Entelechy Academy: Can AI Help You Reach Your Full Potential? With David Carter

Penny ZenkerTake Back Time Podcast

TBT David Carter | Full Potential


Humans continue to create and invent tools that make our lives much easier. As we dive into the future of work with AI, many fear that AI will replace humans.


Today, David Carter, the founder of Entelechy Academy, offers his insights on how people can reach their full potential with the aid of artificial intelligence. He explains the role of technology and how it drives us into the future. His expertise in this space allows him to navigate the potential of artificial and human intelligence.


David emphasizes the role of the Association for Character Education in the lives of primary teachers and pupils. Listen to this episode and learn how to unlock your full potential with AI!

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Entelechy Academy: Can AI Help You Reach Your Full Potential? With David Carter

In this episode, I’m excited to talk about the future of work and technology’s role or how it’s driving us into the future. That’s exciting. I’m super excited to have David Carter with me, who is an expert in this space. He’s a serial entrepreneur, otherwise known as the world’s leading CEO mentor. He’s got many years of a track record in creative, innovative businesses and mentoring leaders and influencers around the globe. He’s going to have to help me with this wording. Entelechy Academy is his legacy project, and he’ll tell us more about that, where he gathered brilliant minds in education, coaching, and professional organizations to support millions in becoming the best versions of themselves. David, welcome to the show.

The word was coined by Aristotle 2,500 years ago. It means the ultimate version of something with all of its potential fully actualized. The entelechy of an acorn is an oak tree, the entelechy of a caterpillar is a butterfly, and the entelechy of Penny is the ultimate version of Penny with all of her potential fully actualized.

I love that. That’s cool. That’s why we have to ask about when people make up or use old words. There’s so much value in that word that I never would’ve known. Why is this topic about the future of work and technology? How does that relate to actualizing our potential?

Let me go back to Aristotle because he also coined another phrase, and that phrase was that character determines destiny. What he meant by that was that we all end up, wherever we end up in our life, as a direct result of our character. Over the course of the years in the US, Canada, and throughout Europe, all of the things that my generation did at school in a state education system to learn to develop what people might call soft skills, interpersonal skills, or work-ready skills, have been eviscerated out of the state education system because of cost cuts. We don’t have drama, sport, music, debating, and all of those things where you learn to be in a team, work in a team, collaborate, and communicate.

They’ve gotten rid of all of that in the UK.

In America as well. The emphasis is now a lot on secondary education in STEM subjects, Science, Technology, and Math. Every parent now and every school tells their children to get good SAT scores, get a good degree, go to a good university, and you’ll be set up for life. Actually, what young people have found is that when they get out into the world of work, they’re not work-ready. Fifty percent of young people say they’re not work-ready. Seventy-five percent of their employers say they’re not work-ready.

What’s missing isn’t the technical skills. It’s those interpersonal human skills. For the last several years, the enterprise has tried to solve this problem with what has been dubbed the soft skills crisis. Let me give you an example. There are 77 essential soft skills that employers say that their applicants and their young workforce are lacking. One of them, for example, might be time management skills. They send them on a day or a two-day course on time management.

They all score 95% on the quiz at the end of the course. A month, 2, and 3 months later, their boss notices that they’re no better at time management than they were before. That’s because they were assessed on what they were taught, not what they’ve learned and applied. At Entelechy Academy, we assess what you’ve learned and applied, not what you were taught. In order to become good at time management, you need to learn to be accountable, responsible, disciplined, organized, efficient, and reliable.

We help people learn to develop the character qualities that underpin time management rather than tell them what good time management is and what best practices are. People work on the character qualities that underpin soft skills. There are 54 character qualities that underpin everything, including hard skills and soft skills. We’ve mapped our 54 character qualities against all 77 in-demand soft skills. What we’re saying to young people is to develop the 54 character qualities and learn to be accountable, responsible, disciplined, organized, efficient, reliable, collaborative, analytical, and creative.

That’s the set of skills that you weren’t taught at school, university, or college that you’re going to need when you get into the workplace. That’s exactly what the workforce is looking for. Your question was about the future of work. As the world becomes more automated and driven by AI, machine learning, and technology, you ought to work on the assumption that any job which can be done by a computer or a robot in ten years’ time will be.

As the world becomes more automated and driven by AI, you ought to work on the assumption that any job which can be done by a computer or a robot in 10 years' time will be. Click To Tweet

Even though for the last several years, a lot of people said, “There won’t be any blue-collar workers left because they’ll all be replaced by a robot.” What’s come out in the last months is it’s white collar jobs that need to be petrified about AI because it’s accountants, architects, doctors, and lawyers that are being replaced by AI. It’s not their secretary or receptionist. We use very elevated skills in data science, data analytics, data insights, and AI and machine learning to help people develop their human intelligence.

TBT David Carter | Full Potential

Full Potential: Use very elevated skills in data science, data analytics, data insights, AI, and machine learning to help people develop their human intelligence.


Are you using AI to help people develop their human intelligence? Is that what you said?


Tell me more about that. That sounds interesting. I’d almost think that the more people use AI, there might be a school of thought around, the less human intelligence they would need in interaction because they’re interacting more with AI.

There are lots of people who are investing billions of dollars to do precisely that. Whether they succeed or not, who knows? Time will tell. There is a group of people who believe that the world could survive with a lot less people. The people that are left over can have a chip implanted in them, and they can become humanoid and effectively programmed by AI.

We’re getting a little science fiction.

It’s not science fiction anymore. There is a strange story, but it’s a true story. We all have heard that cyanide is poisonous, but every morning, I take a microdose of cyanide in the form of vitamin B-17. A tiny microdose every day eats cancer cells. I take five of these little arms and kernels. However, if I took 55, I’d kill myself. A little bit of cyanide is a good thing and a lot of it is a harmful thing. AI is no different. It’s the purpose of AI.

If your purpose is to make AI take over the world, take over humanity, and take over every decision, then that’s one path to go down. Equally, if I could help you become your entelechy using some AI programming in our app, for example, to help you learn how to develop the character qualities that you’ve chosen to learn, then we are using AI for a good purpose. I don’t think you can just put AI in one bucket. It can go into lots of different buckets. We’ve chosen to use AI with a very positive human intelligence enhancement purpose.

TBT David Carter | Full Potential

Full Potential: Using some AI programming in Entelechy Academy’s app to help you learn to develop the character qualities you’ve chosen to learn, then we are using AI for a good purpose.


For readers and myself too, I’m just beginning to open my mind to all the incredible and not incredible things that AI can do. How do you implement that so that I would become more responsible, for instance, or more disciplined? How would I interact with AI for that to be the case? Would it be my coach checking with me everyday kind of thing?

It’s essentially exactly that. It’s an AI coach. You can ask your AI coach, “I’ve chosen to learn to be more responsible. Give me ways in which I can become more responsible. Show me ways in which other people in the company have learned to become more responsible that have worked for them.”

How do they check in that I’m actually doing it? Let’s say it gives me that information and it says, “Here are the things you can do.” How do I interact with it so that I’m doing it?

I’ll give you a real live example of what happened. One of my colleagues is working on being more open-minded. The AI coach said to him, “When’s a meeting or an opportunity coming up where you can practice being more open-minded?” “On Thursday afternoon at 4:00, I’ve got this meeting. My boss is always telling me I need to be more open-minded.” “What’s the point of the meeting?” “It’s this.” “It sounds like this is a way you could be more open-minded. Does that work for you?” “No.” “How about this?” “Yes, that does work for me.” “Why does this work for you?” This is now where machine learning comes in. “Would you like a reminder ten minutes before the meeting to think about what you just said?” “Yes, please.” “After the meeting, would you like me to check in for you to reflect on what had worked, how it had worked, what you’ve learned, and how you can repeat it in the future?” “Yes, please.” All of that is done by AI.

I get that because the interaction is checking in with me, and I’m reflecting back on it. It’s forcing that interaction. That’s holding us accountable for doing what we said we were going to do.

It’s a lot more sophisticated than that because, over time, it will learn what works for you, what doesn’t work for you, and why it works for you. It will also be showing you examples of twenty other colleagues in your team or your division who are also working on being more accountable and what they’re doing that’s working and showing you a whole bunch of 30-minute or 30-second videos and you’re saying, “I like that one. That would work for me. I’m not sure about that one. I love that one.” It learns what you recognize that could work for you. It will suggest ways. “Why don’t you try that at your meeting on Friday at lunchtime? Let’s check in beforehand. Let’s check in afterward.” It’s like when you hire a personal coach when you’re trying to get fit and healthy. It becomes your accountability buddy and gets to know you. “This has worked for you twice before. Let’s try this again.”

Let me ask you this question. What comes up from it? That’s fascinating and interesting. That’s a great support. I could see how that would work. If coaching already works now, having a super smart coach who knows exactly the best questions to ask at that moment, takes in all your learning, and helps you along the way is perfect. I had this discussion with my daughter about all these bots. This is a coach bot, and there are different other types of learning soft skills. My daughter was talking about how people’s friends will be these animated AI tools or bots. There’s a risk that there’s not that real connection and human interaction when you think about that missing part of the human interaction.

Our AI bot is being trained for you to practice all of the things you need to become good at character quality with another human being. More to the point, let’s say it starts off with a 180. You assess yourself, then you get a 360 done by 10 of your colleagues, your boss, your family, and your friends. Whether you think you are responsible or not, it doesn’t matter. Ten of them think you are not. You choose to work on it.

Eventually, they start saying, “I’ve noticed such a big difference in you. You did this at that meeting on Tuesday, and this happened on Thursday, and well done for this on Friday.” Now you are collecting feedback on what’s working. Everyone in your ten says, “If you asked me again in your 360, I now put it as a strength.” You go for an assessment, which has five parts. The fifth is the third-party validated evidence. The first four parts are that you’ve understood the journey you’ve been on, what’s worked, and how you are now responsible for the rest of your life.

You get a badge now, and then you can update your 360 and what we call your signature, which now shows that you are moving from a growth opportunity to a strength. Going back to AI, it’s a lot more sophisticated because, in every single company with more than 250 employees, where we do our discover program where everyone does the 180 and the 360, there are 15.7 million data points per individual. The AI will learn not only how Penny gets better at this, but it will also learn and find the patterns across everyone. Penny works in marketing, and in marketing, the people who are the peak performers have these character qualities in sales. It might end up saying, “Penny, you’d be better off in sales than in marketing because you’ve got all the character qualities that they don’t have over there but they need.”

It can also show you content from anybody anywhere in the company, “This is what I did to be more responsible.” It will get smarter that you’ll go, “I like that one. I could try that one.” It might say, “Why didn’t you connect with Joe in accounts, talk to him about it, and ask him to be your accountability buddy if you’re trying out his technique and you go and chat with him?” Our core value is human to human.

I like that. It’s also a validation. I could have that on my resume, and other companies would know where you are in your journey.

Our vision for a year or two down the road is that everybody puts their badges on their LinkedIn profile and their CV. When you’re applying for a new job internally or externally, you can say, “Here’s my resume. Here’s where I work, how long I worked there, and what roles I had, but here are eleven character qualities that I’ve earned to a badge in. If you hire me, you are hiring someone who is organized, efficient, reliable, resilient, confident, analytical, strategic, and purposeful.” That’s exactly the competencies that the employer’s looking for in an interview. “Here’s my technical competence, but here’s my human competence.”

What’s the timeframe for this? Sometimes people slip back into the way that they’ve done things in the past. Where do you see the sticky point of people shifting these traits? The level of ignorance is, “I don’t know what I don’t know, and I’m not aware.” There’s the, “I do it some of the time, but not all of the time.” You then get to the point where it’s a habit, but it’s not yet part of who you are. The last level, it’s truly part of who you are. That’s a framework that I use that’s built off the conscious competency model.

We take people through a journey that takes them from novice all the way through to mastery, and then beyond mastery is wisdom sharer. It’s where you help other people learn to do it after you’ve mastered it yourself. If you think of a top athlete, a golfer is a good idea, when the world’s number one golfer was 15 or 16, they went to the local golf club and had lessons from the local pro who taught them how to play golf. Now, they’ve just won the masters, and they still have a coach.

Absolute top CEOs have a mentor or a coach. Top athletes do. To your point that we slip back into our old ways, if this AI coach is with you for the whole of your career and gets to know you better and better, then it’s going to be nudging you, reminding you, and encouraging you to be the best version of yourself, your entelechy. I don’t agree with you that we slipped back into things automatically. I remember when I was a young lad. My mother said to me one day when I was probably about 13 or 14, “You need to learn to be more gentlemanly.”

If this AI coach is with you for the whole of your career and gets to know you better, it will be nudging, reminding you, and encouraging you to be the best version of yourself. Click To Tweet

I said, “How do I do that?” She said, “Go and ask your father. He’s very gentlemanly.” I asked my dad. To use an American phrase, he said, “You fake it until you make it. You see an old lady crossing the street, and you go and help her. You see someone who needs help with a pushchair going up and down the stairs, or getting onto a bus or something, or an older person in the car park, outside a shop.” I was like, “Is that all? I can do that.” Literally for the next six months, every time I saw a lady with a pushchair, a shopping basket, crossing the road, or whatever, I would go and offer to be helpful.

The thing I didn’t realize was how much I was going to appreciate being told, “What a lovely young man you are. What a polite, helpful young man you are,” and all of the praise. You’ve got the validation. I’m now old, and I still will open the door for a lady and help her with a shopping bag or a pushchair because it’s in my muscle memory now. It’s fake it until you make it. After a period of time, you’re like, “I like being thanked. I like being noticed. I like being appreciated.” I do it automatically now. I never slipped back into not doing it. I could never.

I get that you conditioned yourself that it’s part of who you are.

Practice makes perfect.

I agree. It probably will take us off, but we get caught up in different types of self-talk that might change that. There might be some situations where sometimes it’s easier, and in other areas, it might be harder. You said, there was that reinforcement that was there. There was a behavior, but then there was also the reinforcement, and then it became part of who you are. We’ll leave it at that. That’s great. I do believe that we have to work at our best selves all the time and that there are multiple levels of mastery.

I always liken it to karate. You don’t just get to the black belt and you’re done. There are multiple levels of black belt, and there are always little nuances that go into mastery. The masters know that they’re always working on it. As a last question, because we’re coming to the top of our time, it’s fantastic that you’re getting into organizations to help people with those skills at that timeframe. How do we build those skills at younger ages? We’re going to be much faster to build them when we get this into the secondary schools.

In the UK, we have an organization called ACE, the Association for Character Education, which is a charity. They work with primary school teachers and pupils to develop character at a very early age. All of the schools that they work with end up with an outstanding report from the education regulator. Entelechy Academy gives 1% of our revenues, not our profits, to this charity.

Our vision over the next ten years is that we’ll be supporting them in every primary school in the UK. That’s what we are doing in the UK to help people, and the model’s very exportable. Entelechy Academy had to start somewhere. There’s such a huge problem in business with this lack of these skills, and employers all around the world can’t find employees. There’s such a talent skills shortage of people with the right technical and human skills. That’s where we’ve gone to market first. Over time, we have plans to, as part of our global domination strategy, get into universities and help people begin their university careers.

TBT David Carter | Full Potential

Full Potential: As part of Entelechy Academy’s global domination strategy, we plan to help people begin their university careers. So when they leave university, they’ve learned how to be organized, efficient, reliable, collaborative, and communicative as part of their degree.


When they leave university and they’ve done their research projects or their dissertation, they’ve learned how to be organized, efficient, reliable, collaborative, and communicative as part of their degree. In the flow of studies, they can learn the skills they need when they turn up to work. Eventually, we’ll hopefully get into primary schools and things like that. These are the skills that everybody needs to succeed in life, work, love, and every other aspect of your life. When we show the 54 character qualities to the young people inside organizations, their number one question is, “Why weren’t we taught that in college?” I can’t answer that question, but we can help you learn them now.

You can work on that for the future, your world domination, or how you get to actualize the potential of this technology.

As people grow in their careers and they get higher and higher positions, how you are collaborative when you start off in a business versus when you are in the C-Suite and on the board, you need collaborative, but the way is very different. Even people who mastered collaboration earlier on in their careers still need to work on being collaborative when they get to the board level. I was going to finish off very quickly with the story.

Going back to gentlemanly, I was in London. I had to get from A to B for a meeting. It was tight. With the scheduling, I had to get on the subway and go from A to B. As I was going to the subway and I was walking into the station, I saw an old lady who was struggling with her shopping bag and everything. I thought, “I can’t stop. I’ve got to catch this.” I got five steps down the staircase, stopped, turned around, went back up, and helped her because I couldn’t walk past it. It’s not who I am.

I thought, and that took me one and a half, two minutes. As it happened, I turned up at my meeting at number 88 Canon Street with one minute to spare, and everything was fine. As I walked down onto the platform, the train came in immediately. I thought I didn’t have to wait five minutes. The universe acted towards me karmically because I did the right thing. I chose not to forget to be a gentleman, even though I’ve been practicing it for a long time.

We do need to help young people, but in a way, let’s start off with the adults in the room because they haven’t been taught these things, then they need these things. The more we have advancements in technology, they’re going to need them even more and more. They are the skills that they don’t have or they don’t know they don’t have that their employers are going, “Why do people turn up from college but don’t know how to do this and this? Doesn’t everybody know how to do that?” They don’t know how to do it because they were never taught how to do it.

They’re going to be parents someday. Most or many of them. Also, that’s teaching them how to teach their children. Our children will show up as models of who we are.

Many of my friends, colleagues, and customers have children and they have a character quality of the week. They’ll put it on the fridge with a fridge magnet and talk all about, “Who at school this week showed resilience? What does resilience mean? Tell me a story about resilience you learned from your classroom or on television this week.” We are bringing these 54 character qualities to life with families.

Thank you so much for being here. As a last question because I ask every guest this, and it would be interesting to hear what yours is, what’s your definition of productivity and why?

Scientifically, productivity is the gross domestic product of the effort and energy combined with the resources that produce an outcome in a business. That business could be me with a ball of wool and some knitting needles making socks. How do I be more productive? I can knit faster, or I can have a different kind of wool that is cheaper and more efficient. I can do my sales and marketing and my socks when they’re finished and charge them as a luxury item. I can grow the productivity of my business in lots of ways. Ultimately, productivity is what your output is. How do you grow it? There are hundreds of different ways you can grow your productivity. You can sell more for the same cost.

What is your definition?

My definition is I would keep it the same, but if your other question was how do you enhance productivity, I would say through dialing up your character qualities.

Dial up your character quality to enhance your productivity. Click To Tweet

Thank you so much for being here. I enjoyed this conversation. I can’t wait to look more into your technology. I can’t wait to see it everywhere because it is something that will benefit us as a world population going forward. Thank you for all that you do.

Thank you.

Thank you all for being here. I hope you enjoyed this conversation. I want you guys to familiarize yourself with what are these 54 characteristics. Identify for yourself whether you use the software and use AI to support you or you get it in your head that every week, like he said, with children. You could take another characteristic and you could see how you could make yourself better. We all want to be better. It’s intertwined into our makeup. Do something to help make yourself better every day. Before we end out, David, what’s the website that they can go to?

The best way to contact me personally, if anyone wants to, is through LinkedIn. It’s David CM Carter. Please also follow Entelechy Academy on LinkedIn, but if you want to contact me or the company, best through LinkedIn.

Thank you again. Thank you, everybody. I’ll see you in the next episode.


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About David Carter

TBT David Carter | Full PotentialA serial entrepreneur otherwise known as ‘the World’s Leading CEO Mentor’, with 40+ years’ track record in creating innovative businesses, and mentoring leaders and influencers around the globe. Entelechy Academy is the entelechy of David’s career and his legacy project, where he gathered brilliant minds in education, coaching and professional organizations to support millions in becoming the best version of themselves.



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