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344. Flexibility and Resilience in Times of Crisis with James Burstall

the daily helping podcast Jan 15, 2024

Today’s expert guest is James Burstall, the CEO of the international production group Argonon. With a rich background in journalism and executive roles in TV production, Burstall brings a unique perspective on leadership, particularly in navigating challenging times.

At the heart of Burstall's philosophy is his people-first approach. Whether it's adapting television productions like "The Masked Singer" during the COVID-19 pandemic or prioritizing employee wellbeing, his strategies are grounded in empathy and inclusivity. This focus extends beyond the walls of his company, as demonstrated by Argonon's commitment to diversity, inclusivity, and climate action. These efforts were redoubled in response to the pandemic and societal events like the George Floyd incident, reflecting Burstall's belief in upholding company values even amidst adversity.

Burstall's book, "The Flexible Method," is a testament to his approach. It offers 16 lessons on surviving crises, drawn from varied experiences across industries. These lessons emphasize adaptability, effective communication, and the importance of learning from both success and failure. Burstall's method underscores the need for leaders to be emotionally intelligent and proactive in supporting mental health, both within their teams and personally.

For Burstall, leadership in times of crisis isn't just about weathering the storm; it's about emerging stronger and more connected. His advice to leaders is clear: rest, reward, and review. By taking the time to reflect on experiences, celebrate achievements, and learn from challenges, leaders can foster a culture of continuous improvement and resilience.

James Burstall's journey is a masterclass in navigating turbulent waters with grace and strength. His insights offer invaluable lessons for anyone looking to lead effectively, especially in uncertain times. His call to action is simple yet profound: perform daily acts of kindness and engage in continuous learning, for in collaboration and feedback lies the key to growth and improvement.


The Biggest Helping: Today’s Most Important Takeaway

“Try to perform one random act of kindness every single day. And the trick is it can be somebody you know or somebody you don't know, but they must know that you've done it.”




Thank you for joining us on The Daily Helping with Dr. Shuster. Subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or Google Podcasts to download more food for the brain, knowledge from the experts, and tools to win at life.



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Download Transcript Here

James Burstall:

Changing the subject and engaging my team on something important that show that we have values, we've got a social conscience, we care about the world we live in was actually a moment of hope. And I think again, it contributed to the sense that we at Argonon, we do take our place in the world seriously. We take our people seriously. Even when the chips are down, we are going to hold on to our values.

Dr. Richard Shuster: 

Hello and welcome to The Daily Helping with Dr. Richard Shuster, food for the brain, knowledge from the experts, tools to win at life. I'm your host, Dr. Richard. Whoever you are, wherever you're from, and whatever you do, this is the show that is going to help you become the best version of yourself. Each episode you will hear from some of the most amazing, talented, and successful people on the planet who followed their passions and strived to help others. Join our movement to get a million people each day to commit acts of kindness for others. Together, we're going to make the world a better place. Are you ready? Because it's time for your Daily Helping. 

Thanks for tuning into this episode of The Daily Helping Podcast. I'm your host, Dr. Richard. And our guest today is so awesome and I'm just really excited to share him with you. His name is James Burstall and he is the CEO of Argonon, a major international independent production group. The group is headquartered in London, New York, LA, Oklahoma, Liverpool, and Glasgow.

This group produces shows ranging from House Hunters International to The Masked Singer UK.

James has worked as an executive producer and producer/director for broadcasters all over the world. He is a regular speaker as an industry insider on both sector and wider business platforms, including the Financial Times, Guardian, Variety, Deadline, and the Daily Telegraph to name a few. Prior to his television career, James was a journalist working as a writer and editor in Paris, London, and New York for Vanity Fair, HG, Vogue, the Daily Mail, and the Evening Standard. He's here today to talk to us about his new book, The Flexible Method: Prepare to Prosper in the Next Global Crisis. James, welcome to The Daily Helping. It is awesome to have you with us today.

James Burstall:

Dr. Richard, thank you so much for having me on. I'm thrilled to be with you.

Dr. Richard Shuster:

Absolutely. I'm really excited to dive into the book, it's more than timely. But before we do that, I want to jump in the James Burstall time machine and find out what was the event or series of events that puts you on the path you're on today.

James Burstall:

Well, when I left college back in the late '80s - I studied modern languages - I knew that I wanted to get into the culture space. My dad was a long term producer/director and documentarian at the BBC. But at the time, I thought I wanted to go into journalism. So, I did move to Paris, and actually it was one of the best things I did because I speak some foreign languages, French, German, Italian, and Spanish, so I love using my languages.

And I was also very useful for Tina Brown and Anna Wintour and Harold Evans, who were at that time all working for Condé Nast and editing Vanity Fair, HG, then Vogue, and also Condé Nast Travel. And they wanted somebody who was hungry and young and could speak some languages and they could call me up from New York, or rather their minions would call me up from New York, and say, "Do you mind hopping on a plane this afternoon to go to Vienna?" And I'd be like, "Well, I'm 22 years old. I'm very happy to hop on a plane wherever you want me to go."

So, I did work in journalism for several years, which I loved because I'm very interested in people. I know that people and the human mind and the way we interact is such an area of expertise and passion for you. I think the reason I studied languages is because when you speak foreign languages, you can get under the skin. You know, I'm so interested in different cultures. I grew up in London, which is one of the most multicultural cities on the planet. I have family in New York. I've got three wonderful nephews and nieces who all live in the Tri-State Area. And I've traveled all over the world working. So, for me, it's a real passion to be able to collaborate, so collaboration is a big thing for me.

Having worked in the print journalism for several years, I then thought actually I wanted to try television, which, of course, is where my dad worked for 30 years. And I didn't expect to end up following in his footsteps, but I did. And, actually, television is a very collaborative industry. We have everything in our sector, obviously now we have AI experts, we have lawyers, we have accountants, and we have incredible creatives and actors, and lighting and sounds, and all the amazing technical and creative skills that go with putting together a T.V. show. So, it really actually fitted, I think, my personality.

I do also have a very strong social conscience. So, we are a very broad based production group. And as you said at the beginning, we produce entertainment shows like The Masked Singer, and also very popular reality shows like House Hunters International which is on pretty much every night in the U.S. We also do some really hard hitting current affairs and we make inquiries into how people live and work and we challenge. We actually were part of Breaking the Epstein story and we do 60 Minutes as well in the U.S. So, for me, it's really important to be able to, as a broadcaster, take responsibility for the world we live in and challenge the world we live in, ask the difficult questions.

I have three major cultural touch points, if you like, at the heart of my group, which are diversity, inclusion, and climate change. We have to take responsibility for all three things. And I'll just give you an example. You don't have to go around banging people over the head with this stuff. A show like House Hunters International, which is a go-to show that we're very proud of, millions of people love that show all over the world, and we cast it in a way which is truly diverse. We find people from all walks of life, from all over the U.S. and elsewhere in the world who are going on life changing journeys, and they are heterosexual couples, they're gay couples, they're people going through trans surgery, they're people of every single religion, color, background, persuasion. But we never make a deal of it. We are simply casting it in such a way that these are interesting people who are reflective of the society that we all live in who are going on a journey.

And I think the most powerful way to encourage people in the world to be perhaps more open minded about diversity, just not make a big deal of it, but just let people live and let live, if you like. So, I'm very proud of the fact that House Hunters International is a show about real estate. It's about people going on travel adventures, but actually embedded within that, there is a really strong political message, which is, we as broadcasters are reflecting the world that we live in and I'm very proud of that.

Dr. Richard Shuster:

But you've done it kind of like Star Trek did diversity, right? It's there.

James Burstall:

But it's not a big deal.

Dr. Richard Shuster:

Yeah, it's just there. And they never, like you said, hit you over the head with it. So, it's interesting, you're in the T.V. space but you've written a book about dealing with global crises. And one would think at least on the surface, that somebody, you know, you didn't train in counterintelligence, you haven't been in the military, where is the connection between your knowledge, skills, and experience that you've garnered doing what you're doing at Argonon and this, essentially, blueprint that an individual could rely on to be flexible during times of global distress. And I don't mean to say that you pejoratively, but it's a question that I'd love to ask.

James Burstall:

It's a very valid point. And I mean, I have an agent, and of course we went to many different publishers, and Hachette, who's one of the top three picked us up to publish this book, and, of course, one of the first conversations I had with my publisher is like, "Well, what qualifies me as an independent television producer to write a book about crisis management is kind of counterintuitive, right?" And, of course, there are key reasons. One is, the independent production sector is incredibly flexible and agile, and we're used to working on very tight margins. When one thing doesn't work, we pivot and we do something else, so we're very, very good at that.

Also, I have deliberately written the book in such a way that it is designed to be a manual. There are 16 lessons about how to survive any crisis, and these lessons are not simple. Some of them are quite painful and difficult, but they all work. And I made a point, because I wanted the book to be useful for a really broad audience. So, there's a bit of showbiz glamour and a bit of Hollywood in there, of course, for fun, and also talented people. But I also went to interview the mayor of Oklahoma City, who's an incredible, inspiring leader. And farmers in the Carolinas, who are living in the Hurricane Corridor of the East Coast. And also people who work in gyms and hospitality and finance and legal and medicine and many other areas, because, of course, the starting point of this book was COVID. 

There we were back in March 2020, confronted all over the world with these horrific existential crisis, where suddenly we were all thrown back on our resources, many of us thrown back into our homes. It was frightening. I know I was frightened. We all have our war wounds, but we collectively - and I interviewed people, as I said, many industries - came up with some incredibly robust ideas that work.

And it was actually a friend of mine who said to me six months after the first lockdown, which was back in March 2020, "Look, James. You and your business, you are first out of the gate. You're managing to produce despite the fact that you've been told that there's going to be no production in your sector for 12 months." We were producing The Masked Singer within four months, we were shooting a scripted drama in about five months, and the BBC had told us that there was no way we were going to be making that for another year or so. But we said we can't afford to wait. We need to get our people back into work. So, we came up with a whole series of COVID protocols, a whole series of methodology, and I wanted to put that book in writing.

I have to say as well, a lot of the findings didn't just come from COVID. We started developing The Flexible Method back in the credit crunch, which was also, in a different way, an existential crisis for many of us all over the world. We had to dig deep. And I have to say one of the most abiding learnings that we realized was so critical back in the credit crunch was you have to put your people first. Business is not a P&L. It's not just about crunching numbers. Although these things are important, we're in business to make money, actually business is about people so you have to put your people first. And when you put your people first, then you make sure they're safe and they're looked after and they are valued and you have to give people time. We had to, at the beginning of lockdown, give people time to get home, make sure there's food in the fridge, make sure elderly parents are safe, make sure that kids are not too frightened and they've got things to keep them busy. When you look after people in that way, they will roll up their sleeves and produce miracles for you. They will do incredible things for you when you look after your people.

Dr. Richard Shuster:

It's a Zig Ziglar lesson, right? You help everybody around achieve what they want, and you, by default, will get yours. So, this is great. You've talked a couple times, you know, we've teased the title, The Flexible Method, so take us through Flexible Method 101 here, James. How does it work and how does one deploy it, whether they own a business or just trying to use it in their lives?

James Burstall:

Well, quite some people who have read the book have been a parent, maybe a home maker, and I'm pleased about that because, of course, we all have challenges in our lives, whether it's in the workspace or at home. So, the book is made up of 16 lessons. I won't go through them all, but one of the very first is absolutely put your people first. You must make sure that your people are safe, because the people are the lifeblood of any business.

I remember reading vividly back in the time of the credit crunch, Richard Branson, the very brilliant British businessman, Virgin Atlantic and others, of course you know. He says, even in times of crisis when things are tough and maybe you haven't got enough money to pay everybody their full salaries, do not lose your people. Come up with agreements with your people. If they need to work from home, for example, obviously we did that in COVID, then they must. If they need to go part-time, then so be it, if they need to take some time off because they've got an elderly parent that needs caring for. You can come up with new temporary solutions, but tell your people that you've got their back, and that when things get better again, you will invite them back again.

Because, of course, if you behave in a certain way during a crisis, that's really you kind of down on your uppers demonstrating who you truly are.

And if in a crisis you dump your people, what does that say about you as a human being? What does that say about you as a business leader? It demonstrates that you do not have depth and that you don't really care. So, when you come out of the crisis, and the human race - thank goodness - is incredibly versatile and we do generally come out the other side, your people will look back at you and go, "You know what? When the chips were down, you dumped us. Why would we continue to work for you?"

My industry, it's dog eat dog. It's an ocean of sharks in the entertainment business. There are some wonderful people, but some very tough people as well as very, very high stakes. And increasingly we're seeing as young people come into the marketplace, we've got very strong social conscience. They can go work for a thousand competitors. They are increasingly looking at the values of a business. So, this is again another chapter in the book, in times of crisis, do not dump your values. In fact, you need to lean on it and make them stronger.

So, I'll give you a little bit of an example of what we talked about in the book. We had George Floyd in the middle of COVID. A number of my contemporaries running other businesses in the media sector in the U.S. and the UK said at that time, "Oh, you know what? George Floyd, diversity, inclusion, it's just too much to worry about right now. We're worrying about whether or not we can keep the doors open," which I do understand, it was painful. We, in my group, at Argonon did the opposite. We realized that George Floyd was a pivotal moment for Black people all over the world, primarily, but actually for all of us and starting to look at how we police our countries and so on.

We actually increased our work in diversity and inclusion. We introduced two new internship programs, one in New York, one in Los Angeles, one in London, and another one in Liverpool in the UK. And what was that saying? That was saying this is important. This is not something that just goes away. This is not something we just dump because we're struggling with COVID. And we got amazing feedback. We, obviously, helped four young people coming into the industry get a leg up into our sector, which is very important.

And also for the teams - funnily enough - working within the group, it was a huge relief to change the subject. So, whereas, minute after minute, day after day, week after week, we'd all been tearing our hair out thinking how on earth are we going to get through COVID, talking about vaccines and PPE, and all those terrible things that we all had to contend with for months on end. Actually changing the subject with the team was a great relief so we had something different to talk about.

We actually did something similar with climate change. So, we set up a climate action group in the middle of COVID. Why? Well, obviously there is a climate emergency. We've got to do something about this and we have a responsibility. You know, we employ thousands of people all over the world and we fly people all over the world a lot. So, we had to look at all of these systems and processes that we've had in place for a long time and think about how can we do it differently.

But, again, changing the subject and engaging my team on something important that showed that we have values, we've got a social conscience, we care about the world we live in was actually a moment of hope. And I think again, it contributed to the sense that we at Argonon, we do take our place in the world seriously. We take our people seriously. Even when the chips are down, we are going to hold on to our values. 

Dr. Richard Shuster:

I think it's interesting, too, in addition to holding on to your values, you made a concerted effort. It's kind of like a virtual slap to the face just to get somebody out of that hysteria because we were all so focused on COVID and what does it mean, and, oh my god, there's a new strain and what will happen. And all of a sudden, you were able to give your people something different to focus on, and that's very helpful. So, I'm loving this, take us through some of your other key touch points here on, you know, being flexible in a crisis.

James Burstall:

Well, communication is very, very important. And one of the incredibly inspiring leaders I interviewed is the Republican Mayor of Oklahoma City, who is 42 years old. He's extremely young. He's also the first Native American mayor in the U.S. He also has a very strong social conscience and he's got a very interesting mixed community growing in Oklahoma City, because it's got a big digital new startup industry going on, and quite a lot of people are moving to Oklahoma City from the Coasts.

So, he was obviously a mayor running this growing city - he is a Republican himself - in the middle of a Republican State of Oklahoma, which actually was basically saying COVID doesn't exist. And there was very limited response to COVID statewide. He and Oklahoma City took a completely different approach. He said, my people need to be protected. I'm listening to the science. And I am going to do a lockdown. I'm going to insist on shelter at home. I'm going to shut down bars and pubs. I'm going to shut down big groups of people meeting. And he communicated it through a combination of Twitter, not too much, he said, but some, and some stand ups. He said it was very important to be authentic. Boosterism has no part. You can't just go around saying, oh, it's all going to be fine when none of us knew it was going to be fine.

I'm struggling with the science and the facts, but we had to be honest and say, "Well, listen. We do not have all the answers right now." But as management teams, whether it's him and Oklahoma City or me and my company and many others around the world who struggle with the same things, I think the sensible ones were authentic and said it's painful, it's difficult. We do not have all the answers, but we are working with the facts as best as we can and we will keep you closely informed.

So, back to David Holt, who is the mayor of Oklahoma City, he put these very stringent measures in place. And you know what? The outcome - and it's terrible to have to talk in this way, but it's how these things are measured - had a very, very low fatality rate in Oklahoma City. He literally saved people's lives. He protected them. He stood up for them. He communicated in a very authentic way. And he was willing to put people first.

So that, for me, is an absolutely critical demonstrable lesson that when you communicate authentically, and when you ask me about pivoting and flexibility, it means being willing to tell the truth, being willing to adapt and evolve as things go along, and also sometimes be willing to operate in the face of what some of his party were saying, which would have demanded a completely different approach.

And he said, no, this is what I believe. This is what I'm going to do. And he stood up for himself and he protected the lives of his people. That's his job. The first job of a politician is to save lives, right?

Dr. Richard Shuster:

This is excellent. I want to pivot a little bit, and one of the things that came out of COVID was mental health stopped being a buzzword because it had been really to that point, in my opinion. And the world, certainly companies, but the world in general really started recognizing the importance of mental health. This was critical, of course, during COVID. But this is true in any kind of a crisis, whether you're a mom, a business owner, or the CEO of a corporation. So, talk to us about where mental health plays a role in the Flexible Method.

James Burstall:

Looking after the mental health of our people is absolutely essential. We work and live in now such a highly connected world. We are constantly bombarded by noise and different views and terrifying things, whether it's Ukraine or what's happening in Israel and Gaza. You know, it's nonstop. And that's on the back of inflation and the cost of living crisis. And we've got huge elections coming up in both the U.S. and the UK. So much constant change. We live in a time of permacrisis. It's not one crisis after another. It's multiple crises all at once. So, this is very demanding, I think, for anybody, including leaders, and that could be a leader of a team, a leader of a family, a leader of a big business.

So, I did do some study at the University of Oxford at one point a few years back, and I was interested because they take a very 360 holistic approach to any sort of leadership, which is, we have to take everything into consideration now in the modern world. So, top down leadership that you can expect somebody at the top of the tree to have all the answers to be able to do it all on their own and get it all right all the time is just totally unrealistic. You're not going to get the best outcomes. We have to realize that as leaders, and indeed as parents, as leading a group of friends or leading a team, or, like I say, running a big organization, we have to realize that we are imperfect, but we have experience and we are surrounded by good people who can offer their advice and we can lean on them. And we must look after our physical, spiritual, emotional health.

So, I've always been an advocate in my own life to make sure that, you know, I do care passionately about my personal life. It's very important to me. The children in my life, they matter enormously. I try to do my best looking after my family and my friends. I take time out. I would not be running a very successful international media group if I didn't really try to respect my weekends. I take it very, very seriously. I try to go to the gym a couple of times a week, and then I try and do my 10,000 steps a day. I have dogs to make sure I go for walks. But I have to make sure I try and eat properly and try to feed my brain with positive stuff.

I'm also a great believer in therapy. I've done therapy on and off over the years myself. I'm a great believer in unpicking some of the challenges that life has thrown us. None of us has necessarily an easy ride, but I've done a lot of work on myself. And I really encourage my family and my friends when something is tricky, go and seek help. For me, seeking help is a sign of strength, so I always encourage people to reach out and expertise is available.

So, yeah, mental health is very important. We have a number of mental health strategies within my organization. We have systems whereby people can talk confidentially. When people have a bit of a moment or a crisis, we always step in. We give people space. In my industry, the stakes are very, very high. In the creative sector, people are trying to win Oscars. They're trying to win major awards. They're trying to do life changing work. And sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't work. So, you have to have a lot of emotional intelligence.

And I think that's actually an advantage that I did start out as a producer and created myself before becoming a businessman. So, when somebody has a bit of a meltdown in front of me because their show didn't work or they didn't win the award, you know, this stuff does happen, I'm able to say, "Well, yeah. It's tough. Life is tough and it's disappointing. The work was great, but there was somebody better on the day or whatever. Take some time out. Go home." Sometimes people look at me because I do have a lot of patience and they'll say, "James, if this was in a bank and this person had this kind of crisis meltdown in the office, they would be fired on the spot." And I was like, "Well, yeah. But they might win an Oscar next week." So, that doesn't justify bad behavior, but it does allow some latitude. And all human beings have good days and all human beings have bad days, me included. So, we have to allow flexibility in our thinking in that regard.

Dr. Richard Shuster:

Well said. I know that you said it feels like we're in this state of permacrisis where it's one crisis after another, but these crises do tend to end, right? Like, the Great Depression ended, the lockdown ended. So, talk to us about what do we do as we're coming out of a crisis.

James Burstall:

Well, it's very important to learn from the successes as well as the mistakes. So, what we have always done when we came out of COVID, when we came out of the credit crunch, when we came out of 9/11, we looked at what methods and practices we put in place, what worked, how quickly did we respond. Hurricane Sandy was another example when all of our offices were shut down and we had massive power outages in New York. What did we do right? What did we do wrong? And in fact, this is the last chapter of the book, it's called Rest, Reward, and Review.

So, the first thing is you must rest. This plays to your point about mental health. We're all exhausted coming out of COVID. I mean, it has been grueling. And you can't just brush that under the carpet. You need to take some time out. So, you must encourage your people to take the weekend off, take a vacation, just be at home with the family, whatever it is they need to do. You must rest, and that includes you and yourself.

Reward is very important too. I know that during all the crises that I talk about in the book, people went the extra mile. I mean, they put themselves not necessarily at physical risk. We mitigated against that. We're very careful for people's health. But people put themselves through immense pressure.

For example, House Hunters International, that show is filming all over the world every single day of the year. Now, when COVID hit, of course, we couldn't film. We couldn't get people on airplanes. And we employ thousands of people on that show. It's based in New York. And these people needed to get back to work, but how are we going to get them back to work when we can't fly? The channel needed the show. The audience wanted the show, because the audience needed some comfort. You know, people come to television for many reasons, including comfort, and House Hunters International is a very comforting show. And crucially, we needed people to be earning again so they can pay their mortgages and put food on the table for their kids.

So, we started the daily process of looking around the world to see where COVID lockdowns were lifting. And when the COVID lockdown lifted in South Korea, or when it lifted in New Zealand, or when it lifted in Scandinavia, we sent our crews there. And we didn't fly people in, but we hired people locally, and we trained people up locally. So, actually, what we've started to do now is work with 100 crews around the world that we've trained up. We're now producing primetime American television directed from New York. And our teams are no longer constantly living with jet lag, and we're not damaging the planet with hundreds of thousands of air miles every single day because we're working with local crews.

So, back to the point about reward, the people who set up that system - and I've got a brilliant senior director who was actually pregnant at the time - running this very difficult, complex machine around the world, navigating her way through lockdowns all over the planet. And then, afterwards with her and all the team, you've got to take time out and we must reward you. And that could be in terms of agreeing that from now on, she actually moves to the Carolinas. I wanted to reward her and say, "I love your work. You're brilliant. You're an absolute value part of my team. You've got a baby now. You want to live in the Carolinas? We'll still keep employing you. You don't have to be in New York anymore. We'll work hybrid." And indeed, another mom wanted to move to Florida, to Tampa. And I was like, "Okay. So, you run all the production for us all over the world." And we've got, you know, 20 crews across every single continent, every single month. "How are you going to do that from Tampa?" "So, James, trust me, I've done it through COVID. Trust me."

So, you reward people with trust and obviously a new hybrid working model. And there'll be other incentives, whether it was a box of chocolates or a pay rise, you know, we did all of the above.

And then, lastly, which is my first point, review. You must review what have we done right, what have we done wrong. And I wrote this book because I wanted it to be a useful manual. We did not do everything right. We did a lot of things right, but we made a few mistakes. But I wanted to review, put it in writing, so that for now, whoever wants to read this book, and there'll be others like it coming down the track, there is a manual that people can reach out for. There is help there if you need it. 

Dr. Richard Shuster:

Beautiful. James, this has been such a wonderful conversation. As you know, I wrap up every episode by asking my guests a single question, and that is, what is your biggest helping? That one most important piece of information you'd like somebody to walk away with after hearing our discussion today.


James Burstall:

I would like to invite all of your listeners, readers, and followers to try to form one random act of kindness every single day. And the trick is it can be somebody you know or somebody you don't know, but they must know that you've done it.

Dr. Richard Shuster:

I'm going to put you on the spot. I want to put you on the spot, James. Have you listened to the ending of my show before?

James Burstall:

Of course.

Dr. Richard Shuster:

Indeed. So, yes, you are singing my song. There is no better way to feel better physically and emotionally than being kind to other people. So, thank you for pointing that out because it's so wonderful. James, tell us where people can learn more about you, the fine work you're doing, and where they can get their hands on The Flexible Method, which is available everywhere.

James Burstall:

It is available everywhere. It's available on Amazon, on Goodreads, and in bookstores. Listen, I'm all about collaboration and dialogue. You know, I wrote the book to be a useful manual. I put it out there because I want people to have access to it if they want it. Well, I'm getting some great feedback, so I think people from many different sectors will find some nuggets in there that they can use. And I would like feedback. I'm on LinkedIn, you can find me at James Burstall, and drop me a line, tell me what you think. This is a book that's a work in progress and we're all in this together, so please come to me with your thoughts and we can keep updating.

Dr. Richard Shuster:

Perfect. I love that. And we're going to have links to everything James Burstall in the show notes at, so we got you covered there too. James, thank you so much for coming out today. This was great.

James Burstall:

Thank you very much for having me.

Dr. Richard Shuster:

Absolutely. And I want to thank each and every one of you who took time out of your day to listen to our discussion. If you liked it, if you're inspired, if you now think you've got a better idea of things to do when you're in a crisis, go give us a five star review on your podcast app of choice and a follow because this is what helps other people find the show. But as James said just a few moments ago, go out there today and do something nice for somebody else, even if you don't know who they are, and post in your social media feeds using the hashtag #MyDailyHelping, because the happiest people are those that help others.


There is incredible potential that lies within each and every one of us to create positive change in our lives (and the lives of others) while achieving our dreams.

This is the Power of You!