Ep56 Langley vs. the Wright Brothers: Embracing the Complex Conditions that Lead to Breakthrough Results
Welcome to the Inside: Sales Enablement Podcast Episode 56
The close of the 19th century found Samuel Pierpoint Langley and Orville and Wilbur Wright in a competition to create a powered and controllable flight. Langley worked with a lot of government support and enormous public exposure, while the Wright brothers worked quietly using their own resources.
Langley built a monolithic 54-foot-long flying machine had two 48-foot wings — one in front and one in back. It was launched from a catapult on the Potomac River in October of 1903 and it fell like a sack of potatoes into the water.
Just nine days later, the Wright brothers flew a trim little biplane, with almost no fanfare, at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Their advantage? They’d mastered the problem of controlling the movement of their plane by focusing on the environment in which they operated. Windy, uncontrolled, volatile, requiring the plan to harness those conditions.
The results were remarkable, and as they say, the rest is history.
In this episode, we’re joined by Amy Benoit. An Orchestrator who is also focused on harnessing the often volatile, uncertain, and complex environment that salespeople operate within. While many (most?) organizations build out their monolithic sales engines with overlays, technology, and management support, Amy focuses on working “light and lean” to get moving and get results.
There’s a lesson in this episode for all of us, what do you think?
Welcome to the inside sales enablement podcast. Where has the profession been? Where is it now? And where is it heading? What does it mean to you, your company, other functions? The market? Find out here. Join the founding father of the sales enablement profession Scott Santucci and Trailblazer Brian Lambert, as they take you behind the scenes of the birth of an industry, the inside sales enablement podcast starts now.
Scott Santucci 00:34
I’m Scott Santucci.
Brian Lambert 00:35
I’m Brian Lambert. We’re the sales enablement insiders. Our podcast is for sales enablement leaders looking to elevate their function, expand their sphere of influence, and increase the span of control within their companies
Scott Santucci 00:48
together, Brian and I’ve worked in over 100 different kinds of sales enablement, initiatives as analysts, consultants or practitioners, we’ve learned the hard way. What works and maybe what’s most important What doesn’t,
Brian Lambert 01:01
and our focus is on you as a sales enablement leader and orchestrator, as you know, sales enablement, leaders need to really operate in the gap between strategy and execution. And blend those tactics and strategies together to be mission and goal focused. prioritizing the right goals at the right moments, guiding the narrative by confronting reality, to drive results by design and not effort, so that you can unlock energy and create momentum by catalyzing change through collaboration. That’s our list of what it takes to be a great orchestrator. And you heard about that on an earlier episode. On this podcast, we’re gonna start with a centering story, just like we usually do, and I’m gonna hand it over to Scott and then we’ll introduce our guests. Scott, what do you have for us?
Scott Santucci 01:46
Okay, I love this, this centering story. So if you don’t like it, or if people don’t like it, so what i love it and you know, it’s partially my podcast too. So I’m gonna start out with this. So First of all to give everybody a little bit of hint we’re starting. We’re starting out our story in the late 1860s. And have you ever heard Brian or Amy have someone named Samuel Pierpont Langley? Samuel Pierpont
Brian Lambert 02:15
Langley Air Force Base? Yeah.
Scott Santucci 02:17
So what does that? Tell me more about it. What is Langley sound like?
Brian Lambert 02:24
The Air Force Base? Yes. There’s an Air Force Base named after him.
Scott Santucci 02:28
That’s right. And also there’s Langley Virginia where the CIA’s headquarters.
Brian Lambert 02:34
Yeah, that’s right.
Scott Santucci 02:35
So there’s a lot actually named after Langley. That’s That’s because of Samuel Pierpont Langley. And Samuel Pierpont Langley, Langley. He his story. We’ll get to how this how this matters here in a minute because it’s pretty interesting. In the 1860s, he took over the Allegheny observe Observatory in Pittsburgh, they were completely broke. It pretty much didn’t have any working materials and by 1868 He’d raised funding together, he’d done a lot of analysis and came up with the Allegheny time system. Around this time as you guys, as everybody knows, the railroad industry is exploding. And one of the things that was really difficult is how do you tell time. So he devised a really hyper accurate timing system that he would use the telegraph to dispatch at the morning and at night, the exact timetables that were used to run all the trains. And that became a profit center for the Allegheny observatory between 1868 and 1883, when the US government took that over and had taxpayers funded, so that’s pretty smart. Then he went on to do to keep doing that, that research and then he won the top astrophysics awards in the US and in France in 1886 and 1889, respectively. And here’s where the story becomes very interesting. And then we’re going to hear hear about some people everybody knows about In 1896, he created the first steam powered glider over the Potomac. He had a steam engine, it was the first sort of unmanned propulsion unit. And the government. He had friends like by this time Alexander Graham Bell took a picture of this you can go find this on the on the internet took a picture of this photo in 1896. Andrew Carnegie was also his friend by this time in 1896. He was the head of the Smithsonian Institute, which a lot of people heard about. And the opportunity of creating manned flight was really a big deal. So he got he raised $70,000. And if this is before 1900, so if you adjust for inflation, that’s basically a $2 million Seed Fund, you know, if you will, to get flight. He hired a bunch of teams of other people who are similarly well represented. In what well respected to him, but was he the first person to fly? No, no. the Wright brothers were and In contrast, the Wright brothers are two guys out of Dayton, Ohio. Neither of them have a college education. None of the people worked on it were college education, and they had zero dollars, yet.
They were the first people to fly to create a man play a flat plane and fly it successfully. And one of the kinter interesting things about this and where this pertains heavily to our Stuart’s story. What Langley did is do all these flights on the Potomac River, he created a launching device actually like a sort of like a mini aircraft carrier. And the reason he was doing on the in the Potomac is that the the woods and everything around it, he could control the environment as best he could. Whereas the Wright brothers used the design point of having a lot of wind and One of the things that was really important to them is making sure that they could have the gears to adjust and make the flight adapt to the to the weather. And that turned out to be the critical success factor because aerodynamics are so unpredictable that you need to be able to create tools for it. And that’s not something that Samuel Langley factored in. So basically, with $2 million, a star studded cast, a guy who’s got a incredible success track record behind them, with a lot of great science behind it and great minds, was beaten out by a bunch of guys who were bike mechanics, who really just worked on confronting the complexity and repeating it, repeating it and repeating it. That’s our story.
Brian Lambert 06:46
Great story. I love that. And also just a little tidbit on that that I remember is, the Wright brothers actually figured out how to operate on three axes. And that’s why because there’s little adjustments you’re talking about, not just two up and down. Left and Right, they had to figure out the third axis. And that’s what one of the one of the little things that made it work. But that’s a great story that I remember I got to ask so. So what what the heck does that have to do with sales enablement?
Scott Santucci 07:15
So what? Well, here’s what we’re getting. Here’s how it ties together. One of the things that we’re talking about is Stratecution. And we’ve been talking about this concept of Stratecution for some time. And one of the things when we think about strategy is we think about, hey, let’s hire in a Bain and McKenzie or people like that to go do the studying. And certainly on a sheet of paper, if we were betting people, most of us if we were forced to bet, we would probably would have bet on Lange Lee’s team instead of the Wright brothers team. The issue is what the Wright brothers did, that the Langley team didn’t do was lean in on the complexity and Tinker and Tinker and constantly widdle and change And make rapid adjustments in day to day, based on specific observations by leaning into the complexity. And that’s really what we’re talking about here is that’s really the role of orchestration is being able to think strategically. So in other words, have a vision of what you want to do. At this point in time, no one in the world had created manned flight flight apparatus. However, in order to make it work, you have to be on the ground doing the work, and balancing between both of those different points. So that’s really what our what our goal is of how do we make this idea of Stratecution come to life? What is it Orchestrator do and how do you activate success?
Brian Lambert 08:43
That’s great. And to help us with that topic. We’ve got a special guest somebody who’s living in that that space of Stratecution Orchestration and making it work. It’s Amy Ben, wha How you doing Amy?
Amy Benoit 08:55
Hey guys, I’m well, thank you for having me.
Brian Lambert 08:57
Great. Thanks for being here. So let me interrupt. Do you see a little bit you and I go back to the CES conference in 2019, where you and I first met and we actually broke bread together at the sales hood meeting with Eli Cohen. And you and I talked there, we had Erich Starrett, with us and actually Scott was there as well. And he had his simpletest, jacket off, lab coat. And you and I chatted a little bit. And we’ve been in touch ever since. And we’ve been talking about the concept of activating a team, enrolling the strategic view with the executive team, and then cascading that down through the organization and across the organization to get the right people involved. So I’m glad you’re here on the podcast with us to unpack these concepts. And can you tell the audience a little bit more about yourself?
Amy Benoit 09:49
Sure, can. Thank you a couple of things just from your story. Langley is from just outside of Boston, Massachusetts, as my mind I am now Living in San Diego but born and raised natively to the Boston area. And similar to the Wright brothers, I would say one of my approaches to my work is leveraging experimentation. And I’m always trying to, as you said, Tinker, to make sure that we are doing things to create value. I’m, I’m a consultant I started a business a couple years ago and helping executives make decisions. And once we have those priorities, making them into reality as fast as possible. I’ve learned over the years that if you state the obvious and create some action oriented plans and you get the buy in from the right people, you really can create the energy to move and make momentum for those plans that you need in place. I help organizations operate to scale and more smoothly. And it’s really fun to do. I always say that I’m a persistent person who believes in ambitious goals. And if, if you hire me, I provide you with this impetus, if you’re a dreamer to kind of stop dreaming and just do it, and I think that oftentimes is, is the difference between getting things done and not just starting.
Brian Lambert 11:29
That’s certainly one of the things that I appreciate about you is that idea of engaging and getting things done. And so back to the centering story, when you think about flight, it’s interesting, it seems simple. You get up in the air and you fly. But when you look at what it takes to figure that out, and I love the word tinkering, the Wright brothers did a lot of that tinkering. And they had to figure out things like how much you know, how do you provide the thrust? How do you provide the lift How do you, you know, make it light enough to get off the ground? And then as I mentioned, you know, this idea of how do you control three dimensions or three axes. So let’s start with that centering story and the concept of tinkering. I’d love to hear from you, Amy. Just what are you tinkering with right now? And do you have any examples of of how you’re you’re in that space trying to figure it out to tackle that complexity and operate on multiple axes.
Amy Benoit 12:25
Side note, I have flown in 1947 Cessna, which is completely off topic. But now that we’re talking about planes, I feel like I need to say
Brian Lambert 12:34
that’s the thing about planes if they, if you if you maintain them, they last a long, long time.
Amy Benoit 12:40
That was a cool story. We can get back to that at the end. But my client right now I have a client that I’m working with, and I’m working to build continuous learning and sustain effectiveness in this organization. That’s a big goal to take on. And something that is in need of a lot of advising and continual work. And if I, if I give you some background to this, I think it might help just from the terms of what I’m working with, particularly with this client, and we’re get a little hairy. Sure. Um, at the beginning of this year, this particular business unit, and the whole company merged into a very public software company. And it wasn’t determined until the end of q1 which ended in April for this fiscal year that they were going to actually remain within this larger organization and the business unit then at the beginning of May started to be able to create their go to market strategy and get financial metrics, goals and everything like this. And they brought me into partner with them to develop their go to market strategy and actually just build this culture of effectiveness. They wouldn’t call it that we’re calling it that. They just want their folks to hit their goals, a huge plan for me. And typically, you will have an annual kickoff or something with companies. There wasn’t one this year because they passed the threshold of kickoff, and then there was the pandemic.
So, we created a business unit kickoff, or what I’ll call an off site, virtually, of course, we needed to, to figure out why we were doing this and the goals for the entire organization. First and foremost. And I think that’s oftentimes where business leaders and people in general lose focus. You know, they’re trying to kind of just tackle everything and anything that comes their way. And an enablement. And in life, a lot of folks lose traction because of this because they’re just like, Alright, here’s an open area, I hope something resonates, whatever it does, we’re gonna, you know, lean on that and make it work. I had to pare back with the Vice President and really focus more on helping them see what the plan of attack was going to be. And focus in on that like laser sharp.
Brian Lambert 15:48
So let me let me unpack this a little bit, right. So yeah, this situation where a lot of variables right so leaning into the reason this story is a bit of a proxy here. Going out and tinkering with, you know, we’ve got our, our leather helmets on the right, right brother style. And we’re trying to figure this out. So we know what are the things that are known and a bit unknown. So we know that there’s this need to either communicate or drive change with the sales team. Because the merger is happening. We know that there needs to be some sort of cascade of the strategy. It sounds like because of that, and then there’s this idea of driving the the results and the y that you’re you’re alluding to, right, but then there’s these variables like COVID, we’re not going to be in person, we’re going to have to figure out something else. And I can, I can imagine that there’s a lot of questions in that, right. Is this a huge event where we strap everybody to chairs for three days is this, you know, a couple hours a day, you know, how do we adjust for these conditions and make this land right? So let’s stay at that level. Tell us a little bit about How’d you guys go about figuring this out? And what did some of those conversations look like? Because I would imagine there’s some tension there between. I’ve seen, you know, this idea of let’s keep doing what we’ve always done and just moving all virtual, versus, to your point, driving the why,
Amy Benoit 17:16
yeah. So if we go a layer above, and we figure out that the team has now set priorities, and one of the priorities is of course, hitting quota. However, we have a new business, we’re in a whole new organization. So perhaps our life is staying the same, but the context around our life changes. And for this team, what that meant was the fear of the unknown and really, a need to understand does my messaging change part Understanding that and unpacking that, in this continuous learning effectiveness was to create a team off site. And that would do two things improve employee engagement. And I say that and I do also mean talent retention and also help you to as a sales organization hit your numbers because the messaging aligns the concept of going virtual we abdun flowed in and out of throughout the, the few weeks that we were planning this. Originally it was perhaps the leadership team will get together and everyone else will be virtual. We ended up doing a full complete virtual based off of the environment. And focused on just the content that we were delivering.
Brian Lambert 19:06
Yeah, that makes sense. And if you want what I’m seeing in my mind’s eye, you know, as we’re thinking about this, it’s there’s balancing acts, or there’s trade offs here, trading off or balancing the long term with the short term. In one, one situation, as you think about this, there’s a need to move fast, at the same time be programmatic and not random, right? And then you’re also really, there’s this juxtaposition or this trade off between what the executives want to tackle versus what the reality of the reps are, where their heads are at, for example, and then you’ve got the time challenge, right? There’s, we have we have a certain amount of time, how are we going to use that wisely. So those are, those are some of the things that you’re alluding to here and this gap between strategy and tactics, because what I’m not Hearing is, hey, we need to do some sort off site. Let’s go. Is it done yet? You know, what are we doing? Where’s our where’s our agenda? You know, the next day he said it takes it’s taken a couple weeks to plan that out and plan that through.
Amy Benoit 20:12
Yeah, you know, usually these take months, you know, if not half of a year to really plan and formulate. And so we went, we Gosh, we measured this in days instead of months or weeks. But I would say timing was important, because we’re already a quarter into the year we’re talking April, end of April, the quarter started in February, and we have to hit our numbers and we have not yet brought the team together for that beginning of the year, motivational, inspiring kind of collaboration. So timing was a source of debate. And as the leaders and I got together, it went Back and forth a couple of weeks of do we want to have this rolled out through multiple weeks and months? Or do we want it to just be a one to two day something. And then after that do follow on, we went back and forth. But we ultimately decided that it would be four hours. One time, that will be the catalyst for the enablement strategy that we developed for the year. That was my mindset. And the story that I was sharing with the executive team, knowing that they were not fully on board yet and to get there. In part, it’s not just the sales folks that I was educating and getting their buy in. Once this program ran out. My hope was the leadership would say We did this it was effective. Now we can do a bigger long term strategy.
Brian Lambert 22:06
Yeah, that makes sense. And one of the LinkedIn posts that you had Remember, you were writing about? Look, I don’t it’s not really about the agenda. It’s about this idea, that strategy, we have to execute the strategy, right strategy without the ability to execute worthless. an execution without a strategy is miraculous.
Amy Benoit 22:26
Love this comment, because a lot of folks in positions that are you know, they’ve been working for 15 years, and they want to do less tactics and the way that I see it, yes, you know, you want to be in part of that strategic conversation, but it takes a lot of tactics to get the wheels moving, and continuously driving the momentum. A lot of the work that I do, I will say, I think that it’s the energy part of it. That’s the hardest part and takes the money. Most buying, once you see that it’s working and the wheels are turning, you can then start leaning the tactics over to other parties and building more and more strategy.
Brian Lambert 23:17
Yeah, so it’s a plan and refine based on reality, through doing through tinkering through doing Yep, learn by doing and in that way, you’re in tune with the reality much like the Wright brothers were or, you know, Langley, was it, you know, he was trying to control the environment. the Wright brothers were trying to control you know, harness it, so to speak or use it to their advantage. Right. That’s, that’s what I’m also getting the kind of the vibe from you here is, look these the COVID thing, too many could be a negative, but how do we use it for an advantage? This this trade off decision of the amount of time we’re going to spend on something And the decisions we need to make how do we use that to our advantage? The fact that we just went through a merger? How do we use that to our advantage, right, instead of the woe is me, you know, all these things are happening to us. And let’s just get it done. Right?
Amy Benoit 24:16
Yes, I think that the flow was helpful because we had we were able to focus our entire off site on one. One thing, you know, we developed a go to market strategy. We want to put that in front of the team. We need them to receive that and not worry about anything else. So oftentimes, you do a lot of events, experiences, and there’s a lot that is being brought in to really help enable the team but it can be so much that You don’t get what you’re supposed to be focusing on. So for this, it worked in our favor, that we were able to focus solely on something. And I think that that was that one piece of my puzzle that was game changing to the experience.
Brian Lambert 25:19
Yeah, that’s great. When you look at the, that’s another trade off, too, right? So you’re talking about motivation, and people being motivated. And at the same time, you’re talking about rolling out the go to market strategy, right. So that’s, those are yet you know, some other variables here. And then the one thing focus on the one thing versus the many. And this this allows people to focus and Scott, one of the things that you and I’ve talked about love to bring you in here is this concept of focus and really getting energy and momentum behind something and that’s what’s coming to my mind here is, you know, we’re not we’re not in the throes of the agenda. How did Amy pull off an agenda? What we’re trying to do here in this conversation, At Stratecution level is figure out the why and the what, so to speak, and really harness the energy of, of the people to do that. What do you what are your thoughts on that?
Scott Santucci 26:11
I think that’s Thank you, Brian. I want to help create some room to really give this point, more focus. I’ve been involved in a lot of transformation projects, the ones that fail. The energy kills it. It’s the energy. And what’s difficult is that I’ve tried I have, it’s very hard to bring that up, particularly CFOs. I literally got called a crystal loving hippie one time and if you know anything about me would know how far off that is. In real life, but I literally called got called that. And so I think that concept of energy is really important. I think we tend to manifest it as a people thing. It’s it’s a collaboration thing. It’s a how we get thing, it’s a
Brian Lambert 27:01
Scott Santucci 27:02
momentum. And I think one of the things that Amy said really early on is, hey, look, whenever you do something new, that has that has a deadline associated with it, and a short time cycle, you’re dealing with a lot of fear. And when people are scared, you don’t get their best effort. You get the worst of humanity, when you’re dealing with fear. Yet, in order to do something different, you have to lead and you have to get people to be their best stuff. So part of that energy, I think, really, really resonates with me. Amy, can you describe a little bit what you mean by energy? Like give it some context so that other people who might talk about it won’t, won’t run into being called a crystal loving hippie by other CFOs?
Amy Benoit 27:51
Sure, I find. Unlocking energy means that there are so many ways to Do that. But for me, the way that I think about this is people like to give back. And oftentimes, in organizations, you have these people that are doing their day to day jobs, and they would be so happy to share what they’re doing or collaborate on a project that is a little out of scope. And that type of opportunity for them unleashes this excitement, empowerment, energy, whatever you want to talk positive, though. And if you have enough of that, and you receive in, you’re able to tie it in to that focal point, your momentum is going to be much higher than you just having the three or four folks at the top of the business, doing it day in and day out. And you’re able to get so much more insight From the people in the business, and that’s how I kind of unlock energy and create momentum.
Brian Lambert 29:08
Yeah, that’s great. how critical
Scott Santucci 29:10
that sounds a little Kumbaya ish to me, a part of the part of the challenge that you’ve got are. So let’s let’s take the notion that people do want to give back which I agree completely, what happens to the people who want to give back where they basically should on everybody else. That’s something that Brian’s coined, where people want to lecture other people and say, This is how you should do it. This is how you should do it. This is how you should do it. Doesn’t that alienates the rest of the team? So how do you balance the the fact of there is that raw energy I agree with you completely that people want to either help or contribute or be seen as valuable? How do you harness all of those, all those and get them into now here’s a crystal word harmony or some sort of cohesion because There’s, you know, frankly, there’s there’s some skull cracking that has to happen to like, it’s not all like, all positivity, right? How do you balance all of those things and all of that energy? Or are you just the Sham? Well, for all that pain, and you just take it, like, what does that look like?
Amy Benoit 30:18
You definitely have to facilitate it. It’s not just, we open up a door and say, Hey, whatever you want to offer we’re going to offer so there’s a vetting process that goes through what is being shared and what should be then shared to the masses. tribal knowledge is important. sharing best practices k store, you know, studies, things like this are very valuable. However, we need to vet them as a leadership team to make sure that it’s scaled and it makes sense across the board and that it’s not just stay allowed angry. person that would go against the goals of
Scott Santucci 31:05
right? You got to two forms of tribal knowledge though, right? You have the tribal knowledge of the group of people whom are literally building new thing as they speak, you know, tinkering around like the Wright brothers. And then you have the tribal knowledge of the host organization. Right. You’re so you’re preparing the transplant, right the organ to be transplanted in. How do you keep the host from rejecting the transplant? Because that is a different form of tribal knowledge. And since they’re not getting to participate in the thing that you’re building, how do you how do you balance that?
Amy Benoit 31:42
It takes master facilitation and I I am trying to figure out how I put into words what I do, because there does seem to be a way of benevolent dictatorship of Amy That comes across in a caring, empathetic way, where people where we receive what they’re trying to do. However, if it’s not aligned to the goals, then we redirect it to something else not to say we don’t have a leader, discuss it with them and collaborate to get something out of that to bring to the broader team to motivate and inspire everyone, but it won’t be shared at the organizational level. And I really think that that’s a part of proper communication and level setting at the beginning, not to say, everyone, whatever you say is going to be able to be used. Right? That wouldn’t be a proper level set. But if you say we were looking for you to share your best practices, once you do, we’re going to vet them and we’re going to go through and see which ones work. If you go back to the person and say, Hey, this was good. Great, here’s some feedback. You know, we’re gonna use it in this way versus this way. I’ve not experienced the, the overly angry person.
Brian Lambert 33:12
Yeah. And we’re in the space of of orchestration with this, I just want to be, be clear, right? And that’s what I was asking me just in this space, what does it feel like? And I think Scott’s chiming in is really been helpful here to say, you know, not only making trade offs on the strategy, tactics, p Stratecution. There’s some trade offs here in Orchestration and it is really hard to put into words and you know, some of the things that that I would get your get your reaction on here, let me let me test some of these things out and you can react I believe there’s, there’s, there’s a set of principles that exist in this space of orchestration. So when I say the word principles, it’s it’s things like, you know, what, what are we doing with idea. What do we really focused on achieving it to some extent, a little bit around, you know how we’re going to work together? What’s your reaction to that concept of some principles in this orchestration space?
Amy Benoit 34:15
principles sound like guardrails? Mm hmm. You know, if you’re going to orchestrate having a plan or having a frame of it, and where the people are going to work within scope. Make sense? And that’s kind of what principles sounds like to me.
Brian Lambert 34:34
Yeah, like the concept of guardrails? Yeah. What’s in bounds out of bounds? You know, what game are we playing? I don’t
Amy Benoit 34:40
know how many times you know, I’ve had to bring back the team to because the first thing you’re always wanting to do develop goals to your plan, right. And while we were planning this, and there was a working team of leaders, five folks, I had to continue to come back and say, hey, look This is what we’re trying to do anything that we design needs to be centered around this, you know, kind of keeping the guardrails in place, because oftentimes folks will forget, you know, and and just want to conquer and boil the ocean,
Brian Lambert 35:15
right? Yeah. And one of those principles is like, Look, you know, people want to give their best, and they want to be their best. But let’s make sure the best idea leaves the room in it. what’s what’s the best idea for this outcome? That could be a principle to? In other words, we’re not going to do it, because because everybody says or do because one person says, We’re gonna vet it, like, like you talked about, we’re going to vet it with leadership, or, in this case, we’re going to vet it as a team against the outcome using our guardrails, for example, right?
Amy Benoit 35:46
Yep. And sometimes consensus is a principle. You know, it doesn’t need to be the head person to make the decisions. If we get critical mass in the right time. That’s what we go for. And we set those parameters hers. As, as consultant, I always start with that, you know, what are we going to do to start moving the needle faster? Because that’s how I’m helping you out weight your competition. So, do we believe in consensus? Great, let’s go.
Brian Lambert 36:15
Yeah. And I also like this idea of, you know, in this space, the outcome or the goal, and I think a lot of teams enter into the work and they’re not really clear on what the outcome is. the Wright brothers outcome was, was we’re gonna, we’re gonna get this airplane in the air. That’s the same outcome as Langley. We’re gonna get this in the air. But the principles that they had to work within were completely different. Langley was we’re gonna, our principles are around, we’re going to control the environment. We’re going to factor in and we’re going to minimize the wind, we’re going to minimize everything else. In fact, we’re going to do it right here outside of Washington, DC, where we can watch everybody can watch us and see how awesome we are with our $2 million. You know, that’s a that’s a set of principles that he operated with him on the Wright brothers sides, like we’re gonna, we’re gonna wait we’ll our bicycle gears and flimsy apparatus to a dune. And, you know, we may get killed, we’re not sure. But we’re gonna we’re gonna harness the environment. And we’re gonna figure it out as we go. That’s a whole different set of principles. And those two things are, you know, if you took somebody who’s doing it right brother style and you put them in the Langley situation, and vice versa, you took a Langley person who has that set of principles and put them in the Wright brothers situation. You know, to me, this is the challenge of orchestration.
Amy Benoit 37:36
You know, the other thing here is, especially during this time, folks are having difficulties reimagining what they you know, converting experiences from live to virtual and you have to remember what’s our goal, it might look different than what you’ve experienced in the past. But we have to completely, you know, create a goal and then say, we might get to it in a different way. You know, the Wright brothers are not going to be showing it off when they’re trying it out. But their goal is the same. We want to be able to fly. Right? You don’t have all the money or the resources. So, you know, might be rinky dink, and that’s okay. And if we get to fly, that’s still an accomplishment. So a lot of the retraining of our brains to say we do not have to go this exact same way that we’ve always done or thought we always had to do to reach this particular goal is something that a lot of my executives are struggling with.
Brian Lambert 38:48
Yeah. And I think so my one of my working hypotheses in this is that the goals are still the same, you know, we still have to close deals. We still have to get in front of executives. We still have to Get our airplanes in the air. You know, those goals haven’t changed post COVID. But the principles and the kind of the mental models or the framing of that has completely changed the environments to completely change. So that’s what I’m outlining here. And this concept of orchestration is orchestrating a whole new sense a set of principles to unlock energy and get the best out of people like you’re talking about when they you know, some of that work involves reframing what’s really important, like you’re talking about, and then getting the little quick wins, like you also shared so I think these are good analogues in this space of orchestration. You know, people might not be equipped to do this and they might need some help and new sets of skills, they might have to unlearn some things, etc. Have you seen that happen at all?
Amy Benoit 39:48
I feel like I’ve always had to retrain adults. Um, you know, adult learning is difficult and it’s not as simple as childhood learning because you just Just as a child, all of the information, as an adult, you already have preconceived notions and concepts. Intelligence, you know, and obviously, with the internet, you can find anything in debate to the death, but it has not changed from like a core of how I operate, because I’m always up against those executive sales folks who say, We don’t need this, you know, that that’s kind of the backburner, or, you know, all we need to do is hit our numbers, when really if you don’t have a system in place, it’s not going to operate to scale. So what I’m seeing here, through the COVID times, is actually folks now seeing that they have to change the way that they’re doing things. You know, nothing, nothing new to us, but they’re now giving some space to them. To
Brian Lambert 41:01
Yeah. And the thing that I think that is the struggle is what does it mean to perform? What is performance really look like? And having the performance conversation right now is a bit difficult. And I’ve actually encouraged people to say, you know, your value as a human being in this sense right now, in this space right now, the value you have is between your ears. It’s your brain, use it, you got to use your brain and just figure it out. and encouraging people to do that is a bit scary on one hand, and a good reminder on the other. But this idea of what is performance because a lot of the challenge that I’ve seen is performance equals we’re comfortable and happy in our job, and we’re not overworked. That’s how some people define performance. Literally. If I’m happy I’m performing. That’s not That’s not the definition of performance in the Wright brothers situation. It’s, it’s making progress towards the outcome and the goal. So, you know, that’s that’s part of the the thing. I think that’s happening, and there’s many more that I’d love to unpack in this space. But the reason why I wanted to draw, draw some of these distinctions in this orchestration layer is this will determine how in what you activate, right, and there’s a whole bunch of tactics there that will, we’ll say for another time, but the way in which you process this as an orchestrator and frame these things out, determine what you activate. So if you’re not framing out guardrails, if you’re not framing out the definition of performance, if you’re not framing out the vision and the goal with clarity, if you’re not framing out what it means to contribute an idea and have the best idea, leave the room. These things all show up when it’s time to activate, you know, they’re gonna they’re gonna get you I think
Amy Benoit 42:59
It’s interesting that you share the principles ahead of time. So, do you get buy in when you do that, you know, here’s sometimes you have the principles, but the the performance and the team Yeah, often what I have to do, because the language that I’m in and the, the goals for the executives that I work with, I have to almost have a secret weapon to, to share my insights once we’ve already established program. You know, the, the key to my success has been not giving them too much detail about the energy and the, you know, the language that I would use as a professional within this space and just start doing it and then have them see the successes and then back into the intellect of enablement or orchestration. Because if I start with that, they look at me and to Scott’s earlier point, you know, whether they call me a woo for talking about energy work, or just think I’m a teacher because I’m doing enablement. So I have to just sometimes start it and start just doing very big picture like, you know, effectiveness and you without using any of these words, but the so that’s something I also thought about all the articles I’m reading right now about learning programs, quote, unquote, becoming a key strategic imperative right now, where we all know that these things have been happening for the last 15
Unknown Speaker 44:48
years and Mark, those are usually written by learning people
Amy Benoit 44:53
completely right. So it’s like, yes, we’re all getting on board. which is fantastic though. It There’s been tried and true ways to do this for years, we’re iterating. Now as we should be, and using more tools or tech, whatever you want to say, but the fundamentals have been there for forever.
Brian Lambert 45:14
Yep, that’s right. And I love that. So, um, my last word on this and then I’ll stop talking and let Scott take us take us home here and take us out. But this idea of being clear on where you stand, So to your point, Amy, not bombarding people on the front end with let’s talk principles, and let’s talk about our definition of performance. But being clear on as an orchestrator what these things are, and what these things mean, and what your real purpose is on the team to orchestrate success. And thinking about this stuff beforehand, I think is critical. And that’s to me, that’s what that’s called leadership. Right? So, for our listeners out there, tying back to our being heroic framework, these concepts that we talked about earlier. episodes, to me are directly related to operating in the space of an orchestrator. So Scott, I’ll pass it over to you. Any last words, so to speak from your perspective and and how would you recap and synthesize what Amy and I have been talking about?
Scott Santucci 46:16
I want to leave with a with a quote that I think is very pertinent. It’s from Albert Einstein insanity is doing the same things over and over again expecting a different result. And really, that’s sort of the crux. Brian, you and Amy were talking earlier on about the goals not changing. That’s, that’s that’s been true with humanity forever with sales. We always want to sell more things to more people at a higher price point. Duh. The issue is the environment around us is changing. It’s not just COVID though the world in sales has been very unproductive and inefficient for some time, it COVID frankly, just exposing it and making it comfortable to talk about and i think that’s that’s really, I think That’s a really key point here that we’re talking about these kinds of things and the need for orchestration. And the other thing that the second point that I want to highlight is something that Amy said when I was challenging or a little bit about energy is she she talked about this need of a benevolent dictator, I think was the term that she had. One of the things that’s critical when you’re actually having people change to do to approach a problem in a way that they haven’t seen before. The muscle memory of always have done it, you know, these are all the ways that I’ve done into why I’m in this position of leadership in the first place, and you’re telling me none of that’s going to work? Well, I’m not saying none of it is but I’m saying the environments different right now. And it’s not working. That’s what I’m saying.
So let’s quit being insane and expecting doing the things over and over again that have a different result. And frankly, guys, that takes courage. So you have to sit you have to get a firm position, you have to have the courage to stick to it. And then you got to be able to stick to your guns. That’s really the the point of defining principles. So for everybody’s benefit, we identify when I say we’ve, when we started the sales and a one society bill, I broke built principles and lead with them. And when things worked, people thought the principles and things didn’t work. They didn’t follow the principles was that cut and dry. Principle number one was lead with you, which I think Amy did a great job about I’m going to comment on that. Principle number two is have courage. And that means the person who’s leading has to have hyper courage. That’s why we created the being heroic framework. You have to know that you’re actually leading and leading means directing the the energy, content, you know, confronting these, these repeatable patterns and moving forward. So those are some key, some key summary points. What I want to do is highlight out. And if you’re listening to that, you’re probably wondering like, well give me the summary. Give me the takeaway. Well, I think if you’re if you’re thinking that way, you’re probably not ready to be an orchestrator yet honestly, what you have to do is lean into how do I empathize with what Amy saying? That whole conversation that her and I were having about energy is a tough conversation to have. And it’s one that we don’t have words for yet. The whole concept of how do we reset goals and get people to create that momentum? That’s these are, that’s vocabulary we haven’t set yet. The idea, something that I agree completely with what Amy said, which is you just got to get people going for it. Can people overthink things to death and then by the time you’ve thought through it, where you’re comfortable, six months have gone by and you lost your opportunity. You have to get started and get moving. But how did you get the funding to be able to do it when the people who have the money have to have a bigger project plan? It means we have to change even how we think about project plans and what we’re doing and get into this motion of Sprint’s and workflows.
So there’s a whole bunch of input implications here. And the reason that we’re doing these podcasts the way that we’re doing them is so that you can learn from people who are actually doing it the tinkers the people who are really obsessed with making flight happen. And to kind of pull this back forward and why I really love the centering story is the people in the Wright brothers worked, because they did both. They concentrated on the big picture. We’re going to fly to Brian’s point he mentioned earlier on, they were at risk of dying. They put their lives on the line. At worst, the Langley team they would crash into the Potomac River, from what 20 feet high, big deal. You know, if you don’t keep can’t swim, you’re at rest, but I doubt anybody that they have out there will be a swimmer. Whereas the Wright brothers risked their lives. They went all in. And that’s courage. And these are the kinds of things that we need to take. So I hope if you’re listening to this, we really put me on the spot if you don’t know, Amy, Amy’s an introvert. I know that she’s probably going to have some decompression time after this because we talked about this afterwards about the energy exit exhibited, but we really put her on the spot and you got to hear exactly what she’s thinking and what gears are dealing with in our brain. Please listen to that and put yourself in those shoes and don’t listen to it passively. Like you’re studying it like the Langley team. either be Orval and
Brian Lambert 51:38
I over you horrible and Wilbur Wright,
Scott Santucci 51:41
thank you. You can be like them and recognize that they’re probably going to be paying super attention because they’re putting their lives at risk. And I’m not asking you obviously to put your life at risk for your job, but your career you need to be thinking about it with that kind of importance. If you You really want to be in that Orchestrator role. And we saw a lot of that courage here in this podcast right now from Amy. And, you know, these are the reasons why I’m such a big fan of yours, Amy, that you continue to put yourself out that there you lead with vulnerability and strength. At the same time, you’re willing to say exactly what’s on your mind in the moment and think it through, and you got put on the spot a lot, and you thought it through and you publish your thinking. And that’s the kind of stuff that we all need. Because this is a new role. These are new things that we’re being asked to do in a new time. And this is what you need to do to not be insane and do the same things over and over again and expect a different result. It’s not gonna happen. We have to do things differently. And that’s the purpose of this podcast. So those are those are my Those are my wrap up thoughts, any Brian any or any reactions?
Amy Benoit 52:54
I have a thought Yes. So there’s a principle for going back to principles. I used and it’s based off of agile, and if you’re a software developer, you know it, but it’s really just, you, you build something, you put it together, you, you measure it, and then you learn from it. And that cycle just continues. And it’s, you know, whenever anyone says, oh, you’re gonna build something, and then you can just leave it in, it can sit and it can operate by itself forever. That’s not going to happen. You know, we all have to, we’re all continuously learning. And if you take those learnings and rework anything you’re doing, it’s just gonna get better. And that’s what I think of as principles. When I’m when I’m doing any of my work. It’s, you know, we’re gonna build something here and it’s gonna be a most viable product to get out the door. And then once we get it out the door, we’ll get feedback on it and we’ll make it better. And if you’re with me here, you know, buy in from the executive or whomever your partner is, then no That is not that just an end result that you’re putting out and it’s going to be the last thing. It’s going to be a continual work in progress.
Brian Lambert 54:08
That’s right. Thanks so much, Amy. I really appreciate it. And for everybody else listening out there, these are the types of conversations that really get Scott and I excited and Amy as well. So feel free to reach out to us anytime and let’s talk this stuff through. We need more Orville and Wilbur writes, as well. So you know, keep testing and learning with us and and we appreciate your feedback. As always, check out the the latest episodes, were over 50 now, and that’s great. And thanks so much for your time, Amy. Appreciate it. And Scott, as always, thanks for drawing these things out. We’ll see you guys on the next show. Take care.
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