The B2B Revenue Executive Experience
The B2B Revenue Executive Experience

Episode · 4 years ago

Mike Reagan on Increasing Self-Awareness

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Inboxes fill up, task lists go unchecked – we all have times when we struggle with maintaining the balance between our personal and business lives. But if we want to be our best, we have to take the time to work on ourselves first, and understand who we are and what we bring to our relationships.

Self-awareness plays a key role in optimizing the work-life balance. To help us understand how we can increase our self-awareness, we sat down with Mike Reagan, a 25-year sales and marketing executive and advisor for Threat X.

You are listening to the BDB revenue executive experience, a podcast dedicated to helping the executives train their sales and marketing teams to optimize growth. Whether you're looking for techniques and strategies or tools and resources, you've come to the right place. Let's accelerate your growth in three, two, one. Welcome everyone to the B Tob Revenue Executive Experience. I'm your host, Chad Sanderson. Today we're talking about a topic important not just to sales and marketing professionals, but anyone who has, you know, to pay the bills. We has to live a business life right. We want to focus on ways that we can increase the success in their careers by increasing self awareness. But a hot topic continues to be a hot topic. Maybe I'm just old. It's been a topic for a long time, but it seems to have come back with a lot more fervor lately. Everyone is extremely busy, always things to be done. In box keeps filling up. Task this doesn't seem to ever get resolved. Yet if you want to be if we want to be our best, we need to take the time to work on ourselves, to have a personal life and focus on the people that we are and that we bring to our business lives to help us. We have Mike Reagan, and executive with over twenty five years of sales and marketing experience WHO's currently and advisor for cybersecurity company Thread X. Mike, Thank you for taking the time and welcome to the show. Thanks Chat, happy to be here. So over the last few years been a great deal of focus on this concept of balance personal and work lives. I think it was Tim Ferris wrote the twenty hour work week or four hour work with something like that. Yeah, it's reality of the always on world, right. Means people feel like they always have to be connected. We actually joke and sales that there's no such thing as vacation, it's just working from a different location, right. So I would love to hear why you think this is such an important topic and you know how to focus on being and maintaining a healthy balance between work and personal life. Yeah, you know, it's interesting. I I want to say probably pen or fifteen years ago or so, it's suddenly hit me that there doesn't need to be...

...this crisp blind between personal life and work life. And you know, in reality were it's our life right and and our life is rooted for the most part in the way we interact with others and with the world. And it really begs the question, how do you want to sort of live your life and how? What are the goals that you set for yourself and your interaction with others? And when you think of it that way, set of your job is just another dimension of how you're interacting with others. And so, first and foremost, I would I would suggest that you, know, ask yourself that question. How do I want to live my life and and what do I want to achieve through interacting with others, whether it's your kids, your spouse, your friends, your co workers, your customers, your prospects? What are the common, you know, goals that you set for yourself for enriching your life and, hopefully, the lives of those that you interact with? And and when you think about that, suddenly the lines start to blur and you realize you're just a guy right and trying to get true life. So it's and it also takes a lot of pressure off you know, a lot of people say, you know, work hard, play hard. Okay, well, I just finished works, I'm supposed to go play hard and it's like, hang on a minute, I mut just live and what do you want to do with your with your life, and and how do you want to grow as a person? It's an amazing concept when you think about right, because we've all been programmed, you know, work versus personal life. And if you stop looking at it that way and just keep looking at it as hey, this is my life, this is the way I want to be in the space that I'm in and the way, you know, the type of person I want to be, regardless of the facet right, it is a little bit freeing. Yeah, some companies now start to kind of tweak that right. So I won't name them because I don't know...

...this particularly flattering, but there was a company the three years ago that I was talking to about doing some work with and they drilled really, really hard in their interview process that, hey, we don't focus on work, life bounce. You can take as much vacation as you want when you need it. But the way that they did it was a little bit almost like you have unlimited vacation, but we really don't want you to take it right the on. It was the unspoken kind of undercurrent, and so I'm curious and I know this is totally not in the questions that I sent you. So No, don't worry about it, let's go for it. Yeah, but, like you know, you see, have you seen companies kind of take this and, I don't want to say nefariously, turn it to their advantage, right, but use it in perhaps not optimal ways, right, get those people to believe that they have this come and go, like, how do they maintain that? There's accountability, there's things you have to do for the business. Yeah, creating a culturally. How have you how have you seen that play out? Well, oddly enough, the the last company I was an executive at, we shifted to that model and we did so successfully, in part because it reflected our core values and in one of our core values was, you know, when life happens, loger them understands. That was the company I was with, was log rhythm, and and we had there was mutual respect, meaning respect for the employee and the employee had respect for the company, and there was also accountability and people understood what was expected of them. And I think to the extent that you have some employees that may operate on the fringe of of company values. Then then you you'll probably see employees attempting to abuse that flexibility. But for the most part, if...

...you've done a good job hiring and nurturing the employees, that mutual respect is sustained. And you know, it's not just the personal time, you know, Pto, the time off in those days that they allocate for that. It's also, you know, life does happen. Your your mother gets sick or your your kids got to play at school or you know, and and you go take it, go watch them in that musical, you know, watch them play that xylophone right and and and then and, but but they're in the in the mutual respect. Maybe it's later that evening or it's the next the next day. They're going to find a way to make up for that stuff that they had, you know, schedule to get done that day but but didn't because they went to the school. And that concept ofgem XIC is the key right and it is seen him struggle with hiring right that companies have to you know, and if you're doing it right from the beginning and you and still it all the way through, that's awesome and I always when I was running teams, I used to say, look, you do what you have to do. If, if if you want to go see the musical war, something happens in your life, go do it. It's not going to change what you know is accountable, but you're an adult and I respect you to be able to juggle your priorities in an effective way that isn't going to be to burdensome. Right, right, and that mutual respect is the key. Well, I think it places a big burden on management because in order to have people feel like they're accountable, they need to be accountable to certain things. What are the goals that they're expected to achieve and and management needs to be sufficiently specific in their goal setting so that at the end of the at the end of the week, at the end of the month, the end of the quarter of the year, it's clear to both the employee as well as the manager were the goals achieved or not. If there's ambiguity there, then there's going to be in a room for misinterpretation and and it gets to be a slippery slope. When's the last time you shopped at...

...a mall? How will we do our holiday shopping, or even by toilet paper in ten years. Listen for shopcast talking retail strategy. Will explore the massive changes happening in retail. Join Retail expert Michael Dark and his guests, who help you understand these dramatic shifts and predict what the retail landscape of tomorrow will look like. If you're interested in the future of retail, tune in on Fridays at seven am Pacific Time and ten am eastern time on Voice America business. I always found when I was doing this with my team's and I probably wasn't, that's probably doing this before the whole hey, is this a part of our company values? It's just like how you're insuring sales and marketing. I'm running the team. We have these goals to hit, do what you need to do, and then sometimes you get that question right, the question will come from the executive. So why is that person not in the ALF? I haven't seen them for two days, right, and what are they doing? And now all of a sudden it starts to create this friction with with manager about now I've got to defend what the person is doing rather than having a conversation around are they hitting their goals and objectives? Well, I mean if your manager is asking you or questioning you, but why that person isn't? Instead of underpinning that very question is a question about your management of that you know individual. It's like, what is it that you don't trust about me? I mean, I'm happy to share with you that, you know that his son had a hernie operation and the need to, you know, take a couple days off. But clearly there's there's some level of you know, and a challenge or you're not fully empowering me to manage these guys. And that's cool. Let's just talk about it. What is it that's concerning you? Yeah, let's get it right, let's get it on. Yeah, like, what is it? Yeah, exactly, maybe it. Maybe it's because I missed. Maybe it's because I miss my sales goal for the two last two quarters. That's cool, we've already talked about that and here's what I'm doing to change it right. But yeah, but if...

...in either either you're going to empower me to manage these people and get it done or not. But you know, yeah, that's it's a constant it's a constant battle. But as we were prepping, you mentioned how finding that right balance right, and it may be just removing the view of business versus personal. How finding that right balance can create optimal results, not only in for the person but for the business. He provides some examples where you've seen this. This happened. I fear that too many people it's an odd concept that if all of a sudden I'm pulling out a structure that helps you understand your relation to the world business for personal, that some people go a little hay wire with it. So you give us some examples of where you've seen it. You know that balance and attaining that be extremely beneficial for all involved. Well, one of the one of the best sales executives I ever worked with is a woman by the name of Sarah Avery, and Sarah really manage that balance incredibly well and she she lived her life as a sales exact the same way she lives her personal life. She cares about people and the her customers ended up almost invariably becoming very close friends. You know, she cares about what's going on in their love life outside of the business world. And you know one could easily say, well, shoot, I don't have time to be everyone's best friend, right, and you know I can't care about everyone. It'd send Chriss friends everyone. But she was Jane. You Win, and the way she approached these people, as she first approached them as prospects, she tried to understand who they were and what their goals were and what their life was all about, what their interests were. And this is kind of sells one a one. You know who's your favorite sports team and zone, but what else, what else about their life is affecting them daytoday? And when you really care about the prospects and the customers, they know that right and it ends up leading to a relationship that's built on mutual caring...

...and mutual trust. And when they trust you, they'll share even more info with you and there's a mutually beneficial relationship that's established. And it's not just around what your product can do for them. You know, you see them as a whole person and and they recognize that and and you build long term, mutually lucrative relationships. And Sarah, Sarah Crush is at and every and every role she's in. As a result, I've tell a lot of a lot of the customers that I work with, a lot of the sales staff, though, that I work with now and and teaches like. Look, some of my best friends are people that I've sold to over the last fifteen years because, yeah, and I and I've got one guy in particular where, you know, look, I got to the point where I was tutoring his kids in English. Is Kid was having hard time and it wasn't, it wasn't wasn't trying to make a buck, which is how I was struggling. His kid was struggling this like. You know, you can't, especially today, I don't think you can be successful or as successful in sales or marketing if you don't have that empathy gene. Right now, right, curiosity, curiosity, yeah, take, yeah, just hard for people. Yeah, yeah, it's you know, and and it's hard for people on the buying side to you know, if you're you're approaching a prospect. It's not uncommon that they they believe they're supposed to play a certain role and engaging with vendors. Right, I remember there's one time. One time I was brought in by by a sales rep in their channel partner and they brought me and the VP, you know, to meet with this big account. I was a big deal, and we shall go up and the CIO had one of those six or seven people around his table and and you know, we introduced ourselves and the guy sitting in the middle of the table to see I was like why should I buy your product? And I'm like, you know, he's playing the decisionmaker. I'm in charge, you're going to tell me everything...

I want to know, and I just look down an sable John, I'm not really sure you should. You know, that's what I said, and then suddenly he's like what, and I'm like Guy, I mean I you know, Charlie shared with me some of the requirements that you've shared with him, but I there are a lot of unknowns here and I want to find out if if your needs actually match what we can provide. So, you know, let's, you know, if let's review those requirements. And you know, it's kind of taken aback. It's like, you know, you're not in Bitch Board. Wait a minute, that's crazy, you know, and I would sure enough we end up winning the business. But you know, it's important to assess whether the prospect you're calling on believes they've got a role to play or if they are sufficiently open to establishing a human connection in order to then do business that is worthwhile and mutually beneficial. Right and and believe it or not, most of those folks that believe they're supposed to play a role actually kind of loosen up when they realize that you're willing to play whatever role is going to best serve the relationship. And and it may not be. You know, your solution may not be the right one for them, and it's okay to say no to a prospect and to say, you know, we don't have a fit here. Right, you know what, it's my time, probably better spend elsewhere to but that's cool, you know. Well, now I'm see that. Honesty's key, right. I mean, and it's one of those things that, you know, sales reps, they especially sales reps, are like I gotta hit this number, I got to this number, and they get into this mode where it's like they're going to push and pushing, push, and it's just like, wait, wait a minute. You know what a big part of your equation is? Are you spending your time in avout? That's right. And if you're chasing somebody that doesn't have a problem you can solve, just be honest. Yeah, Hey, I'm not. This is we're not a good fit right now. I did so all the time. It's like you aren't ready as an organization to make the changes necessary to implement what we do effectively. So why would...

I want to waste your time? Right, take your team and go go karting. It'll be better. That's right. You get more out of that than what. Yeah, it's not ready. Honesty, you know, is key. It also requires some vulnerability and some authenticity. Love these, you know, buzz words that are flying around a day, but do you have to understand who you are and bring that, you know, that genuine empathy, that genuine curiosity, to the interactions, or or just doesn't work? Yeah, yeah, and so, throughout your career, can give me like three tactics or for focuses that you've implemented to help make sure you maintain that optimal view of life, that work life balance, even though we already pulled the line out of the sand. Three Day focus on to, you know, to make sure that you're staying in the space you want to be in. Well, let's I mean in and executing my fish professional career. Or, more broadly, ma'am, more broadly does it doesn't matter. They help you keep yourself grounded. Maybe that's a better way to say it. So I meditate and said that helps you and I talked last week or two weeks or only first set this up, about the importance of listening and being present, and so I focus a great deal on that, really understanding what's going on in just the dynamics, and listening is is not just to the words but body language and and really understanding what's going on with the with the other person. And so, you know, listening as critical. I I try and revisit that topic of what am I trying to achieve through my interactions with others and and certainly they're always the business goals that need to be achieved, but more important than those business goal goals is what am I trying to,...

...you know, achieve when I'm given the opportunity to engage with other people? You know, how can I recognize what their needs are and help serve their needs? And, you know, is a as a executive with a team that I manage and teams that they in turn manage, looking for that opportunity to help them grow and their team members grow in in every engagement I have of them is really important. If I know I'm going into a meeting with another exact or staff member that historically has been sort of less than ideal in their engagements and anticipating some friction. Right it's like, hang on a minute, how do I think this is going to get out and what can I do differently to change that dynamic to make it productive for both of us? And and it may be the you know, thirty seconds walking from my office to the conference room and reflecting on that and and preparing myself for that dynamic and to change that dynamic quickly. If, if it's surfaces, it's really important. If, if I'm engaging with the person that that reports directly me and I see that they're stressed and, you know, they're not operating in an optimal mindset or with optimal energy, it's like, hang on a minute, what can I do, asking myself in the moment, what can I do to shift their perspective to make this more positive and fruitful discussion, you know, and let's set aside the business stuff for a minute and try and get under the coverage as to what's leading to that tension. You know, a lot of times it's not related to the topic at hand. But there's something, some other dynamic at play or some other topic that's that's got them riled up, that you know they really want to talk about, that's really...

...on their mind, but it's unrelated to the topic at hand. It's like lying on let's let's talk about that other thing right now, because we're not. We're not going to be able to be very productive on this other thing until we work through what's bothering you. No, it's more like managing the whole right, you're managing that. You're not managing just the business side of a person. You're managing and leading people, right, extremely diverse, yeah, multifaceted. Have other things life. You know, life gets in the way and you know you need to be aware of that in order to effectively empower them. That's right. And in managers that fail to do that end up supporting an unhealthy dynamic, which is one between, you know, the person they manage and and themselves. It's where that person they're managing doesn't doesn't see or sense that human connection. It's a work relationship. And then and there's not going to be as deep trust there and and they're not going to go to bat to the extent of the otherwise, would you know? For you? So you've got a I think it's important to treat everyone, as you point out, in a holistic way, as a whole person, and and you'll find the business does a heck of a lot better. Some people might say that's a waste of time and that's that's earthly crunchy stuff. It does really matter, you know what, believe it or not, you'll find the company gets a lot more productive when you when you behave that way. And so in those organizations that's a great it's a great point. Right. So in those organizations that maybe are not, let's say cultural, culturally aligned with that type of management approach, where it really is, and I don't know what it's been? Maybe it's just because, as I've spent the last seventeen years and sales was always a CFO. I had just spend so much time with the CFO to make to help him or her stop looking at the numbers and looking at the people. So did you come up with ways that you could internally if you ran into people that maybe weren't aligned with that cultural vision of managing the whole of treating them like real people, building the trust...

...and have you come up with tactics or approaches that helped reduce the the friction internally, maybe with other peer executives or things like that? You know, I've been fortunate. I've worked with the last two CFOs, which comprises the last, you know, eighteen years for me. They've been very much aligned value wise with me and and with a culture that that I thrive in and I think is optimal for company. So I haven't it's been a while since I've had to deal with that unhealthy dynamic that you just characterized. But I they guidance. I would give people that might be listening to this that find themselves in an organization that where there's a cultural, you know, misfit between themselves and the culture that the companies putting off, as you know, ask yourself, can you facilitate that change in culture? And sometimes it might be a conversation with the seat Yoh and and in reviewing the company culture and the company values and if, as stated, those values align with what was what you'd like to have, but it's actually in the execution, in the monitoring of those values, where that we're it's not matching up, then call out the executive team to say, look, guys, either we're going to live by these values that we've put on paper or we're not. And and and and hopefully they'll make the right change. If, if you can't see a path towards change in the organization to align that with your values, go find one where you can really I mean, life is too short, it's like, you know what. And then not every every every company will be able to do that. So you know, take take the time and make the...

...effort to go find an organization that does really align and but also be and you know, be honest with yourself. No organization is perfect, no person is perfect, but what you need is an organization that's willing to acknowledge the imperfections and commit to change when they discover that they're varying slightly from those values. Right. Intellectual Honesty is an essential value that needs to be present and a willingness to say, you know what, I screwed up and you know you're right, I did not act in the line with our values. I'm sorry and here's what we're doing to change that. Honest conversation. Are you where you need to be? Can you have the impacts we want to have and can you accept the current state and believe there's a path to the future state? Yeah, yeah, there you go. And so in the in the sales and market feel, especially sales, right, we're we're in a real time environment and I mean, thank you, you know, Amazon and apple and everybody that invested in you know, customer experience and the always on and I'll be where the customer wants us to be when they want us. They're in a be tob space. You know, it is literally we need to be there when the customers want us right, and interact in a way, whether it be digitally, by phone, showing up facetoface. Yeah, you have. Can you give our audience two suggestions for how professionals in that kind of environment might be able to actually get to point where they can take a truly unplugged vacation? And yes, I am completely asking for myself. Yeah, sure, I know, I totally get that. By the way, way, I the the organizations that that advocate or support and and and celebrate those individuals that don't take a lot of vacation time and I just you know, they're working for the company. I think are messed up in their values. You know, everyone, everyone needs to take time away, and...

...sometimes that's the that was one of the biggest management challenge I have is having people that just were too invested in their in their career and their job and that that was too much of their life. It's like this. You need to go take time away, you need to so, back to your question, though, a couple strategies to enable someone, particularly in a sales roll, to take a full of the unplugged break. Number One, have a very firm handle on your business. Know what's going on, understand what accounts, what the state of accounts, are existing customers, as well as you know prospects and what's next in the cell cycle, and and know it well enough so that you can communicate that to someone that's going to back you up while you're gone. So delegate, but in order to delegate effectively, you've got to have all of your ducks lined up and be able to provide all the detail that that person might need to take action on your behalf and your absence and in communicate to your customers and prospects and internal you know co workers that you're going to be unplugged for, you know, ten days, and while you're unplugged, these are the people that you can go to to resolve issues that might arise. And and if you if you teat up properly and you have people you can trust well to to care for those accounts and you've given them all the detail they need and you let your customers know what your prospects know that you're going to be gone, but you know sally is the go to person and here's a contact and film she'll take care of you and you empower seally to do so. Then you can go away and check your email off and and and not check and at the end of the day you can always give that final luck if it is truly an emergency and you can't access the information you need to truly serve this customer and it's critical and it...

...means we're going to lose the account or you know, then call me on myself. But otherwise, if it's not an emergency, I don't care. I'm going to call R and and communicate that to someone that will respect that request. Right. Right boundaries, right establish make sure people are empowered. Yeah, I maybe I'm just too much of a type. A could mean. Now I'm in a different situation because we run our own business. Right. So, but, yeah, right, if I delegate to somebody, then I would love to somehere delegated to maybe have to look into that, but I think it's a business opportunity here there. It's the delegation company. All right, let's let's change direction a little bit. I ask all over guys kind of two standard questions toward the end of each interview. The first is, as a revenue executive, that makes you a prospect, work target, yeah, or other people who want to get in front of you, and so I always like to ask executives. We have one. If somebody doesn't know you, you don't have a relationship with them, what is the best way for them to interact with you or approach you, to build credibility, in the trust necessary to capture your attention? Rephrase that one for me. I'm not sure I got it fully. So, so, if somebody wants to get in front of you and says hey, you know as an advisor for th right, yeah, yeah, okay, do they pick up the phone and call you? Is it? I mean, what's the what is it that's going to get turned your head? So they did, you'll actually yeah, yeah, so I would say present to me immediately upon engaging me, that you know me, that you know my company, that you know you have done your homework, whether it's you know, it's funny people that reach out to me that are from my Alma Mater. I'll always give them a break, you know, because they looked me up, they know where I went to college. Right, okay, right, all right, you know, and out of respect for my mother, I'm gonna, you know, I'll at least listen to them, but eat. But then they've...

...got a demonstrate that they've done homework, their homework as well. It maybe it's, you know, they've seen a recent financial report on the company they they'll mention a recent big company when maybe it's a partnership that we formed, demonstrating they've done homework, which demonstrates the a they're truly interested in forming a partnership. If I hear a standard Speel, you know that I know they're giving to everyone else they're calling, I'm going to hang up. You know, I'm gonna it's yeah, you got it. You got to hit me hard quickly with something personalized that I know they've done their homework and and they know who they're talking to. Okay, perfect. And so now last question. We call it or acceleration insight. If you were if you had one piece of advice that you could get into sales marketing consults, doesn't matter. It's a professional one piece. Yes, that if they listen to and that's the coveat I always put out there. They have to be willing to listen. Yeah, what would that advice be that we believe would help them be more successful and achieve their goals, you know, more frequently? What would that advice be and why? Well, it's going to tie back to the first thing that you and I talked about, which is, look, there's people talk about work life balance. If for me, it's life and and what are you trying to achieve in your life? And I think if I were to boil it down to one word, it would be care. Care about your customers, care about your prospects, care about your coworkers and and, and by that I mean understand what are they trying to achieve? What do they need it? You know, if you truly care, you're going to listen, you're going to listen hard, you're going to understand what their needs are, what they what they're trying to accomplish what what's difficult for them right now, and and you'll find that you end up seeking to serve them...

...in in ways that really address their needs. And I guarantee, if you care about your customers, your prospects, your coworkers, you'll end up taking care of yourself in the end. Excellent. Like, if a listeners interested in talking more about the topics we've touched on today, what's the best way to reach out? They can reach me at M K R FM. That's M Kr F is in Frank Am as a Mary at outlookcom. Excellent, like. I can't thank you know for taking the time. It's been great having you on the show today. That's been great, Chad. Take care. All right, everyone that doesn't for this episode, please check us out at beb Rev exactcom. You know the drill, share, friends of family, Co workers. Get it out there. Some other people can benefit from the value that we're providing and until next time, we have value prime solutions, which you all nothing but the greatest success. You've been listening to the BB revenue executive experience. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show and Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening until next time.

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