This episode continues the conversation that Donald and I had.
In Part 2, we talk about:
- Why managers use buzzwords
- Being honest and candid when giving bad news
- How employees can affect culture
Make sure to subscribe and catch all the episodes this week to hear the full conversation.
Surrounded ByInsanity: How To Execute Bad Decisions
Donald has survived mergers, promotions, re-organizations, and downsizing. Throughout his career he has led multiple teams of varying sizes consisting of both on and offshore resources. He has successfully led multi-million-dollar projects and was selected to complete a two-year program to become a lean six sigma certified black belt. Donald has a degree in Computer Engineering and an MBA. In-addition to his corporate experience he has co-founded multiple companies. Donald is an award-winning speaker and the host of the podcast “The Corporate Middle” where he answers the most common middle management questions. He is the author of the book “Surrounded by Insanity: How to Execute Bad Decisions”.
Episode 77 – Transcript
Welcome to the sales experience podcast. My name again is Jason Keter. Very excited you’re here.
This is part two of the conversation that had with Donald meter. If you missed it, check out yesterday’s episode where we started the conversation. I also set the framework that what happened with Donald and I knew this was going to happen in advance.
I literally recorded that intro with him on the call because I knew what was going to happen. We recorded 40 plus minutes of really good stuff. It was really fun on our end and, I wanted to break that into five sessions here, miniseries throughout the week.
Hopefully you enjoy that. This is part two. Make sure you subscribe so that you get this show every day it comes out. So you can keep up with this series this week as well as all the shows that I launch every single week for now. Enjoy part two.
I don’t think your job as a manager is to sell it. I think if you go into a room with your team or your peers, you know it was not a popular decision and you may even believe it’s a bad decision. If you walk in there and give the company line, you just lost everybody. You lost trust, you lost the whole thing.
Right? If you walk in and say, boy we’re going to gain a lot of synergies, this is an exciting time in our company. Right? And they do that. People do that, right? Because they don’t know what else to do. Do people really use all those change management?
Oh my gosh. You know, there’s so many buzzwords. I almost want to, don’t want to make it too much of a cliche, but they do that in, the reason they do that is because they’ve never been trained how to handle this situation.
They don’t know what to do. And not only that, they may not even know. I know there’s been situations where I’ve had some policies come down that I personally did not even understand. I didn’t know what they were doing. So how can I walk in and sell a decision that I don’t even know what’s going on? Right?
You can’t and so what happens is people walk into those rooms and they say the company line, or they say something just completely off and you lose everyone, every stops listing because come on this guy, he doesn’t know what’s going on.
So the right way to do that is, to be honest, is to walk into the room and say the truth. I know that I’ve had the situation where I’ve had to lay off people, which doesn’t matter if it’s the right decision or not. That’s hard.
So people do not agree with it. No one ever says on your Siem, boy, I’m sure glad we’re laying off people and yet you have to do it. That’s part of it, and so if you walk into the room and say, you’re doing this to save money and whatever it is, nobody respects that, that they don’t care.
All they know is now they have more work because there’s less people, right. All they know, one of their friends is gone. Those are the situations. You walk in and you have candid honesty. You walk in and say, you know what?
We had to let somebody go today and it sucked. I hate it. I hate that we had to do it. We had to do it because the whole company’s getting hit. This is a situation that happened. Here’s what we’re going to do going forward, and here is the impacts you can expect. That’s honesty, right? You can walk in and say, this stunk, I hated doing it.
This is the reality, here’s the impacts. Here’s the effect you can have. Here’s what you expect to have on your day to day job Yeah. That is what’s going to keep people engaged. They’re still not going to be happy, but if you come in that honesty perspective, the candidate perspective and say, yeah, you know what?
This wasn’t fun, nobody likes this we’re going to have to do it. That makes a huge difference in the relationship that you’re going to have with your team going forward Yeah, and I’ll say from my experience, it’s funny because it matches my sales style as well.
Whenever I’m in a sales situation is complete honesty, good and bad, sometimes overly brutal, you know, not sugar coated. Most of my career in sales and selling has been direct to consumers, people in trouble financially with their home, whatever it is, and sometimes it’s just brutal truth as what they need to kind of shake out of their current situation and make better decisions.
But also, you know, my management style is that same way comes from a place of caring. So it comes from the right place inside of me. It’s not just an ego thing or a confrontational thing, but I’ll tell you whenever there’s been changes that have gone on that I’ve had the rollout, even if I agree with them, I’m all about just straight up, no sugar coat.
Just explain it, talk about it and address what you said earlier on, which is, you know, everyone only cares about themselves. People don’t like change. Fundamentally, the primitive part of our brains do not like change. We like to stay in our comfort zone.
That’s why it’s called that. We want to stay inside the cave that we live in, even though it drips and it’s mouldy and maybe there’s rats in our prehistoric cave, but if we moved to a new cave, that one might have a bear in it or we might die and so we’d rather stay in what we have now instead of something else.
Even when I’ve rolled out changes that were amazing, I literally, and I’m not selling it to them, but I literally know this will be an amazing change. I know this will be great. For example, we are getting new leads and so everyone’s going to get new inbound phone calls from a new lead source and most of the people fight it because they don’t like change and they don’t want something new.
What I literally know, honestly, it’s a great decision and they’re still fighting it. It’s always fascinating when that happens and then on the flip side, like you said with layoffs and bad news and things like that, I have also been a part of where there’s going to be a lot of changes.
Ownership has said we want to change the compensation plan. The script part of how we sell this service and, we don’t think the current people can make that change. Like we don’t think they can actually adapt and make 180 degree change in what they’re doing.
So I was tasked with bringing everybody in on a Friday and letting the whole floor go and starting over fresh with new people I had hired for Monday who didn’t know any different, Right Yeah. And I think any time you’ve been in any type of leadership role, you’ve had those types of experiences and you kind of hit on it a little bit is it doesn’t even matter if the change is good or bad.
That is irrelevant. It’s a change. And no matter if it is the right decision or not, if you have a team, there’s somebody in that room that hates it and thinks it’s a terrible idea. Absolutely. There is always, always, always going to be someone that resist and thinks it’s a terrible idea. No matter what you do.
Now there’s certain things you can do obviously to get more people on board with, you know, being honest about the challenges that are going to come because of it. You know what personally is going to affect them.
There’s certainly things you can do, but you’re always going to have that resistance. There’s always going to be somebody that’s going to question it and think it’s a bad idea.
So in your experience, because I haven’t talked a lot about this on my show, cause this is more management ownership level, how much do you see corporate culture, you know, mission, vision, core values type of focus affecting the role of a middle manager, whether it comes to sales or any team like that and their ability to roll out either changes or to manage people or hold them to kind of something bigger than whatever ones you know.
Cause obviously there’s, everyone only cares what’s in it for them. But when there’s a bigger kind of umbrella over everything, how have you seen in your experience, because you’ve been in the corporate world a long time where you know, that can ease some of it or help everyone understand, okay, we need to do this because this fits in with these higher kind of purposes.
You know, one of the things that I see is when things go wrong or people are not being successful, there’s this tendency to blame culture and values. We tend to say, well, you know, that’s not the culture of this organization or you know, this was the wrong mission and vision and I don’t believe that.
I think there’s so much of organizations, especially the larger you get, and you have what I call micro cultures, right? So every little team has its own culture. They have its own values, they have its own norms. So it doesn’t even matter as much what the big global mission statement is. It’s really what’s happening in that individual team.
I think everyone has ownership within their little subgroups of what they do and the values that they have. One of the things that I’ve seen is so important is to make sure you understand that, understand that there may be this big global culture out there, something that looks good on a postcard, but you are responsible for developing the micro culture.
You are responsible for what’s happening within your team and within your organization, and so many times you have to make sure that you’re focused on pulling this group together and keeping them focused and you know when everything is going crazy outside, if it’s surrounded by insanity, right?
If everything around you is crazy, one of the things that you need to do is create an isolation strategy. You have to make sure that your team is locally focused on what they’re supposed to accomplish and not distracted by bureaucracy or policies or things like that. I know there’s been multiple times I’ve had to pull my team together and I don’t like this strategy because you kind of pull them away from the company.
You’re trying to keep them close, but sometimes you really have no choice. You have to bring everybody together and to say, hey, listen, it’s crazy out there.
There’s all kinds of rumblings. I know you’re hearing rumours, policies, and ignore all that. It’s just noise. I’ll handle all of that. Let’s just focus on what we have to do. Let’s focus on, here’s our sales skills. This is all that matters.
We can’t control any of the craziness that’s going on out there. This is what we can control, so this is what we’re going to control. You have to make sure the team is focused on the values and the results that they can personally control. Otherwise they will, they’ll, they’ll spiral out and they’ll start hearing all these rumours and going crazy and there’s only much you can do about that.
But that’s the biggest thing is making sure you create that micro culture on your team, even with your peers, right? You don’t have to be a manager or a leader to be responsible for that culture within your team organization.
You can have influence on it at any level, and so make sure that you’re focused on that. Creating that culture within your team, within your peers that focuses on what they can control and focuses on where they actually can have impact, because that’s what’s going to matter.
That’s how you’re going to keep people focused and that’s how you’re going to keep people successful.