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Doug Hall | Driving Eureka

228: Doug Hall: I just can’t stay with the status quo

Doug Hall Show Notes Page

Doug Hall has an inherent fundamental curiosity within him and he stumbles along the way. He is always pulled to wonder, what if. It comes from within him and he loves it. All of his successes are because he wondered – if he could figure it out.

Doug Hall was born in Portland, Maine and raised in New Hampshire. He is the oldest of 3 children who were raised by an Engineer and a school teacher.

Since an early age he had a passion for inventing. At age 12 he invented, produced, and sold a learn to juggle kit. His Dad didn’t quite know what to say when he said he wanted to be an inventor. His advice was, “become an engineer and then a patent lawyer.” So, he ended up studying Chemical Engineering – and did inventing on the side.

After graduating from the University of Maine he took a job at Procter & Gamble in their brand management department – rising up through the ranks as they say to the role of Master Marketing Inventor. After 10 years he “retired” from corporate life and founded what is known today as the Eureka! Ranch. Their specialty is to help organizations Find, Filter & Fast Track Big Ideas.

Doug Hall is an inventor, researcher, educator and craft whiskey maker. He’s been named one of America’s top innovation experts by Inc. magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Dateline NBC, CNBC, CIO Magazine and the CBC. His new book, Driving Eureka! Problem Solving with Data Driven Methods & the Innovation Engineering System describes how to transform innovation from random acts to a reliable science.

His legacy will hopefully be the creation of the new field of academic study called Innovation Engineering – where innovation is transformed from a random art to a reliable system. That said – there is a chance that what he’ll really be known for is disrupting the world of whiskey as a result of creating a Time Compression technology that is the basis of his most recent company, Brain Brew Custom Whisk(e)y.

Doug currently resides part of the year in Cincinnati, Ohio and the rest of the year in Summerside, Prince Edward Island Canada with his high school sweetheart, Debbie. They have 3 grown children: Kristyn, Victoria, and Brad.

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Listen to @Innov8Engineer to get over the hump on the @FastLeaderShow – Click to Tweet

“The success of organizations comes from the interaction of different departments working together.” – Click to Tweet

“We’ve got to solve for the whole, which means we’ve got to work together.“ – Click to Tweet

“A whole lot of people are basically dying in place.” – Click to Tweet

“You determine what you’re going to do and in your sphere of influence you can do amazing things.” – Click to Tweet

“Start to put stuff in your head, cause once those ideas start in your head a chain reaction starts.” – Click to Tweet

“If you’re not learning you’re dying.” – Click to Tweet

“If you’re not growing, do something different.” – Click to Tweet

“Who should lead the future but the F’n leader?!” – Click to Tweet

“Divided leadership, is no leadership.” – Click to Tweet

“If things aren’t working, your system is wrong.” – Click to Tweet

“Never-ending continuous innovation is the secret to success.” – Click to Tweet

“Sadly, the number of top leaders who are ready to lead is small.” – Click to Tweet

“In your work, on how you work, how about if you change your thought patterns.” – Click to Tweet

“Is your boss getting a return on investment because you’re actually thinking?” – Click to Tweet

“Do your employees actually think?” – Click to Tweet

“Deep inside all of us is a little voice that tells us what we should do and what we must do.” – Click to Tweet

Hump to Get Over

Doug Hall has an inherent fundamental curiosity within him and he stumbles along the way. He is always pulled to wonder, what if. It comes from within him and he loves it. All of his successes are because he wondered – if he could figure it out.

Advice for others

Focus more on health and driving health, it makes you smarter.

Holding him back from being an even better leader

I have to get healthier.

Best Leadership Advice

You’ve got to believe that your people are good people.

Secret to Success


Best tools in business or life

Having people who are mission focused.

Recommended Reading

Driving Eureka!: Problem-Solving with Data-Driven Methods & the Innovation Engineering

SystemOut of the Crisis (The MIT Press)

Contacting Doug Hall




Resources and Show Mentions

Special Bonus From Doug

Call Center Coach

An Even Better Place to Work

Show Transcript: 

Click to access edited transcript

228: Doug Hall: I just can’t stay with the status quo

Intro: Welcome to the Fast Leader podcast, where we uncover the leadership like hacks that help you to experience break out performance faster and rocket to success. And now here’s your host, customer and employee engagement expert and certified emotional intelligence practitioner, Jim Rembach.

Call center coach develops and unites the next generation of call center leaders. Through our e-learning and community individuals gain knowledge and skills in the six core competencies that is the blueprint that develops high-performing call center leaders. Successful supervisors do not just happen so go to to learn more about enrollment and download your copy of the Supervisor Success Path e-book now.

Okay, Fast Leader legion today I’m excited because we have somebody on the show today who’s really going to give us some incredible insights on how we can really crack the mystery of innovation. Doug Hall was born in Portland, Maine and raised in New Hampshire. He is the oldest of three children who were raised by an engineer and a schoolteacher. Since an early age he had a passion for inventing, at age 12 he invented produced and sold a learned to juggle kit. His dad didn’t quite know what is what to say when he had said he wanted to be an inventor. His advice was become an engineer and then a patent lawyer. So he ended up studying Chemical Engineering and did inventing on the side. After graduating from the University of Maine he took a job at Procter & Gamble in their brand management department rising up through the ranks, as they say, to the role of master marketing inventor. After 10 years, he retired from corporate life and founded what is known as “Eureka Ranch.” Their specialty is to help organizations find filter and fast-track big ideas. 

Doug Hall is an inventor, researcher, educator, and craft whiskey maker. He’s been named one of America’s top innovation experts by Inc. magazine, The Wall Street Journal Dateline, NBC, CNBC, CIO Magazine, and CBC. His new book Driving Eureka problem solving with data-driven methods and the innovation engineering system describes how to transform innovation from random acts to a reliable science. His legacy will hopefully be the creation of the new field of academic study called innovation engineering, where innovation is transformed from a random act to that reliable system. That said, there is a chance that he’ll really be known for his disruption in the world of whiskey as a result of creating a time compression technology that is the basis of his most recent company brain brew custom whiskey. 

Doug currently resides part-time in Cincinnati, Ohio and the rest of the year at Summer Side Prince Edward Island, Canada with his high school sweetheart Debbie, and they have three grown children Kristin, Victoria, and Brad. Doug Hall, are you ready to help us get over the hump?

Doug Hall:     I am. Oh, my gosh! That’s an awful lot of an introduction.

Jim Rembach:    It is, but you know the thing is we want our listeners to get an opportunity to know about you as the person not just what you’re known for, as far as your innovation work and of course the whiskey thing. So we shared a little bit about that but tell us what your passion is so that we can get to know you even better.

Doug Hall:     I love to invent things. I just have this curiosity that I wonder what if, what if we try this, and I just can’t stop. It’s fundamental, it came from my grandmother and my great grandfather. There’s a gene in me that I just can’t stay with the status quo. Whatever it is, I want to try something different and do something and it’s that discovery, that to me I find great joy and interestingly it doesn’t even matter if it works or not. In fact, most of the time and anybody that tells you otherwise is not a true inventor, most of the time it never works that’s the reality. That’s why people say, “I’m okay with failing” I said, “I know you’re not, when you say that” because of course it never works. But you learn from those things and then you learn and it’s like a giant mystery to try to figure out how to make things work. Whether it’s problem solving, a new operational system, and the distillery figuring out how we can get production out because demand is exceeding supply, how can we increase it, or whether it’s figuring out how to cut costs or inventing an amazing new product it’s all a giant mystery that you’re just trying to problem-solve.

Jim Rembach:    As you’re talking I started thinking about a couple different things through my head is that—first of all the whole failing thing you got to do that being accepting and saying like you’re mentioning it is just really not the way that the society we’re wired it is that, hey, you need to get it right you need to be perfect mistakes are not allowed and we have to be the agile, we have to reduce error all of those things is kind of the way that we’re conditioned and inciting in the workplace. But what we’re saying is in order to be able to create the innovation DNA you can’t do that and the way to actually reduce the risk is through the scientific method, is that correct? 

Doug Hall:     Yeah. Fundamental to the condition is how did we learn how to ride a bike? How does a scientist discover the experiment? Dr. Deming famously the system sinker, who a lot of my work is based on, talked about the theory of knowledge, plan, do, study, act. What are you trying to get to? What’s your theory? What are you going to do? Then study. Why did it work? Why didn’t it work? And then act and act is usually go around again and again and again. It’s a methodical step-by-step process. I’ll be honest with you, I’ve done a lot of things, I’m older and I’ve had a lot of cool things but it wasn’t because I’m a genius. I made the top half of my chemical engineering class possible it’s because I learned how to run experiments and do very rapid research and this is a key thing that’s a difference out there. 

We have a tendency to do everything very qualitatively. We just see, feel, but you need data. That’s why on the subtitle of this book we put data-driven because truly we want the data. I think sometimes people don’t want to do data not because, I mean sometimes they don’t know how to do it. They don’t want to do it for fear that then it’ll be black and white that they failed. And I like that I like to know, “Okay, you screwed up.” I mean we test a whiskey and we get a two on a 10-point scale, its garbage. You can’t be like, “well maybe we had the wrong people.” “No, it’s junk, start again.” I like the numbers because it makes me much smarter when I can do rapid research. The key is you got to drive the cost and the timing out. And so as I talk in the book we’ve been able to drive the cost out by some 95%. So when it only cost you five percent I can run twenty tests for the same cost that most companies can run one.

Jim Rembach:    So for me going through the book, I would dare to say that when we think about our data operations of our work and it really almost doesn’t matter what it is, is we don’t necessarily take that systems thinking approach and collect data to be able to put things to rest and be final about it. I was having a conversation with somebody yesterday about a sales activity of sales action and I said for me I want the polar ends. I want the yes or the no take your gray and go away.

Doug Hall:     Sure.

Jim Rembach:    I need the definitive action, whatever it may be .

Doug Hall:     And you’re right from a system standpoint because we’ve grown up to an ability that we work in our silo. Whether it’s we’re responsible for sales or finance or product development or operations and so we optimized for our silo. What Dr. Deming teaches us is the system is the interaction of the independent parts and the success of organizations comes from the interaction of those different departments working together and in fact the failure of most innovations is because those departments are not working. It’s been optimized for sales and manufacturing can’t actually manufacture the product. Or it’s been optimized for manufacturing and sales doesn’t have anything that’s a wow because it’s the same old stuff as everybody else has done or the economics rough. We’ve got to solve for the whole which means we’ve got to work together. The whole focus of my life right now, is on the system the interaction of the parts making them come together. Anybody can get a person doing it or a department doing it the challenge is getting them to come together.

 Jim Rembach:    Very early in the book you talk about one of the main issues with all of this and the systems thinking and things like, you talk about in a production environment in being very simple and structured so where we can you know come to the point of experimenting and collecting data however we’re dealing with human beings and the variability rate is quite immense. And then when we throw customers in the mix and we’re trying to improve a customer experience we’re trying to improve a poor employee experience that variability I think a lot of times people just kind of wave the flag of surrender and just move on and go back to some default activity

Doug Hall:     Yes, that’s the view and I have great respect for that view. But I was also in the 70’s I was in a manufacturing plant where one of the guys running the paper machine said, “you know you can’t run this thing with that system stuff that you’re talking about manufacturing is an art. I helped build this paper machine I know this paper machine you can’t measure this stuff.” They said it back then and they were wrong and they say the same thing today with regards to innovation and they’re wrong. Twenty six thousand innovations, $19 billion worth of ideas in active development we’ve got the data now that we can track that we have the measurement systems we have the abilities to do it. But just like that fella at the paper machine in Mehoopany, Pennsylvania they didn’t even know. The challenge that you’ve got right now is, how could they know that? There was any other way to do it because they’ve grown up in a certain way and there’s now new technologies and new methods to measure. 

Jim Rembach:    I think that’s a great point. I keep having this discussion and I have a feeling that it’s going to be one of those things that is going to be one of my last breath things. It’s impossible for us to come up with new ways of thinking, new perspectives if we’re only playing around in our own four walls. If we’re locked in our own room and we’re not gaining different perspectives how can we ever consider in any way shape or form what a different possibility may be? 

Doug Hall:     I honestly think, and I was doing some things this morning that got me really thinking about this, is that a whole lot of people are basically dying in place. They’ve just decided they’ve given up, they’ve just given up and deep inside them there was a person that wanted to do great things and then slowly but surely, and I’m not going to buy the fact that the boss won’t let you and do these things I’m not going to buy any of that stuff that’s an excuse, you determine what you’re going to do and in your sphere of influence you can do amazing things, they’ve just they’re just retired in place and they’re just going there and they have no life and no energy left to them. I need to take them and shape them some of them I just want to shake them and doing it. Because like life is meant to be enjoyed and to bring fun and to do amazing new things and the discovery. The tree out the window here, that tree either keeps growing or it dies it can’t suspend time. That’s what a lot of people do is they suspend time and they go, “my life is miserable my boss is a jerk I guess I’m going to just put up with it.” No, no, stop. And the way to get started again is you got to go learn something and it all starts with learning you’ve got to start learning. If you don’t know how to go do it go talk to somebody go get a book, just go get a book if something get my book I don’t care what it is but start to put stuff in your head because once those ideas start in your head a chain reaction starts. But you’ve got to say, “I want to go learn something.” Take a course, I don’t care what it is but if you’re not learning you’re dying. I had a thing at Procter & Gamble, I was I was there for 10 years. I looked up, January 1st July 4th and at the time I was running, I was inventing games and toys on the side which was non-competitive and they thought that was humorous that I would do that. I was inventing games and toys on the side and I was making actually more money outside like four times more money outside than I was inside. But I was enjoying myself and I was learning and I would look up January and July and I would say, “am I smarter than I was six months ago?” And I was. And then one January I wasn’t, so I left that was it, it was that simple. Because you’re either growing or dying and if you’re not growing do something different. 

Jim Rembach:    Well that goes back into that, “I want the yes or the no and no gray, take your gray and go away you needed to know that I was growing or I’m out of here.”

Doug Hall:     Right, that’s right. 

Jim Rembach:    I also love in the book where you talk about some five false innovation cures. Those innovation cures to me are again I think it goes back to some of these societal incorrectness that unfortunately a lot of us fall into. Cure number one is more inspection metrics and bigger reward, what do you mean by that?

Doug Hall:     Yeah, so the common theme throughout all of these is leadership not being leaders and abdicating the leadership role and trying to replace leadership with prudent and proper and I’ll say puckered management. And so rather than take responsibility for leading and igniting and being close to the work they use numbers to keep it distant from them to be the evaluator as opposed to them seeing feeling it. We get done this I’m going over to the distillery to taste some amazing new whiskies that we’re working on. I’m not going to read a report on it I’m going to personally taste them I’m going to work with the team we’re going to fiddle with the things and then we’ll turn around and we’ll run a test tonight and we’ll get data and then we’ll turn around and change and they may work they may fail but I’m going to get close to the work. I’m not going to just read the results I’m going to I’m going to read the results but I’m going to have seen it felt it touch it and been close. 

We need leadership which means involved—let me put it this way, innovation is the future of your company, who should lead the future but the effing leader? It‘s your job to lead that not to outsource it but to lead that because who else can see the whole of where your organization is except the leader. And I said leader not the team not the management team the leader divided leadership is no leadership.

Jim Rembach:    I think you bring up a really important point talking about that because we all have to know that leader is responsible for the culture of the organization. You talk about creating a culture of innovation and to me it’s just inherent if I’m responsible for the culture I’m responsible for the innovation and innovation is our future therefore it’s just part of my, quite frankly fiduciary responsibility to every single stakeholder in the organization.

Doug Hall:     What’s interesting about that is—about six months ago, I’ve had the Eureka ranch for 33 years, and about six months ago I came to a point where the whiskey stuff was going on but I had this incredible lady named Maggie Nichols who had been a COO and president and I looked up and I realized she was ready to be the leader. And now the typical thing in a small closely held company is as old park stay around forever and control it. And so I decided to name her CEO and to become chairman and inventor,  so she uses me to help with inventing, and it’s been an interesting transition for me because I gave it to her now as opposed to, because she was really ready for it, as opposed to waiting another ten years which would classically would have been, how get done another ten years and then she would have been older, giving it to her now she’s got the ability to truly create this culture and create this thing and to take it to a new place. I’m not saying it’s easy for me to do that to let go but I also know that I can’t be a shadow leader of the company she has to be the leader and I work for her with regards to client engagements. I have a fiduciary duty as a shareholder and as the owner, I have that role, but when it has to do with client things I work for her and she has to be in charge. And it’s been amazing the growth for me has been wonderful to go through this but to see how the organization is changing and growing with her as the leader, and I think many folks of baby boomer generation they don’t get the joy that I’m getting right now which is to nurture someone to be ready to do the job and then coach them and let them do it and be amazed by what they can do. 

Jim Rembach:    As you were talking I started thinking about really dug that that’s something that should occur from at all levels. All of us who are leading others really should be in support of them to actually step right past us and we need to be okay with that. Because otherwise, how are you fully giving? How are you fully connecting? How are you fully reaching everybody’s potential? If you don’t actually act and behave in that way.

Doug Hall:     Well in the side thing that they’ll do is to set what many leaders to do. I mentioned this in the book one of the things we’ll do is we’re not taught how to truly lead. And so I lay out in the book a way to use commander’s intent and some of the military approaches to help set strategy and to do it and to enable the systems be a systems architect as opposed to a doer. Because most of us what happens is we get promoted to a job because we’re good at a certain job, so we go up. And then what do we do? We keep doing the job we did before because that’s what we were good at and we’re uncomfortable in this new space and so then we take away the rights of that person to grow and to become it. One of the neat things of being a chairman instead of a CEO is that I am not involved in the day-to-day running of projects but I end up getting to spend a lot more time with senior leaders of companies just in conversations with them just one-on-one conversations about leadership and the things that are doing. 

And because I’m not connected to maybe the daily project that’s going on I’m able to have a whole another level of conversation. What I’m finding is there’s a whole lot of senior leaders really want to talk about this stuff because they don’t know. The number of senior people at very large companies who close the door and they say, “I have no idea how to grow this company.” “I’ve tried everything I thought and I don’t know what to do.” And for me it’s like a whole new world, I’m getting to spend time with these folks and to help them because they don’t know what to do. The classic things they learned maybe in business school or wherever don’t work today it’s new world it’s a new world.

Jim Rembach:    It is. Even again when you talk about in reference of senior level leader of a large organization but I dare to say that that quandary is taking place throughout the entire globe at organizations of all different sizes. It goes back to the—if I’m not getting exposed and we’ve kind of come a full circle if I’m not getting exposed to new ideas new perspectives it’s just not possible for me to think of things that are going to allow your organization to grow, you can’t pull out what hasn’t been put in.

Doug Hall:     That’s right, that’s right. It doesn’t matter the size of the organization sometimes we classically would say, large corporations because we work with those, but we do a lot with small companies and in fact I was just had a thing going out to some schools that we’re working with as part of a thing that we. Even in the small organizations we can get caught up in these things. We hire these people because we want to hire imaginative, creative, leaders and then we get them and then we teach them to do it exactly the way we’ve always done it. We say, “That’s not the way we do it.” And I’m like, “why do you bother to hire these people?” Just hire droids. We’re looking for automatons it’ll do everything we want that’s what we’re looking for. Here’s an idea we’ll start a recruiting service for droids if you just want to hire a droid because that’s how you’re going to treat them then we’ll fire them all and what are you going to get back? You’re going to get the same thing again because the problem is you and your mindset. It’s not that you’re evil let me be clear you’re not evil you’ve just not been taught a way to work. You’ve been taught some things that—I’m going to evaluate each person as an individual as opposed to as a collective interactive team and we do behaviors that cause us challenges because we don’t approach it as a system. Ninety four percent of the problem is the system. Six percent is the worker Dr. Deming teaches us. He’s absolutely right. If things aren’t working your system is wrong fix the system and only the leadership can fix the system. 

Jim Rembach:    I had the opportunity to have one of his protégées on the show Marsha Daszko we had an absolutely brilliant episode talking about a lot of the things that were even referencing with the whole leading in the system’s thinking and just doing things quite different. When you start looking from her perspective and her experiences on how we go about leading people she was like, we’re doing it all wrong. She actually had a quick quiz that you can go through and if you scored a certain amount, of course you had some issues that you needed to address right away, and some of the questions that you answer them like, well of course it seems like these things are known but yet they were wrong.

Doug Hall:     It is a common phenomena we do similar things. We ask people what’s their system for innovation and they look at you like you have three heads. And they go, “what do you mean? Then I go, “what’s your system for creating ideas? We have a stage gate system, how we judge them.” I said no, “that’s a judgement system. How do you create ideas?” “We listen to customers.” I said, “okay, that’s reactive, that’s good those are good close and improvements, but how do you lead your customers? “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” I said, therein lies your challenge. You have no idea how to do proactive innovation because you’ve never been taught.

Jim Rembach:    Exactly right.  And so I want to run through these other false cures because I think they’re really important because to me they’re like major aha stop and let’s pivot type of statements, really is what they are to me. So false cure number two, the big idea hunt. I think all of us are have ideas.

Doug Hall:     So this gets back to the fundamental dimension that all I need is a big idea and I can put it into my system. The problem is it’s what the data shows from both large companies and small companies is when an idea goes into development it loses half of its value during development. Because to make it fit with the current operations approach design approach whether if it’s a service or if it’s a product the manufacturing approach our economic finance approach a selling approach whatever it is, we slowly shave off the idea until it becomes half of what it was at the start. And the problem is frankly not the idea the problem is your development system. Your development system is designed instead of improved the idea and grow it, in fact if you change the idea you’re going to get in trouble, it’s like set it and forget it. I got I’ve got to bring an idea now we do it but—I’ve got a company coming to the ranch in a couple weeks their marketing department invented some brilliant ideas. The only problem with those ideas is a couple of them break the laws of physics or Isaac Newton, they can’t be done that they’re not doable not doable. And manufacturing has been told and product development been told, “Be a team player come on you can do it you just got to work harder.” And I said, “What’s the odds of this working? They said pretty much none. I said, “Well you’ve got to tell them.” They said, no, they said the consumer want it so we have to do it because we’re consumer driven. I said, “I’d like a Ferrari too but that doesn’t have anything to do with it.” We’ve got to work together and this is just plain insanity. 

Jim Rembach:    Most definitely. So I want to just pop through the next three rows, we’re not going to be able to go into them because I tell you we would turn this into a two-hour show but we have stuck works teams that means doing stuff on the side and trying to figure it out without having an integrated and part of your system and operations the way I interpret that. And then we have buying in innovation culture. Meaning that you’ll acquire some team or maybe even that there could be some consultants that you’re going to hire that could be your innovation team, but it doesn’t seem like that necessarily works. And then also being a fast follower. Now, why is that a problem?

Doug Hall:     Well the data on this is pretty clear there’s been a lot of studies over this over time when you look at it in the total and there will be exceptions to everything 80% chance of rain means one out of five times it won’t rain. But when you follow the data what you find is that, and the numbers go down, it’s like the second in gets like 40% less, the third in gets 80% less, and so to the pioneer goes to a reward. And it’s not only do they get more share and or do they sell more but what happens is there’s a cost curve and with every doubling of the experience curve of manufacturing from the first thousand next thousand costs go down. So what happens is the leader not only do they get the pioneer advantage of being the ones that introduced it but they also end up with the cost curve going down so that they make more and more and more money. The other people coming in just don’t have the funds for the marketing and the support and to be able to do the investment in the next generation of it. It’s not set it and forget it it’s you have to continuous never-ending continuous innovation, this is the secret to success. And that’s why it’s such a great time to be in innovation because the world is changing faster. You can see that as a negative or is a great positive.

Jim Rembach:    I see it’s an opportunity. Now I think also when we start talking about being able to make a difference with where you are today I think your book really gives an individual contributor the opportunity to make a bigger impact for an entire organization and could really make some significant impacts for them as an individual if they just really start thinking and doing things differently than they have in the past. Is there a possibility for that individual contributor to take what, you have available to them in driving Eureka, and really launch a different trajectory for themselves? 

Doug Hall:     Sadly the number of top leaders who are ready to lead is small, it’s just the reality. They got three years till retirement they don’t want to mess up and so they’re not doing it, okay that’s the reality I’m just going to call it as it is. Dr. Deming’s grandson, Kevin Cahill who runs the Deming Institute now, in an interview in the back of the book, there’s a Q&A with him, said something really wonderful. I said, “What do we do if they don’t get it?” He says, “Every individual has a sphere of influence and what we need to do is to activate people in their sphere of influence.” In other words it’s sounds like a movie network I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it, in your work on how you work how about if you change your thought patterns? Start to use the principles that we teach start to use them step-by-step methods that we lay out get started right there. You know what we’re finding amazingly in organizations? We activate those people. Other people look around and go and go, why is your department having so much fun? Why is your department doing this? Oh, it doesn’t happen fast but slowly but surely it starts to multiply and grow and grow and grow. And we’re seeing cultures change from the bottom up from the people that are at the grindstone the people that are close to the work  are frustrated and they wanted to make it better they want to work smarter.

Jim Rembach:    I think from my perspective and arguably that is the place where all this should happen because the distance that takes place from that frontline we’re all of those  interactions occur is so significant that there is no way that you can do top-down anymore.

Doug Hall:     That’s right. Well you can lead from the top not top-down. If you take the—what we call blue cards or the commander’s ten approach the way the military does it where they don’t do command to control anymore commanding control is gone in the military it’s not in corporations but it’s gone in the military,  sadly it’s still being taught in our schools which makes no sense. Instead what you do is you set commander’s intent we set the blue card you set the narrative of this is where I want to get to here’s the boundaries around this this is what we’re looking to do and why. And then we set the teams up and we give them the tools and training to then do amazing things. The whiskey’s I’m about to taste they’re going to be amazing they’re going to be totally different than what I would have done. They’ve got the commander’s intent they know what we’re trying to do for an ultra-premium product and I’m going to be just amazed. You know I’m getting a better return on my investment in these employees because they’re actually thinking that’s kind of cool. Think about it in your job, is your boss getting a return on investment because you’re actually thinking? Do your employees actually think? Do you think? People say that’s what—we teach innovation joint engineering courses you can take them online and that kind of stuff they were fundamentals course. We say it’s basically a thinking course it is going to teach how to think.

Jim Rembach:    I just had dinner with a good friend of mine who’s a senior level executive of financial institution and he was talking about depth of his employees and what you’re referring to and him saying how once I start  inquiring about things he goes there’s no depth there they can’t think. And I’m like, hmmm—your system has a problem then. 

Doug Hall:     Yeah, what are you doing to encourage them? How do you teach them? How do you teach them? Let’s make it different, how are you thinking? How are you learning? How are you modeling learning? Are you talking to them about new books that you’re reading? Are you going to trade shows and not just sitting in the executive suite but working the floor? I just went to a trade show of spirits distributors and it’s kind of a big showdown in Orlando. I purposely set up my schedule so that I would—because it’s a lot of people from other countries and just very different stuff and entrepreneurs and crazies and stuff, I worked the show twice. I said, Okay, I’m going to take a day and I’m going to go through the entire show and gather information and there were people I wanted to meet with and do that stuff. And then I’m going to take the next morning and I’m just going to walk the show and feel it, not think it feel it.  I’m going to feel what’s going on with folks I’m going to just talk to people about stuff not specific but just getting it. It was amazing I was actually more exhausted the second day when I wasn’t—first day I’m like gathering information and putting it in. The second day I was thinking the entire time. I was looking at things I forced myself. I went up to one guy it had nothing to do with what we were doing and I said, “tell me your story what you’re doing?” And in the process of talking to this unrelated guy, I sparked all kinds of ideas. I got to the end of the day and I was exhausted because it’s not like I’d shoveled dirt or something, but I spent so much more time thinking, connecting the dots than the day before when I was gathering information I was just gathering contacts, meetings, the thinking was and it was just so much more valuable, so much more valuable. 

Jim Rembach:    That makes so much sense. Gosh, all that we’re talking about here and the requirement to be resilient put to do what you were just talking about requires a lot of inspiration. One of the things that we do on the show to look for that is talk about quotes that we like. Is there a quote or two that you can share?

Doug Hall:     Well, my favorite quote I end every book and every talk I do it’ll be carved on my tombstone on Prince Edward Island it’s a Ben Franklin quote, America’s first great inventor, Up Sluggard and waste not life in the grave will be sleeping enough–up sluggard and waste not life in the grave will be sleeping enough. Deep inside all of us is a little voice that tells us what we should do and we must do. It’s time to listen to that voice get up get out get going. 

Jim Rembach:    That‘s a good quote. I can also say that even when you start talking about getting to the point of where you are today you’ve had to along that way like you’re talking about continually put in. But in order to do that, that failing thing, has to happen often and obviously you have resilience you can see for that but I know it’s taught you a lot and we call that getting over the hump. Those learning moments that cause us to do something different that are significant that we can recall and we can share with others. Can you share one of those moments with us?

Doug Hall:     When one has to think about it you don’t have the mindset. If you meet really successful entrepreneurs or successful people they have inherent in them a fundamental curiosity and they just they do things and the stumbles are along the way. When we first made our whiskey, whiskey and wood put in a pressure cooker and heated it up, well this is not a good idea because it’s an alcohol and water solution and next thing you know the alcohol goes off and if it’s on a propane burner you get a very impressive fireball that goes up. Awkward. But then if you get a long enough hose and you put it inside a trash dumpster and you put a baby monitor camera on it you can cut the pressure just in time not a big deal you can get to a proof of concept then you go build some stuff but you’ve got to say I wonder what if and you’re pulled to it. See, it has to come from within you, you’ve got to love it. If you don’t love it if you’re not absolutely excited about doing this stuff it’s never going to happen. And so it has to be intrinsic, Dr. Deming teaches this, intrinsic versus extrinsic. If you’re doing it to make money you’re never going to make money. All of my successes are because I thought, geez I wonder if we could figure this out wouldn’t that be neat? It’s like we’ve got a system allows you to write a patent in about an hour. I said, wouldn’t it be cool if we could do that?  I go, yeah, how can we do that? I don’t know. I got some released of my people and I said can you figure that out? Sure enough they figured it out. Write a patent in about an hour, do quantitative research in about an hour. Like an hour we need to go faster I don’t want to wait.

Jim Rembach:    I’ve got things that I need to move. I know it makes sense. Everybody, we’re talking to Doug’s Hall who is the author of Driving Eureka he’s also a whiskey entrepreneur. Doug, with everything that you do we wish you the very best. Now before we move on let’s get a quick word from our sponsor: 

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Alright here we go Fast Leader legion it’s time for the Hump day Hoedown. Okay Doug, the Hump day Hoedown is a part of our show where you give us good insights fast. So I’m going to ask you several questions and your job is to give us a robust yet rapid responses that are going to help us move onward and upward faster. Doug Hall, are you ready to hoedown?

Doug Hall:     I’m ready. 

Jim Rembach:    Alright. So what is holding you back from being an even better leader today? 

Doug Hall:     I got to get even healthier. I have to get healthier.

Jim Rembach:    What is the best leadership advice you have ever received? 

Doug Hall:     You got to believe that your people are good people. And that when they’re not doing things it’s the systems that they’ve got and if you stop playing the blame game and instead focus on the systems and believe in the good of people then they will live up to your expectations.

Jim Rembach:    What is one of your secrets that you believe contributes to your success?

Doug Hall:     Caffeine. I enjoy caffeine. Caffeine is actually banned in Olympic competitions that’s a stimulant and it’s been proven to work. So we have our own brain brew coffee and I think caffeine has been key to it. 

Jim Rembach:    What do you feel is one of your best tools that helps you lead in business or life?

Doug Hall:     I’ve been very blessed to have people who are mission-focused. And so having those people around that are mission-focused and then the money follows is best than key. It’s those people that make me much better than I really am. Maggie Nichols makes me better. Joe Gargash makes me better than I really am. They make me a better person.

Jim Rembach:    What would be one book that you’d recommend to our legion, it could be from any genre? Of course we’re going to put a link to Driving Eureka on your show notes page as well.

Doug Hall:     Dr. Demming’s book Out of the Crisis. It is a book that at that time saved this country, manufacturing a mess. It made a big difference it didn’t stick as much as it needed to. We’re working to redo it again but Out of the Crisis by Dr. W Edwards Deming is a fundamental book that everybody should read.

Jim Rembach:    Okay, Fast Leader legion you can find links to that and other bonus information from today’s show by going to Okay, Doug this is my last Hump Day Hoedown question: Imagine you were given the opportunity to go back to the age of 25. And you can take all the knowledge and skills that you have back with you but you can’t take it all you can only choose one. So what skill or a piece of knowledge would you take back with you and why?

Doug Hall:     I would focus even more on health. I’ve done it at sporadic times but I would focus more on health back then and really driving health. For some reason, and there is some science on it of repetitive exercise makes the brain go—but I would have made that a bigger thing because it would make me smarter.

Jim Rembach:    Doug, it was not her to spend time with you today can you please share the fast leader Legion how they can connect with you?

Doug Hall:     Well let’s give them a little bonus. You can go to Eureka Ranch website and that kind of stuff but if you go to you can sign up there’s a newsletter there but you can also get a download of 1-hour audio book summary. There’s also on Audible a 10-hour audiobook which if you can’t sleep, I guess you can do that if you’re into those things, but there’s a one-hour audio that you can get for free if you go to

Jim Rembach:    Doug Hall, thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom the Fast Leader legion honors you and thanks you for helping us get over the hump. Woot! Woot!

Thank you for joining me on the Fast Leader show today. For recaps, links from every show special offers, and access to download and subscribe, if you haven’t already, head on over so we can help you move onward and upward faster