The Pavilion Podcast
The Pavilion Podcast

Episode · 9 months ago

Ep 42: People-First Leadership with Stephanie Valenti

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

People-First Leadership with Stephanie Valenti

...away, right? Welcome to another episodeof the revenue Collective podcast. This is your host, Tom. A lame O T G. I am.Thank God it's Monday. Really excited to have you all listening. Appreciateyou tuning in. Got a great episode today with Stephanie Valenti, who isthe CEO of Loft Wall. We had a great conversation, and a lot of it stemsfrom people first leadership, right? That's something that Stephanieembraces, something that she approaches in her day to day and has really usedto help her excel in her career. So we get deep. I mean, we talk about thestory of Stephanie starting off her career in sales. She had someinteresting, unexpected life. Circumstances will call it that at 19or 20 years old, I got her into sales that got her hustling and working hard.She's worked up the ranks she spent, you know, a few decades in sales andbeing successful there, newly minted in the C suite as a CEO at Loft Wall as oflast year. So we have a great perspective of her on. You know what itmeans to get into the C suite? What it means to get more into the operationsrole from sales and and driving revenue on then obviously, leading folks forabout leading during a very challenging times. I think you're gonna love thisepisode. Her personality breaks through. She's very uplifting, positive,inspiring. We get tactical in it. So I think you're really going to enjoy thisepisode. Or at least I hope you will before we get into it. Wanted to aquick word from our sponsor this month. Sponsor six cents. Six cents is thenumber one account engagement platform, which helps you identify accounts thatare in market for your solution. Prioritize your efforts. Engage buyersthe right way with highly relevant messaging and measure what actuallymatters. With six cents platform, you're able to get into deals improvewhen rates increase overall pipeline and optimize budget. Spend toe. Learnmore. You can visit six cents dot com slash revenue collected. You could alsosupport this podcast by heading over to Apple Apple podcast and subscribing andjust leaving a quick review. It'll take you about 60 seconds. You leave a fivestar review. That's what helps us grow. This show helps us get better. Guess ithelps us to provide really a better service for all of you while we'regetting after it and, uh, trying to provide as much value as possible. So Iwould really appreciate it if you support our sponsors, support us on thepodcast, and make sure to hit me up. If you have any questions. Thoughts I'dlove to hear from you. I'm Tom Alaimo unlinked in Feel free to reach outwithout further ado, Let me get into my conversation with Stephanie Valenti.All right. Stephanie Valenti, CEO of lock. Well, welcome to the revenuecollective podcast. Thank you. Thank you so much. Glad to be here. Yeah.How's how's It's a Friday morning. How's your Friday morning going down inDallas. Friday morning is off to a good start. Got my January, uh, run in. SoI've been trying to do that. So off with a good run this morning and herein the office, uh, in Grand Prairie, Texas. Nice. How do you have, like, arunning goal that you have for 2021 or you're trying to get into it a littlebit more? What? Yeah, yeah. You know, I've put my, um, my career in my kiddosin my family, I generally put everything before myself. And so thiswas the year. I'm gonna be 40 next year. And so I'm like, I'm going to get inshape this year. So I have a Palestine treadmill, and I'm making sure that Ido that at least four times a week and pushing it for the morning. So I haveno excuses. Hell, yeah. I love that. I love that. You gotta You gotta Teoh.You gotta put yourself first, right, Philip? Your own cup so you can fill upothers. I love it. Absolutely. So you hit in the four weeks so far not to putyou on the spot, but yeah. Yeah. So I'm...

I've hit. I've hit every week. So far,I haven't made made any concessions. I I actually, you know, I got a applewatch for Christmas and my boss I made the really bad idea of, like, you know,it says, Hey, you wanna compete against this person? And I'm like, all right,You know, I'm competitive and competed, and I realized that he's sneaky, right?So there was a while when we were I was doing two a days and then I go to bedand I'm like I totally one. And he'd get up at, like, 11. 30 and make surethat he beat my points, so I will. I will not do that again. That wasmiserable for both of us, but yeah, yeah, I'm still on track, which has got30 days and e love it. I love it. That's great. That's great. So you'recoming into, you know, 2021 Just, you know, in looking at some of yourbackground. And I know that your c 00 Today, but coming in with, you know, 15or so years of sales experience, and that's the space I'm in. That's whereI'm comfortable. That's you know where I'm focusing my career right now. SoI'd love to hear you talk a little bit about, you know, the earlier days ofyour career and what brought you into sales coming out of college. If it wassomething that you knew you wanted to do, like maybe the minority of peopleor maybe more likely, that it was something that you just kind of gotinto for one reason or another and stuck with it and enjoyed it and andwere successful with it. Yeah, so I've got a little bit of a crazy story. Hada crazy story. Yeah, it's a little bit of a crazy story. So, um, you know, hadplanned Thio go to school to be a doctor. I wanted to be a pediatrician.I wanted Thio specialize in Children with autism and down's syndrome anddecided that having a baby was a better idea. So I got pregnant really early,and, um, you know, So at 19, I I had a baby and I worked three jobs and wentto school and and earned myself, you know, some badges of grit and got intorestaurant because it was the easiest thing for me to get into, right? Icould work at night, go to school during the day. And so what started tohappen in that early point of my career is, um I was every little job that Itook. I'm like, I want to get to the next thing and found I was reallycompetitive and really wanted to succeed, get rewarded for that success,and then move on to the next thing. Right? So in restaurant, I did that. Iwas a server, and then I'm like, Okay, I want to be elite, And then I want tobe a bartender. And then I was a manager, and then I was an area generalmanager, And then they moved me to a corporate office. And so, like, Irealized that the age of 25 when I was at the corporate office and I hadalready been, you know, a general manager of a 10,000 square footrestaurant. Someone looked at me and they're like, stuff like, You gotta go.Just being sales. Like you've got too much drive, you've got, you know, toomuch passion for success. And and you work hard. So just go give it a try.And so, you know, I started to try to sell these, like, you know, do the morebe to see, like, I'm going to try to scale like skincare stuff. Didn't havea large passion for that. I got sucked into the car sales thing for a secondand did it for a month. Bond. Um, I don't I don't necessarily recommend itfor for myself, but But I did really, really well like because I realized Oh,well, if I just work a couple extra hours or get there early on, get thepeople that are coming in the front door. Well, then I'm gonna win. And sothat's what gave me my bug. And I posted my resume and Staples businessadvantage picked me up. So and if people don't know what that is, it'smore of that B two b division of Staples. So actually, not all thatdifferent from SAS. It's very much like you have inside sales outside sales.There's business development, account management, lots of your own legion. Soand not very much technology to help...

...you along the way back then. But thatwas my journey into sales for the first time. Dang. So let me take that a stepback, because that is a That's a crazy story. So, um so at 19, when thathappened, I mean, you must have been you must have been scared first, right?Or, like Oh, yeah, yeah. I was a complete goody goody like great grades,cheerleading student council, like, super good girl with all the plans inthe world. And yeah, I mean, you I I had a fork in the road and I havedecisions to make. And, um and yeah, I decided You know what? I could do this.And and so I went for it. Hm. So all at the same time, you have your firstchild and you're in school, and you're doing all those jobs. Is that allhappened? Happening simultaneously? Is that what I just got? Yeah. Eso That'sjust the That's just I mean, that's insane. Hustle and passionate and justambition to make it work, no matter what's in front of you. Absolutely.Yeah. And I didn't mention this is like the icing on the cake. I don't know howI couldn't have said that. I was also a karaoke deejay at night. Really?Karaoke deejay at night. What was that like? It's exactly what you think. It'slike, right, Like U s. So I I get up at seven, and I'd, you know, work and thengo to school and then work again and go to bed at, like, three in the morningand then do it again. Damn. And you just that was just That was the life.The day in the life of Ah, Stephanie Valenti. Back in the day, that was aday in the life of a Stephanie Valenti here, man. And I mean nowadays, it'slike, whatever you're doing, whenever you're confronted with a problem or abig project or whatever it might be, I mean, do you just think back to thosedays and you're like, Oh, this is nothing like parents for that. I mean,absolutely, Yeah. I mean, you know, I learned to juggle and balance Ah, wholelot really early on. And so nothing hard work isn't scary, right? If I wantsomething, I'm going to go get it. And I think, you know, I mentioned on theannual kickoff. It's for me. It was all about just not having fear andconstantly taking risk and jumping in and saying, You know what? I may notknow how to do this today, but I'm gonna jump in. I'm gonna work harder,thin the people around me, and I'm gonna figure it out so that I canperfect it. And I tried to maintain that mentality from that, you know,distress that I had early on throughout my career. Now, with when you're thinking aboutthe early days of of your sales career, the first you know the first few jobsthat you had. And then as you get into staples, like was it that you just mademore calls and mawr emails? And maybe at that time, you know, knocked on moredoors or however you are generating business and you just outworked people?Or do you think there was a particular characteristic that helped you to standout? Because I think there's so many great. There's so many things that canmake a salesperson great. Everyone has their own unique style. Some curiousWhat? What? That was for you. Yeah, that's a good question. And I haven'thad the opportunity to talk about this in a really long time. I would say thatyou nailed it on the first one, right. You have to have good work ethic. Youhave to be hungry. And you have to want to be successful, right? You can'tteach that one that was there from my from my early time. And so, yes, Ithink that that was important. I think the other pieces you can probably telljust being on this podcast with me. I have high energy, right? So veryanimated. Lots of personality and just sincerely love people like I enjoygetting to know people. And so that curiosity comes out as well. And Ithink that's also a piece of what makes any salesperson successful is havingthe ability to be really curious and...

...truly care about what people arethinking across from you. I'd say the other piece is I had a great first timesales manager like a really, really good first time sales manager. He wassuper hard on me at the time. I was very frustrated with him often. Butwhen I look back, I like there is no way I would have been ableto have thesuccess that I did if it wasn't for that person. Yeah. How crucial is that?Because so many sales managers, maybe I shouldn't say this, but I'm gonna sayit anyway. Ah, lot of sales manager Steel. And, um, I was a bad salesmanager like I had my first foray into sales management, you know, two yearsago and there was no training, and so I'm thinking like, Hey, we're justgonna go out here and we're just I'm just gonna coach these people had tosell deals, and we're gonna be closing deals all the time. And that's just notThat's just not it. Like there's so many other things that you have to diothe interpersonal relationships and, you know, trying to work with peopleand trying toe focus on what each individual wants and their goals andtheir personalities and all these different things that it's It's a hardjob and people don't really get trained. So I think having a good versus aterrible sales manager can totally change the experience of you as asalesperson and whether or not you're successful or whether or not you evenstick with it or don't yeah, absolutely. And I It's crucial, You know, I've hadI've managed a good amount of sales managers throughout my career at thispoint. And if you do not dedicate the time and the not only just the skilllike the actual I call it art and science, right, So in sales you haveyour art, which is your your cadence and your flow and your ability to learnhow to close and overcome objections and make sure you're controlling themeeting and asking really insightful questions, right? That's the art. Thescience side of it is your will. It's the metrics, right? It's your how manycalls are you making? And if the sales manager doesn't know how to educate thesales reps on the balance of both, then it doesn't work right. And usually whathappens is they get pretty good at their art and they don't have the willor they suck it the art. And they have all the will in the world, and thesales manager has too many heads underneath them. And they don't knowhow to get everybody on that same playing field and customize theircoaching message to fit what is needed in front of them. And so you know, it'sa hard gig, and there's not a great program out there for sales managementlike to go through if you're not in a big organization. And today, in theworld of start ups and tons of sass, and you know new companies coming outof everywhere, they don't have the money to invest. And so you have firsttime sales managers managing first time sales people, and it's a recipe forjust just disaster, right, whereas with Staples and I feel lucky for this isthey were very established back then. They were like, Ah, Fortune 100. It wasa B two B machine. And so you went away to sales training, right? You call awayon your first corporate trip, they put you through a week full of class androle playing in process training and like, scripts and you name it like itwas in front of you and then you get back in your manager at a checklist. Soit was just It was a lot of structure and a lot of process that helped us gettoe where we needed to be. Yeah, I'm grateful for my first sales experiencewith similar. We had six weeks of just dedicated training, like all day long,like in a classroom about how to sell. And, you know, the market that we werein and all the basics, all the fundamentals. And, um, yeah, I learnedsome that even when I was doing cut coast sales where they teach at a coldcall in that type of stuff too. So I think again, having that that thatbaseline is fundamental on the topic of leadership, you know, in your headlineon linked in you call out people first...

...leadership. So I'd love to hear yourtake on that. And, you know, kind of what your philosophy is as a leader.Yeah. You know, the tagline is is difficult because it's so broad, right?People first. What does that mean? I think people first leadership meanssomething. Ah, little different in every role that you're in, which makesit so unique to have the ability to actually execute upon it. And so, youknow, I think back Thio Ah, leader that I had that taught me just theimportance of people and how they feel and leading the person and not the headcount. And today I think I implement the majority of what that person whoshared with me. And it was just like at the end of the day, if you strip a stepaway the title and you strip away the job duties, you're talking to a personacross from you, a person that has struggles in life, a person that hasindividual goals that don't relate back toe work. Ah, person that's maybetaking care of their mom at home. Ah, person that had a really difficultupbringing. And so when you think about your message across the table? Alwaysthink about and take. Don't take for granted like what is sitting acrossfrom you and so like when I lead today and I have my one on ones and I trainpeople on how to make sure that we're leading with empathy, empathy and nowthe words sympathies running around and authenticity and like being riel, it'sabout just getting to know that person and understanding and taking a deepbreath, especially if there's something frustrating going on at work that, hey,you don't know what's going on with this person's life. Always askquestions, going back to always being curious and making sure that you trulyunderstand the person and the motivation behind the actions beforeyou jump into assumptions. And so long way to explain that. But and it's ahard thing to explain, I think right, like it z just focusing its justfocusing on the people and who they are and leading them and the way that theyneed to be led. It's that, yeah, How does vulnerability play into that, ifat all? Yeah. Oh, gosh. I mean, it's I think when we talk about you know,managing people. It's also the person that's delivering. You know, the one onone. It's the manager. And if the manager can't show their ownvulnerabilities, why the heck is the person sitting across from you going toshow it? You know, I It's funny, I think of one on ones and sales sales,leadership in sales management, as as almost the way that you're trained tobe in your first sales call, right? You're trained to build report and thenyou're trained. Thio break down a wall, right? So ask easy questions, getpeople comfortable, be invested in them, and then then you get to the meat ofthe conversation. And so, from a vulnerability standpoint, like if I'mnot going to sit across the way and say, Hey, guess what? I was a really crappysales manager the first time I was a sales manager. It's okay to fail. I'mhere to help you. I'm showing now vulnerability, and they feel like theycould do the same back. And so I think that's relevant in a daily, you know,practice for any leader, any salesperson, any, you know, front deskreceptionist, any labor worker in a plant like you've got to be able toraise your hand and say you don't know so that the associates feel as thoughthey could do that, too. Yeah, I think that's I think that's amazing advice.How do you keep that top of mine when you have, You know, the board or theCEO or whoever you know, breathing down your neck? Hey, we gotta hit thisnumber. You know where we have with this forecast, you know, talking about,you know, deals that are following through or this rep isn't good orwhat's going on over here. And there's all this pressure and I've never been aVP of sales. I've never been a CEO, but...

I could just imagine that there's a lotof pressure tied to that. And when you feel pressure, it's It's kind of harderto see that human side. It's harder toe take the extra 15 minutes thio, buildthe report or have that conversation. So is that a challenge for you at all?Like balancing and we've got all these goals to hit. But also I know that theway to get there and the way to build a great company on team is to show thatvulnerability and to build trust with people free. Gosh, it sure used to be.You know, I think that I had a good amount of practice In my first s VProle. There was a ton of pressure. There were a ton of things coming at mefrom different angles. And there were times where I got myself reallystressed out and very frustrated and said or did things that I definitelywould never dio now knowing how to manage my emotional side a little bitmore. But yeah, I think vulnerability actually helps the message. So if youthink about it, go back to you saying like, Hey, you know, where's theforecast and and why aren't we hitting metrics and why aren't we, you know,having the opportunity Thio pass even a goals this month and then think abouthow you communicate that down two layers. If you show vulnerability evenin those meetings it will take. Sometimes it's It's very hard for theCFO across the table to be like, Oh, it's fine to be vulnerable, but afteryou do it for a while, they get used to it. But if you have the opportunity tosay, Hey, listen, like here the circumstances that I see I think thatwe need to get better in this area as a team and you make it a statement thatrelates to the entire group. And then that message trickles down of Hey, guys,I know this is hard, but here the goals we signed up for and here's how we'regonna work together to achieve them. Then you have the opportunity to showthat you're a part of that team, that you're a part of that vulnerability andthat you're gonna work hard with them to get there. And so you know, it'sit's at first again. It was like, Oh, gosh, like you guys are doing what youneed to do And it's a metric call, right? But it very much can turn into ateamwork, a team building and an opportunity for vulnerabilities acrossthe board. Man, I love that. How do you How do youinstill that type of mentality and the other leaders that work under you? Dopeople just get bought in from working with you for a while? Do you vet thatout in an interview process? If you're bringing someone in from the outside,like, how do you make sure that, you know, people under you are not, Youknow, taking away from that mentality and being the quote unquote bad salesmanager that we were talking about before? Yeah, you know, it's amazingwhen you allow someone to be vulnerable and you share vulnerabilities, theygenerally take it. So it's almost like the leading by example. Right? Sopicture, if you come into my office and you're like, you know, I'm hitting thisand I'm hitting this, but I'm not hitting this metric, But here's my planto do it and I go and I respond to you and say, Hey, like, gosh, I'm sorryyou're not hitting that metric. You know, there have been plenty of times,and my sales career is the first time sales manager that I really, you know,didn't get things done. And it's okay. How can we work together to figure outhow to do it? Your stress and tension and face is gonna, you know, releaseright. And you're going to relax and you're gonna feel like it's okay tofail, and you're gonna be OK talking to me about that. And so it's not as muchby in as it's making it okay, right? I think that's That's for thatvulnerability side. I think the other side is you cannot Ah, lot of peopleexpect sales managers to just know what to dio, and they do not. Management'shard leaderships hard. I find very much so that people don't even explain thedifference between management and leadership to a first time people careleader. And so it's like the basics get...

...missed and they go straight. Thio.Here's how you calculate forecast. Here's how you make sure that you'retraining them on the sales side. But what about the people management side?And what about the people leadership side? And that just does not getgenerally taught? You're you're given more responsibility, but you're nottaught how to deal with that. I love that. I wanna switch gears a little bitbecause you got, you know, a new role, what about six months ago or so at somepoint last year and made it into the C suite. So congrats. First of all,congrats on that. I'm curious as a naive salesperson early in his career.What's the difference. Like, do you feel a difference in these first sixmonths between being the CEO, having the sea in front of your title versusbeing a VP or an SPP in some of the world's you've had in the past? Yes.Exposure to quite a bit more than what I had exposure Thio at the S V P level.You know, I I feel like I can be incredibly proactive. For the firsttime in my career in general, I don't have a lot of reactive approaches,which has been really nice. I'm leading departments that I actually have noidea how to do their job, which was which was really, um, it firstintimidating, right? Like I'm leading the finance Department. I came up insales. So you have to know that I am not a finance guru, right? Like thatgenerally doesn't go hand again. Eso It's It's been really interesting torealize. Okay, I don't know what you dio, but gosh, I've learned how to leadand I know how to hold people accountable. And I know how to getpeople motivated. And so do I have to know everything about their job anymore.And I realized that the answer is no, I don't right. I get to just truly leadand help them solve problems. And that's been a lot of fun. In the SBProle, I was head of sales, so I was at the executive table. But it was still avery, very different general feel than the role I'm in today for sure. So how do you come into that? Thosedifferent departments, right? And obviously you have a lot of experience,a lot of success, you know, high tenure. But you you don't know how to do thejob of some of the people that you're managing. Like how do you How does thatwork? You know, like, how do you make sure that you're giving the rightguidance to folks and maybe get educated more on the finance world? Or,you know, different parts of operations that maybe you weren't exposed to, like,how do you fill in those gaps? Yeah, you know, it's funny. Just this week Ifinished a Lincoln learning on 66 Sigma, and so that was fun. I didn't thinkthat I would be taking that in my life, but I'm an executive sponsor now. forsix Sigma projects, so I need to know at least the basics and understanding.So I do stuff like that all the time. I read a lot. I make sure that Iunderstand, you know, specific processes and and especially in the HRdepartment that I'm leading like I'm I'm reading an article every day, righton what are the new laws and what are the things that we need to be cognizantof? And so you know, I'm doing that. I'd say more than that. It's, it'slet's go back to the roots of everything that I've learned. And it'scuriosity, right? It's asking a lot of questions. It's evaluating my talentand finding out where they are and where they're holes in theirdevelopment. And it's the whole in the development is specific to their theirdepartment. Then I'm gonna have to figure out either a how to lean onother people. To gain that knowledge. I'm gonna have to gain it myself, orI'm going to invest in that person s so that they can go get what they needfrom another, and that's happened right...

...like that. That stuff is going tocontinue to happen but But leading like an understanding problems and leadingdirectors and VP s and S V. P s, you know, is you got a lot of smart peoplewith a lot of tenure, and most of the time they just need the confidence tomake the decision. And that's my main job is to help them solve theirproblems, you know, help them with their people problems, which at the atthe end of the day, we're all eating people and help them build confidenceand the decisions that they're making. You mentioned that you read a lot, andI'm not sure if that's just, you know, industry news and things like that. Ifit's also books. But But if it is books, I'd be curious if there's any of thatyou have had a major impact on you or any of that. You suggest to other folksor, you know, gift to other people that, you know you think is a very valuablebook for people to read if they're coming up in whether it be sales orleadership or just more life related. Yeah, I am a super fan of the lunchYoni books. I I I've been to his unconfident. I have had the individualsessions hosted by the table group, and so I am a super fan there. I read allof Patrick Lynch, Joni's books often and over again. I think that, you know,that's something that I brought into the organization. And now here LoftWall was like, Okay, we had this rapid growth. It's time for some really good,just healthy organizational structure. And, man, does Patrick Lynch Eonni havesome really good, just foundational things that are important? I would say,like for any first time executive or first time you know, VP, that's lookingto really understand organizational health. The advantage is prettyphenomenal. Is there one of his books in particular, or just You can't gowrong across the board. Yeah, it's actually that. So it's called theAdvantage. Yeah, it is a it's kind of I think it's like five of his bookssummarized and put into one. So it's everything from you know what Yourmeeting cadence should look like how to build teams and trust within yourorganization. But Thio, your thematic goal as an organization and your rallycry, and the importance of the pillars that support that goal. And so it'sreally good, and it gives you a feel of who he is now. It's not as fun as someof his other ones because he writes in Fable, which is another reason I thinkI love it, because it's just so easy to relate to the characters. But, yeah,the advantage is a really good one. Um, Thio, invest some time and I love it. I love it. And you mentionedlost while obviously, that's a new role that you took last year. And that's aninteresting business to get in during Cove it right? Like trying Teoh. Youknow, I guess kind of like safely separate people, whether it's in, youknow, in office, environment or health care, whatever it might be. So I'd loveto hear you talk a little bit about the decision to go there and why you madethat move and a little bit of what you folks are up to right now. Yeah, Yeah.So, yeah, making a move in the middle of pandemic is an incredibly stressfulAnd I know a lot of people have had to go through that. You know, I I took along hard Look at what I was doing at the time, and I had at just to go backa little bit at very very desk, you know, come came on toe 40 inbound salespeople and really had the opportunity Thio build a B two b organization fromscratch and on my own. And, man, do I wish Revenue Collective was around forme back then because I would have eaten that up because I was on an island onmy own and I built the entire thing and it was amazing and it ended up being200 people in 100 inside and 100 outside and, you know, across thecountry and worldwide, even in Australia. And it was amazing and I gotout of that and I really have the opportunity to look and think like,what do I What do I truly want to do...

...next? Right? Obviously a ton ofexperience now in sales leadership, and do I want to go do that, or am I readyto get uncomfortable? And that's where Bryce, the CEO here at Loved Wall himand I had been in contact over the years. I would mentor him he wouldmentor me. We'd meet up for lunch once a quarter, and I was jokingly saying tohim, I know you guys were growing like crazy, Are you? If you're everinterested to see 00 let me know And it was pretty much from that that he'slike, Let's do this thing right Like So I think here it left. While you know,they have been a really small kind of lifestyle company, they've been aroundfor 10 plus years, not focused on growth. They were fine being, you know,a couple million a year and having like 10 employees. And they were they weregood. And then all of a sudden, they bring Bryson as the CEO. He comes in.He's very growth minded marketing background, really great product andbusiness leadership. And and he's like, No, no, no, we're gonna grow this thingAnd then they blow up overnight with covitz. So 400% growth is what they had.And think about that in manufacturing because you have lead times and it'slike we're gonna throw 75 plant workers and we're gonna throw people atproblems, is how I like to put it so they threw people at problems becausethey didn't have time for process and things were out of control, right? Andhe needed another leader because he couldn't do it all himself. That was atthat sea level to come in and help truly take a deep breath and createstructure, process, organizational alignment, work on things like the corevalues, like do all of that stuff, that I had the opportunity to learn a ton inmy last role and bring it over. And so today we're doing well, we have, youknow, we've scaled back in the plant because obviously when you bring areally great organizational process, you have the opportunity. Thio do morewith less. And so I came in. I think they were like 75 people in the plant.We now have 30 and were able to get the same amount out. So just throughoperational, you know, efficiencies and whatnot, and we're planning on growingagain this year, and and that's by additional investment in product, Youknow, diversification of our brand and even relooking at our salesorganization and making sure that we're doing the right things over there withsystems and processes so lots of lots of fun over here. Lots of growth, whichis always a good place to be. I love it. Sounds like a situation that neededsomeone toe help operationalize it. So it's kind of like the right place atthe right time. It waas Absolutely, That's amazing. That's amazing. So aswe're looking ahead to 2021 for the leaders out there, whether they're inan operations capacity or maybe a sales and marketing capacity, do you have anything that is, you know, top of mind, any new trends that you're watching orany new focus is that that you know, you're trying to get better at or orfocus on the business for loft wall that might be pertinent to those typesof leaders? Yeah, I mean, that's Ah, gosh, I could dio we could probably doan entire podcast on just that question. You know, I think it Recently I wrotean article and ah, lot of it was around managing and leading people in theenvironment that we're in today, right? And I think that this is relevant forsales leaders. It's relevant for CEOs. It's relevant for operational leadersand everything in between. Right is people are filled with a lot of emotionright now. Emotion from whether it's the environment of what's going onpolitically or it's the Koven environment. It's the economy. There'sgoing to be continual things that happen that create heightened emotion.And I think that a focus on how you...

...accept and lead and manage emotion issomething that we really have never thought about in the work place. It'salways been like I don't know how many times people say, Hey, we'retransparent and authentic in this company And then someone comes into themanager's office and they get emotional and the managers responses. Hey, don'tbe emotional about this, right? It's a natural instinct because it'suncomfortable to see somebody get emotional right. No one wants to be onthe other side of that. It's it's not comfortable for us, and so we try tostop it. And so how do we train? Our sales managers are leaders arefrontline people that hey, let's go ahead and accept what's across thetable from us. If their emotional, how do we make sure we maintain thatcuriosity and let them know it's okay to be emotional and get them out ofthat state so they could move on to the next task. And that's something thatwe're going to start working on here. And this organization is making surewe're training our managers on how to manage emotions in the workplace, and Iwould recommend that everyone look at that. It's not something we've dealtwith in the past, but it's definitely something that's here today, man. And not only that, but trying todo that. You know, for many of us, through zoom or slack or whatevertechnology. So I personally find that it's never easy to have thoseconversations. But I find it to be even tougher to do through a screen thanbeing in the person where in the room with the person where you could maybesince their body language a little bit better and have a more personalconnection at least more easily that way. So that's a whole nother layer ontop of everything to for sure, absolutely and even more important thatwe're that we're not just saying how you doing and they say you're fine andyou move on like actually care. Is that what you would do if your mom said shewas fine. Probably not like, let's ask, Let's ask again. No, how are you reallydoing? Like as a person, right? And when we get busy, it's really easy toforget that it really is. So it's super important right now for sure. Yeah, andI'm a believer in, you know, bring in your whole self to work, right. Like itZ it's it's tough to, you know, separate both those things like let'sgo back, you know, 20 years when you know you are, Ah, new mother and inschool and and work like you weren't you weren't not doing those thingswhile you were at work, right? Like those thoughts still come into yourmind. You're still probably tired because you're not sleeping very muchor you know you're overworked or your stress. So, like again, I think thatgoes back to your mantra and philosophy on people. First leadership of tryingtoe understand where people are coming from what people are dealing with.Everyone's got in a different situations that ever I feel likeeveryone is stressed out to some degree based on all the different factorsgoing on and to trying to understand where people are, so you can leave thembetter and work with them and, you know, help them be their best and be happyand fulfilled their job. So not a nisi, not an easy position to be in. Yeah,yeah, absolutely. You hit the nail on the head. Yeah, Well, Steffy, Iappreciate I think I speak for everyone that that's got, you know, theirheadphones in right now, while they're working out or doing laundry or, youknow, walking the dog or whatever they're doing that you are amazing.You're a badass. And I'm very excited that we got to have this conversation.So maybe we can wrap this by if you have any last words for the folks outthere that are, you know, leaders or potential leaders out there. And thenwhere can we find you? Connect with you? People have questions for you. What'sthe best way to reach out? Yeah, So I I'd say, you know, final words, andthis is kind of my mantra out the gate is Don't be afraid to try something new.And don't be afraid to try risk. You know, if you think that you're notquite there. What's the worst that could happen? You fail, you'll get backup. So I that is my number. One thing that I go back to all the time is justtake a risk. I'd say to find me, I'm pretty active on LinkedIn. And so Ithink connecting with me there is...

...probably best I post a ton. I'd love toconnect with all of you out there. And so my Lincoln is just under StephanieValenti. You can also look up loft wall, and you will find me there under people.Perfect that, Steffy. Thanks so much for coming on. Appreciate it. Thanksfor having me. Alright. Thank you for listening to that episode of theRevenue Collective podcast. This episode was brought to you by six centspowered by AI and Predictive Analytics. Six cents helps your you unite yourentire revenue team with a shared set of data to achieve predictable revenuegrowth. If you enjoyed this episode again, please The only ask that we haveof you here is that you go to Apple. You can subscribe. You can rate theshow. Five stars, helps us grow the show. Share it with a friend you know,use revenue. Collective. Hit the slack group. Share with people. Thanks forlistening. We'll be back next time with another episode. Go out there and begreat this week. See how.

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