The Pavilion Podcast
The Pavilion Podcast

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Ep 15: Developing Teams with Servant-Based Leadership feat Chris Neenan

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Ep 15: Developing Teams with Servant-Based Leadership feat Chris Neenan

Toe O topee tee O te. What is going on? Everyone welcome tothe revenue collective podcast. I am your launch hose to Justin Welsh memberof the Los Angel's chapter of revenue. Collective, an inside of these episodeswere going to feature ideas and conversations that are inspired byongoing discussions within the revenue collective community across the globein one of the revenue, collective members was talking about a reallycritical topic inside of our slack channel, and that topic was frontlinesales management, the future leaders of our sales organizations. This episodewe're going to discuss the development of those folks and ask out loud. Are weinvesting enough we're going to do that with our guess, founder at RelentlessGrowth Chris Menan, before we dive in with Chris a few quick notes if you'reout there listening and you want to join revenue? Collective visit revenue,collective DTCOM IN CLICK OPLINE? Now I also want to thank our amazing podcastsponsor outreach. The number one sales engagement platform out reachrevolutionizes customer engagement by moving away from sile conversations toetreamlined in customer centric journey leveraging the next generation ofartificial intelligence. The platform allows sales rups to deliver consistent,relevant and responsible communication for each prospect every time enablingpersonalization at scale that was previously unthinkable. Oky, let's getthe show started with Christenignan. Our guests today is Christ. Nean Chrisis the founder of relentless growth prior to founding relentless growth.Chris spent twenty years in enterprise sales across a wide range ofresponsibilities as a family, man, spirituality, nerd and enduranceathlete Chris Enjoys the daily challenge of keeping everything inbalance, while striving to be at his best and service to others, Chris, soglad to have you on the showman. Welcome not thank you very much, it'sgreat to be here honored, to be a part of this and excited. It is with yousame here, man and y. u no want to kind of kick it off. You know you have thisreally interesting story to becoming the founder at relentless growth. Tellthe audience a bit about your journey to this. This point in your life sure.So, as you mentioned, I'd spent lastfifteen twenty years in enterprise sales, so kind mention where it began and ended,and a lot of a lot of seps in between it began in me. In the very glamorousindustry of Sinage, literally selling neon lit signs for the side, O ebuildings, whose commission only my prospecting was driving around with alittle tape recorder in my hand, I'm not old enough Toeasa, it was least digital, but that was thatwas that I wavn't had a kid at the time. So it was very stressful. But I had tolearn a lot of things pretty quick to to find success and then prior to doingwhat I'm doing now. That journey ended as the head of sales for Europe for awhat was once publicly now private um software company overseeing basicallyOl ofour o go to market for Elfor Europe, and so, as it was a big journeyUm, I think th. The things that that were the most exciting for me is everyind a couple of years. I was given a chance to take another step forward andeach time had an opportunity to figure out what was needed, how I could besuccessful, put in place a new kind of a new playbook and execute it and thenget another chance to do it. So s a lot of steps along the way, probably a lotmore than then listenas to the pot cast probably want to listen to yeah. That's one thing that was reallyinteresting to me is I read through your background. Like one thing becamereally clear, like you're selling signs, you jump into a couple, you knowindividual contributor roles and then you're sort of rocketing up thisleadership path and along that path, you must have started to recognize thatyou were passing some folks by and I'm curious did, Youe execute like a reallyintentional plan in doing that or ere you sort of flying by the seedor pants.How did that come to be its PROBAB P,...

...honest answethere's, probably somewherein between those two? I think I've got A. I was just one of the naturalstrengths that I have is is kind of seeing you know, process in just abouteverything and and breaking things down a I do it in everything and it drivesmy wife nuts drives myself nut, sometimes, and I think, every role thatI had that was always than approach that I would take whos just be verymethodical about what do I need to do to succeed in this rule, and so,regardless of the role o O, I would observe who did it? Well, I would lookat what they did. I would look at what I could do and and then I would find a way to go,execute that so it wasn't necessarily a no rigid playbook or anything like that.It was more of an approach that I used. You know each time and I think theother part of it and this kind of speaks. You Know Sa they say. Sales isan art, an science I's, probably more on the artside I was raised Christianfor me, like a life of service and and being a man for others is alwayssomething that was drilled into me from very early on it's kind of part of justmy my makeup now, and I think that I think that was a big part of why insales I was able to do well. I was trusted by my customers 'cause I was Iwas there for them, and internally people trusted me because I was thereto help them, and so I think, tha the way I behaved and just kind of the thenature of how I treated people and how others looked at me and the trust thatI would build combined with the you know, kind of methodical approach. Iwould take to doing everything necessary to you know to be successful.I think t at that kept giving me that that chance to take a step forward soservice to others. You know, I think that that comes as you mention fromyour Christian backgrounds that comes from your your upbringing. You alsomentioned being very methodical, being very rigid instructured, I'm the sameway, but I wasn't always like that. An what IV found is when I talk with Mo tmost folks who remind me myself in the way that they approach you know rigid astructure it. I comes from some point in their career as you think, back inyour career. was there a turning point that led you to be rigid or structured,or did that come from your upbringing? Where did that come from probably twopoints? It definitely didn't come from eutbringing. I think some of the morenatural syles of what to look for. You know we're there, but be. I think itbecame more o the the forefront, um two different points. So one was, I was asalesrap still in the UK and we had brought in a a whole leadership teamthat came from the KANAPTC BMC, the become of the medic mafia, so th thiswhole coaching tree that find this way back to to John mcman and a few otherpeople, and so we were all very much brought into medic and first meeningexcellence and all of the rigidity around sales process and just how toexecute and- and I think that really got the juices F lowing for me, becausehere was a playbook, a written playbook and a clear one that I was able tobasically put all of what I've been doing subconsciously into and see itall connect and all of a sudden. It was like it just everything clicked. Sothat was probably the first moment that which was really cool, and you knowsince then that's Omthing, I've, coached people on of finding that samekind of that same Clicke and the second one was, as I was a leader startedg toget involved in more offsights and more. You know s kind of working with peopleo how to facilitate a team so thire 's. Actually, when I was a second linesales leader, so I had a team of managers underneath me and needing towork with them in a way of how do we? How do we Bashi work through them sothat they could work through their team to achieve that we needed to, and itreally forced me to think in terms of objectives, measures and being veryclear of what that is, so that it would translate several layers you know downand so having to take that approach and and thinking you know, workingbackwards from. What's the behavior we want to see and how do how do we getthat so clear that this will translate to consistency? That was where you knowthe next kind of playbook clift or the next way of working of of beingmethodical to where you know, I realized how important clarity was toexecution and needing to do that through other people. You know you use this word playbook alot right and especially when you're talking about leadership and growth,and you talk about sort of finding a...

...playbook when you get in with thethequote, unquote, medic, Mafia and I've. I've heard a little bit aboutyours. You've touched on it slightly, but can you tell me a bit more aboutthe pillars of your specific leadership, playbook that you stand by yeah, so the main ones, the majoritythat is, people based uset from a sales leadership, point of view, no degree ofthings that you look at in terms of metrics or CPES, or territory, carvingor being the executive sponsor, like all of that does not matter at all. Ifyou don't have the right people on the team and if they and en secondarily, ifthey don't want to work for you, so the the majority of the kind of leadershipplaybook that that I kindof developed and cocreated and have adapted it is somuch an Acenter Ron people. So it begins with knowing yourself bestknowing your own strength, your own weaknesses, knowing you K, ow, who youare what you're there for 'cause, if you're, not if you're, not in touchwith that, it's going to come out, you might as well know what it is before itcomes out, and you know t gets misinterpreted, but the second part tothat t would be. Who Do you bring in so the? How do you know who you're hiringHo? Why is that the type of person to get? How do you go about getting themto make sure that you're actually getting in the right talent on yourteam, but also from wore from a Dan? Ah Point of view, you can train lots ofthings. You can't train certain attributes and you need to know what itis you're looking for and so a law it goes into. How do you do that verymethodically, and then from there, how o you developed people so that theywant to stay? You know they need to execute there, there's a lot of thingsthat they need to be able to perform. You know beyond just having those you,those natural attributes and so there's a lot that goes into. How do youdevelop and and essentially have you serve your people so that they cansucceed in a consistent, predictable manner? Only after that does all of thethings that you would do is a leader in terms of what are you monitoring? Youknow, how are you gauging the helth? How are you forecasting? Those arethose are necessary. The business needs that, but it is only possible whenyou've done those first two for three parts really well, you know it it's interesting. I had anepisode with Colin Cadmis the other day, and he- and I were discussing an one ofhis sort of controversial perspectives on leadership- is that he doesn'treally believe that you can. I don't want to missquote him, but he basicallysaid you know hiring's a crap shoot and the only strategy that he likes to firefollow is to hire fast and fire faster. I'm hearing something different fromyou is that right, yes, definitely yeah would say that soso. So how do you do that, though? Right, I think there's this like if youread through all these studies, if you look at all the different Harvardbusiness reviews like a lot of these, these studies will come to theconclusion that hiring is a crap shoot. They really will that it's reallydifficult to make a great hire. You seem to have cracked the code. Tell memore about that. WELLITA big same to have cracked theCOT. I think it's possible to do well, I don't think it'd say something thatyou just throw the towel in and say all right. Well, let s just bring a bunchof people in and see who swims no, this that may AC t a I've always been in theenterprise business, and so I've never had to build or hiher teams S and B oryou know, hor a callcycle is quicker where you might have a quicker turnoverof opportunities and so having you turnover it. People isn't detrimental.So for me, with with longer sale cycles and a Y. U now wiing to have a aCONSISTEDT team who needed to build pipeline that was going to deliver nothree, four or five months down the road. You know attrition was a was akiller of performance so Eten, whether you're firing people, it's stillattrition, and so for me it was. I didn't t at was not something I wasokay with just saying t, let's, let's just accept it, so I think I was alwaysa believer in in iring for aw talent, meaning experience based. So it wasless important for me how much sales experience they had how what theirtrack record of success in terms of sales achievements was. I was lookingfor things like. Are they coachable? Are they driven? Do they have very highEq? ARE THEY SMART? Does it seem like they can pick things up quickly? Dothey show good character? Are they interesting to talk to like those arethings you can't teach? You can't train...

...that, and those are things that matterwhen they're in front of prospects- and I knew- and I was willing to invest thetime in them months, even of developing e on okay. Well, how to do a proposalor how to had to negotiatea deal or had hom run a sales process. Where you knowsome people hiring would would want that knowledge already there thatexperienced there. But I knew I couldn't teach drive, but I could teachhow to negotiate. I couldn't teach coach ability, but I could teach how torun a sales process, and so that was the approach that I always took andlooking back at those that I hired in the teams that I ran when it was directsals. You know when I was first line: ADSEVERAL Gret teams not just from aperformance point of view, but great teams in that these were people thatloved being part of that team and had a great time being part of that team. Andthere was a very strong and interteam culture, and I think that comes fromlooking for those things that that you can't inject and you can't develop so when you're looking at sort of yourfrontline managers or some of the people that are reporting to you, youknow how do you use your playbook or your system to invest the right type oftime into some folks, because what I always struggled with her a challengethat I had was you know trying to navigate the different type of peoplein my organization. Some folks need coaching on something. Like youmentioned a proposal, other people need coaching in simply professionalism, forexample, if you're coaching some some younger folks, how do you use yoursystem to make sure that you get consistent results from these frontlinemanagers or these reps that you're bringing onto your team? Did you havesort of a a formula for discovery when you were doing one on ones? I'd love tolearn a little bit more about how you how you figured out how to best useyour valuable time with each your people start with the the persona of asales manager, coaching reps, 'cause, eyts, it's a different dynamic for amanager Hav to go to another manager. So an coaching rups, like one of thebig huge foundational elements that needs to be in place, is a very clearprocess. Clear Messaging, and you know what the main indicators of successneed to be. So you know from activity levels to what M quality levels you canlook at that would gauge are: Are they doing enough and a good enough qualityof the right things at an activity level? So that's prospecting or orconducting first meetings with prospects. All of that needs to beclear so that you know on Boarding and Henthrough your coaching of them. Theyknow exactly what's expected of them, if you can't do that, it's really hardto coach any further. It's just going to be kind of random, but if you havethat and that's where I all of the initial investment at my time went intoof making sure that that was in in place, that is very objective. It wasvery consistent and within that you've got your diagnostic. Now you can lookat t at their own numbers. You can look at their own metric. You could look atany any deal in that process and you can very quickly see where things areare inconsistent with where someone else might be or what it should looklike, and it's just the place to start Han. You can ask them. You know from acoaching point of view. Okay, why do you think you're White Wa? Others aredoing well at save this stage, but yours seem to be dropping off there orusually it takes. You know only about a month to get from t this point of thesales cycle to that point. But for you you seem to have a lot that are sallingthere. Why do we think that is? And it's just that you find those databasedways to as entry points to dig into what the issue is and in most cases thereps know like th y. They know something's, not working right orthey're, not come GEVL, but but they're able you're giving them the leading ofwhere to start. If you just go cold, saying hey, what do you think you needto work on you're, probably going to get the wrong thing, even if they thinkthat's the top thing? It's probably not what's actually resulting in. You knowwhy their performance may be lower so that that would be the place to start.But I I still would look at the whole thing and an and some of the best raps,especially the COACHAL Onesthy'r they're, actually doing that themselvesand they're bringing to me the things that they that they think need to beworked on or why? And so you kind of start building in that muscle, memoryof them taking that ownership and then you're just there to help them throughit. You might look at it and redirect them if you see that something is isoff, but but over time you know it's it's kind of clockery, they start doingit themselves and they take that ownership on yeah. I I love that and- and I thinkone of the things I'm imhearing- you...

...know from you I heard in the beginningwhen we were chatting is this idea of service to others, and it feels likeyou are just really invested in the people that you bring on board, and Ihave this challenge with with servant leadership and it feels like today,salesleaders are in this Rut, where they are trying to either please theirboss more. You know, you're an SVPV sales are a cro and you're simplytrying to please the CEO here, you're trying to please the investors, and itputs this tremendous amount of pressure on the sales leader and they startthinking about themselves. How did they get out of that Rut and how do theystart transitioning into something like servant base leadership? It's reallyhard! Honestly, it's really hard because the way that most organizations todaywork is the higher level expects the level below them to serve them and whenyou're, when you're, coming in as a sales leader- and you might have thebest of intentions getting promoted to that role and sayin, I'm going to servemy people an to serve my team, I'm going to help them each be their verybest and by doing that, they're going to perform on o stay. We're going to begreat. Your boss probably expects you to serve them to, and so now all of asudden you're kind of serving in both directions and which one takesprecedence becomes a tough one. It's not easy and I don't think it should bethat way, but that's a bigger, more systemic issue to Sall o from the topVerry d down to the bottom of that perspective. I think for a sails thatare going into it. The part I would just look at and challenge and say:Okay. Well, if you only chose one which one's going to have a bigger y know,bigger difference which one's going to make K. Ow, bigger gain or loss. If youstop serving your team, it might short term be o k or you might feel better bywhat you are able to say to your boss or feel about okay. I'm doing what myboss told me to do, but you're going to lose your people there. It's not goingto take very long for them to feel like you don't support them. You don't havetheir back that you're only passing on things you were told to do and thatlack of trust pretty quickly turns into them looking elsewhere and taking abetter, better job ore, just not performing it tothe their best tey're,just not inspired, and so I think that that's a if you make that choice, the 'it's hard to not have that follow. Take it and reverse. If you re say you knowwhat I'm gn Ta, I'm not Gongto forego serving my team. That's always going tobe the higher priority, even if it means I need to push back on on my boss,th t you you can work with your team and work on. You know with theperformance that they have and with them know it obeing transparent. Thisis where I'm getting pressure. This is what we need to be able to deliver.Let's work on this together, how do we do this? You can find ways or getinsights from them and from the field that you can take back to your boss andsay this is what we're going to go do, and this is why I think it's necessaryand why it's important for me to not let up on some of these things thatwill result in attrition or we'll result in reduced engagement orbringing on bad deals. You know, there's lots of things. Thot can follow.If you don't do those things you might have a boss, that's not Oky with that,in which case I wli would say y. no, maybe that's never going to be workingout in the first place, but I thin most of them will look at that and see thereason for it and at least give you a degree of trust to see how it plays out,but it it's going to come back to. Is your team executing so if t best, youcan buy yourself some time to get that execution through by developing andworking with your people. If you're not doing that, then that's that's thething to develop somewhere else. Yeah, I m I'm with you. I think if youwere to talk to the folks that have worked for me over the long period ofmy career th they they wouldn't. I don't know if they'd call me a servantleader, I don't. I don't know if that matches e my personality or my career,but they would say that I have their best interest in mind and I think thatto me that was always. The expectation that I set with whomever was hiring mewas that you know I worked for the folks below me and when I see leaderswho do that, what what naturally happens is it does alleviate some ofthe pressure, in my opinion, above them right, because the team below you startto perform. They start to feel confident. They're they're invested inboth themselves and you in naturally up...

...the chain. The results get better. So II couldn't agree with you. You know any more on that one. So that's that'sreally great to hear that that you feel that way as well. Chris Listen Man.This is. This has been really interesting. We, we are nearing the endof our time together and I love to do one thing at the end in it's called ourquick fire five segment and it's just five questions where we just get realtop of mind answers from revenue leaders like yourself, Youre, eanyey,yeah, awesome, you don't strike me as incredibly controversial Chris Ind, ourin our twenty minutes, and I might be misreading you a little bit, but I'msure you have a controversial perspective on business today. Whatwould be your most controversial perspective? Well, prob. I mean too. Ithink one is the this idea of servant. Leadership I do think is controversial.It does run contrary, trug N, most organizations and it's especially in sales organizations. Ithink you'll see it a little bit more commonly accepted in other cases. SoI'd say that's one. I think the second is Um Virtue in the business world. Ithink virtue is something that quickly gets kind of shelled or said: okay,we'll not really hear en. We need some separation with that, but if you wereto ask somebody, would you rather work for somebody that was selfish orselfless, or would you rather work with someone that was patient or impatientor was completely chaotic versus had self control everyone's always going toprefer the person that demonstrates virtue? But yet we hear very littleabout virtue in terms of things to develop or things to evaluate people onor things to applaud, ththat needs to change because will make a differencein the degree of trust people have and in the success of themes agreed. What is a book that you revisiton a regular basis? The one that I love is is called awareness. It's by guynamed Anthony Demello. He was a Jesuit priest. He died. He was lived in India,so H. His view was a Fusionof Hinduisn Buddhism, Catholicism lots of things,but it's it's one of those eyeopening books where it's just put so simply,and yet you just you, can't help but just feel like the scales are fallingfrom your eyes. The things like how you view yourself or why you feel guiltyabout certain things or why? Why do you care about what other people think ofyou? I mean so many things that so many Leshano Western pultures get hung up onit just exposs, all of it it easy to fall back into those. You know once yoube away from it, so t's, it's a book. I go back to pretty frequently awesome. That actually sounds reallyinteresting. Can you repeat the title from you one more time, yet it's calledawareness and autherlerantony Demello, Anthony Demello. That sounds likesomething that I would enjoy. So thank you who is who is someone inside of therevenue collective that you follow closely well to an t, e London side, Tom Layson, justbecause he's he's the man in Rondon he he started the chapter over here. Hewas the one obviously because when I joined he, he screed, but he's beenreally helpful for me in kind of branching off in the direction that I'mgoing. You know from you know joining as the senior revenue leader in a bigcompany to coaching and supporting revenue leaders, but really helpful andconnecting you with the right people. Always you know helpwil advise he OK,try this work, talk to these guys and then t a second one is Amere. Klaushe's been doing the role that I'm kindo doing now for years, slightly differentangle in the world and he's just was very generous with his time on just ahelping with how to handle certain situations how to how he has gone about. You know his ownstart and it's a scary thing, especially with covut here, has been ascary thing kind of going off on my own and back to the commission only worldwith four kids and a wife who's a mother so that, having the help of bothof those guys to both get confidence that it's doable it's doable now, butalso just in tips on getting started. Then a really big difference maker forme, what do you think the biggestmisconception about going out on your own, like you've done? Is. I think thattbigest misconception is that you don't have a team...

...in reality, what I've discovered isyour team grows phenomenally the number of people that are willing to help youor that you can work with on things and just the exposure to problems that youget to think about and work on and go solve is just exponentially more. I wasnervous about that part of it of of missing the kind of the Camaraerie of ateam, but I've found that pretty quickly forming between people that aredoing something similar, maybe with a different discipline or specialty, buteven across clients like y. u you basically join parts of teams forperiod of time, and, and the thrill of that doesn't is no no different. It'sjust you have more of it, because you're doing that across many teams.All at once isn't that interesting. You know I wenton on my own almost exactly twelve months ago, and I really worried aboutmissing that team based structure in what I've found is that people reallycome out of the woodwork and they want to be helpful there there'r folks, whodon't want to be helpful at all and H Y. They disappear and you've got thisincredible support system of other folks who just come out and say I wan TI want to support your business. I want to support your journey. I feel, likeI'm a part of the largest team that I've ever been a part of, so I feelthat at' such th. It's so neat that that that's your answer, so I canreally appreciate that. Lastly, give the audience like a life motto or aguiding principle, something from you that they can take home with them todayso minn. This is where the name of the company came from mine is reletlessforward progress. It was. It was the name of a book that I read when I wasUM training to run an ultrermarathon. When I I decided to get into that a fewyears ago, so was doing training out for a hundred Mile Brunnang race, and II think one L ke tha. That event was a good kind of just example for me inlife of just a huge challenge that you could only take on one step at a timeand just the idea of the book and the idea of Tha tackling that challenge wasjust about look as long as you're making forward progress. You will getto that end and I kind of an approach that I now take to just about anythingwhatever the Challengeis, however big or near difficult as long as you'remaking progress towards it and you're youreletless about that. You will seeyour way, not only through that, but onto many more afterwards and so yeah.That is absolutely the One ohow you just decided to run anultramarathon crazy. I love the process side of it,but yeah yeah. I can't Relie, know on, but I loved it yeah. It was a coolthing to do. hthat's cool man, we'll listen. This has been a lot of fun. Youknow tell everyone how they can get in contact with you and how can they learna little bit more about relentless growth. I've got a website through alatlessgrowth, dot Io to You'e got jut some basic details on the the main offeringof what I do, which is around bringing that playbook to to people wanting tobe a salesleader or or already are, but needing a bit more clarity.FOLLOWMAMILINGTON always I love to write I'd love to read, and I love towrite. So that's an area channel that I'm continually putting stuff up.sofollowing me there or just get in touch with me there. That's probablythe best two places cool if you're a leader- and you want more of a rigidplaybook. You want to learn a little bit more about servant leadership, andmaybe you want to figure out what makes th the mind tick of a guy who runs onehundred mile races can go to relentless growth, weelent liss growth, dotio andlearned a little bit more about Chris and his offering Chris, thanks forbeing on the showman, really enjoyed having Yan and ill look forward tocommunicating with you in the Arcy Lykrom Tha. You very much Hav me reallyappreciateit.

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