The Happy Engineer Podcast

136: Formula 1 Performance Leads to RAPID Career Acceleration with Paul Teasdale | McLaren F1 Team

There is nothing quite like the sound of a race car on the track. The doppler effect on the engine screaming as they pass by at incredible speeds. Power and performance at every turn. How can we turn Formula 1 insights into career acceleration for engineering managers?

In this episode, we do exactly that. We bring you high performance Formula 1 insights for your career acceleration goals with Paul Teasdale.

Paul is a former member of the McLaren F1 Racing team, and now travels around the world helping companies and individuals as a coach, speaker, facilitator, and podcast host.

We cover his RAPID framework, a unique way to apply the data-driven methodologies of high performance racing into your career. And here’s the most surprising part of his model that every engineer needs to know:

Data comes last.

Paul held various roles including consulting in food manufacturing, international shipping, dairy export and business banking, before landing the opportunity with McLaren, the Formula 1 team and supercar manufacturer. After 6 years with McLaren, Paul went on to launch his own coaching and consulting practice and developed his RAPID framework.

So press play and let’s chat… it’s time for you to rev the engine and get RAPID results!

Join us in a live workshop for deeper training, career coaching 1:1, and an amazing community!  HAPPY HOUR Workshop Live with Zach!


The Happy Engineer Podcast

WATCH EPISODE 136: Experience the Speed of Success: Formula 1 Career Acceleration Secrets


  • Connect with Paul on LinkedIn
  • Visit Paul’s Website – Use Coupon Code HAPPYENGINEER to get 50% off any of the RAPID Performance online course options
  • Do you need help accelerating a successful engineering career and a creating a happy, balanced life?  Book a FREE Career Growth Audit™️ now!


LISTEN TO EPISODE 136: Formula 1 Performance Leads to RAPID Career Acceleration with Paul Teasdale

Previous Episode 135: Success is Determined by Your Successors | Why You Need a Succession Plan Now


Formula 1 Performance Leads to RAPID Career Acceleration

In this episode of The Happy Engineer Podcast, we dive deep into the world of rapid performance, data insights, and creating high-performing teams.

Here are the top three insights:

1. Prioritize Insights Over Raw Data: In today’s fast-paced world, it’s no longer enough to simply report numbers. Organizations must focus on gaining actionable insights from their data to drive results. In this episode, we explore the importance of root cause analysis, turnaround time for actions, and how to build capability to implement new systems and processes.

2. Environment Matters: The environment in which we work and live has a profound impact on our performance. From the design of lifts (elevators) to the overall aesthetics of a brand or company, everything should align with the image and values you want to portray. We discuss how creating high-quality surroundings can contribute to a high-quality brand and inspire passion within your team.

3. Performance is Driven by Purpose: Data is undoubtedly important, but insights are what truly drive high performance. So often, organizations collect vast amounts of data without understanding its true purpose. In this episode, we challenge the common belief of focusing on data first and emphasize the need to prioritize results that are purposeful and create real value. We explore how translating datasets into insights can lead to predictive analytics and informed decision-making.

To go deeper and build an action plan around these points and why all this matters, click the podcast link below and listen to the entire conversation.



Starting out his career in business improvement and operations management, Paul spent a number of years as a consultant, before taking on several internal improvement roles where he built his skills in facilitation and coaching.

Having spent 6 years working with the McLaren Formula 1 team, Paul now works independently with clients across many sectors to help them perform.



Please note the full transcript is 90-95% accuracy. Reference the podcast audio to confirm exact quotations.

[00:00:00] Zach White: All right. Happy engineer. Welcome back. And today I am joined by Paul, the F1 performance superstar. I’m super excited about this conversation, Paul. I’ve been looking forward to it for weeks. Welcome to the podcast. 

[00:00:13] Paul Teasdale: Absolute pleasure. Yeah, man, this is going to be fun.

Expand to Read Full Transcript

[00:00:15] So quick story for you to set the stage, Paul. I grew up in Indianapolis and for those who enjoy racing, they all know that Indianapolis is home to the greatest spectacle in racing, as we like to call it, the Indianapolis 500 and the Indianapolis motor speedways, you know, it’s an amazing, amazing place. So I, I loved Indy cars growing up and I always thought there’s nothing cooler on the planet than an Indy car.

[00:00:41] Until the day the Grand Prix came to town and I saw my first F1 car as like, wow, there’s, that’s, there is a noticeable step function change between an Indy car at an F1 car. And so you lived in the F1 world with the McLaren team. And I just wanted to hear from you. What is, what’s that like? What’s your favorite moments from being around such incredible engineering, such high performance vehicles and teams?

[00:01:09] Like, is there a. A signature kind of experience that just to you, it’s like, this is what it’s like to be around F1. 

[00:01:17] Paul Teasdale: I think there’s a, there’s a couple that stand out really well. The first one is the first time that I ever went into McLaren technology center. that’s the home of McLaren. You can actually do this on Google and Google maps.

[00:01:29] You can have a little walk around the boulevard you can search on Google and just see the spectacle that is the technology center there. and the way in which you enter the technology center, you go and park outside, everything is hidden from you, so you can’t see any of the front of this stage.

[00:01:45] You walk through a tunnel that is deliberately pure white walls, you walk through that tunnel that’s maybe a couple of hundred meters, you get to a lift at the end, you press the button, and as you go up, this is a glass lift, you come up into the boulevard area surrounded by all the historical F1 cars that they have there.

[00:02:05] And it’s just, it’s breathtaking. Um, they’ve got a, like a pond in front of you. I think when I first went there, it was, um, sort of getting towards autumn winter time. So it was quite cold outside, but the pond is also a heat sump for the manufacturing plant as well. So it’s always warm. So it was steaming in the morning and I think a Swan even landed on there, everything was just picture perfect.

[00:02:31] So just that is. One of the whole reasons that the McLaren Technology Center is there is to wow customers and prospective customers to say, look, this is what you’re part of. Now, this is what high performance gets you. And the type of environment that you need to put your people in to inspire high performance on a day to day basis.

[00:02:53] So 

[00:02:53] Zach White: before you, before you tell that second story, then I think what you just said is so. essential that there’s something about a high performance environment that as soon as you step into it, you feel the difference. There’s something that shifts in the energy of a high performance environment from, you know, we’re just kind of doing the minimums or an average kind of experience.

[00:03:19] And describe that from your perspective. Like, what is it about those environments that gives you that immediate impression Like this is for real. 

[00:03:29] Paul Teasdale: I think one of the main things is, the cleanliness? I think that that is a, gotta be a given. If you walk into an environment that’s cluttered, it’s going to give you that feeling that this is a busy place maybe at best, but it’s going to.

[00:03:43] Give those subtle hints of this is a messy environment at one level or another. and certainly in the customer facing parts of this, you know, no mess was allowed at any point. I joined in the days of Ron Dennis. Uh, he was just coming to the end of his tenure there. And he was renowned for, you know, even if one of the tiles looks slightly different grade to the others, that whole thing would have to be replaced and all the different, those little details that come into it.

[00:04:11] and it is the details that if you start to get under the skin of it, you learn about those details and you go, Oh, I didn’t realize that as you stand back from the lifts, for instance, they’re shaped like, pistons. But when you’re in there, you don’t notice that, but someone’s thought about that and someone’s been deliberate about that because it’s part of the design and part of the feel.

[00:04:31] and I’ve talked about this to a few clients and a few other people as well around. if you want your brand to portray something, if you want to be high quality. Then your environment has to be high quality for your people as much as anything, but also when you, you’ve got a client coming in and let’s say you’re all about, sustainability, if you go in there and you’ve got plastic bottles everywhere, what message does that give people or you haven’t got any recycling bins or something like that?

[00:04:58] The subtle things that say, I say, this is what I’m about. This is how I’m going to demonstrate it to my people and to my clients. 

[00:05:07] Zach White: I love that. And what I tell the engineers I work with Paul, I want to hear your thoughts on this from your work you do, but it’s not just for our companies and what the lab looks like at work as an engineer, but this applies in the environment I create around myself as a high performer.

[00:05:25] As well, and it’s classic that an engineer will have an incredibly messy desk, garbage everywhere. I say garbage, you know, papers and books and different things and parts, components, whatever you’re working on. And it’s all over the place. Your cubicle is a disaster, but they’ll tell me, Zach, I know where everything is.

[00:05:43] I understand the organizational scheme. Therefore, it’s not a mess because I can find everything I need. And I really pushed back on them and say, look. Let’s go find the best examples of world class top performance anywhere. And it’s exactly what you described. It’s clean, it’s polished, it’s organized. At the end of every chaotic work session, everything gets put away.

[00:06:08] that sign of an organized mind is manifested in an organized environment, whether you’re in the lab or you’re at your desk. Would you agree with that? 

[00:06:17] Paul Teasdale: Definitely. And, uh, as a, uh, struggling engineer, recovering engineer, you might call me, I, I’ve just been tidying up my desk area. We’ve got some friends and family coming over the weekend.

[00:06:29] What is my office is going to get turned into another bedroom for, for some people to sleep in. So I’ve been tidying up this area with some subtle hints and support from my wife, but it’s, uh, but because. We’ve moved a few screens away. We’ve moved, moved some things that are usually in typically on my desk.

[00:06:47] This is a lot of cleaner environment than I’m used to. And I already feel sharper. I feel in the moment I feel focused more. those things, whilst they help me in certain circumstances and help me get through some of the work, occasionally you just need to stand back. Clear it all out and just go right, left focus and do what’s required here.

[00:07:09] Zach White: Okay. I cut you off earlier. You said there were two moments that stand out to you about what it’s like to be in an F1 world. What’s the other? 

[00:07:16] Paul Teasdale: it was the first time that I went into, mission control. so mission control is the, let’s sell it in the, uh, the sexy way.

[00:07:25] It’s a windowless office in the middle of Woking, which is on the outskirts of London. and so it, it’s where, when the. Racers and the race team are out in, in Monaco, they might be in Dubai, might be, uh, somewhere in Australia, living it up, drinking the champagne as they always do. You’ve got some guys, no matter what time of day or night it is in this windowless office in Woking.

[00:07:49] and so they’ve got the short end of the stick, if you will, but this is another example of an environment that is there to support performance You can imagine like a NASA, those mission control setups where you’ve got rows of desks and again, they’re all neat, they’re all tidy deliberately.

[00:08:06] The wires are tucked away. there’s a standardized control boxes. Yes, there’s that, personalization you can do on those things, but everybody’s got the same kit, but you can personalize from there. and. Even subtle things like, when there’s a red flag on, the track, red floor lighting comes up or when there’s a yellow flag on track, yellow floor lighting comes up and it’s, just a subtle piece that just says, this is what’s happening.

[00:08:33] This is what you need to be aware of to help your performance. And the first time that I saw that environment and saw something that was so. I go Easter Terrigal or something that you’ve, you can imagine, and you’ve seen in the movies like this mission control with the huge screens in front of you, and then just seeing how people are actually using it and how they’re helping themselves and the environment is helping them to make better decisions because of how they’re sitting together, how they’re able to communicate the insights.

[00:09:03] And I’ll probably come to that word quite a lot today, the insights that are presented to them on those screens. there is some data, there’s some information, but it’s primarily insights. Okay. Okay. 

[00:09:16] Zach White: Yeah, let’s dig into what those distinctions are. Now I’m getting excited. I want to unpack this model that you’ve created.

[00:09:22] But really quick, before we dive into how we create rapid success, rapid career progression, rapid, outcomes in our lives. Tell me really quick, you said I’m a recovering engineer, a phrase we all use. Remind us your engineering background and whether that fits into your story real 

[00:09:42] video1965673157: quick. 

[00:09:43] Paul Teasdale: I was one of these people who, like many engineers, I was good at maths and science.

[00:09:48] I didn’t have a family history of engineering. and so it wasn’t something I was aware of until those school days. I ended up doing, a general course in engineering. So I got to try all the different elements and specialized in manufacturing engineering, which was predominantly around the Toyota production system.

[00:10:04] So it was all about improvement methodologies. And so I’ve taken that angle of the engineering. If I was to compare myself to some of the mechanical or aerodynamic or fluid mechanic engineers that are out there, I consider myself the world’s worst engineer when it comes to some

[00:10:21] Like if I open up the bonnet of my car, I’m, I can get, you know, work my way around it, but no better than anybody else. but when it comes to the methodologies and the improvement approaches, that’s what I’ve really taken out of engineering in my career. 

[00:10:34] Zach White: I love that. Sounds like some of my industrial engineering clients would resonate with that statement for sure.

[00:10:40] So, Paul, you had the privilege of operating within this F1 culture, seeing how incredibly high performance vehicles operate, how those teams operate. And you extracted from this. A mindset and a framework that we can all take and use, whether you’re desiring to join up with team McLaren, or if you work at a small manufacturing company in the rust belt here in the United States, it applies.

[00:11:08] So the acronym is rapid RAPID. And would you just walk us through piece by piece and help us understand where each piece came from and how we can apply it as starting at the top. So tell us about where this began and how we get started. 

[00:11:23] Paul Teasdale: firstly, I love a good acronym. can’t resist a good acronym.

[00:11:26] So probably half of the effort in putting this model together was about making sure it had a good acronym in there. And I just, I like the word rapid to, uh, give you a link to the insights that have come from primarily from the world of F1, but there are other high performing environments that I’ve worked in, but how this initially came about was.

[00:11:45] The realization and almost the counter intuitive element of performance in the world of F1. And I talked to clients. So my role was a client facing role. We were taking methodologies and ways of working out to clients. And this would always hit home with people. And we’d say, yes, F1 is hugely data led.

[00:12:04] There’s a mass amount of data. It’s huge. but we don’t start with data. In fact, data is the very last thing on the list. Because if you think about this, and this is where the whole thing has come from, if you’ve got an F1 car, if you want more data from that car, what do you have to do? You have to put on another sensor.

[00:12:25] You have to have some more telemetry. And as good as any engineer out there is, we’ve yet to provide anything that is either, zero or negative weight. So you’re always going to add weight to the car and weight has a negative impact on performance generally. So you can get more and more data, but it’s going to weigh your car down.

[00:12:47] So you’ve got to be really clever on what data do you need. In order to get the best performance. And so the approach that was taken and the, the model I’ve developed off the back of this is first and foremost, be really clear as to what you mean about results. So rapid is results, action, people, insights, data.

[00:13:09] results is all about, are you really, truly clear as to what results mean to you. And it’s not just about when the race go fast. You know, it’s this. Many multiple variant elements of results, you might have a short term result, a long term result, a might be in the context of a strategic objective or a strategic direction.

[00:13:32] So I’ll always talk about McLaren had a real strong initiative on two key areas, really fan engagement and sustainability. So everything that they do has to be done with performance, car performance in mind. And fan engagement and sustainability. So it cause otherwise it’s not a positive result. So have you really got what those ends are in your, your results?

[00:13:59] And are you really clear as to how that is set up for your organization and filters down? To the different departments in terms of what their results are. So 

[00:14:08] Zach White: let’s pause here for a second, because I think you’ve already offended most engineers out there by saying data comes last. It’s like, wait, what, what are you saying, Paul?

[00:14:19] And. And so I’m excited to hear how these pieces fit together and how that mindset being flipped upside down that data comes last, you know, how that translates to high performance. But really quick, you know, we live in a world right now, especially with a I coming on the scene with such. presence and like learning, it’s just changing at such a rapid pace.

[00:14:43] And data science is a field that 10 years ago we didn’t even talk about. And now you can get a PhD in data science and data, data, data, and every company’s seeking to collect more and more data. And, and here you come on this conversation, say data, data comes last focus on results first and get that multi layered approach.

[00:15:04] It’s like, well, hold on a second. Tell me, why do you think. We have such a data first culture to begin with, this obsession around data and why it’s so important to flip this. And then I want to go through the rest of the letters, but I just, I got to stop on that for a second. Cause it’s kind of like, well, hold on.

[00:15:23] You’re, I think you’re right that we were obsessed with data. So where did that come from? What, why are we such a data first 

[00:15:30] Paul Teasdale: the misconception that is sort of prevalent throughout all of this is that more data leads to better performance. And so it’s like, if we improve or not necessarily more data, but improve data.

[00:15:43] So if we get a new system in and a lot of our organizations, certainly the ones I’ve worked with, the people who are driving the new systems, the new data, the new reports, aren’t the operational people who are making the decisions and putting the things into operation. Typically, it can be the IT department.

[00:16:01] It can be even the finance department having a big impact on this. New SAP and the big systems, all those, that’s going to give us the performance we need because that system solves all our problems for us. or it gives us all the data and how many times, I mean, as an operational manager, I’ve had this where, Oh, brilliant.

[00:16:23] We’ve got this new system and you can cut the data any way you want. Isn’t this brilliant? Whatever you want. And you’ve got operations managers going, I’ve got, sort my staff out and I’ve got to produce 10 ton of sausage by the end of this shift. And I’ve got, you know, you’ve got to get them the, all my people reports in for, for next week.

[00:16:41] how do I know what data I want? you’re asking the wrong questions. And I think this is a critical piece of it. If you’re saying, what data do you want? People haven’t got the headspace for that. And this actually is a, um, Accumulative effect as well that leads to something that, um, a term that I came across recently, which is infobesity,

[00:17:07] Zach White: where 

[00:17:07] Paul Teasdale: people are struggling, people are consuming more and more data to the extent that it is detrimental to their performance. I mean, you don’t, you don’t have to look at things like how often are you flicking through, Instagram or, uh, or even LinkedIn or something, it’s just like, that’s more and more data that’s going to be better for your performance, right?

[00:17:24] Well. Not really, because it’s just, it’s taking up your headspace and it’s the same when you’re giving people new reports, new data, they’ve got that’s headspace that they’ve got to wrap their heads around these systems. It might well be something that’s really good for performance, but it’s not going to switch on overnight.

[00:17:42] Zach White: Yes. Okay. Yeah. I love that perspective. Thank you. And I think it really. does challenge what was probably an unintentional consequence of the democratization of data or the cost reduction of acquiring data as computing came on the scene and then data acquisition became easier and easier. And the systems got more and more complex and people got rewarded for providing that data.

[00:18:06] And so I love this. What data do you want is the wrong question to ask first. So back to Results. Yes. Really quick. If you were going to say from the lens of an engineer building their career. So maybe I’m a, I’m a manager. I want to advance in my career, progress to director or make it to an executive level.

[00:18:28] What’s the type of result that I might not be thinking of that’s beyond just the promotion itself. I love how you mentioned it’s not just winning the race. There’s these other results. Is there anything, as you’ve coached others and worked in organizations that you’ve seen, this is the kind of result that you don’t want to lose sight of in the big picture as you think about those layers?

[00:18:51] I’ll 

[00:18:51] Paul Teasdale: talk about one from my personal experience. This was when I was made redundant at a dairy company I was working for in New Zealand. My wife was eight months pregnant at the time. I knew the redundancies were happening in the organization. It was a big surprise. for me. I didn’t think my role was gonna be hit.

[00:19:08] and so I have the natural reaction to go home and drink a bottle of wine and drown my sorrows. but having come back thinking about those results and and this is something I was doing before the McLaren days. one of the questions I was asking myself that I’ve helped others with is how do you want to be perceived throughout this?

[00:19:27] Yes, you want to achieve that. But what do you want your perception? Do you want to be the one who climbs the ladder at all costs? Are you going to be the one who wants to be seen as the ultra ambitious person? Which is fine, if that’s what’s right for you. Or do you want to be the person who climbs up the ladder because of how they treat people?

[00:19:48] Or brings people up with them? that… Positive result through the process, not just the results at the end. And I think that’s a, an important question to ask yourself in any setup. 

[00:19:59] Zach White: I love that. Paul, one of the things we do in our program with every engineer that we work with is an exercise around core values.

[00:20:07] That’s a deeper look than any of these engineers have ever had in their whole life. Like I’ve, I’ve had clients who are near retirement age who say, I’ve done every personal development thing under the sun. I’ve never done anything like this. And when they get. clarity there. And then we have the vision, which is in our, in our language, where the results we’re going after are articulated.

[00:20:28] Suddenly the question, what should I do here? How should I act in this situation? Gets a whole lot easier when you know the results you want. The vision is clear across every dimension and you know, the values and how those manifest for you to say, which path is the right way to approach it. So I really, really love that.

[00:20:48] So speaking of actions, results, actions. So tell us about what high performance means when you think of action. 

[00:20:57] Paul Teasdale: this is the level at which we’re starting to think about, What are the things that you have control of, the levers in your organization that you can push and pull that have an impact, or maybe some of the bigger impacts on those results that you’re trying to drive.

[00:21:13] Now, the examples from the world of what F1 can start to be like pit stop decisions. That’s a key action. If you get that right, your performance will be improved, but also, you know, aerodynamic design. human performance, you know,these are all things that you can start to filter it down to say, right, if those are the results I’m after, these are the levers that I’ve got at my disposal.

[00:21:36] And at a general organizational level, I worked with a public sector company last year on recruitment, and their recruitment processes. And we were talking about the actions of policy and governance. The lever is available to you in your organization to change your policy.

[00:21:53] Yeah, it might be, you’re struggling to get the right people in the right positions because your remuneration policy stops you from getting the best talent. Change the policy, change the policy. So many people get stuck in that while we can’t do anything, it’s the company policy, and it’s particularly as you go up in the organization, you’ve got influence on that, you can do something.

[00:22:14] even if it’s to keep knocking on the door and say, and make it people aware and make your leadership team aware. That we’re not getting this performance that could be getting us hundreds of thousands, millions, whatever it is for the organization, because you won’t fork out another 10 grand on the best people that are out there.

[00:22:32] Are you happy with that decision? So thinking about those actions that you’ve got at your disposal to do something about the results that you’re trying to drive, and that’s the delving into that next level. The 

[00:22:45] Zach White: thing I love about. Results than actions is, it’s so almost duh, obvious that actions create results.

[00:22:56] And yet I am absolutely guilty as an engineer myself, and I could definitely see my clients raising their hands that they’re guilty too, that we get stuck in our heads. Thinking about results and planning and masterminding and, just getting stuck in this amazing IQ that makes us so good at our jobs.

[00:23:19] And a lot of times we don’t get to the level of action as quickly as we need to, to truly be a high performance organization. what would you give someone as. Advice or coaching, if they struggle to identify clearly what actions move, the needle, and then to get into action to actually stop thinking and go do it, what would you say to them?

[00:23:45] Paul Teasdale: there are various things you can do. One of the most powerful I often find is, just a change of perspective. And you get people to think about, you know, let’s say I’m coming to you with this kind of problem. Now, what would you tell me, when you’ve seen somebody doing this really well, what are the sorts of things that they do?

[00:24:02] Oh, they network really well. they’re really decisive in meetings. they bring these things together. This is what they do. Okay. Why aren’t you doing that? And I think with action, it’s all about momentum.

[00:24:15] What’s one thing you can do today? might be as simple as read a book, write an email, put something down on paper, but do something. Yes. 

[00:24:23] Zach White: Get going, break the ice. I agree. I think that exercise of perspective shifting is one that’s worth sitting on for a moment. There’s a tool that I use. That I think is super simple and powerful to break out of one mindset where you might be stuck and get into a new perspective is to create what I would call a virtual board of directors, or you could even say imaginary, and what a lot of people think of is a personal board of directors as being, real people who you can reach out to and have conversation with.

[00:24:57] And that’s super powerful to have, That, but a virtual board of directors or imaginary, you can bring in heroes from the past, they could be dead or alive, it doesn’t matter, you know, someone who you, maybe you love their podcast or you love their books, you could bring in Tony Robbins, you could bring in Abraham Lincoln, or you can bring in, you know, Brene Brown or whoever, and imagine, you know, if that person were approaching the problem that you’re facing, How might they approach it?

[00:25:25] And you can almost have a conversation with them in your mind. Like, you know, Hey, Hey, Paul, if you’re, you’re on my board directors, I’m facing this really tough podcasting problem. You know, what would you do? How would you approach this? And so I’d encourage every engineer to just make that list. You know, who are the three, five, seven names of the people who inspire you and have achieved results like you want to achieve or well beyond.

[00:25:47] Put them on that virtual board of directors and use that as a perspective shift when you need it. But, Paul, have you ever done anything like that or does that resonate for you? 

[00:25:56] Paul Teasdale: Yeah. And, um, one sort of slight build or tweak on that, that I find particularly helpful for myself at times is sometimes if you set the bar too high and you go, you know, it’s the Abraham Lincolns, it’s the, the superstars, then you can say, yes, I can see how they would do it, but it’s too far away from what I’m doing.

[00:26:14] Good point. What’s a close peer or someone that particularly if you’ve worked alongside someone, or if you’ve got someone in the organization or your, even your family or your close circle. It does this stuff really well. what would they do? And then you’ve got a much closer connection and the opportunity to talk to them directly as well, 

[00:26:32] Zach White: which helps.

[00:26:32] Oh, true. Win, win. There you go. So at the, the seating chart for our board of directors needs to be a famous dead person, your neighbor, famous dead person, colleague. I love it. All right. Well, another. Unintended perfect segue then Paul here. We’re talking about people and that’s the P in rapid. So tell us what’s the insight or the distinction around how high performers or high performance environments think about people.

[00:27:01] Paul Teasdale: one of the elements and there’s so much around the people level. It’s, people are central and quite. Uh, coincidentally, I would say they are central in the rapid model. It’s the P in the middle of everything else, but It’s the people of focused in a high performance environment on the actions that get the results.

[00:27:21] So how you are structured, how you work together, um, you get a lot of, real high performing team will utilize all the skills that they’ve got in that team to get the best action. And they’re really focused on that best outcome and less on the, it’s good for me, or it’s, politically good here and all the rest of the, if the true high performing team will be going, right.

[00:27:45] If that means that I’ve, I’ve got to sweep the sheds, I’ve got to, put the rubbish out and I’ve got to get everybody coffee in order to keep the rest of the team going, that’s what I’ll do. that’s part of my value that I can bring to that team in that moment is to do something might not be in my wheelhouse.

[00:28:02] it’s about having the right people in the right things. 

[00:28:05] Zach White: this is going to seem disconnected, but I I’m going we’ll go What would be the race that is the most You know, like, like this is the pinnacle. It’s the most important event of the year for the McLaren team. Would 

[00:28:18] Paul Teasdale: you say? Uh, I mean, the one in the F1 circuit that always gets it is Monaco, Monaco.

[00:28:23] Zach White: Okay. That’s what I thought. So tell me from your experience in, the team, how do the people show up when it comes to that event? and just kind of describe what it’s like to be on the team and in that, that environment with them, what kind of things do you observe? What are the behaviors? What are the ways like, do people really just sort of jump in and get coffee for everyone?

[00:28:49] What you’re describing, is that how that team operates? Or maybe just describe that a little bit. I’m curious what you witnessed if we talk about Monaco, 

[00:28:56] Paul Teasdale: for example. I’d never had the pleasure of going to Monaco for the, for the races there. Right. I spent most of my time, in McLaren technology center and all the rest of it, but, um, some of the things that I noticed behind the scenes are the way in which the supporting elements of the organization, the way in which the, I mean, amazing marketing team in McLaren, the way in which they.

[00:29:23] Not only focused on the fans, but also how they build the excitement within the team. And that’s a lot about, telling the story, getting the passion. this is when we’ve won this before. This is what it felt like. Wouldn’t it be great to be back on there? And so that gets everybody really excited about the, prospect of doing well in that environment.

[00:29:42] And once you’ve got everybody on board and pointed towards the right thing, then people can start to say, what can I do? How do I bring the best of myself to help the team? it’s aligning that team in the marketing, organization that’s there in any marketing organization or any leadership team that has a marketing type focus, internal marketing in particular.

[00:30:04] It’s like, how do you get your team excited? But this is the big thing, you know, this is the one, this is the thing that we really need people to get on board with and support us in any way they can. 

[00:30:15] Zach White: I love that. And I’ll just add to that, not every organization is going to have the brand and the incredible marketing organization that McLaren has.

[00:30:27] But what you said that I believe every engineer. Leading at any level, whether you’re the CTO or you’re a junior engineer on the team, we can all take a note from the, tell a story, the story of what it means and what it will be like to experience the success, the results that we’re all aiming at together.

[00:30:51] Yeah, of course, the longer you’ve been with the organization and the more you have. Experienced it yourself in the past, the more weight I think it tends to carry to those more junior than you, but we can all be a part of that internal marketing mission. you know, engineers tend to say, ah, like, I don’t want to, that’s not my thing.

[00:31:08] I, I shouldn’t have to do that, but I’m telling you that the engineering leaders who I’ve seen, who. Experience rapid progression in their careers. They are the leaders who tell that story and they rally people behind not just doing the job, but what it will mean and painting that vision of I can’t wait to celebrate at the finish line.

[00:31:29] I think that’s huge. I’ll give you 

[00:31:30] Paul Teasdale: an example of that from the engineering world that I was in, which is the dairy company over in New Zealand. So Fonterra, huge dairy organization, produces milk powders predominantly and ships them around the world and lots of other products that go along with that.

[00:31:46] And It’s so easy in the operational, in the engineering and the mechanical and manufacturing operation of that to get focused on like, how are we going to make powder better? what are our yields? What are our efficiencies? How do we do that? Some of the great engineering managers and leaders that I saw in that organization would take people aside, or they just tell a story or bring people and say, what you’re doing right there.

[00:32:12] You know, that goes to milk powders that go into baby formula by the way, Zach, I know you or your family have just had a, had a kid, you know, think about that kid and how important baby formula is and the trust and the quality of that baby formula when you’re waking up at 4 a. m. and you just want to feed your kid because they’re crying and you like without you doing your job, putting those bags on the end of the machine without you doing that, That baby doesn’t get to have that formula.

[00:32:41] That mother or father doesn’t get that extra bit of half hour sleep. So if you do that job, right, that’s the impact you have on the world. And it’s just like, suddenly you’ve gone from, I’m doing a mechanic, repetitive mechanical job. I’m doing, fixing a machine. That’s, in front of me to something that goes, Whoa, I’ve got a real alignment to the purpose of my role on something bigger.

[00:33:05] And it makes a huge difference. 

[00:33:06] Zach White: So good. so you have the rapid acronym, Paul, we have what we call the lifestyle engineering blueprint. It’s a model that we use for all of our coaching and all of our career success coaching here at OAKO. And. One of the P’s, uh, one of the pillars is purpose, right? sometimes there’s an absence, a complete vacancy of purpose in someone’s work and in their life.

[00:33:30] And they do need to dig in and make changes and create. The sense of purpose, but a lot of the time the organization does have a very compelling mission and purpose and their products are making a huge difference in the world for their consumers. And it’s not an absence of purpose. It’s a connection to purpose because the story is never told because we don’t bring it to mind.

[00:33:56] And the thing I’ve discovered as a coach is often it’s not. Knowing it’s remembering, it’s just connecting, you know, it’s like the mission is there, the purpose is there. But when you do that same job, putting the bag on the end of that machine day in and day out, week in and week out, month in and month out, and then you forget about that newborn baby who desperately needs access to the products that you make and we lose.

[00:34:22] Connection to purpose, not that we’ve lost purpose itself. And so I think what you said is so huge that it’s our job as leaders, not only to tell the story once, but to tell the story again and again, and again, in different ways at different times and keep bringing that to life. Cause just naturally we, we lose connection to it.

[00:34:43] Paul Teasdale: You know what I’m saying? Definitely. And just on the final point from me on this is that as an engineering leader. It’s not altruistic this, this is about, you could be focusing on the technology. You can be going, right. We’re going to invest more in these machines that are going to us another 5%, 2 percent improvement on our efficiencies, for instance.

[00:35:05] Well, if you tell that story and you connect all your people to that story, firstly, it’s free, it’s, it’s easy. And, That will drive levels of performance from your people that will generally outshine anything that you’ll get, in terms of, Investing in that new technology, you might still need to do that, but it’s, it’s like you can get, you’re putting, or you’re leaving so much value on the table by not having those stories.

[00:35:35] it’s just another string to your bow and something in your arsenal. As a hundred percent. 

[00:35:40] Zach White: And the comment that it’s free is important because the fact is you’re going to get more in terms of performance from doing this than from paying someone more money. take us further after people.

[00:35:51] What’s next? 

[00:35:52] Paul Teasdale: So people comes to I for insights. I differentiate at this point between data information and insights. So generally I’m a man of simple things. view data as the what it’s the facts and figures that describe a situation. information. Is the sort of so what level you’re adding context, you might be trending that information.

[00:36:16] You might be presenting reports. this is what it means in our organization. Insights support the decision. Insights present the data and the information in a way that supports a decision being made. And all too often we are spending, and particularly when we go back to this, what are we spending our money on for the new data and more and more data and more and more information.

[00:36:43] It’s for additional reports or additional data to do something else with. Well, people don’t like data. People have to consume and translate and understand, all that data. If you give people an insight, they can make a decision. In the world of F1, for instance, what one of the great ways of visualizing insights that they’ve got there is at any point in a race, they track where people are on the racetrack.

[00:37:11] So you can see on the wall on a map of the track itself, right? There are drivers and there are the competition. This is the, the gap between my car and the car in front or whatever it might be. The issue that you’ve got there is that. The physical distance between two cars can be, very different on a straight and on a tight corner.

[00:37:37] But the actual gap in time… Is, it would be the same. So what they were doing with they would translate that physical map of the, track to a temporal view. And it actually turns out to be just a circle. And the great thing about this, you can use the circle for any, any given track. And you can then the space between two dots or two cars on, on that circle.

[00:38:01] It’s always going to be the same, no matter where you are on the track. Yes. And so that is translating the data into something that is insightful. if you then go into predictive analytics and do all the great stuff that comes along with that, you can then predict if I was to pit now, where would I come out?

[00:38:19] So that is another insight that says pit now and you’ll come out in the middle of traffic or pit in a couple of laps time and you’ll come out in the clean air. What do you want to do? It doesn’t make the decision, but it gives you the insight to go, right. Let’s wrap our intelligence around this and go, that’s what we want to do.

[00:38:38] We want to take that route rather than that. 

[00:38:40] Zach White: So good. So good. Just the importance of data visualization to lend itself to insights. I know that’s an entire discipline. on its own. And, uh, you know, shout out to the engineers at Tableau and places who focus on this primarily. But, um, I love that example with you taking something that.

[00:39:00] I’m trying to interpret what physical distance on a map means, not to mention the fact that, you know, I’m taking a scaled replica, you know, on the wall and trying to understand time gaps there and just saying, no, remove the geometry and put it into a way that. Gives me exactly what I need that time to have this.

[00:39:19] That’s an awesome example. So insights are not information are not data make that distinction. And what we need to focus on in a high performance environment is creating the insights. Paul, I’m curious. Is this something that for you is typically automated like once you’ve done it a single time, you can rinse and repeat and create that again and again, or are insights something you need to.

[00:39:46] Keep coming back to, and really be careful about assuming that just because that was the right insight or the right way to present it last time, it’s going to work again. You’ve 

[00:39:55] Paul Teasdale: always got to question it. if you are really clear on the actions side, and this is where the whole thing starts to align.

[00:40:03] If you’re clear on the people are making decisions. They’re the ones who are making, that’s the decision layer on which actions to take and what action to put into practice so that we can drive performance. And so the insights that you’re looking for are, what are the insights that help people make the best decisions as to which action to take?

[00:40:27] And so you can start to align these things well, and on that basis, typically once you’ve got it, right. You can, there’s going to be an element of repeat on that front, but getting it right in the first place is an iterative process. I’m working with a, an organization at the moment and we’re looking at, insights around their quality, reporting, instead of saying we’ve had this number of complaints and this number of internal audit findings and things like that, how do we translate that into insights?

[00:40:58] It might be around the, the turnaround time of our actions, sort of root cause analysis activity or our investigations. So it’s like the insight is that we are getting, our people are slow at getting to root cause and therefore putting it as us at risk, to repeating these actions and costing us more and more money 

[00:41:17] that then highlights the fact that we need to build that capability. We need to bring in new systems and new processes that help people to do that in a efficient way. So it’s, it’s thinking about what that insight means to you at the moment. And that might change. The priorities might change over time as well.

[00:41:33] So you’ve constantly got to be questioning that as a leader. 

[00:41:37] Zach White: And so then to land the plane here, it’s like. Rather than saying from the beginning, what data do I want or what data do I have and what insights could I glean from it? We’re starting at the top, getting clear on our results. What actions move the lever?

[00:41:54] Who’s making those decisions? What insights do we need to make great decisions? And then finally come in and say, well, do we have the capability to collect the right data to make that insight 

[00:42:07] Paul Teasdale: happen? There’s a critical question here as well, which can help you, which is what’s the smallest data set I need to drive those insights.

[00:42:16] Zach White: Say it again, Paul, every engineer needs to hear it. Every engineer needs to hear it. Yeah. So 

[00:42:21] Paul Teasdale: what’s that smallest data set that you need to drive the insights that your people need? And quite often, one of the things that I’ve had some issues with, with some of my, uh, engineering based clients is, Why do we need that information to be that accurate and that timely?

[00:42:40] I’ll give an example. We work with a large, fizzy drinks manufacturer. Should we say, um, one of their factories, they just spent 10, 15 million Euro on new servo motors and all sorts of new equipment that gave them second by second up to date, status on each one of their motors, each one of their production lines.

[00:43:02] And they didn’t know what to do with it. I’m saying, well, the decisions that you’re making are in the, at best 15 to 20 minutes to half hour, maybe even once an hour, maybe. So why do you need that data at that level? Yeah. Did you ask that question in the first place? Oh, no, we just thought more data is going to be better.

[00:43:23] Zach White: Yeah. More, faster, better. Let’s go. 

[00:43:27] Paul Teasdale: Once you’ve gotten the performance out of the smaller data set, you can start to say, right, how do we get more and more? How does that then, how do we make it better? How do we improve? but it’s not the place to start it’s classic burrito. You can get any 80 percent of the performance by 20 percent of the data.

[00:43:44] Zach White: Super important reminder, and it comes back to what we said 20 minutes ago that just because it may seem like data is cheap, does not mean that you want to collect 10 times what’s required to get the insight. I think there’s a lot of hidden costs. Two massive data sets that aren’t necessarily seen on the surface.

[00:44:09] So it’s a really good reminder. And maybe the question to just, I’m learning as we go here from your framework, it’s really powerful. It’s like, okay, I could get the data by the second or the millisecond and get. To this higher level of resolution, but will it change the insight in a way that’s powerful and helpful to make better decisions or not?

[00:44:31] You know, if, if not, then what’s, what’s the point? Um, so good. So good, Paul, I know everybody’s going to want to take this, think about how do I actually apply it into not just what I do as an engineer, like the environments we’re performing in, but also putting it into our own life. Accelerating our career progression, experiencing rapid outcomes there.

[00:44:55] So where can the happy engineer go out and find more about you, your work, and get support if they need it in this area? 

[00:45:03] Paul Teasdale: so there’s two places. One, I do a bit of podcasting myself. So I’ve got a podcast called the helping people perform podcast. it’s got two parts. I interview great guests who help others perform at their best.

[00:45:15] So you’ll get to connect with some of the great people that much like you do on your great show here, Zach. but I also do a segment on a weekly basis called helping you perform. Where I talk to camera and I give more of these detailed insights. I go into more detail on each of the elements of RAPID, some other little frameworks that I’ve used, some approaches and thoughts around data and simulation and automation.

[00:45:38] All sorts of different topics that I’ll talk about. so check that out and you’ll find out more there. the other thing is to go to my website. If you go to pullteasdale. co. uk I’ve got the rapid performance framework on there. If people want to work through that and apply it to themselves, there is an online course on there.

[00:45:57] the basic version of which, you can just get the materials and get the videos and just work through at your own pace. And you can add on. different modules to, for coaching where I’ll come and support you in different ways. but there is another element to the rapid on that website as well, which is about rapid career development, which is purely about applying rapid and that framework in the career development world as well.

[00:46:19] So if you want to, there are just some videos on there to watch, go through that and just contact me through LinkedIn or through the website with any questions or follow up. I’d love to hear how people are getting on or what their opportunities and challenges are. 

[00:46:32] Zach White: Brilliant. So happy engineer. We will put the links to Paul’s website to the helping people perform podcast in the show notes, or you can pause the episode right now.

[00:46:42] Just jump over wherever you’re listening to this episode and give Paul a follow on his show. and I checked out the free content on the career progression through the rapid framework on your website before this Paul. And there’s some great. Great nuggets there. So I do encourage everybody to go check that out.

[00:47:01] Paul, this has been amazing. And, you know, as a coach now, and you’ve seen it and lived it in a F1 high performance environment with the McLaren team, just the importance of asking the right questions, if we want to get the right answers, because questions lead, the answers follow, and that came up so much in this framework and in the work you do.

[00:47:21] So. What would be the question that you would lead the happy engineer with coming out of our chat 

[00:47:27] Paul Teasdale: today? am I providing data and information or am I providing insights? the thing that gets the most bang for your buck and the best leverage is focusing on that insight level.

[00:47:39] Cause that’s where you can add huge amounts of value. You can leverage not only the performance, but you can leverage your, your, persona, the person who provides insights and you can accelerate your career off the back of that. So ask yourself, am I doing everything I can to provide people with insights?

[00:47:59] Zach White: Am I providing data or am I providing insights? Go. Create and provide insights. Paul, this is tremendous. Thank you so, so much for your generosity today, sharing so much wisdom for free with us. I mean, what an awesome opportunity and the gift of those extra resources. So thank you so much for being here.

[00:48:18] We’ll have to do it again sometime. This was great. 

[00:48:20] Paul Teasdale: Loved it. And thanks for the opportunity.