Ep32 Leadership in a world of VUCA

Ep32 Leadership in a world of VUCA

Welcome to the Inside Sales Enablement Podcast, Episode 32

Fresh off the COVID-19 Series, the guys take a deeper dive on Leadership in a world of VUCA.

Volitility – Lack of consistency

Uncertainty – Impossible to know fully. 

Complexity – A large number of interdependent factors.

Ambiguity – Haziness of reality – impact of many interpretations.

A new way of doing business is going to emerge. The old approach of sales responds to demand, marketing creates demand model isn’t going to work. Because we’re in an experience economy. We believe Sales Enablement leaders can usher in a new world by being heroic.

They guys talk through the Being HEROIC Leadership Framework using a real-life case study example of a project in-flight.

    H (Holistic): Leaders recognize the whole is greater than the sum of the parts

    E (Engineered): Leaders understand how the parts best fit together

    R (Reality): Leaders understand how the human element impacts how the parts behave

    O (Ongoing Operations): Leaders build continuous and sustained improvement

    I (Impactive): Leaders understand how they message to the community of stakeholders will ultimately drive action

    C (Collaboration)Collaboration and inclusiveness are required to drive cohesion in the commercial process

Join us at https://www.OrchestrateSales.com/podcast/ to collaborate with peers, join Insider Nation, participate in the conversation and be part of the continued elevation of the profession.


Nick Merinkers 00:02

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 00:36

I’m Brian Lambert. And we are 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 00:49

Together, Brian and I have worked on 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 more important, what doesn’t.

Brian Lambert 01:06

That’s right. Hey, Scott, we’re coming off of our COVID series. And, you know, one of the things that we’ve been talking about is what have we learned inside our nation? Oh, thanks so much for all of your feedback on that. And there, there are four things that that we learned from the COVID series and all the interactions that we’ve had. One, there’s a lot of things going on all at the same time, a lot of choices that need to be made, especially for sales teams. Two everybody seems to be adjusting to a new normal work from home video communication, the act of getting things done is different. The economy’s taking a severe hit. Since we put out this the series. Today, 14 million people have lost their jobs, unfortunately. So, helping people take action and find their path forward has really become a top concern of our listeners. And because of these things, it’s unreasonable to conclude that how we’ve worked in the past normal will work in the new normal. And that leads us to today, in this episode, leadership, what is leadership? Well, quite simply, it’s what to do, what not to do, and then creating the environment to get it done. In our view, Scott, and I both believe that sales enablement has to take a leadership role right now, a new way of doing business is going to do emerge, the old approach of sales responding to demand, marketing, creating demand, that model isn’t going to work anymore, because we’re in an experience economy. And we believe sales enablement, leaders can usher in the new world by being heroic. And with that said, Scott, why don’t you share us a story to help us get framed around this idea?

Scott Santucci 03:02

Excellent, Brian, and thanks. Thanks for the introduction. So, Brian, have you ever heard of a person by the name of Joseph Campbell?

Brian Lambert 03:13

No, that sounds familiar. But I don’t think so because you always go to like, the 1600s or something. So, I don’t know if I know that Joseph Campbell far back.

Scott Santucci 03:24

So, Joseph Campbell, was a professor. So, he’s a he’s no longer among us for Sarah Lawrence College. So, what the heck am I referring to a professor from Sarah Lawrence College. But in 1949, he published a book called the hero with 1000 faces. So, let’s think about 1949. I’m gonna come back to this because it’s really compelling. But really, what what he noticed, and I don’t know if you notice this a lot, but all of us have been through English class, you know, in college, and you know, high school. Many of us have had to read that dag on Beowulf, and, or the Iliad, the Odyssey, things like that. So as an English professor, he’s he’s reading all these things, and he starts to realize, you know, what, there’s a lot of common threads regardless of what period in time they are. In a Beowulf is written in 1200s. And the Iliad and the Odyssey was written or told thousands of years before that, there’s got to be there’s a common pattern to this so he’s gonna figure it out. And really the book of a hero with 1000 faces, what he came up with are pardon the terms. The archetype archetypical hero based on world mythologies that a called the monomyth. And really what he figured out regardless of you know religions, mythologies etc, all cultures that exists on the planet have transferred their cultures and their their code through this narrative of a hero’s journey. And that’s really what’s remarkable about it. And what’s even more remarkable about this this is that I think a lot of us can relate to Star Wars as a perfect example of a hero’s journey that’s inherently relatable. George Lucas, who built that referenced Joseph Campbell’s work, and actually hired him as a consultant as he was making the movies to make sure he was following this particular script.

Brian Lambert 05:37

Ah, makes sense. Now, now I remember. Yeah. So, what does that have to do with sales enablement?

Scott Santucci 05:48

Right. So what? Right? Yep. So, what’s interesting about it is the reason these stories work, is that, you know, throughout all of humanity, we’ve always been tackled with confronting change that’s come that’s complex to us at that moment in time. So, think about Frankenstein as a hero story. And that’s about navigating through the industrial, the Industrial Revolution, and all the all the weird things that are play there. We as humanity had to emerge from the cage, this the cave, the safety of the cave, and going out and exploring new worlds, somebody had to have the courage to say, no, we’re not going to be chasing around all these, all these wild animals, I’m going to plant grass right here, and I sit and watch it grow. Like all of the things that we’ve done as a society have really evolved by people taking risks. And in every one of those situations, they’ve encountered what we now call vuca. The world around them has been ever changing, and it’s uncertain. And the reason that these stories resonate for us so much these heroes stories as they help us deal with it. So let me just give you a little bit of concreteness, about what vuca means for us today, and relate it to what we’re dealing with and what the topic is. So vuca is an acronym. And it’s used to describe the general experience that either a group of people or a society or a team confront in a rapidly rapidly changing environment. So, volatility, it is the it’s basically the environment that’s liable to change rapidly and unpredictably. In complex systems, it can flip from one state to another very rapidly. So, we are definitely going through that right now. Yeah, definitely, certainty is the inability to know that whole thing fully, it is impossible for us to know. So, we don’t even know exactly how COVID is transmitted, for example, it’s uncertain. So, we have to make decisions every day, so we get new updates. We’re dealing with that today. And uncertainty comes from the large number of elements, which are independent, that are interdependent interactions. So, all of these things happen and interact with each other in nonlinear ways. And therefore, the way that we want to process information in business is step one, step two, step three. And unfortunately, the world doesn’t work that way. So that creates uncertainty. The next is the one is C is complexity refers to many parts being interconnected and interdependent. So, in other words, you can’t get your job done unless somebody else does their job, right. And harnessing that complexity means that you have to give up traditional concepts of strategy and leadership. But if you give them up, you need a different concept of strategy and leadership and that’s our being heroic framework. And then finally, ambiguity, ambiguity. What’s ambiguity, it is the quality impact of people being open to one or more interpretation. So, in other words, what happens is, because all of us can see the world around us through different lenses, and we don’t take the time to understand it, what happens is it creates a lot of conflict. And that conflict results in haziness of reality and potential misreading of situations or miscommunication. So those are the those are the various things that happen and ultimately in a vuca environment. simple linear cause and effect descriptions of what’s happening. Those are the tools that we all know in business, they all break down, and you’re left with having to confront reality in a different way.

Brian Lambert 09:57

Like baeuwolf and tie it back to the idea of a hero’s journey, because of the current environment, you can think about Star Wars being dropped on another planet or Lord of the Rings and what that environment change was any epic story that has a hero, that environment change, and they had to adapt. And that story unfolded, because the decisions they made, and also who they were as a quote unquote leader in that story, and each found their own path. And that’s that also is why the being heroic framework is so critical to me. How would you react to that?

Scott Santucci 10:37

In terms of a segue, let’s redefine the being heroic framework, we have another episode that for this one, covered that in detail. But just as a recap, if you’re listening, you actually have a story about applying it, we do practice what we preach here on the inside sales enablement podcast. But in that space, being heroic, first of all, the being part is you have to be living it every day, it’s not like you put you take the little hammer, hit the glass, and then pull out your your leadership kit, you got to live it, love it, learn it every day. So, the H stands for holistic seeing things from a complete perspective. E stands for engineered finding, that’s basically embracing the 8020 rule and finding the few measurable things that matter are as confronting reality, data says one thing, but people behave something else, you got to blend both of those two, together. Oh, is a focus on ongoing operations. Just because you did something doesn’t mean it’s activated, you got to make sure it gets activated and run on an ongoing basis is impacted how you communicate D are using passive words or active words? And are you creating the kind of vocabulary that allows people to join together and move forward? And then see is collaborative? have you built the right processes and procedures to to work together as a team? And are you being inclusive of other groups? Are you mandating it onto other people? Those are the elements of the being heroic framework. And I think this is a great segue now into you have a great application story in flight literally happening right now. Why don’t you tell us about it, Brian?

Brian Lambert 12:17

Yeah, sure. So back up a month or so ago, and it started getting engaged on a large project, and we talk a lot Scott in the podcast is in it, you know, in the 30s, here with episodes, and, you know, we have a very distinct point of view. And, you know, I was really wrestling with this idea of what we were going to implement versus the outcomes we needed to drive. And because we’re, we’re positioning an outcome, and we’re driving results. I was like, wow, you know, what, we’ve got to figure out here, how to frame out the result we’re going to tackle. I mean, we’re gonna we’re in a vuca environment, we had discussions about that. And you know, what, there’s this muscle memory of just going and doing stuff and a trillion questions. And I’m like, something in my gut was like, you know, what, we can’t just start answering a trillion questions here. Because if we don’t know where we’re going, we’re going to end up there. Like, that was Yogi Bear that said that. So, I, I was like, you know, we just did this podcast, we did this podcast on being heard framework, how am I going to apply that, because I know I want to be holistic, I know, I want to be engineered, I want to confront reality, I want to build out an ongoing in program, I need to practice this idea of impactive communication. And I want to make sure that I’m being being there for my, my client, in a way that is collaborative. So how am I going to do that? So, I, I took the concepts, the framework itself, and basically tried to position that with my customer. And it was almost

Scott Santucci 13:59

What was the first thing that you did there, Brian?

Brian Lambert 14:02

Well, I listened to the podcast, I put it into like a series of tables. And then I said, hey, Scott, I’m gonna, I’m gonna give this to the client. And he’s like, well, how you gonna position it? Yeah, he said that and we, we basically rolling that out,

Scott Santucci 14:21

Brian, hold on a second. For our audience. What I’m trying to do is get to step number one. What I’m trying to do here is for you, our listeners, trying to model out what steps to take that you can take what can you go do immediately after listening to this podcast to start embracing the being heroic framework? So, Brian described for us step number one, he listened to this, he listened to this podcast. He listened to our last broadcast, which was episode number 31. So, you can go back and and listen to that. It’s called timeless leadership skills for modern times. He was inspired by that. And he said, how do I bring that stuff to my client? Mm hmm. What did you do specifically? You say write it up? What is write it up mean? specifically? What? What would you actually put pen to paper on? And why did you have to write it down?

Brian Lambert 15:18

Yeah, so specifically, it’s a Word document with tables. But the guts of it is the open-ended questions that I felt that my client and I needed to answer to be successful in achieving our outcome? Not you know, how do I be holistic today. But for this program that we’re implementing, for it to come out the other end, you know, whenever we’re, we’re considering this to be successful. People look back on it, say, you know what, that’s a very holistic program. It was very engineered, you guys confronted reality? Right? So those is one of those, how do I do that type of approaches, and I wrote down questions like for holistic? How are we going to know that sales managers achieved results? How do stakeholders defined achieving results? You know, things like that I just sat and, and wrote that down in the tables, a series of five to seven open ended questions for each letter. And then I ran that by you.

Scott Santucci 16:25

Right. So, you and I both know that there’s a lot of resistance, and why would I write it down? And then why would I share it with somebody else? So, the reason I’m bringing this up for you is the listening audience is taking action requires you to actually take action and doing something different requires you to actually do something different, and a lot of value in writing things down. And, Brian, for you, how did it help do that? Because you’re more you tend to identify more as an operator than then then as a leader, right? So, what did you learn by actually having to write it down and talking about it with?

Brian Lambert 17:06

me? Yeah, I know, there, there’s a perhaps a reaction to leader versus operator? Well, these are just to me, for our listeners, these are hats that that people wear. So, when you look at our being highroad framework, and your muscle memory is to implement, that can go a lot of different ways. And what what I was wrestling with was, I knew that a program like this is going to have multiple perspectives and multiple expectations. So, by listening and, you know, obviously, we spent a lot of time, and we help our listeners through this, practicing what we preach we we have to think about how things land, we have to think about the different perspectives that people have. We want to drive outcomes. We don’t want to be random. I could go on and on and on of the things that we would say we don’t want to do. But but the thing about being heroic framework was writing down these types of questions that I wanted to pursue helped me get unstuck, because it was overwhelming to say, look, I need to create a program that gets results, it needs to have measurable ROI, it’s going to be highly inspected, because of the times that we’re in. We’re going to have so many so many people, I want to pile into this, how do I keep everybody focused? What’s the one thing that we’re going to be measured on? And if I would have just started doing activity, I wouldn’t have a common thread, I would have no hero journey, really to, to help my client through. So, by writing that down, and getting over the hump on, let me put myself in his shoes and write this down and think about this. And let me just ask him what he thinks. I don’t have to actually have the answers right now, I’m not at risk by putting this together and saying, you know what, I don’t know the answers to some of these questions. We’re just getting started. What do you think? And he goes, you know, see what he says.

Scott Santucci 19:01

Yep. So, there’s a couple things right. So, if you’re following along step number one, listen to Episode 31. Make, you know, write it down. You know, if you want to think about as a journal entry, if you want to think about as an exercise, however you want to think about it doesn’t, it doesn’t really matter. But putting words putting your ideas down on paper is a big step to actioning. that’s step number one. Step number two is if you can find somebody to talk through it with talk through it with somebody because you can anticipate and synthesize information way easier by talking about it with somebody rather than just reacting to words. Now we’re into step number three. Step number three is share it with your sponsor. In this case, Brian has been hired by a company to help build out or transform a sales coaching program. So, what I want to do is pause here because we’re now in step number three, and I want to give be as prescriptive as possible to people following along how they can go and repeat what you’re doing here, Brian. So now we’re at step number three, you’re going to introduce us to your sponsor. Thank God, our sponsor is a listener of our show, right? But you pick it up here, how did you introduce it? How did you set expectations of what you’re going to talk about? And then what what how did you run the conversation?

Brian Lambert 20:26

It’s like every decision you make as a leader of anything, there’s always pros and cons. And it’s easy to get conflicted, right, you know, oh, this isn’t very polished. I shouldn’t set it like there’s a zillion reasons why not to do something. And I was battling with that. So, I basically said, you know, come on, Brian, just effing send the thing. You know, what’s the worst that’s gonna happen? Right? So, I probably didn’t think, too well. But I put in the email hey, you know, we’ve been talking about how do we drive outcomes together? We have a being a road framework. I know, there’s a lot of words and a lot of questions in here. We don’t have to have all the answers. But on our next call, I’d like to walk through this with you.

Scott Santucci 21:13

Can I pause real quickly here? Yeah. I love that you actually talked about your inner dialogue that you have there about, hey, you put something different together. And you had to convince yourself to have the courage to hit the send button. You know, by the way, guys, that’s why the being heroic framework, if you edge it in your brain matters, you have to have the courage to actually do something different. Yeah. And as stupid as it sounds because you’re not in the moment. I guarantee you what you think about doing versus actually you’re in the moment and now it’s the point of

Brian Lambert 21:52

The moment of truth.

Scott Santucci 21:55

Yeah, the moment of truth, right? And the moment of truth, you actually have to do it. And you’re going to second guess yourself. Yeah, that’s why having the being heroic framework in the back of your head, you need the courage to be a hero. Heroes lead. Yes. Okay. So right, what I’m saying is, don’t discard that as something that’s immaterial, it makes all the difference in the world, because let’s be honest, everybody listening to this, I’ve done it, you’ve done it as listener, I sure know, Brian’s done it, we’ve all chickened out of doing something that we think is is going to move the needle forward. And that’s that chickening out is the lack of courage, you must have courage. And the thing that you should be empowered by is in this vuca environment. Nobody really knows. Nobody knows the answer. So having a shining ray of hope, or, or a method with which you’re going to navigate this through is very empowering. So, Brian, tell us what the reaction was. You know, we definitely heard the inner dialogue, you know, the fear factor? What was the reaction? What was the what was the decision?

Brian Lambert 23:03

He replied back hey, got it. Let’s talk about it. So of course, in my mind, I’m like, Oh, man.

Scott Santucci 23:07

Uh oh right. Can we do it right now? Can we have the conversation right now? Do we really have to wait till tomorrow?

Brian Lambert 23:14

So, we get on the call, and I put it up on the screen, I said, you know, the purpose of this call was, is that I really, here’s, here’s why I sent this, right. So not really looking for feedback on wordsmithing. This, but, you know, look, we have to make a lot of decisions here. The the muscle memory of the organization will be around that this is really just a training program. But your vision is, is completely different than that. We don’t have the words to explain the the way in which we’re going to be pursuing an outcome on multiple different fronts here and having it all come together, there’s so many things that we’ve talked about that are between you and I, that was soon as we replied to your team, or even in the broader sales organization, we have to work on how this lands and have the right message. And you and I both are going to have to make decisions on the fly. Let’s use a framework like this, to help each other create a mental model for making decisions. And also, a shorthand that we can use so that we don’t talk past each other on outcome driving outcomes together. You know, that’s what this is for to me. And he’s like, Oh, that’s so cool. I love it. And he’s like, I went through it all, every single question is frickin awesome. I don’t know the answers to some of these. I got to keep thinking about it. I was like, no, we have to keep thinking about it right? So that was the first interaction around it. I’ll pause there but I was a little bit surprised because I have as you can tell a little bit of a paranoid negative talk track in my head after being whacked upside the head so many times I guess, as a sales enablement leader, but to be Back to your point about having courage. Look, I mean, you know, I helped you build this thing I know it’s existed for nine years, I still had challenges hitting the foot flipping Send button. I can imagine our listeners this hearing this but it but to your point, Scott, in times like this, you this is what’s needed. Like it was so refreshing for him to actually have his input.

Scott Santucci 25:22

Well, yeah, so let’s unpack the word courage again. So, it’s it’s these tiny little decisions and overcoming that voice in our in our head of we’ve always done it this way. Mm hmm. is what we have to overcome. So, let’s, let’s think of another reaction. I’m imagining many of you not wanting to hear the feedback from somebody else saying, oh, geez, there, you’re giving me more questions than answers. We have been conditioned to go that’s not a good thing. I just want to give answers to somebody. Right? But the reality is, if they’re not thinking through those variables, we have to equip our sponsors to have the have the insights. And you can see, um, you know, Brian, the reaction of your of your client wasn’t negative. It was, huh. And then here’s the other key point that I want to make, that I think maybe is lost in the story, by Brian actually saying, no, you don’t have to do it yourself. We’ll do it together. That’s leadership guys, right there. No one should have to go out of the cave and confront the vuca world alone. No one should do that. Leadership isn’t about directing people. Leadership is about doing it together. And that requires a lot of empathy, a lot of courage. And by Brian taking the step, the courageous step to Well, first of all, doing many things, taking the time to write out what his thoughts were. So, he’s purposeful in how he communicates, doing a step that is unnatural, right? I’m gonna roleplay this out before I talk to the person sending the material out beforehand, without having enough control to manage expectations. He did a great job, I think of framing, you know, let me frame to for you why we’re looking at this, rather than diving into the details, right? What I’m trying to highlight are these little, tiny decisions that are different, that make all the difference in the world. And these are the examples of leadership in motion. And this is why having a framework helps to help us do that. So how, how activated to talk to us about I feel like you’re being a little flat with us about what reaction from your client will call him Steve, you know, from Steve’s reaction, was it energized? Was it passive? Was it Oh, my gosh, the weight on my shoulders is on me, give us more of a description of the mood so that people can understand the energizing effect of taking somebody steps?

Brian Lambert 28:07

Yeah, because this is now the payoff, right? So, the journey has started, we’re on the road. And we’re working through some of these things. And it’s a little bit courageous, we’re dipping into the courage well, over, and over. But now here’s the payoff. And the payoff on the mood is thankful thankfulness and a understanding that this did take time. And then also because of the nature of the questions and the types of questions, a realization that deep down in his gut, he had those questions, too. So, there was a relatable piece here of I think I’ve been asking these questions myself and wondering, now I see them written down. I don’t have the answers either. But now we can pursue those. And then also, I want to add a couple.

Scott Santucci 28:54

So that’s another moment of courage, right? another moment of courage is many times you get told, well, you haven’t told me something that I don’t know. If you think that the only value add that you have is to produce information that people don’t know. It’s ridiculous. All we’re going to do is accumulate more and more information and not do it. The fact is what helps a lot is to put down on paper what people do know. And when people see it on paper, it becomes way more actionable than if it’s just out there. Because in our brains, we think things are way more complicated than they really are. When you list things out and put them on paper. Guess what happens? You become empowered to go tackle it regardless how complex is. So, I think that’s another key point that we’re learning here. And then what it does is it becomes energizing because we can go tackle these things together. Yeah, what else? What else happened as a result?

Brian Lambert 29:53

Yeah. So, because of the nature of the work that you and I do, we both have a sensitivity to the either we call it pushback, or sometimes it’s just downright anger. So, I’m always looking for that anytime we do this stuff, and there was none of that. So as as we’re progressing, there was zero pushback, there was zero x, there was zero denial, there was zero anger on this, and I knew that this was working. So, I think that’s part of this too is, if you’ve been in sales enablement, any length of time, it’s so easy to get your head ripped off. And by doing this, I didn’t, I didn’t think I would. But I’m always sensitive to that almost like a dog that gets hit with a newspaper a lot. Unfortunately, it looks like that feels like that. So, I always go in a little bit tentatively, even for somebody like me, to make sure I’m not steamrolling my client customer. So, there was zero of that. So, what we spent time doing, and actually, I just pulled the document up, I forgot I did this, but in each of the ATR row ICS, I put my, my little musings to him I said the key here is.dot.so. For R, the key here with R is, we have to find out the environment before we inject something new, because that’s going to help us avoid being tone deaf. Like that’s, that’s a comment I have about R like, I have these little key here things. And that’s what we spent the time on. Was validating those I forgot I actually did that. And I’m reading some of these now going holy crap, that was good. But the the key here of, hey, you know what, in the hero’s journey, what would Yoda say? Okay, look like? That’s what I was trying to how do I talk to him about this and breathe life into it?

Scott Santucci 31:39

Yeah. So, I think a way to capture that, number one, your value as a sales enablement person, I’m speaking to the audience, I’m not speaking to you, Brian. But your value as a sales enablement leader, is not how much stuff you can do. So, the checklists that you do, your value to the organization is not how much stuff you can get done, you have to recognize that you have to do the work to frame out what your real value is, your real value is that you are interacting with all of the components, the complex environment that you’re working in. And you can give insights, thoughts, perspectives, of what’s required to make it work, to leaders, and get them to embrace it, instead of complaining and expecting them to understand what’s really happening. You can do what Brian did say, I’m going to introduce you over framework. These are some questions about what we what we, team Steve need to do to realize the result that we’re after, then what Brian did, is by saying, these are the keys by saying the keys, you’re getting to introduce your value add without bragging or anything like that. It’s it’s done in an insightful way. So, what you’re doing is you’re establishing or re establishing the value that you’re bringing to bear. And it allows you to do it in a team-based way. Not Brian does this me, Steve does that together, we’re going to drive this to get this activity together. Yeah, and not stress enough how important these little, tiny things are? Because it’s the little things that matter and making big changes.

Brian Lambert 33:28

Yeah, absolutely. And words matter. In that regard, too. And, you know, one of the reactions we got I got out of this, which was, we can’t we need to work across functions, like you just said, Scott. So, this is Steve talking now. And one of the things that this is going to help me with is moving this to to action. This is gonna this language in here is going to help me talk to HR. And I’m like, what, what do you mean? Well, we already have leadership framework. I can’t really just go implement this and roll it out. I was like, Oh, I’m so interesting, right? I’m the I’m the consultant, you’re the client, you think I’m showing you this in order for you to go implement it out? I’m like, no, this is this is really between you and I, but you’re bringing up an interesting point that the words in here is something that you want to talk to HR about, you know, don’t tell me more about that. So that that was an interesting exchange now that I remember it because no, I also because of the nature of my role. There was an expectation of what I produced needed to get deployed. Right. And this isn’t the case here. This is for him and I.

Scott Santucci 34:41

Yeah, let’s let’s pause here. Um, I wish for you, the audience, we had a better way to present the sequence to you. However, we believe it’s really important for you to understand the experience in flight because all Ultimately, it’s making those micro decisions in the moment is what sets apart not whether you whether you did this and did this and did this, the checklist doesn’t matter. It matters less. What matters is in the moment. What do you do? Now the reason I share that is Brian use the word being heroic framework. When he introduced this to Steve, Steve’s first reaction was to almost reject the whole thing. Because he said, we can’t, we can’t roll this out to our sales organization, because human resources already has a leadership framework. So, keep in mind, we’re running into complexity, and we’re going to confront complexity all the time. Does that mean you throw the baby out with the bathwater? No. Brian was prepared to say, tell me a little bit about that, instead of just saying, okay, you’re right, you know, I’m going to stop this and stop talking, which all of us have been in that situation. And we’ve done before, what Brian do is he stopped by his guns and said, oh, this is a tool for us. What then happened is that created the space in Steve’s head to listen more. And then as he listened more, now, he’s at the point of, oh, my gosh, we can actually use this for the rest of our organization. And here’s how I can talk to HR about how this complements the overall leadership framework. So, you see how that goes I nothing is linear. Nothing is linear. It’s it’s the fluidity of a conversation. But by Brian sticking to his guns and having the courage and confidence to work backwards from this framework, it allowed him to not only add more value, but also expand more and more value to Steve, as the conversation happened. And these are the kinds of things that you really need to pay attention to. And if you’re listening passively, or you’re listening while you’re jogging, or you’re listening while you’re riding your bike, or going out on a walk, or whatever you’re trying to absorb. As an analyst, what I’m what we’re trying to do is get you to absorb some of these things as if you’re in the moment. So hopefully, you feel like you’re invested in Brian’s success. You’re curious as heck about what’s going to happen to me, Brian, and Steve, I just want to do a little bit of timeout, stop the videotape, if you will, and help you process it and say, hmm, what can I do? And what would I happen at these individual moments that make or break? Will I show up with courage? Or will I check it out? And that’s why again, we have the being heroic framework. Does that accurately describe what was going on? Brian before pick back up the videotape and, you know, we can start moving to close out how you left how you ended up the call with this?

Brian Lambert 37:55

Yeah, absolutely. And the reason why I think it’s super important is because of the, like you said, the integrated view of the complexity here. Also, my background, I understand where HR is coming from. So that’s part of this is I totally understand why they would say that. I mean, the reason why they would say that isn’t because they want to shoot this thing down. It’s because my goodness gracious, you know, how many frickin frameworks Do we really need? Right? That’s probably where they’re at. We already got one. But the challenge with the word framework, and some of the language that gets used is there’s a a an association that comes with the word that people just pile on a bunch of assumptions. So, the challenge in that moment was not to confront the the idea of my frameworks better. It’s more like, oh, I can totally understand that. I’ve dealt with HR. I’ve been I have an HR master’s degree, I spent all kinds of time in l&d, I totally get where they’re coming from. That’s a good point. And creating that space around there. And then saying a little statement that Steve could say was, you know, a lot of these leadership frameworks were built in the 1950s. And that’s just not the world we live in right now.

Scott Santucci 39:09

It’s a non vuca that they’re built for non vuca environments.

Brian Lambert 39:12

Yeah, I just stopped talking.

Scott Santucci 39:14

Right. So, let’s let’s kind of go back. So why do we? Why did we lead with the framing story? We lead with the framing story of two things. One, is we started with the hero journey to because I know it sounds lame. When we first introduced the hero’s journey way back at Forrester, I had a lot of the same kind of trepidation that Brian had about hitting the send button that said, this is going to be our conference team. You know, internally just sort of imagined I get beat up because it sounds so juvenile and silly. But it isn’t silly when you go and realize that human beings have always encoded ways or clues on how to deal with uncertainty and those clues are all embedded in this heroic framework, then the second thing is, what we have to do is we have to give, the more we give the, um, the lack of clarity, the environment that we’re around and identity, the more it becomes tackable. So that’s vuca. And I realized that that can seem abstract. But it isn’t because we have to give that identity. Now what we’re trying to do is connect the dots between these two ideas that you can keep in the back of your head over and over and over again, so that you have the confidence at every moment in time of how you interact, you show up with the right courage to stick with the new guns, rather than reverting back to the old behavior, which we have to all accept, isn’t going to get us anywhere. So those are those are the things that I want to make sure we connect the dots. Now, Brian, how did you end up? What What were some of the results? Give us sort of like at the end of this meeting? Where were you and Steve, before the call? Where are us at you and Steve after the call? And what Steve going to do next?

Brian Lambert 41:08

So, before the call, we were kind of dancing around some of our own internal talk tracks in our head, and some realities that we needed to confront. So we did, we did both of those on the call, using the document having it up on the screen, we edited it a little bit, I and then my takeaway from the call was, you know, we’re going to have a call with HR and talk through the overall program, not the framework, but you know, we’re going to be heroic and be proactive to to walk the talk here talk, you know, and actually do the stakeholder management, right? Because that was one of the big takeaways from this is being heroic means now, what’s in it for everybody else back to the chicken Hawk episode, stakeholder management. So, CRM, we need to, you know, go back to him. And because we’re going to be driving outcomes, this is not just a training program, we need to build that top cover. So that was a big takeaway was, and he’s naturally wired that way to be a stakeholder manager, so to speak. And that was where he went was, we got to go back around and do a bit of a roadshow to make sure we’re setting expectations around what we’re really doing here, I just want to make sure before we start, you know, in May, that this isn’t process, like a, like a regular training program. And then my takeaway was, you know, what this is working on, you know, this, instead of going into program planning mode, and starting to update on all the deliverables, my output to him is, is going to be a report out on how we’re being heroic every week. So instead of a weekly update on deliverables done and people trained, it’s going to be, you know, have we done h this week, here’s the actions of H, the actions of E. The, the outputs of are the conversations of I, you know, these are things that we’ve both done. And that’s how we’re going to talk and provide each other updates. And I’ll see how that goes. It’s it’s another step. And I’ve never done that before. But I said, you know, what, why the hell would I go and do all the butts and seat metrics when we’re trying to drive an outcome? And since I don’t have any other alternative of reporting out on the outcome pursuit, why don’t we just be heroic together? That’s, that’s the journey. It’s the hero’s journey. Let’s, let’s see how we’re doing.

Scott Santucci 43:24

Yeah, no. So, let’s unpack what’s happening here and how this one conversation is laying the foundation for both Steve and Brian to be successful. So, one thing that I want to really stress for everybody is, if you you know, haven’t had the chance to listen to it, please listen to Episode 13. It’s called the chicken Hawk and the importance of stakeholder management, where we where we use the sort of the same device that we’re using here, with the hero journey. And you know, connecting this to Star Wars, we use a cartoon, Foghorn Leghorn cartoon, to really highlight the importance of it, state. stakeholder management is a complex topic, but at the end of the day, it’s helping everybody get what they want. And what happened as a result of Brian introducing this heroic framework, it r it activated Steve to be a lot more confident on something that he already knew, build on what you know, stakeholder management, but it gave him some language and some ideas on how to activate all these other stakeholders that if we were to write it up, that document would probably be 600 pages of complexity. But by telling it through stories, it’s way easier for him to manage. So, Steve is going to be able to go inside this company and get people galvanized to focus on what’s important, which is this is the goal that we have, rather than evaluate tons and tons and tons of activities and deliverables, engage project that progress that way. There’s one thing that’s happening. So, if you want to kind of let the idea of stakeholder management seep in, go and listen to Episode 13. So, I’m gonna pause there, Brian, is that accurate? Yep. Thanks. Okay. The next thing that happened is that now because there’s a structure, Brian has a format, to evaluate the progress of the project moving forward, I cannot stress enough for everybody here. When you’re in the fit in the thick of doing something transformative, you have to factor in, you need to think of it a lot more like a story arc, you know, Act One, act two, Act Three, rather than the classic project management plan. And when you think about it, and act two, what happens in Act Two, all hell breaks loose, right? Your hero runs into all these different challenges? Well, guess what, in any transformative event, when you’re dealing with multiple stakeholders and ambiguity, all Hell’s gonna break loose. So how you set up the cadence of how you’re going to manage that is so important. And if you’re managing to people’s feelings, or the status of stuff, and not managing to what is our goal, and what’s our outcome, you’re not going to have the ability to gain or influence the executive support that you need to make your transformation work. So, what’s awesome, and what’s exciting for me, for somebody who’s used this method a lot and, you know, run through transform transformative efforts. It’s the things that you do right now set you up for success in the future. And that’s a really hard I call it executing with a bifocal lens. And these are the things that Brian and Steve have set themselves up to be successful for, by spending time to frame this stuff out. And and, Brian, you’ve experienced that friction point about how do I manage to success versus managing to opinion or mood or feeling and or deliverables?

Brian Lambert 45:14

Yeah, that’s right and, you know, I call it setting up the bowling pins to knock them down later, right. So, we’re setting them up here, we’ll knock them down when we need them, you know, that’s gonna happen, like you said, so I’m just Mazal plan for it. And then too, we’re so wired. And I understand this, I’m not being negative about it, I understand that people need to see something in a output format, whether it’s a PowerPoint, Word, Doc, whatever it has to be something they can, like print out, it’s just the way in which work happens these days. So, the deliverables of project plans versus a heroic update, you know, that’s what I call it, the heroic being heroic update, you know, he can print that out still, but he’s never seen it before. And that’s, that’s the cool part is using that momentum of we, you know, we have an output we need to make, to provide an updated status, so that you can do you can be creative. And that’s, that’s part of the magic of this. And, you know, I didn’t know I was going to do that, but you don’t have an alternative. So just do it.

Scott Santucci 48:24

So, to start wrapping up this show, and then talk to you about what we’re going to do next, some of the key themes that we’d like you to take away. So, one is I hopefully the narrative of breaking it down into specific steps that you can go do right now, there’s literally no reason that you can’t go and listen to the being a row framework and write out your own document just like Brian did. So, step number one is we’re trying to be much more relatable to you and say, this is some specific thing you can do right now. The second thing that we think is really important is sharing these things in the moment, I recognize they’re not clinical, and they’re not easy to follow along, you know, and step one, you do this. And step two is based on how you’re currently how all of us are currently wired to process information. But this is a vuca environment, guys, we have to find examples in flight. And we thought this was a great opportunity. So, kudos to you, Brian, for putting yourself out there and having the courage to share your state of unknowingness. Right. But all of us are going to be in that spot. Nobody knows the answer, because no one knows what the new normal is going to look like. And anybody who says they know what it’s going to look like absolutely are lying. It’s not possible to know. So, we have to we have to create a way to figure it out together. So that’s what we’re trying to do is embrace that. Number three, we want to reinforce we practice what we preach will challenge any any other source of information that you want to get on sales enablement and ask whether or not those people are actually practicing what they preach, ask it, you must be able to do these kinds of things. That’s why this show is for you, the leaders who are trying to run it through and that’s why Brian and I are stressing that we’ve been through and done this before, we’ve seen these situations before. Number four, what we’re trying to do is highlight how to take these ideas that may seem may seem big idea or conceptual, but help bridge the gap and make them make it into Stratecution. So hopefully, those are some of the things that you’re taking away, as always, your feedback is, is going to be helpful. What can you do you’re a trainer, or you’re an enabler, or you’ve got a lot of experience? What can you do to help us create a lesson plan to activate this moving forward? So is that those are those are ideas that we would like, we’ve already decided what our next step is. Our next step is, luckily, we have a listener who really resonated with the being heroic framework. And she found herself oh my gosh, maybe that’s why my department is growing in influence. In a very large company, I don’t want to take too much Thunder away. But that’s going to be our next episode is actually a real-life case study about how somebody who’s following these principles, religiously, so to speak, and how she’s driving huge impact inside her company. So those are the things that that we’re going to do. Brian, do you have any pleas to our, to our listeners about activating or anything like that.

Brian Lambert 51:38

Nope, just to keep listening and keep engaged. I’ve learned a lot by the engagement that we get from the insider nation. Oh, and I appreciate everybody listening to my transparency, I felt like I was on the couch there for a second.

Scott Santucci 51:52

So, we need to create a safer space for all of us to feel like we’re on the couch together, because this is how insider nation is going to usher in the future together. So, with that, we’re going to wrap up this particular episode. Thank you so much, Brian, for your time. For our listeners, please stay tuned. If you have not had the chance, please subscribe to our series, please listen to the episodes that we talked about to just to summarize, we have Episode Number 13 introduces our series around stakeholder management, we have three other ones associated with that, that Pat, you know, unpacks it, and gives you more clues on how to handle it. To pick up on the framework a suggestion is listen to episode number 31. Listen to that series, and then try to write out for yourself what Brian did, that would be a great action. And if you’d like to contact Brian or I and let us roleplay it out with you like like I did for Brian, shoot us an email at you know, you can contact us on LinkedIn and the like. And then the third thing is Stay tuned. I think a lot of our listeners know that we’ve launched a survey. I am in the process now. Thank you so much. We have an overwhelming response of our survey, the survey is on the state of sales enablement. In that survey, we asked a lot of open-ended questions, we had had a goal of having 50 responses. Because of you know, 50, we think is a fantastic target. Because of how much open-ended feedback there were, guess what, by our deadline, we had 70 responses. As of today, we have 95 responses to that. So, it’s, it’s great. It’s great that people are taking the time out. If you haven’t, please find a way to go track it and look at my LinkedIn posts to to find it and participate. But we’re in the process. Now, if you participated in that survey, we’re going to get out you the raw data. We’ve also are recruiting people to be guest analysts, one of the things that we want to make sure that we do is not push too much of our bias onto the analysis. So, one thing that I’m doing is checking my biases by interviewing other experts in this field, you’ll you’ll hear more about who who’s participating to take a look at the feedback and give us perspectives without sharing what our perspectives are. And then we’re going to record panels of people sharing that information without us, you know, tipping the scale, you’re going to hear these panels talk about these particular issues so that you have more of that perspective, culminating on May 19. We’re going to have a webinar, sharing these findings. So, there’s a lot going on that we’re doing. We’re really energized about the response that we got from the from our COVID series. If you haven’t listened to that, boy, you really should, if only to hear the richness between hearing, Dr. Howard Dover, Kanaan metha, who’s worked for a private equity firm, and Lindsey gore who’s a salesperson to give us some yeah That sounds, that sounds great. But here’s what really happens in the field kind of perspective. It’s great to hear all that because these are the kinds of things that help you bring it all together. With that, do you have any any last thoughts to say Brian?

Brian Lambert 55:14

Nope see you guys on the next episode. Thanks, everybody. Thanks, Scott.

Scott Santucci 55:17

Take care.

Nick Merinkers 55:20

Thanks for joining us. To Become an insider and amplify your journey. Make sure you’ve subscribed to our show. If you have an idea for what Scott and Brian can cover in a future podcast or have a story to share, please email them at engage@insidese.com. You can also connect with him online by going to insidese.com following them on Twitter or sending them a LinkedIn request.

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