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Ep32 Leadership in a world of VUCA
Episode 3216th April 2020 • Inside: Sales Enablement • Scott Santucci, Brian Lambert, Erich Starrett
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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 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



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