The OYT Coaching Series – Kurt Luidhardt at Prosper Group – Creating Time to Think

Many leaders feel that they have to make the most of every minute of the day. They optimize their schedules to get the most out of their time. However, many times they are not creating time to think. I see this quite often in my work and eventually, it catches up with these leaders. Today, we see how creating time to think is more productive than a packed calendar. Our guest is Kurt Luidhardt, co-founder of Prosper Group. Prosper Group was #466 on the 2019 Inc 500 list. Kurt begins by sharing his top strategy for optimizing his time, hiring a sales manager even with him actively involved in business development. In part two, Kurt is coached on creating time to think. Back-to-back meetings and scheduling every minute of the day may seem productive, but CEOs need white space to think. You will discover how to create time to think better inside this episode.

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Kurt Luidhardt: The Transcript

Target Audience: Kurt Luidhardt is a Co-Founder at Prosper Group. The Prosper Group Corporation specializes in online strategy and telephone voter contact for Republican political candidates and conservative organizations.

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Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

Kurt Luidhardt
As I’ve tried to learn the lessons of 2020 if I were to force myself to say, here’s the one thing, the most important thing I’ve learned, it’s probably then that more than anything else, it’s my job to strategically, and certainly from a vision perspective, but definitely from a strategic perspective. The ahead of my staff and head of the industry, and that requires me taking some quiet time. And thinking through a multitude of scenarios good, bad, indifferent, that might affect our company identifying weaknesses, taking proactive action.

Intro [0:48]
Welcome to Growth Think Tank. This is the one and only place where you will get insight from the founders and the CEOs, the fastest-growing privately held companies. I am the host. My name is Gene Hammett. I hope leaders and their teams navigate the defining moments of their growth. Are you ready to grow?

Gene Hammett [1:05]
The time to think is a very precious thing for many visionary CEOs. But here’s the problem. Many of them don’t take the time to think they don’t schedule it. They feel a little guilt behind us. And you probably are nodding your head along with me because it’s natural. We as CEOs have grown to the ranks. Because we have been doers we have been the the people on the frontlines getting it done, whether it be leading the sales charge or leading the development of a new product or service. We’ve been entrenched into the day to day and we rarely ever take time to think. But today’s episode in the optimizer time series, we’re gonna be looking at time to think we’re also gonna be looking at how other things have impacted this CEOs time, we are with the CEO of prosper group, Kurt Luidhardt. And he talks about hiring a sales manager, we talked about the resistance, he had to hiring that sales manager so that he had to get beyond that.

Gene Hammett [2:01]
Now, when he did completely on his own. He had seen the light, if you will, he saw the benefit of having someone that led the team and had those one on one conversations, held them accountable, develop their own training. And actually, his team has grown since then. He’s a member of the team as the lead sales rep or the one that’s kind of carrying the heavy quota. But inside this episode we talk about that is his optimize your time strategy. But we also look at creating time to think and we look at some of the details behind that some of the emotional aspects of it, but also the logistic aspects of creating time to think all of this for you to make you a better leader, more visionary. If you have any questions about where you’re going, as a leader, make sure you check out the free content on We’ve got free resources there about being a visionary leader, but also you can actually schedule time with me to talk about your steps, your plan, what’s getting in the way of you being the visionary leader that you know your team deserves? Well, all you have to do is schedule a call with me and you can figure out what it is. Here’s the interview with Kurt.

Gene Hammett [3:07]
Hi, Kurt, how are you?

Kurt Luidhardt [3:09]
Wonderful today.

Gene Hammett [3:11]
Excited to have you on the podcast again. So you’ve been here before we talked about leadership and culture elements of a fast growth company. So bring us up to speed on prosper group. What do you guys focused on right now?

Kurt Luidhardt [3:23]
Yeah, so we’re a digital marketing agency with a specialty in nonprofits advocacy, we do a lot of political work. So for us, right after the election is a key time to start looking ahead to the next cycle. There are campaigns happening next year, and then again in 2022. And, frankly, we’ve got two big races, January 5, and Georgia. So there’s a lot of sort of putting to bed, some of the client work for November, and then going and getting some new people for next week, which I find really tremendously exciting. It’s part of my favorite time of our cycle. Plus, we have this steady nonprofit. And we do a little bit of corporate work that we’re constantly trying to grow bit by bit. So it’s a good time to reflect on what happened playing for playing for what’s about to happen. Well,

Gene Hammett [4:19]
I like that idea that you have this reflection in there. I’m sure that’ll come up a little bit later into the program here. Before we jump into the real heart of this, I really want to I don’t want to get into the details of what side you’re on from a political standpoint. But the way things have changed the way digital is working inside of this, you and your team must have a lot of work to do and really learning how to use this in a different way.

Kurt Luidhardt [4:47]
Yeah. You know, in our industry, since LBJ ran for president, and when the first big blockbuster television commercial, we’ve had an industry dominated by Television, it’s still significant amount of money spent there. But digital marketing, just like in the corporate space has really worked its way in in the last few years. And it’s allowed for more one to one contact with voters a lot more specificity in what you’re saying what you’re talking about. And it’s also brought more people into the process more folks given 25, or $35, which is also I think, radically changed the industry. People been giving small money since the advent of direct mail fundraising in the 70s. But digital is really made that more prevalent for all, it’s also brought a lot more money into the system, which for companies like ours, I suppose is a great thing. But for poor voters who see nothing but political ads for a couple of months, they might be a little tired of it. But it’s an exciting space to be in. And there’s a lot of despite all the, I think, times when, as an American kind of look at the process and see all the disagreement and feel discouraged.

Kurt Luidhardt [6:03]
What’s wonderful about it is there’s something like a half a million people who run for office every year, most of them are running for local offices are the salt of the earth, folks, no matter who you support, they’re great people, they really are ideologically motivated, because you don’t run for county commissioner to make extra money. It’s, it’s a lot more work than you get paid for. And it’s a great industry to be involved because you get to every time we help somebody, it has a direct impact on everyone around I always say to my staff, it’s one thing to say we do digital marketing for coke. But really, who cares if coke sells more than Pepsi other than Coke, but every American is affected by what we do. And it brings a lot of daily satisfaction is we we do our work.

Gene Hammett [6:50]
Well, I appreciate you bringing that level of context to us. As we dive into this, we’re running a series on optimize your time. And Kurt, I had talked with you a few weeks ago about what’s the number one strategy that really has moved the needle for you as it related to time. What is that number one strategy you shared with me that day?

Kurt Luidhardt [7:09]
Yeah, from the start of our company, and my wife and I founded the company together, I have sort of taken on the sales side of the business, and been our company’s number one salesman for a very long time. And but we started hiring salespeople probably 10 years ago, and the first evolution for me as I realized, I didn’t know how to train them. I didn’t know how to instruct them in sales, I just knew I sold and some people hired us, some people didn’t. And so the first time, we considered hiring a trainer, and we did that about 10 years ago, but something I struggled with, and probably way too long, was the idea of hiring a sales manager. And when I got up to about five, might have been six sales people who were reporting to me, I had six salespeople reporting me, and a couple of more on the way plus a cup, you know, several members of our leadership team, plus our controller who were and I realized I’m spending my entire week with one on one meetings with our sales people providing them a lot of guidance, I was failing to provide any real accountability and giving them the support they needed. And I was avoiding doing it, you know, because we’re always, always worried, either a could I not afford it?

Kurt Luidhardt [8:26]
This is a be an expensive hire a sales manager? Or B do I, is it something I just want to hire because it’s it’s a vanity thing, like I’m gonna hire a sales manager because we’re going big time, but we weren’t really. And I let that sort of linger for probably two years, maybe three years longer than it should have. But then once we, once I made that hire, it’s been a big made a big difference in my time. And by the way, a big difference in the production of our sales team and the growth of our sales team because I have somebody else who can help interview, recruit and mentor those folks through the process.

Gene Hammett [9:03]
Well, tell me a little bit about where you are today, if I took a snapshot of the size of the team and the kinds of ways this is really impacting you to grow the company.

Kurt Luidhardt [9:14]
Well, right. We have eight sales people now. So an additional three since we hired our sales manager, which has been great. In addition, you add me and then our sales manager, that means I’ve got 10 people out spreading the word. That’s something I absolutely could not have done or managed without a sales manager. That’s where I am there. Secondly, a lot of folks that were hired before our sales manager and even some of the folks after are really advancing much quicker. They’re learning more quick, more quickly. They’re closing more sales because I have an experienced sales manager who has the time to mentor them and I would often have to skip a meeting, or I’d have a conflict. And so instead of having an opportunity to provide direct feedback, I was postponing procrastinating on those things.

Kurt Luidhardt [10:10]
Now, that happens on a weekly basis. The other thing I think is interesting is with the sales manager who has his fingers on the pulse of the team were recognizing challenges before they become issues. So I wasn’t giving them a lot of one on one personal attention. So by the time an issue got to me, it was a big deal. Now, because of a sales manager, those things are being handled before they become problems. So Kurt, technically, you kind of report to the sales manager for sales. I do. I don’t know if he would say that, maybe. But I report my sales to him and try to keep him informed as to who I’m talking to, because I’m still out selling. But I get to spend all my time on on the clients that are the most profitable with potential clients, which is another change for me. So yeah, I think it’s a bit awkward for him, because I was sort of the sales manager before I have that 15 years of history that he didn’t have. But so he. So he both reports to me, and I kind of report to him. You’re right.

Gene Hammett [11:20]
One of the things that I have seen when companies have done this is Yes, they did resist it for a little bit. And hiring the right person has made a huge difference. You’ve talked about the benefits behind this, how has it created you the space to be the true CEO of the company, or the visionary leader of the company as it needed to be?

Kurt Luidhardt [11:42]
Well, because of the because of Todd, I have been able to obviously, game time, in the direct management of my salespeople, which is freed up probably 10, maybe 15 hours a week, I’ve also been able to trust that he is, you know, his years of experience. I know that he can work with the the team to close sales. So I didn’t, I don’t feel like I have to jump in on every big transaction that we take place. That’s also another savings, it’s a little different than the time I was spending mentoring. It was a time I was spending helping close sales when they needed to heavy on the phone. Those are a couple of big savings. But it’s I think the bigger thing is it’s really helped me to focus on the sales that are the most important to the company, I was often on the phone with somebody wanting to spend 10 or $15,000 with us. And now to get on the phone with me. It’s a it’s a million dollar plus account. with some exceptions. And that’s been really valuable to we were growing up nabbing more of that business because of it.

Gene Hammett [12:53]
I could press on with this, because I think there’s a lot of interesting things. You talked about the resistance that you had to fight through a couple of years too long to make that decision. Finally, it worked out everything has has really kind of developed in a way that you had hoped it would. I want to kind of switch gears with this here because that that really does set the framework for optimizing your time.

Kurt Luidhardt [13:16]

Gene Hammett [13:17]
In part two of this, I want to just ask you, if you were to work on the next element of your time, to be a better leader to be more visionary, whatever you think about what is that focus for you?

Kurt Luidhardt [13:29]
Well, as I’ve tried to learn the lessons of 2020, if I were to force myself to say, here’s the one thing, the most important thing I’ve learned, it’s probably then that more than anything else, it’s my job to, to strategically, and certainly from a vision perspective, but definitely, from a strategic perspective, be ahead of my staff and head of the industry. And that requires me taking some quiet time and thinking through a multitude of scenarios good, bad, indifferent, that might affect our company, identifying weaknesses, taking proactive action and, and taking the time to think about those things has always been a challenge for me because it doesn’t feel like work the same way, say sitting down all day and making cold calls for sales might or you know, having a conference call with a staff member who needs my support or intervening on a client account. And so it’s both, you know, a time challenge.

Kurt Luidhardt [14:35]
You know, I’ve always got something busy, something that seems that I’m busy and it keeps me from tackling thinking time. But it’s also sort of a mental-emotional challenge because I’ve when I sit down at the couch with a cup of coffee with a notebook in my hand and say I need to think about this issue. I feel like if anybody knew that’s what I was doing with my time on my staff. I’d have to apologize. You know, they’re all out you know, toiling away with clients. And so it’s been a, even now having realized how important it is, every time I sit down and do it, I feel this tinge of, well, this is a real lazy use of your time. But it’s something I’m getting over, I think a bit by bit.

Commercial [15:15]
Let me take a second here to remind you that if you want to keep getting episodes like this, you want to evolve as a leader, then you want to make sure you go to is my home base, the podcast is growth Think Tank. And if you want to be a visionary leader, if you want to keep learning from all of these amazing founder CEOs that go to, so you don’t miss an episode.

Gene Hammett [15:41]
Well, we’re gonna lean into that today, because I’m here to help you maybe even get over it a little faster than normal. This is a little bit of coaching. So I will kind of frame this in, I’m not going to go as deep as I would with a normal client, I’m not going to expose the the real emotional issues behind this because I you know, you’re doing the right things. It’s just we need to reframe sometimes what that is, because what you’re describing to me, is, when you sit down to do the time to think the white space, the strategic visionary work, it doesn’t seem like you’re actually working. Right? So it comes with a dose of guilt. Is that fair?

Kurt Luidhardt [16:20]
Oh, yeah. Yeah, certainly, I don’t feel like I’m, I’m working like that as hard, I suppose. If you will.

Gene Hammett [16:27]
The sales seems like heavy lifting, right? Who’s gonna? Who’s gonna do the cold calls? Who’s going to follow up with all these calls? Who’s going to, you know, talk to clients, you know, help them and influence them and persuade them? All? That seems like a lot of work. That’s what you’re, that’s your natural gift? business. Is that fair to say? That that’s your natural way of really providing value to the company?

Kurt Luidhardt [16:49]
Absolutely. And I know that anybody looking on it, looking at me would say, Boy, he put in a good day at work today. He made 25 calls or whatever.

Gene Hammett [16:58]

Kurt Luidhardt [16:59]
And that’s, that feels good, too.

Gene Hammett [17:01]
I can see the smile on your face, too, when you talk about it that way. Here’s the thing with visionary work. And I asked this big question of everyone, and we’re gonna go deeper beyond this. But if the visionary work is important to the business, you say, it is right that Yeah, strategic thinking. If you’re not doing it, who is?

Kurt Luidhardt [17:21]
Yeah, well, I mean, that’s what I discovered 2020. Nobody was right. Or worse yet, my competition was, and they were ahead of me, and thinking through or more prepared than I was. So if I’m not doing it, you know, it’s bad news.

Gene Hammett [17:38]
I mean, I know, it’s a big question. But I mean, really let it sink in for a second, if you’re not doing it, who is like, Todd is doing visionary thinking as it relates to sales? Because that’s what he’s doing. He’s helping, but he’s mostly working in the day to day, is that fair to say?

Kurt Luidhardt [17:53]
Yeah, very fair.

Gene Hammett [17:54]
And then you’ve got designers and programmers, and, you know, all these project managers that are running these projects, they’re in the day to day, and so they’re spending very little time with their head up, looking at what’s coming around the corner. So am I, do you have someone else that helps you do that? Or is it just you?

Kurt Luidhardt [18:17]
Well, I have a coach, but I have to guide that conversation. And it’s also easy for me to engage in with my coach on things that are, you know, day to day kind of activities. But But yeah, I mean, I think if I’m not initiating it, I don’t necessarily have a third party from the outside initiating it for me.

Gene Hammett [18:38]
So what we’re kind of centering on is, it’s a very important aspect to the growth of the business. Right?

Kurt Luidhardt [18:45]

Gene Hammett [18:46]
It’s something that has to get done. And you’re the one person that really is tasked with doing it? Absolutely. When you sit down to do it, you carry the guilt with you. Why Why do you Why do you bring the guilt into that when you’re the only person and it’s very important,

Kurt Luidhardt [19:04]
You know, a lot of times as it is, with the those sort of emotional hang ups, there’s not a great logical reason for it, other than, you know, it. It doesn’t maybe it because it doesn’t feel as burning at the moment, you know, that kind of visionary strategic thinking feels like, hey, that’s something that’s gonna affect six months from now, right now, I’ve got this revenue problem, but I think it’s really it’s very much in my head, it’s, it’s, you know, even when I take a vacation, do I can sometimes run with that same sort of block. I know people are back home working hard. And I’m in St. Lucia. So I don’t know if it’s logical, but it exists.

Gene Hammett [19:46]
Well, it’s, it’s natural, and it happens and it’s happened to me before but I also know that sometimes you just have to reframe it. Yeah. You take a look at the vacation stuff. You know, many of them are getting their vacations. I know Most employers really love their time off and their flexibility. And you know, and frankly, I think a lot of people need it, especially in creative work like what you’re doing. Yeah, just put out the best creative work, you know, working 1820 hours a day. So you need to have time to recharge, is that fair? Absolutely. And you going to vacation is a chance for you to truly recharge. Now, most leaders never really take the time to do that. But when you really buy into the recharge benefits, and I’ve done this a lot better lately, because I don’t carry that kind of work I need to I carry a book is all I carry with me when I go on vacation is because I want to catch up on my reading. But I want we’re not gonna talk about vacation. I want to talk about this this time to think so.

Kurt Luidhardt [20:46]

Gene Hammett [20:48]
It sounds like it’s more of an emotional thing than an actual putting it on your calendar. Is that fair?

Kurt Luidhardt [20:55]
Yeah. I mean, I think both can be a challenge. But I think at its core, you know, the challenge has been, it just doesn’t feel doesn’t feel here, like I’ve put in a good day at work.

Gene Hammett [21:08]
Well, here’s the here’s the thing that I want you to think about Kurt is your job is to, you know, keep the business running, keep you know, keep the sales coming in. Because you you would sit I guess I’m assuming you’re still the number one salesperson on the team.

Kurt Luidhardt [21:20]
Yeah, although good news is I have somebody bite at my heels. That’s good news.

Gene Hammett [21:24]
I love that. But if no one else is doing this visionary work this time to think and you’re not making time for it. Would you say that could be a weakness in the business?

Kurt Luidhardt [21:35]
Yeah, yeah.

Gene Hammett [21:37]
If you really believe that, then can you separate that from the guilt that comes with you sitting down to think and say, and really reposition that is like, this is a this is the best use of my time, actually, is to work on this piece of the business that no one else is doing?

Kurt Luidhardt [21:54]
Yeah, yeah. And that’s a good, that’s an important way for me to think of it, you know, to understand that this is, this can be a weakness for the company that I’m not doing it.

Gene Hammett [22:01]
Here’s another way to look at this. And I’ve done this exercise, I did a video with it, I know that this interview won’t come out for a while. But we can go back into the archives and look at the way we look at time. And I actually had gives some of my clients this exercise, and I said, you know, get on a sheet of paper. And I’m not gonna ask you to do this now. But I’ll just kind of walk you through it. If we drew two lines down a piece of paper, dividing it into three columns, you’ve got a $20 column, a $200 column and a $2,000. column. The $20 column is the things like making your own travel arrangements. We do that I mean, some people really like to pick out their seats and whatnot, but we could give it to someone else that understood how we prefer to travel. Is that fair? Absolutely.

Gene Hammett [22:45]
The $200 kind of work is is really kind of you showing up to different meetings, and like getting a status report of what’s going on inside the company. They’re important, and you probably love to do that. But it’s probably, you know, not much more than 200. I mean, you’ve got a sales manager that’s running the sales team that you used to do. So you’ve literally replaced that for somewhere, hopefully less than 200 bucks an hour. But the $2,000 work, imagine how much if you’re really spending your time on the $2,000 work. I know you mentioned, you know, closing the million dollar deals that’s approaching kind of the $2,000 work, would you say?

Kurt Luidhardt [23:23]
Yeah, absolutely.

Gene Hammett [23:25]
And visionary work. Actually, some people would say it goes into $1,000 work, I think it actually goes into the $20,000 column, which is usually the post it note that goes along with the size of paper of saying, how are we going to raise money if we’re raising money? Typically, people like you are the only ones that can do those activities? How are we going to innovate our product to the next level? It takes you having the insight to see that and leading the charge for the team? Is that fair to say? Absolutely. So in summary, the the time that you carry guilt with you is really the $20,000 work that is the highest value that no one else is doing. You kind of get it’s all kind of coming together for you. Would you say? Yeah, yeah. And it’s, it’s, it doesn’t take that much time to do it. Like you don’t need to take off three days a week to do it. So I want to get into the logistics of this a little bit. Any other questions you have for me around you know, the value and reframing that guilt away from from you actually sitting down to do it?

Kurt Luidhardt [24:23]
No, and this 20-202,000-20,000 illustrations is a great way to think about it too.

Gene Hammett [24:30]
I wanted to give you one thing before we go into logistics, is this. You actually doing the $20,000 work. If you sit down to do it and you bring in a negative feeling like guilt. Are you truly able to let your mind get into the more creative, innovative thinking that is necessary for you to actually produce the level of thinking that you need?

Kurt Luidhardt [24:57]
No, I think it also makes me do a lot of classes. Watching, when I, when I do that, well, I made an hour, I’m going to do an hour and I’m looking and you know, I don’t want to, you know, spend more than an hour on this. And that prevents me from letting my mind wander, which is where these were my visionary thoughts tend to come more, more creatively is what I kind of let my mind go down a path that creates some innovation.

Gene Hammett [25:26]
I agree with you, my best thoughts don’t come when I’m sitting at the desk or the laptop to say, Now think about it, it’s when I get up to leave, and I take the dogs for a walk, or I go for a workout or for me sometimes, like, even last night, I couldn’t get to sleep because I was thinking about some of the big ideas that were rolling through my head, which is a whole nother problem of not being able to sleep. But you know, I’m I’m taking time to think outside of the actual sitting down at the keyboard to document it. Yeah, two separate things.

Gene Hammett [25:59]
Now, one of the issues I see with a lot of leaders that your level, Kurt is just giving themselves that space, they feel very productive when they have 10 meetings in a day. And they’re back to back and they’re like, you know, I’m there for my team. But yet, they will tell me the same things that you’re telling me, I don’t have time to think I don’t have the energy to think when I’m really want to. So we have these conversations to help unlock something. I want to go into just a little bit of the logistics of it. But are you able to see the bigger picture here and maybe reframe when you sit down bringing forth the best energy you have, instead of that guilt that comes with this visionary thinking time?

Kurt Luidhardt [26:35]
Yeah, absolutely. And you’re, I keep going back to your $20,000 illustration, because I when I think of it that way, I it really frames it differently in my mind that, you know, what I’m doing right now is worth infinitely more than the $20 an hour stuff or even the $200 our stuff that makes me feel productive?

Gene Hammett [26:54]
Yep. I didn’t say we’re checking email sits in there. So where do you think checking email sits into your? Is it the $20 task? 2000, 2,000 or 20,000?

Kurt Luidhardt [27:04]
Well, I mean, it’s part of it is that it’s a little bit of each, you know, I do get a lot of $200 problems that come in via email, you know, thankfully, I have an assistant that helps me. And she’s pretty good. I don’t go out of it on her. You know,

Gene Hammett [27:17]
I’m glad that you have that. The the joke in the world of CEOs is, if you don’t have an assistant, you are the assistant. Yeah, I want to leave us with this, Kurt. And we don’t have much time to go into the details of it. But if you were really creating a little bit more intentional time to think would this be something that you would do in bigger blocks, or a little bit each day, what is better for your pattern of thinking,

Kurt Luidhardt [27:43]
I think for me, it’s probably bigger blocks, I do think a little bit of time to supplement appear there isn’t bad because I it gives me time to write down an idea. Sometimes I get a random inspiration, but I find I need I need sort of the first 15 to 20 minutes to dump onto paper, all the things that immediately come rushing to the forefront. The moment I say I have time to think all the little worries and concerns to them or to do items that I then have to sort of clear out of my mind. And and then sort of my first round of thoughts tend to be pretty banal, and it’s only 3040 minutes in, but I start feeling like, oh, here’s something interesting that I wasn’t, it didn’t come up in the first set of clutter. I like to have a whiteboard, and I write all over it and draw things and so I’m, I need time, more time to make that thinking time effective.

Gene Hammett [28:40]
I like that you you kind of zero into that. I work in bigger chunks to if I if I were trying to do 30 minutes a day for me, it wouldn’t work. There are certain habits that I have to this bigger thinking. For me, it’s once a week. And it happens to be on Wednesdays, when you think about scheduling time. Do you see it as a two hour or three hour kind of block? Or do you see it something differently?

Kurt Luidhardt [29:04]
Yeah, couple hours to three hours is probably about right. I also have a little bit of I’m pretty active guy. So probably about an hour two or three, I’m I have to do it, I have to have a change in in what I’m doing. And so certainly no more not much longer than that to in order to be effective.

Gene Hammett [29:25]
So what if you could put two hours on your calendar every week to have that date with yourself to be able to to think about some of the bigger issues, the visionary work to look around the corner and think about where you’re going next. And it’s only two hours a week. Like if we really got honest with this, like if you’re working 50 hours on the average. Is that about fair? 50 to 60? Yeah, yeah. Giving two hours does that seem like you’re you’re you’re you’re stealing from the business by giving that visionary time two hours?

Kurt Luidhardt [29:55]
Oh, certainly not.

Gene Hammett [29:56]
And here’s the suggestions on logic. Six is find the day that works best for you, and put it on the calendar. Actually block it out. And here’s the here’s the detail behind it. I will coach you more through this. But I want to for the sake of of time, I want to ask you one question before I dive into the very specifics of this, what time of day do you think you do your best thinking? Are you an early morning thinker mid morning, kind of afternoon, evening? What time is best for you?

Kurt Luidhardt [30:26]
Very much early morning. For me, I like to do it when everybody else is still asleep.

Gene Hammett [30:33]
Here’s my suggestion. If you can do this, if you really understand that, that’s when you do your best thinking is to schedule it the times when you do your best thinking and protect it. by protecting I mean, letting your wife know, hey, she’s in the business or this is probably, you know, going to be pretty easy. Like, hey, this time is for this. I only have scheduled this block for the entire week. I want to honor that. I know you have a five month old. So yeah, in Can you can you can you cover me for this this two hours? Yeah. Is that does that seem like a reasonable request? Or? Absolutely. The final pieces of this and I’ve shared this the other day with someone that had the same exact thing. And one of these to optimize your time series is, is there a place that would you could go to do that thinking that’s not actually where you’re doing your desk? You know, Greg.

Kurt Luidhardt [31:22]

Gene Hammett [31:23]
Here’s the reason why that and I’ll give you my story, I wrote my book, which is behind me back over here, the trap of success, I work in bigger blocks, it wasn’t you know, a lot of people say write your book an hour a day, that wasn’t working for me. So I sat down and did a chapter a day. And I had planned to do it over three day weekends. And I started on kind of Memorial Day and Labor Day and went to Memorial Day or whatever. And I did six, three day weekends allow me to do it. But here’s what I learned through the process of those big chunks of time. And I did four and five hour sessions. I forced myself to sit down and not get up until I was done with that chapter. And I really felt like I was doing something. But I also learned something else too, is I went to a specific place to do the writing. Not at my desk.

Kurt Luidhardt [32:14]

Gene Hammett [32:15]
And I train my mind, in my focus to say, this is not a time for email, this is not a time for social media, this is not a time for stuff. This is the time to get this done. I actually would grab a very light breakfast and a cup of coffee and sit down and I would not get up to eat anything else. And drink anything other than water for the entire series of me sitting down. And I finished my book in a pretty record time.

Kurt Luidhardt [32:42]

Gene Hammett [32:42]
It’s location, different location, finding your your hours of genius, which is when you do the most creative thinking you said in the morning, and it’s bringing into it the value and reframing that it’s no longer guilt time. This is my $20,000 hour time. Does it does all that kind of come together to like, let you look at this a little bit differently. Absolutely. Is this been helpful? Very much. So what would you What are your next steps, just just repeat it back to me a little bit. So we’re both clear?

Kurt Luidhardt [33:13]
Well, for me, I do think scheduling a specific time would be a big change from what I’m doing now. Now it’s sort of when I have a couple hour time block, I’ll throw it in but scheduling it every week at the same time and then choosing a different location, those are all things that would be a change from what I’m doing that I think I like your suggestions there. And then just mentally thinking about it as $20,000 time really helps with my issue of feeling like I’m not being productive during this time or guilt that I’m you know, I’m the one sitting on my butt thinking when everybody else is out there fighting the fight on the frontlines.

Gene Hammett [33:53]
I totally get it. And I think if you did all those things, you would have a very different approach to this. And you would see the benefit from it. I’m going to leave you with the final thoughts of this. And I didn’t make this clear before. But this is necessary to say one of the things I’ve seen with people that are trying to do something new, especially like a two hour block, is they’ll put it on their calendar with very good intentions. And then something will show up that the moment that they go to do that the first time or second time, and they will say well, I’ll read. You know, I’ll do this later.

Kurt Luidhardt [34:24]

Gene Hammett [34:25]
Here’s the commitment I’d love for you to make to me, Kurt is once you depict your day, whatever works for you, and you pick your time that if you have to reschedule it, you will give yourself that rain check and you will reschedule it instead of just ignoring it and move it to the right time The right day. Maybe you’re going to start an hour later or maybe you’re going to do it the next day. But you would not skip it because what I’ve seen is if you skip it too many times, it’s very easy to ignore. It’s very easy to let that cause even more guilt for something that you’re not doing that you said that you would do and you’re Out of integrity. There’s a lot of kind of coaching elements inside this, Does that kind of make sense of making the commitment to just reschedule it if you need to?

Kurt Luidhardt [35:08]
Yeah, absolutely.

Gene Hammett [35:11]
A lot of these frameworks I’ve just learned over time from within my own, you know, leadership struggles with time, but also working with dozens of CEOs like yourself that are trying to create more time to think and be visionaries. We didn’t get into the real core of this, which I would if we were a client on, really, who are you being, because bringing guilt to this is not the strongest place for you to solve the problems that you’re looking to solve through that time. So all that being said, anything else you want to add to this, Kurt?

Kurt Luidhardt [35:44]
No, It has been great.

Gene Hammett [35:45]
All right. So this is wrapping up another of the series of the optimizer time, we’ve talked to Kurt about, you know, really what he did to get someone else in place to do something that he knew he needed to do and other resistance he overcame to create the sales manager role and let that be a big part of his business. We spent the second part of this interview looking at really how he creates more space for the visionary time. And it wasn’t the creation, the space that we’re really focused on, it was letting go of the guilt that it comes with it. And so now he’s focused on the $20,000 activities and the time to think that no one else is doing in the company. And so, in my opinion, he’s probably going to let go of that guilt. Hopefully, he will be able to do that. So we’re wrapping up another great episode here at grow Think Tank. Thanks for being a part of it. You think of leadership and you think of growth and Growth Think Tank, as always, we were courageous. We’ll see you next time.

Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.


The OYT Coaching Series with Kurt Luidhardt



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