn. If the question is hey Chris, good for you, you track time, you're interested in productivity, you're interested in efficiency.
You've researched and deployed tools, and I gave you two during the show, teramind.com, and also hivedesk.com. If you've taken the time to research this, and you're really serious about becoming a leaner, more effective, and a more efficient organization, that's the take away. If it feels like, "Oh man, if I do that, I'm going to have mutiny on the horizon, it's gonna happen," then guess what?
You should do it immediately, you actually should do it immediately.
Harry: All the more reason to do it.
Chris: If you're scared shirtless of what I'm talking about right now, you should do it tomorrow. You know what? Just like me doing this podcast, be brave, don't be afraid, because guess what? For every single person that walks out that door, there's someone twice as good as them right behind him. It's going to be painful, it's gonna suck, you might as well just take out the hammer and hit your big toe with it really softly for two days straight, while you get through all of it, and get through all the hard meetings, and your stomach's gonna hurt, and you're going to lose sleep at night.
Then when you come out of it, like we have after a couple of years of it, and it becomes part of the culture, and the superstars know, there's nothing to worry about. It doesn't matter, what should entrepreneurs learn from this? What should ... Look, I hear all the time, I hear about the big companies saying, "We're going to go remote, we're trying to figure it out. We're trying to figure it out, we're going to go remote."
I listen to a podcast from someone over ... I won't name the company, a very large company. That said okay, we're going to start by telling everybody not to come in the office on Monday. I'm like, "That's bullshit." Pull off the Band-Aid dude, there are people at your organization right now that are highly productive. They want to go remote, you better figure that out, and give them that opportunity, or you're going to lose that person.
By the way, there's benefits of being remote, big benefits to being remote. There is no benefit to being remote, if you're not going to hold anyone accountable, and measure the productivity or the action that you've just taken. That's all I'm talking about, so my advice to entrepreneurs, or people who are looking for the regular 22% out of their staff, and the opportunity to start moving into a more distributed work environment, right?
Which is a benefit for everyone, by the way, it cuts your cost, right? You're not paying 12 grand a month for the office, or however many thousands of dollars you spend. Your employees are not commuting, in LA it could be up to an hour and a half a day. That's three hours a day that they're focused on being pissed off. By the time they get to the office, and by the time they leave, they're just pissed off.
For me, what can entrepreneurs take out of this? What's the message? Try, try, because if you're amazing right now, and everything you do works just beautifully, you're not listening to this podcast, so really who gives a shit.
Chris: Seriously, Warren Buffet is not listening to my podcast. Dude, he's been going to the same office every day for 45 years, he lives in the same house, he does not give a shit about what I say. Generally, people listen to this stuff, because they want to be motivated or inspired or something like that, or they actually want to try to figure out how to learn and get better.
Harry: Hear another way of doing things that may be different, and against the grain from what is typically being spouted now. This may seem like a dramatic step, but I think what you're trying to say, is if you communicate with your team, if you're clear about the reasons why you do this, and you explain to them the benefits for everyone involved, both them, you, and the clients, then it's going to be easier to get them on board.
Chris: Yeah, why does it have to be negative bro?
Chris: It's not negative, it's not at all negative. In many cases, running the way we've ran, and doing it this way has saved us from lawsuits as well, right? There's clear benefits to operating this way, and if you're true partners with your staff, it's a true partnership, and you have the conversation, right? You're like, "Look guys, we're trying to get better here. You know what Susie? I only want you working 40 hours a week. I only want you working 40 hours a week. I know you want to spend more time with your family."
"Jimmy, I know you love doing the flag football thing, but you've got to drive across town. I know you fucking love it, so Jimmy, every Wednesday, dude, you just work from home. I'm not worried about it, I don't care, because it doesn't matter." I'm trying to figure out how to just get the 22%.
Chris: Just manage it, I'm just trying to manage it, and provide analytics around it, so we can all grow and learn together, that's it.
Harry: We'll make sure to include links to all that software and the apps in the show notes as well.
Chris: Oh absolutely, absolutely.