Episode #172 — NASCAR Pit Crew Coaches Mike Metcalf and Shaun Peet

You did it! You made it through Thanksgiving and those weird, made-up holidays, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. (We fully support Small Business Saturday and Giving Tuesday, though.) You’ve sopped up some turkey gravy with one or ten Pillsbury Crescent Rolls, had a social/cultural/political argument with at least one family faction, and finally gave yourself permission to listen to Bing and Bowie’s “Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy” without feeling like you’re rushing the season. But most of all, you’ve made it through reliving childhood woes retold like they were cute stories. “Remember how little Luke begged us to get cable so he could watch ‘Mannequin 2: On the Move’ on repeat? So adorable!” First of all, he wasn’t THAT little when “Mannequin 2” came out. Secondly, how dare his family get cable after he left for college?! And thirdly, it looks like Kim Cattrall really isn’t into doing sequels.

We share in your holiday stress, but despite it we somehow manage to remain a well-oiled podcasting machine. At least we thought we were, until chatting with this week’s guests. Let’s just say our metaphorical tire changing, refueling, and aerodynamics adjustment isn’t quite as fast and efficient as we thought. Luckily, our guests are filled with encouraging words to keep our Why? team motivated in the face of stress, burnt tires, and exhaust(ion).

This week we spoke with Mike Metcalf and Shaun Peet, NASCAR pit crew coaches and co-founders of DECK Leadership Program. DECK stands for diversity, efficiency, culture, and kindness, and their program applies those principles to getting a competitive advantage in business. They also wrote a book called “12 Second Culture” on the subject, which means they’re training their pit crew to be the best, seven days a week for the majority of the year; doing speaking engagements on their leadership program; and writing. So when Mike and Shaun talk about efficiency, they have quite a bit of experience on the subject.

Naturally, we were curious as to how each of them got into the NASCAR pit crew business. It’s not exactly well-represented at your local high school career day. Each of their starts in the pit, and how they met each other, was serendipitous. Mike and Shaun spoke with us about how their backgrounds as athletes (football and hockey) helped them adapt to the work. And now that they coach their own pit crew, they shared with us what they’re looking for in a successful team. While they were at it, they also answered our questions about what a pit crew actually does, what sort of backgrounds they should have, and what it’s like to have your team owned by Pitbull. You know, typical questions.

As to how long it should take a NASCAR pit crew to get a car back in the race, 12 seconds is expected. But that means every single crew member must do their job just right. Getting a hose stuck under a tire could cost seconds, and then money, so the team is only as strong as their slowest person.

Mike and Shaun apply the principles they’ve gathered from their years of putting together and coaching NASCAR pit crews into their leadership program. For more information on their DECK Leadership program, you can check out their website. You can also learn more on the site dedicated to their book, “12 Second Culture.” Heidi is off to dog ear all the pages in their book about how kindness motivates coworkers, so she can site passages to Luke when needed. After all, continuously humming the old HBO intro isn’t a kindness to anyone. And if you have the urge to watch “RuPaul’s Drag Race” after listening to the episode, our team member Rachel doesn’t blame you. She’s been hearing Ru call, “Oh, pit crew!” in her mind throughout the entire interview. That’s why we’ll probably have to replace her…

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