Shorten Your Work Week & Increase Your Bottom Line by Working The System – An Interview with Sam Carpenter

Sam Carpenter work the system
Sam Carpenter – Shorten Your Work Week & Increase Your Bottom Line by Working The System. The Online Marketing Show Episode 003

 

Sam Carpenter is the author of the book Work the System: The Simple Mechanics of Making More and Working Less which outlines his simple methodology of making your life and business run smoothly and efficiently by getting systems in place.

If you are feeling trapped or overwhelmed inside of your own business, listen to this interview because it will change your life.

It will help you to stop procrastinating and instead get things get done quicker and with ruthless efficiency

You set up the system…

Then you work less, you make more money, you spend time doing what you want to do, not what you have to do.

You can listen to the interview or you can read the full transcript below…

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Joey Bushnell: Hi everyone, this is Joey Bushnell, today I have with me a fantastic guest. He is the author of the world famous book “Work the System” his name is Sam Carpenter. Sam, thank you so much for being with me today.

Sam Csam carpenter work the systemarpenter: Glad to be here Joey, thanks.

Joey Bushnell: Sam, what is your book “Work the System” all about?

Sam Carpenter: Well, it’s about taking a business that is chaotic and turning it into a calm, peaceful and profitable organism. It is an organism one way or the other, there are systems working and processes happening.

The question is… Are those processes and systems being managed?

This is for the small to mid-sized business owner and they can take the book and it’s actually a step beyond Michael Gerber’s book “The E-Myth” in that it shows you just what to do.  It’s not at all a copy of his book in the first instance but it does share the commonality of working on your business rather than in your business.

Any business owner without exception, unless they are crazy, would like their business to be independent of them so they can go on vacations, get sick and still be profitable and pretty much a money machine and a place you can go because you love to do, what you do and you love the people you work with, and it doesn’t demand that you be there 80 hours a week. So the book is about fixing that problem.

Joey Bushnell: How was it you came to write this book Sam? Where were you in your life, that prompted you that you had to write this book?

Sam Carpenter: I talk about it in the book, that my life history is one of chaos up to the age of 50 and I’m 63 now.

But at 50 I’d had this call center business. Just a regular nuts and bolts business where we take incoming emergency calls for doctors, funeral homes and half a dozen different vertical markets of business where you want a human being to answer the phone. We take the emergency call and pass them on to the appropriate emergency personnel for that particular business.

We have about 1,000 accounts and I have been running it since the age of 35, so for a decade and a half I have been running this business which is so error prone. Just here in the United States not to mention the UK and the rest of the world but here in the US we have about 2,000 competitors. Everyone of them is chaotic because every account is different, there is so much that can go wrong. It’s what I call a “Cauldron for chaos.”

At 15 years I was going to finally, absolutely, without question, miss a payroll. If I missed a payroll everyone would walk out. Despite myself, that business had then grown over that decade and a half about 6 times over. I think we were doing about $5,000 per month and we were up to $30,000-$35,000 a month. We had grown but it was killing me physically, financially. I was a single parent of 2 kids with just barely enough to survive. My physical health and mental health was going down hill and I was going to miss this payroll.

There is a chapter in my book called “Gun to the head enlightenment”, so I lay in bed one night and realized that I was going to absolutely lose the business and why don’t I just ask myself the question… What did I do wrong in all this time? I don’t get an answer, I lay in bed awake I think, or sleeping, maybe half way in between and I got a vision of a table in front of me. All of the pieces of my business were laid out in front of me on top of the table.

There were two very important insights I got from that vision that night…

One was… The pieces were separate from each other, they were not connected. Even though I had this business called Centratel. Centratel is a collection of things that go on. These things that went on were separate from each other and they weren’t just objects in my dream, there were objects as processes.

What I realized that night was my business and my entire life, of course, we’re getting down to real mechanical reality, if my business is a certain way, probably my life is that way too. Every part of my life and business was not a big conglomeration of sights, sounds and events. But was actually a collection of independent systems and processes.

That was 13 years ago and that night I realized that my business was a collection of independent processes and the logical thing to do would be to pick the process out of the business that was the most problematic and fix it. Fix it with the documentation which came to me instantaneously, if I’m going to get them help me do things the right way, have them help me create the perfect way to do those things. I talk about this extensively in the book but what happened was, I went down to the office the next day and found a way to make the payroll.

Then we fixed the biggest problem first. Documented it, sorry, boring but true, on planet earth you have to document your processes if you ever want your business to grow and get out from being in the middle of it. Then we did the next process and the next then the next.

The key here was that I saw my business was not something that could be fixed by another loan, a consultant or the hand of God or I could take some magic pill that would get me to do everything right all of a sudden. What I needed to do was just take my business apart because mechanically that’s what it is, just a collection of parts. It’s a primary system that is a collection of sub-systems. Then take each sub-system apart, fix it and document it.

Most of our businesses are the same thing happening over and over again. What I call recurring systems and recurring processes. What we wanted was for every process to be executed perfectly or as close to perfect 100% of the time.

I asked myself that night, I can still feel my insecurity in this question… “What would happen if I could get all the pieces of my business to execute perfectly 100% of the time? Would I have a perfect business?” I honestly 13 years ago on that night didn’t know the answer to that question.

I’m here to tell you, if you have all the components of your business working perfectly and you have a direction, and that’s easy to establish if you have some goals, you will have a perfect business.

I was working 80-100 hours a week, now I work 2 hours a week. My gross and my net income is approximately 30 times what it use to be. So it’s a great way to go and I highly recommend that everyone take a look at their lives and their business and see that they are truly a collection of separate processes.

Let me finish up by saying, when you see your business as a collection of separate processes, it get’s real easy to fix things if you are willing to fix the pieces one at a time. That is where I spend all of my time and the people we consult too. I have an international consulting operation, coaching, the book and an online product, it all goes back to being able to see the world as a collection of processes and then going after them one after the other. It’s not rocket science it’s just simple methodology that you do over and over again, and it works.

Joey Bushnell: Brilliant, we can see that it works Sam but for people who are small business owners like myself, what are the consequences of failing to get systems in place? What is likely to happen?

Sam Carpenter: What is absolutely likely to happen if you don’t get documents and systems in place, is you will never grow past a certain point. You can’t.

Now you’re an artist in a sense Joey, and I am too to a degree, and everyone reading this has a special talent that they do. But you’ve got to find a way to extricate yourself from the machinery of the every day world if you want to grow.

The way you do that, is work with your people, document things and train other people to do what you do. Now you need to do these interviews Joey and I have to do my writing and so forth but 99% of what everybody out there does, can be done by other people, even very creative things. So you’re going to limit your growth, you’re going to be in the middle of things all of the time, you’re going to go crazy, not have a personal life and ultimately you are not going to have much money because there’s a million other people out there doing the same things.

This is a bold thing to say but I’m confident that 9 out of 10 people reading this are in a little bit of chaos with what they do or a lot of chaos. 9 out of 10 small businesses are mismanaged in the sense that the owner is doing everything because they somehow think they have magical powers and they are the only one who can do it. They are not thinking about the processes.

Let me do one thing, if this was a video I would show this but I’ll try to illustrate it in everyone’s head…

Imagine a flip chart as I’m talking and I’m going to write this on top of the flip chart. The number 1 on the left side with an arrow going over to the right to the number 2. Then an arrow going over to the number 3 and an arrow going over to the number 4. Then an equals sign on the right side and out of that the word “Result”. I’m only doing 4 steps but there could be 10,000 or only 2 steps. Usually there’s 10-50 steps in a typical business process.

Most people don’t realize the results over on the right hand side don’t have anything to do with their IQ, wonderful personality, their heroic willingness to work 80 hours a week, their smile, good looks or whatever. It has to do with the process.

That’s why people we know just aren’t that smart can have a lot of money and a lot of freedom. Or someone with a terrible personality has a lot of time, a lot of freedom and a lot of money. They are spending their time over in the 1-2-3-4 part working on the systems that equal the results.

Most people are over at the right hand side next to results. They are shuffling around the bad results of unmanaged systems, in other words the 1-2-3-4 part over on the left side of the equation.

So my insight that night and what I tell everybody no matter what forum I’m using, is you need to spend your time working the processes hence the title of the book. Work the System: The Simple Mechanics of Making More and Working Less. You need to spend your whole day over on the left side of the equation making the systems better and better.

If you do that, again there is a little bit of documentation at the beginning about direction, goals and how you make decisions and so forth, as long as you do that then you spend all of your time over working on the systems, the results will take care of themselves. Does that make sense?

Joey Bushnell: Makes absolute sense, I guess what you are saying there is there’s no respecter of persons here. Doesn’t matter if you’re clever with a lovely personality, basically if you are not getting these systems in place you’re going to have a really hard time.

Sam Carpenter: If you don’t spend your time working the systems you’re never going to get the results you want. I’ll tell you what, Richard Branson, Oprah Winfrey some of the big names everyone knows out there, that is what they are good at. They naturally know how to work their systems. They have other people do the documentation and so forth but they are finger pointers and implementers and they see precisely that they need to work on the processes and the systems of their lives to get the results they want. Then the results just come spontaneously.

I’m not a big one to measure “we want to do these many dollars next year in sales”. I hear that all the time. You need a plan for how much you are going to make and where you’re going to be. That is nonsense. What you have to do is find the way to spend your time working on the processes, and those numbers will be there whatever they are. I’m not a big balance sheet kind of guy, I’m an income statement kind of a guy. As far as financials go I spend very little time looking at numbers. All I do is work on the processes.

At my call center here in Oregon USA, my processes have to do with people. Having short meetings with them, them coming to me and using me as a resource. My people create all of the processes, I don’t have to do any documentation anymore, I just make sure the machine is headed in the right direction and it doesn’t get off track, that is my job. So I spend 2 hours a week down here. I spend more than that in my office here but it’s just hanging out and bothering people most likely. Or doing an interview like this with you which has nothing to do with my call center.

Then I have 6 other businesses that are related to the book and I do a lot of creative stuff. I never do the same thing twice Joey. The closest thing I come to doing the same thing twice is an interview. As we talked about before the interview, I decline most of them and don’t do a lot of speaking engagements. I have other things I want to do that I’ve never done before that I want to do in a creative way. My whole day is one creative day and the people who work with me are that way too.

In fact let me interject a little advertisement, if people go to workthesystem.com down in the lower right hand corner on that front page is a little icon that says “Work The System Testimonials”. Click on that, I’ve had some fun with that with my IT guy, I put it to music. But that will give you an idea in the change in life that a person can have if they start living in the processes rather than shuffling around the bad results of unseen processes. There’s hundreds of testimonials and they’ll all go down the same road I’ve been going down so far. This changes lives and gives a life a whole new trajectory upward of freedom and money.

Joey Bushnell: Brilliant, I’ll put mine on there as well Sam! I didn’t know that was there but I can say for myself that my life changed after reading the book as well. I used to get things outsourced but on a small scale. I’d try but was just in this small mindset of “I can’t afford to do it at that level and employ someone full time.” Thinking very small basically.

But I realized after reading the book what I needed to do and things really picked up when I started getting help and getting systems in place. Like you said, I think it’s impossible to grow when you are trying to do it all on your own, it just can’t happen.

So my next question Sam was, in the book you talk about 3 stages of the “Work the system” method. Could you let us know what those 3 stages are please?

Sam Carpenter: Sure let me put those into a configuration that’s a little different then I’ve done before…

The first stage would be documentation. We have 3 documents one is a strategic objective, it’s all explained in the book, but that is what you do, how you do it and generally how you are going to get where you want to go, what you don’t want to get involved with and what your strengths are. That is a single type written page.

Then the second document is a series of items and at Centratel ours is called “The 30 principles” another term for that is guidelines for decision making. In other words when you are faced with what I call a grey area decision, you don’t really have a definite answer for it, how do you decide?

Well, these principles that I came up with and all these documents came to my head that night. These principles are how I believe the world mechanically works and what works best. I always use this illustration, one of the principles is to do it now, well a new employee comes in here and says “Why? I can do it next Thursday” we say “No, if you can do it now or next Thursday, do it now.” They ask “Why” and I say “That’s how we do things round here and I’m giving you money to do things the way we do them. But more importantly that is what works best.” Sam Carpenter believes that doing things now is a better way to go 9 out of 10 times.

We have another one which is “In the office no rats nests, literally or figuratively.” So no one has a cluttered desk and it’s clean. These things I believe that I have written down and have incorporated in here. So people who come to work here look at those and I ask “Do you agree with those pretty much?” If they do, great, we are good to go. I always say if you want to adjust any of these or add some talk to me, even with a strategic objective. So we have a directional document, we have guide lines for decision making and that’s were we spend most of our time with a consulting account for example.

We are working with a $50 million company right now and we are just finishing up our 6 month gig, we are done they are now on their own. What we have helped them with most of the time we were there, was this 3rd set of documents called working procedures. Most people call them SOPs, standard operation procedures, written documentation of the various processes, so everyone is on board. Guess what? In this very intensive documentation of working procedures we use a bottom up philosophy where the people who actually do the procedures and execute the procedures are the ones writing them up and making them work. Then you have total buy in.

Let me back up a bit, the first stage is really about getting this mindset. The second stage would then be about the documentation. The third stage would be about maintenance. So you get this tweak in your head that your life is a collection of systems then number 2 you do the documentation and then number 3 you maintain the processes and you spend all of your time in the processes. Those would be the 3 steps in the work the system process.

Joey Bushnell: Is it enough Sam to just have these in your head? Or what is the power of documenting these things?

Sam Carpenter: First of all there is the bottom up thing with your front line people and presuming you have a business with 2-4 people in it or more of course, is that you have your people completely bought in, it’s not a military top down like ”You are going to do these 10 steps on this process no matter what.” Guess what they’re not going to. They just won’t in most cases. But if they create those 10 steps then the manager authorizes them as being OK and everyone agrees they are going to be brutal about making sure those steps are followed.

I haven’t said this yet but always remember, that if someone is executing a documented process and they see a better way of doing step 5, for example, out of a 10 step process they can go back to the manager and the manager will immediately make that tweak. So the working procedure, the SLP is a living thing. It changes day to day, it’s not a military top down type thing.

So you’ve got your total buy in by your people and the other thing, you’ve got is everyone is doing things the same way. I go back to my little narration of my life’s story, and that is, you want every process in your business executed perfectly 100% of the time.

I use the example of the front desk, so somebody is at the front desk answering incoming calls. A possible new clients calls in and asks to speak to the sales person about the service. Mary might answer the phone one way and if Mary is busy, John will answer the phone and he’ll answer it a different way. Maybe John’s got a hang over and when he answers it, he won’t answer it very well.

So what if you could get the phone answering at the front desk with potential clients, and our potential clients is a $16,000-$20,000 sale here, over a period of 6 years.  What if you could have it answered perfectly every time a new person called in for a service? Do you think we would end up closing more deals? Oh yes we would! Then you do that through all of your business.

Centratel has about 400 different processes. We execute those processes as near perfectly as we can 100% of the time. That is why we have a huge margin, that’s why I can run 7 businesses instead of just this one. On this primary business, the one I wrote the book about I work 2 hours a week. It runs itself and everybody in here gets it.

So step one of getting it, is critical for the owner and the staff. There will be staff turnover as a company grows to find the correct people who do see things see things as separate systems. I’m a little bit nit picky about details and aren’t afraid of doing documentation, you’ve got to get the right people.

We do drug testing, we are ruthless with our drug testing. I get all kinds of arguments about that like “Well. it’s my life I’ll smoke dope if I want”  Well, no you are part of the process here and we need you to be clear thinking. If you want to smoke dope go up to the sandwich shop up here and earn $7 an hour and make sandwiches. Or you can come here and earn $20 an hour and not smoke dope. Every element of our business has to do with perfecting our processes including everybody’s ability to think.

The result is we don’t have any turnover here, everyone is paid highly, we are just examining the processes all the time. It might sound militaristic but it’s not that at all, if you walk in my office it’s quite a fun place to be. Everybody likes being here, people have their ups and downs of course but there is very little turnover, there is no stress in the office and nobody works over 40 hours. We don’t have any of our middle managers working 80 hours a week no one works over 80 hours a week.

35-40 hours a week is the number one answering service in the United States with 2,000 competitors measured on a variety of very objective scales including profitability.It makes for a beautiful synchronized swing machine of a business and the owner doesn’t have to be there. What more could you want as a business owner?

Joey Bushnell: Absolutely. My next question was, why is delegation so important and do you have any advice to us for efficiently delegating tasks?

Sam Carpenter: The owner or manager of the business should think 3 words on every decision that is made as they convert their business to a work the system business to an efficient business. Can I with this task… automate it, delegate it or discard it all together?

Most tasks you can’t automate, some tasks you can discard so that leaves most of the tasks to be delegated to other people. I’ve already gone through how to make that happen efficiently, you need to document. For inventory you need to document your processes and delegate stuff away. That is what I have managed to do enough of. Looking down from 40,000 feet if I had to really summarize things, I have found a way to delegate my expertise downward so other people can do it so I don’t have to do it anymore.

Joey Bushnell: How can we make the most out of our own personal time?

Sam Carpenter:  Let’s go back to step one of getting it. My book is three parts, coincidentally, the first part is “Getting it”. So what the readers can do right now is look around the room, the car or wherever they are and see the separate systems. That is the thing to do with your personal time right now, right this minute.

I’m looking around my room… there is a copier here, there is a monitor, a chair over there, there is a light switch on a wall and those are all separate from each other, they have nothing to do with each other. If someone walks in the front door here, it has nothing to do with someone answering the phone in the back room, they are separate.

Walking down the street there’s a tree, there is a fire hydrant, (if that is what they call them in the UK, you used to have phone booths the red metal and glass phone booths) but there are cars, a dog, power lines over the street. All of those things have nothing to do with each other. They exist in your world as separate. They’re all connected because you are seeing them at the same time but they are separate.

You go into your business and as soon as you can see the separate processes of your business the rest of it comes naturally. So if you are asking me what’s the best use of my time right now, that is what you can do. Download the book, read part 1, get the separateness and then it will all make sense, you almost don’t need the rest of my book once you get the separateness of your business and of your life.

That is a mechanical fact, we want to think we are all one and everything is connected. I’m sure on an atomic level we are but that is useless information. Once you can start segregating your life into the separate components that it is, you can start to fix them one after the other.

Ultimately your time will be spent working on those separate processes 100% percent of the time. Except for the fun part, Joey I know you like to interview people and I like to give interviews and I like to write. We do certain recurring things but 95% of our time should be on one time, creative system improvement tasks and system improvement is a great phrase to carry around. 12 inches in front of your face all day long. System improvement, system improvement that is where we should be spending our time.

Joey Bushnell: If we are doing this right Sam, like you said, you have a 2 hour work week which is the dream for most people. I guess the rest of the time you are enjoying yourself?

Sam Carpenter: I am. I have a friend who I am going to do some climbing with this afternoon. I had the decision this morning to drive my new car or my old beater, climber car as I call it. I took my climber car went out and had some coffee with another friend, now I’m doing this interview with you and remember you asked when I could fit this in and I said I don’t care, anytime with me and you picked the time, it didn’t matter to me. I saw a movie last night and I’ve got a date Friday, I can do whatever I want with my time and the things I want to do.

Here’s something, let me just mention it quickly because people find this interesting. So I’m a mountain climber and I have friends who want to be mountain guides. I have a friend who has climbed Mount Rainier, up here it’s a pretty tall peak in the cascades, 300 times because he loves to climb. I have to ask him, do you really enjoy this? Has it really got you anywhere? And there are amateur bicycle racers who say “I want to go to Tour De France. Maybe someday they’ll go but probably not. But then what? People have these things they love to do and they think they need to make it a vocation and that is a big mistake.

I love to mountain climb but I realized I can set up a machine to provide me all the time and money I want to go anywhere in the world and mountain climb on my own time and not drag somebody up there who has never been up the mountain before, that is not fun! It’s not fun to work 6 hours a day on a bicycle saddle because you like to race bicycles. So I really caution people about narrowing their scope of what they can do with their lives to what they like to do.

There’s all kinds of interesting businesses out there and not just internet businesses, not just online stuff but all kinds of crazy little businesses, an answering service or even a restaurant that can be automated and made to be run their own. Then they become an ATM or a money machine then go ride your bike and climb your mountains or go watch movies all the time if that’s what you want.

I really caution to people not to go down that road that seems to be in our culture, we should be able to do in our life what we love to do, you are just narrowing your prospects. There is all kinds of opportunity out there in business that can be fixed. I go back to what I said at the beginning, 9 out of 10 businesses are mismanaged.

9 out of 10 businesses have no bottom line and can be picked up for a song and a dance that is how I bought this call center for nothing at all. I think I paid $21,000 for it and $5,000 down back in late 1984. It’s a $5million business, it’s worth $5million and it has no debt, and I love it for that reason and I love it because I only work 2 hours a week, it’s a money machine. There is all kinds of opportunity out there.

Joey Bushnell: And it’s all thanks to getting your systems in place. The first 50 Years of your life Sam, the freedom you now have, just wasn’t there. But now that you have the systems in place, you have the time and freedom to do what you want with your life, which is like I said for most people, it’s almost a paradigm shift that most people don’t think is possible but actually it can be when the systems are in place.

Sam Carpenter: There are a lot of people out there who are doing this and it has a lot to do with mechanics. It has nothing to do with emotion, your IQ, how good looking you are it has nothing to do with any of that, it has to do with the machinery which has no emotion or expectations, is it running efficiently or not? That is the question and it has nothing to do with if you are a good person, if you go to church everyday or anything like that. It has to do with… Is the machinery operating properly?

This comes down to our readers looking at their lives and saying “what mechanically works in your life and what mechanically happens?”. If I go down to my car right now and turn the key will the motor of the car start? In all probability, it will. If I skip dinner tonight will I be hungry at 10pm, yes I will. There are certain things we know absolutely about our mechanical lives and that is what we go back to.

Emotion is fine but not in what I’m talking about, this all boils down to let’s get the mechanics correct in our lives and what we will find is the happiness and emotionally satisfying part will come along naturally afterwards.

You mentioned the word paradigm and the paradigm most people have is, “I have to do the right things, work hard, get the right education, have the right smile on my face and then all the good things will come”. No, actually you have to get the machine fixed and operating properly.

It’s amazing when you have a lot of time and money and you get to do creative stuff all day long and you get to do the stuff you want to all day long, guess what? You become a happier person.

You are helping the people around you, so I have this non profit in Pakistan in all places, that I just sent $1,000 over to the small school yesterday. I get huge satisfaction out of that and I’m able to help the people, the people who work here get double what they make anywhere else. That is the supreme satisfaction. I’ve got more money in the bank than I need honestly for my lifestyle. The satisfaction comes after fixing the machine.

Joey Bushnell: Brilliant. My next question is, sometimes as a small business owner we suffer from, or we do it to ourselves, procrastination. How can we beat procrastination?

Sam Carpenter: Let’s go through a typical scenario, the testimonials on the website. What those people did was they read a book, they got the concept of separate systems and then they applied it, and I try to be very careful about recommending this but if you are going to apply this methodology to your business, find a process that can be easily fixed and you can see results with straight away.

In a perfect place, say you have a business with 10 people in it, I know a lot of people out there are internet people and may only have one or two people but understand what I’m trying to say, if you had a business of 10 people, 3 people are answering the phone put them together and find out among you as the leader and the 3 people, the best way to answer the phone.

Write it down maybe in seven steps, step one pick up the phone, step two say “ABC company this is Janice” on to 3,4,5 through the whole process. Get everyone to do that every single time and you will notice an improvement in how your incoming people and their comportment will be happier.Then you take a little bigger process and maybe now you’re going after one that is really problematic.

I talk about very specifically in the book about one, how we went through and there were 53 steps. I never had to do the process again, my first 15 years I was spending 2 hours a week doing this process and I haven’t done it in 13 years. So I saved 2 hours a week for the last 13 years, do the math, it’s about a year of 40 hour work weeks. Now that process has been performed perfectly for 13 years as we tweak it and make it a little better every day.

So what you want to do in summary is find a couple of little processes that you can improve relatively quickly. This one process that I haven’t done in 13 years took us 8 hours of time fix. 8 hours of my time, maybe an hour of two other peoples time to help me put the process together.

You find something that is relatively easy to fix that will have some what of a dramatic impact and now you will not procrastinate. You will not procrastinate because the results are so awesome. Usually what procrastination is “No I can’t do this now, I don’t want to do this now because I have this fire to kill over here” that is really what people are saying. Or “I’ve got to recover from my 16 hour day yesterday.”

Pretty soon your hours of the day shorten up and procrastination disappears because you are not living a life of fire killing, there aren’t anymore fires to kill and you are down to a minimal amount of work per week and you are making a lot of money, you get excited and procrastination is just gone.

Joey Bushnell: I like the analogy in your book Sam of Whack-a-mole.

Sam Carpenter: Yeah, go to Google if you don’t know what whack-a-mole is and they’ll see it’s just getting better and better at killing fires, but they will get you in the end.

Joey Bushnell: Yeah, a game you can’t win! So my last question is, should we be aiming for perfection or does that just hold us back?

Sam Carpenter: Yes we should be aiming for perfection however let me redefine perfection. Let’s say we are trying to create a process which has a lot of steps in it and it’s 98% perfect, well subjectively what we call 95%-98% perfect. In order to get 100% perfect we are going to spend a huge amount of time to get that extra 5% or 2% to make it absolutely perfect, in this very subjective world so I would question if you could make any process working.

Perfect is getting it just about, almost perfect without wasting time making it too perfect. In a way I could answer your question by saying strive for perfection but know that if you get to 100% perfection in the colloquial sense or in a classical sense, you have probably spent too much time doing it and that in itself is imperfection.

We allow for mistakes around here, mistakes happen but we don’t get all bogged down in bureaucracy and going crazy with these processes trying to get them just perfect. That goes with everything, how you ride your bike, your marriage, how you take care of your dog. You need to be consistent and congruent but it doesn’t have to be perfect every minute or you turn in to this person we call a control freak. You don’t want to be that.

Joey Bushnell: So you apply a 98% rule to that Sam?

Sam Carpenter:  I like 98% it feels about right to me. If you are in high school or college and you get 98% on an exam, you now you did damn well. You didn’t get it perfect but it was certainly well enough. Maybe getting 100% on every exam would make you a little weird.

Joey Bushnell: Sam, thank you so much for doing this interview with me today it’s been absolutely fantastic. For those who haven’t read this and currently do not have the books, where can they get it because they need it, there is a lot more than just what we have spoken about.

Sam Carpenter: Workthesystem.com is the place to start. There is all kinds of resources take a look at the testimonials. Read the front page, there is a little video I do there, be sure to look at the FAQ’s. The FAQ’s sum up all that we have talked about today and I’m quite proud of those. I have tweaked those over several years and I think they are really good.

That website will lead over to the work the system academy website where we have an online program and then we do one on one consulting. We have some very large international clients and we have some very small clients we do a coaching to. So under the products and services tab people can look at that.

The second most important thing would be to follow directions. You can download the entire PDF of the book and the audio of the entire book as reported by me. I own the manuscript so that’s different from 99% of publishing deals I do have a legitimate publisher, it’s not self published. So we are able to do with it what we want. Interestingly I got a wire from a publishing company in china yesterday and it looks like we are going into china with the book now which is pretty cool.

Joey Bushnell: So people can go straight there and download the full version for free in either PDF or Audio?

Sam Carpenter: Yes, it is available in various companies in hard copy and it’s on amazon as hard copy and the website you can buy it as hard copy too. As a hard copy book it’s a very nice book, it makes a great gift for someone who is working more than 80 hours a week.

Joey Bushnell: I’ll put links for everyone to click them and go download it, thank you that’s an incredible offer. If applied it will change lives. Thank you once again Sam for spending time with me today and sharing this great information with us all.

Sam Carpenter: No problem Joey my pleasure, we love you Brits! Keep up the good work over there. Thanks Joey, take care.

Joey Bushnell: Thank you take care.

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