Solving problems by approaching them from the periphery, with Paul Daniels

podcast Sep 15, 2021
 

 

Repeatable Revenue Podcast #002 - with Paul Daniels

Summary:

Ray is joined by CRO and Repeatable Revenue member Paul Daniels to discuss creative thinking in leadership positions.

Topics Include:

  • How dyslexia has shaped Daniel's life and his leadership style

  • The power of peripheral thinking

  • Developing the discipline to pause

  • Strategies for developing peripheral thinking

  • Practicing humility as a leader

  • Understanding your strengths and limitations

  • Differentiating between a weakness, and something you simply need to improve

  • Transitioning from sales to management

  • Finding mentors

  • Common mistakes managers make when building an organization

  • And other topics...

Resources Mentioned:
Email: [email protected]
https://intelligentcontacts.com/
https://www.linkedin.com/in/pauldanielsjr/

Website: www.rayjgreen.com
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/raymondgreen



Transcript:

Ray J. Green: Welcome to the show, Paul.

Paul Daniels: Thanks Ray, great to be here. Thanks for inviting me.

Ray J. Green: Yeah, glad to have you. So just, to kind of kick things off for context for listeners, I know you're working on a few things right now. Tell us a little bit about what you've got going on right now.

Paul Daniels: Yeah, I'm the chief revenue officer for a communications and payment software company that's my day. In my spare time, I run a strategic advisory firm that counsels our clients on creative problem solving and new product and solution development, market, expansion, sales, marketing, product alignment, those kinds of things.

In my spare time, I do some public speaking, I don't sleep very much. I was 200 pounds, six-foot-tall, full head of hair and, I started doing all this stuff. So look at what happens when you don't sleep.

Ray J. Green: Right, right. Not to go too far off on this, but aren't you like a 4:00 AM, 5:00 AM person?

Paul Daniels: 4:30, yep.

Ray J. Green: What's your morning routine? Why are you up that early?

Paul Daniels: It's a long story but, I started doing that because my mom was an early riser, my parents worked and, it was the only time I'd get to see my mom during the day. So I'd wake up in the middle of the night, I'd go in, I'd sleep on the floor in the bathroom because that's the first place that she would go.

And so I just got used to getting up. There's something about being awake when other people aren't. My body's just used to it. I like it. Get out and do a little running and, I'm good to go, catch me at six o'clock at night, I've got no creative thought left, everything happens from five in the morning till six.

Ray J. Green: Hell man.

When you're up at four 30 in the morning, by the time you get to six or seven o'clock at night, that's a long day, so much gas you can have. We met through the sales leadership foundations forum, and you've been a really active member. I really appreciate your help with getting conversations started and getting people in.

Like you've been a huge help there. You're in DFW, which is where I was for 15 years, but we didn't meet until I was in Baja through the forum and one of our early conversations, you mentioned a few things like you did an exercise and, you talked through a few things that really changed the paradigm.

It was a paradigm shift for me. Once I heard it, I couldn't unhear it. Some of the perspectives were shaped, that you shared with me were shaped by growing up and living with dyslexia, and would you mind sharing how dyslexia has shaped certainly your leadership style and, we've talked a little bit about that, but your life how does dyslexia play a role on that?

Paul Daniels: So I was diagnosed with dyslexia at age 40. So growing up with dyslexia, not knowing, the things that I heard from teachers and others slow, lazy, not smart, not going to go very far those kinds of things, wasn't tough school sucked.

Was really hard, but I think it's common with many dyslexics especially those that aren't diagnosed and don't have resources to help remediate. We learn to learn differently, so what it did was made all my other senses come alive. I got really good at body language, listening to the tone and the percussive beat of people's speaking and their hand movements and grabbing just anything that I could to try and figure out what the heck are they talking to me about?

Cause they're reading from this page and I can't read but, I need to know this, so it allowed me to learn how to persevere and be tenacious. It opened up a whole other group of senses that just were lying in wait, to help me take what was being taught and to learn, but not in a traditional way.

 It was interesting. It certainly gave me an understanding of people, how they tick, keen on understanding what makes people motivated or de-motivated, and learning that from a whole host of people. I would need every possible personality type just to get through a school day, from an administrator to a teacher, to introvert-extrovert, jock, academic, all of those people. I needed all of them just to figure out what was going on.

 So I kind of became a student of the human condition, I guess I'd be aware saying, it certainly is informed the way I see the world made me a little bit, more empathetic than folks that don't have visibility. We all have weaknesses and, we all have strengths. Your strengths and your weaknesses they don't determine your value.

You determine your value, which you're going to bring to the work. It's been a great journey, especially since age 40 and, I figured out, oh, Hey, I'm not really that stupid. I just learn differently.

Ray J. Green: That's really fascinating. The first time you told me that, it floored me, they could get better at 40, cause I'm 40, and realizing that at this point, how did you finally get diagnosed?

What was that story? What led up to that?

Paul Daniels: It was our daughter. Our daughter was having difficulty in school, my wife and I were both babies, so we never grew up with younger siblings and, we were all in parents. There isn't a book that's been published that we haven't read.

And so we're very engaged. We're those parents and our daughter who just graduated, Silicon Valley with a master's in child and family therapy.

Ray J. Green: Wow, congrats.

Paul Daniels: Was diagnosed with dyslexia when she was seven and at that same time as a talk through it. Oh yeah, that's me, I get that.

I said, oh really? Would you like to be tested? Sure, I'm paying for it as well.

Ray J. Green: When you found out, did it feel like a burden or did it feel a burden had been lifted?

Paul Daniels: A little of both. Dyslexia doesn't go away, but with dyslexia comes some pretty incredible innate skills.

That are only present in 15% of the population, 15% of the population had dyslexia, about a third 30% each of entrepreneurs are dyslexic and 40% of self-made millionaires are dyslexic, so it's been a fascinating for, sense page 40. And I referenced things before that, as I have learned more and more about this set of super skills that dyslexics have and the number of dyslexics that have impacted, history, it's been somewhat liberating, and I'm excited because many of those skills can be learned.

 They don't just have to be innate within you, and I love sharing that with people.

Ray J. Green: You do, and some of these, Richard Branson is a pretty famous example. There are some other pretty famous examples, all right.

Paul Daniels: Yeah, John Lennon, just tons of actors, Thomas Edison, Einstein, equals MC squared. Yep, dyslexic, Henry Ford was dyslexic.

Ray J. Green: Wow!

Paul Daniels: AFK was dyslexic. I've heard this stat but don't quote me on it, that NASA in their recruiting about 50% of NASA is populated with people with dyslexia because we see patterns where other people don't see patterns.

And obviously, you need that in a space program that is using a gazillion points of data to get from point a to point B and all of that stuff, it's kind of fascinating and, there are tons of people that aren't famous that are making differences around the world because of dyslexia.

Well, because they have learned some of the skills that dyslexics have.

Ray J. Green: Well, some of the numbers you just cited, the statistical significance of that, 15% of the population has dyslexia, but 30% of entrepreneurs and I think you said 40% of millionaires, that's fascinating.

When you were talking about some of the skills that you developed, in terms of reading body language, tonality, and other things, those sound like things that can be learned, when you were saying them. I kept hearing EQ like emotional intelligence.

Is that what it is? is it deeper, you have to hone your EQ skills because you're having to get information from other sources, or is it something else entirely?

Paul Daniels: I think you've landed on it, I'm not an expert at measuring EQ, but I believe that what you're describing there is a natural byproduct of dyslexics that need to learn even those that have been taught, how to learn as a dyslexic, still need to use the awareness skills that they have in order to relate with people in the spoken word through other ways, other than the written word or reading aloud.

So it certainly plays into it. I don't know whether you can say that, all dyslexics have a high EQ, no offense, but I'm not sure that Henry Ford, it was a terrific leader, had a high EQ, never met him, so I've read good things and bad things about it.

So I don't know. I sure appreciate what he did for the manufacturing industry, and certainly has a legacy there. A lot of people have that same impact in their community, their family, whatever.

Ray J. Green: Well, there's certainly a pattern of, if not, EQ of being able to see what others can't or see things in a different way, so Henry Ford there was there's this horse and buggy thing, and he says, oh, we're going to go a different direction and he, even at the time, he was a very kind of abstract thinker and he just aware he took the business and how he did, Richard Branson and others.

And I think even you, behind you as a light that's made of car parts, you being able to see what isn't there and I guess part of that's pattern recognition, but how does that, is that a function of having had to learn through different means that you potentially just see things differently than other people?

Paul Daniels: Yeah, the world is your oyster, right? That phrase for dyslexics and frankly for anyone that's willing to expand, their perspective, there is so much in a world that's available to be offered it, to be used as input to problem solve and solution creation, process development, just, personal development, interest in other things.

I think it was van Gogh or Picasso. I can't remember which that said that they were a slave to their eyes and, so for dyslexics, we kind of are there's scientific proof that dyslexics have a broader peripheral vision. We see things more clearly in the periphery than those without dyslexia.

But that can be learned that's something that I actually spend time with executives and, as I'm coaching and talking through, you and I had done that once before, if it's so right, and we'll give it a shot now, the listeners and viewers want to try it. I'm happy to share that with you.

Ray J. Green: Love to, absolutely. Please let's do it.

Paul Daniels: Just imagine you're a mountain field, it's a warm sun, there's just a slight breeze. That's cool. There's lots of space around you and you're looking at that goal that you have in front of you or the challenge that you have in front of you.

 And you're looking at that from your perspective, right? If you place your hand over your eye and for those of you that are listening, don't do this. If you're driving, which means you can handle your eyes and see something in front of you, but you can move your eyes up, to the right to the left, you can look down.

Okay, you can take your hand away, so what you saw is the periphery that's your peripheral vision and, if you take it a bit more, theoretically, that's peripheral awareness now. You're still back in that field and you're looking at whatever that challenge is in front of you, that goal that's in front of you.

And typically, we'll make plans based on what our perspective is. So what did we do last year in order to reach our goals? How do we overcome a challenge like this in the past? What are some of the people in our industry that are good at overcoming these kinds of challenges? But when you're using peripheral thinking or peripheral vision, you can now look to the right or to the left.

And you can now focus in, on that area, so you look to your right and, you look over it and, you spent some time now move your body, theoretically, a hundred yards to that spot and now look back at your goals. So what do you see? You see it a little bit differently, a different perspective, right?

You've got a different view of it, and we can do that by moving a hundred yards each way, all the way around that goal and, you can see that goal, in a 360-degree view, very common, anybody that's been to business school or an MBA, you talk about a 360-degree review or seeing the issue from all angles.

The challenge then is that still from your perspective, with all the things that you're bringing to the table, good and bad, you bring in that to the table from that 360-degree view, true peripheral thinking goes that hundred yards to the right. You stand there and, instead of looking just at your goal, you look around, and you find there are other people that in, that other space, maybe a different industry, and they're working on their own challenges and, they've got their perspective.

Spending time with them and learning how they've overcome challenges. How does a guy that runs a bakery in Malaysia deal with, supply chain needs? Can I apply that to a telephony company or a software company in Canada? Sure, maybe their lessons then become part of your perspective.

And as you expand that perspective, you spend a lot more kind of looking around. Yeah, I'm not taking my eyes off. I know there are people say, wait, wait, wait, Paul, how do I attack a goal or challenge if I'm not looking at it? Not saying that you shouldn't do. I'm saying to attack unexpectedly to do really well using that for peripheral vision and, peripheral thinking is a new way of bringing in additional ideas, additional thoughts to the conversation. It's been coined as interconnected reasoning, lateral thinking of a variety of other things. But in essence, it's where dyslexics see things that others don't. We see patterns and we connect dots from disparate pieces of information in order to create unique or new or novel solutions to problems or products that are being launched into the marketplace.

So it's fun to take people on that journey and, I know that you and your wife kind of did the same thing, after you and I talked about that very evening, you guys had your own.

Ray J. Green: Yeah, we did. Once you do it, and then you put it in the context of what you've done.

There's a personal side of it, just in terms of development, be able to see things from different perspectives and, there's a business aspect that you've hit on, and when you in that context Henry Ford, Richard Branson, Einstein, it's in that context, you go, gosh, that's where the new ideas, the thinking about things differently, the innovation, the creativity because there's oftentimes like a tendency to want to do things the way that other people are doing them.

And the real breakthroughs, the real unicorns, are usually not that. They're approaching something from a completely different angle. You said that you can develop this, you can work on it. I think, the first thing I have to do if I want to get better at this, what I have to do is pause.

 I have to find the discipline to pause, to think about things differently if it doesn't happen to me organically, and I'm the kind of person that just attacks the goal straight on, I have to develop a discipline that says, wait, let me put my intentional blinder up a little bit and, see if there are some other ways to go about this beyond developing the discipline to just say, okay, pause for a second.

How can somebody get better at that?

Paul Daniels: Yeah, so with my clients, strategic advisory firm that I have, one of the things that we do is set goals, for expanding their life experiences. So we set a goal for them to find someone that is completely different than they are completely different industry.

 I press even to get outside of not only industry, but the country that you find, some people on LinkedIn and get to know learning culture, learning people, learning the businesses that have firstly, nothing to do with your business is actually pretty powerful and it drives, a new sense of awareness for my clients and for anyone that's interested in doing it.

So it's as simple as finding somebody and saying, look, I know it's kind of crazy. We don't have any connections in common at all on LinkedIn, but I'm interested in what you do and, would you mind connecting with me and maybe, we just share a couple of InMails or chat a few times because I've never thought about what it's like to run a bakery in Malaysia or to run a bank in Zurich, I don't know what that's like, and if you're willing to share, I'd be happy to share what I do with my company.

No sales pitch just want to expand it. That's one very practical way. Another is if you can accept the fact that a lot of really great ideas are sort of those unicorns that you talk about are the amalgamation of other proven solutions sort of reassembled in a unique way. Then there's no problem with looking at the history.

You've got plenty of reference for your history and your back backstory, your history finding other people's history. The application of Henry Ford's, the production line that wasn't really revolutionary, sorry, that actually came out of the post-World war two. Before that it's part of Kanban system melt, morphed into just-in-time inventory, which has been morphed into ERP, which has morphed into resource planning, which is right.

So it's just certain truths or truisms that had been applied elsewhere. So when you learn those, being able to tap into those and say, what if that could apply as a component to the solution challenges we're facing now. I'll stop because I think I've rambled a little bit, but obviously, I love the topic.

Playing a big part in how I lead teams and, it's played a big part in the success that I've been fortunate enough to have, over the last I'll just say several years, I'm not giving out my age.

Ray J. Green: 40 years. You just found out last year.

Paul Daniels: Yes, that's right. It was just last year.

It was 41.

Ray J. Green: It's a great topic. I sit up straight when you start talking about it every time because I'm so fascinated it's so applicable in many facets of business and in life. I hear one thing is when you talk about going out and engaging people, you may not have similar interests with their connections with, or something purely for the purpose of diversifying your thought, like adding a different perspective into what you do and there's an obvious tendency and part of it's human nature to want to click up with people that you agree with, which I understand.

But intentionally going out to add diversity and other thoughts. I think, is really cool, and the other probably related aspect of this is your leadership style in order to do that, you have to be a humble enough person to at least acknowledge that there are other different perspectives that are just as valid as yours that you can learn from.

Does that play into your leadership style or, how does it play into your leadership style? Maybe.

Paul Daniels: Absolutely, it started by recognizing my weaknesses and coming being forthright since age 40, I've not had a challenge very often by telling people look I'm dyslexic.

So, if you hand me a piece of paper and put me on stage and say, okay, read this, that's not going to happen. Now, if you give that to me the day before or give me a couple of hours to work through it and digest it. Yeah, you bet I can do that or if you just say, Hey, here's a topic, Paul, go talk. I can do that too.

So it's learning that weakness and then being honest about the weaknesses. Learning Sun-Tzu said it if you take the whole battle scene kind of thing out of it, Sun-Tzu said you know yourself, you know your enemy basically know the battlefield in a hundred battles, you'll always be victorious because you'll only choose valleys you can win, you'll know yourself and your strengths, your weaknesses you'll avoid challenge things that play to your weakness. A weakness is not the same as an area of improvement, a weakness is something I'm never going to be six-foot-tall, like again, with full headache, that's not going to happen so, I can never be that.

So I might as well just embrace what I am and know that if it's required that it'd be six foot tall, I'm not the right person. So using that and understanding that with the teams, I go through an exercise where we bring people on and, I asked be honest, strengths, weaknesses, and areas of improvement.

Show that, explain what the differences are, and say my goal is to help make your strengths in the best contribution to the company. My goal is to help you stay accountable for those areas that you do want to improve in and my last one was important goal is to protect you from your own weaknesses.

So if you can't do this now, obviously it's part of the job requirement. Then we wouldn't be bringing mom, and if you're not, if you just can't do this fine, we'll find a way to protect that because the scrape is a value that we see in you and how we want to use it. So being humble. Yep. Yep. Getting kicked in the teeth plenty of times that'll humble you too, right.

Being told that you're not smart or whatever. But it also helps with empathy and realizing everybody has something to contribute. There's no one out here, in my opinion, that isn't in business because they just want to sit somewhere, at least not in the companies that I've been in.

Certainly, there are people hang on and whatnot, that the people that I want to be around the ones that are moving forward and learning new things and trying things and are willing to fail, even if it's publicly in order to learn more and faster.

Ray J. Green: When I was really early in my management career, one of the first books that I read was Marcus Buckingham's, first break all the rules and, it was perfect timing because it was very early in informal management. It was eye-opening to read strengths-based management, leading people based on strengths.

And I think he even uses it in the book. It's been many years with the salesperson that maybe isn't organized. Well, try as you might. You're probably not going to make that person organized. What you may be better off doing is focusing, leveraging the strength better.

And just finding ways to offset the weakness, whether it's through processes or other people helping or, whatever it is, but you're going to expend a lot more energy trying to get an unorganized person organized than you would be. You're going to get way more effort or way more output if you focus on that strength.

So, that resonates with me.

Paul Daniels: And I'll take a step further. So, for those that are listening, that are watching, that are professional salespeople or leading sales teams. When I talk about strengths and weaknesses and areas for improvement and the cohort that we develop within our company, that expands out and, that whole view of life expands out to include our clients, our prospects, our partners or our co-op petitioners.

Okay. I'm dyslexic. I can make up that word, but you get the idea, right? So it's all of those taking that mindset into every meeting, to bring out the best in people, to recognize that they've got weaknesses too, maybe my solution can help in a weakness area, I't can exaggerate or enhance their current strengths.

Not sure, but recognizing, we're all human. It's not a perfect one among us. I mean, you're pretty close, probably as close as I've seen, but there's not a perfect person.

Ray J. Green: Only since chatting with you, Paul. I'm looking at you're a great speaker and, when you talk about going on stage it, we're the exact opposite. If you throw me on stage and say, Ray, here's the subject, go talk about it. I am almost certainly going to sound like a buffoon. I am not going to know, the anxiety kicks up, but you're conditioned for it, and you're trained for it.

 It plays into a strength. I guess in some ways, and that's not unusual on public speaking, is like this, one of the scariest things for people you've managed to take what could be perceived to be kind of a disadvantage with dyslexia.

And it's played into, it being a big advantage for you, as a speaker and in your leadership style, your creativity, innovation and in harnessing that, like taking something that's potentially perceived to be a weakness and turning it into a strength, as you went through that process, and as you thought through that, are there lessons that somebody else could take to do the same thing with one of their weaknesses air quotes, with one of their weaknesses that may not be dyslexia. Were there lessons that you think are applicable to just turning that into a positive?

Paul Daniels: Sure, of course, with every negative, there's a positive, so yes, you may have an area of weakness that is not going to get better with effort, but there should be a correlating area of strength.

And it's finding that the strength and what fuels that strength, and spending time, really developing that strength. Now I know you've heard that if you overplay your strength, it can be a weakness and, that's absolutely true if you really did say, Hey, Paul, here's a topic, go talk on it and, you said astrophysics.

I'm toast, F.K is probably going to turn out more like improv, and I might be up there for four minutes before they blew me off. I'm willing to try it. So, I've got a couple of anecdotes, and frankly. I've done some research recently on astrophysics because I heard that stat about NASA and, it was fascinating.

Why would they get people that are dyslexic and bring them in, life's on the line. People are in the space and figuring out, oh, well it's because they see patterns. They think outside of the box, they don't see a box. They think of three dimensions. So, for anyone that has a given weakness, maybe it's finance, maybe it's just numbers don't make sense, brain spreadsheets don't make sense to me.

That's fine. What does make sense to you and how does that relate with the people that you're working with as a team that you're selling to, as a prospect, as a perspective, provider of a solution and honing in on that, and I'll go back to what we talked about early on, right?

That's the more experience you have experiences you have, the more you have from which to draw. So I've really been super blessed in my career. I've counted up the other day, 21 industries, in 26 countries on six continents. So I've served clients in 21 industries, 26 countries, six continents.

I've been exposed to a lot of different kinds of business, a lot of different cultures, a lot of different weather patterns, just tons of things, all of which can inform, the way I interact with folks. And hopefully, it's a way that engages them and brings out the best in them and, I think the same is true for anyone with me.

Cause it's just experiences. You may not even know that you can do martial arts or ride a bike for a hundred lines and I think is a weakness, go give it a shot.

Ray J. Green: I wrote down this question as you're talking, how do you differentiate between because I get that weakness isn't necessarily the same as area of improvement. If the job requires six-foot, it is what it is. If I was trying to assess, is this a weakness that I'm just, this is probably a hard, no, or an area of improvement that if I muscle up and turn on the grip machine and, I can improve this, are there any tips that you have on differentiating between those?

Paul Daniels: Yes, and a terrific identification. There is a clear delineation between those two and the way I help my team delineate is describing an area of improvement is something that you want to and are committed to improving because you believe it will make you better at filling the blank, better person, better leader, better, whatever.

An area of weakness is something that you recognize and have tried to improve again and, again and again, and as far as it gets, but you've attempted at, so my reading level is between 10th and 11th grade. That's my reading level. I've worked like crazy and that's where I am.

Okay, so that's where I am. Now, that's a weakness because I spent all of my education years, college, postgraduate certifications, all of that, trying to get better and better and better at reading, and that's as far as I got. So I can claim that as that's a weakness. But if I haven't tried to improve it, it doesn't fall in that bucket.

I'd say it, you can't just say, I'm just no good at filling out expense reports.

Ray J. Green: I've tried Paul, I've tried a whole bunch of times. I'm just not good at it.

Paul Daniels: Yeah, there may be a weakness you still have to do.

Ray J. Green: Right.

Yeah. I almost, it's very subjective and, so it's very difficult to hone in on this but, there's probably some distinction or some correlation to the amount of effort that you're putting in the marginal output that you're getting from it.

 If it's going to require me studying 12 hours a day and I'm just going to barely move the needle on it, I may chalk that one up too as a weakness. Now I want to be cautious that I'm not lying to myself. Like, hey, You're just not putting in the hard work, you're putting in the hard work and you're just getting very incremental, maybe that's one of the indicators that this may just be something that you acknowledge and just try to shore up as a weakness.

Paul Daniels: Yep. I think you hit it on the you were much more pithy with your response than I was, so, yes, I'm moving the needle and, you put in significant effort, that's going to be considered a weakness, and it's going to go in that bucket.

Ray J. Green: The benefit of you actually defining it first. So thank you.

Paul Daniels: Well, we play off each other.

Ray J. Green: Right, what is so kind of transitioning into the end of the sales piece. Why'd you get into sales? Why into management? What is your story with that?

Paul Daniels: Yeah, I got into sales when I started my first company at 25. And it's because I had to, I was saying, well, I was a whole company.

It was a sportswear company, if this is going to sell, I have to go sell it. So, it was definitely trial by fire, but there was passionate force behind it and, belief in the product and those kinds of things. I sold that company and I joined, a large international multinational company by 110,000 employees.

And they had a structured sales training, sales, methodology, philosophy, all of that stuff, and things just really clicked for me in that organization. And that's where I looked at the effort that was going in the skill required to be very good at that, and considered look, this is a profession, it's a profession like any other profession, it's a profession like a doctor, a lawyer.

I'm not ashamed of sales. I'm ashamed that there are people that consider what they do is sales, sales is a profession, it's noble. Frankly, I think everyone is in sale, but using that, that's sort of how I got into sales and, then it morphs, from there into different kinds of leadership positions and always with an interest on, what is it that the market is needing?

What is it that we provide and, how can we make those two come together in a way that's valuable for everyone involved?

Ray J. Green: In the sales trajectory, was there a distinct time that you said, okay I'm ready for management? Like this is it? Or did it just happen organically? Or how did that involved?

Paul Daniels: I'm not an incredibly patient person, so I'm not sure it was organic, always pushing and joining that corporation, it was part of the plan and to move into sales management was a stepping stone to what my ultimate goal was, which was to be a CXO of a 500 fortune 500 company.

So, I moved into sales management because I wanted more responsibility and a whole lot more, or a whole lot less pay, in sales management. What I mean there, but in that process, I came to find, where my strengths play and, that's encouraging people, seeing things a little bit differently, organizing groups in a way that is most powerful.

 And it was a great proving ground and, this kind of carried me through, so it was part organic. I felt called to lead that I tended to lead internally on officially, informally, and was recognized for that and moved into management positions because of that, and then also taking that position seriously as a profession and spending time and money and, energy in improving my skills, doing that.

Ray J. Green: You hit on something. The leadership, even in the sales role itself, and being a leader within the team, I have seen that be a very consistent pattern with the salespeople that move into management and senior leadership and do it very well, is that they were already leaders, to begin with. They had a lot of influence within the team if they were able to positively impact the team or help with training or improve processes or bring ideas or get the team behind a tough decision. When those people tend to move into management and leadership, they're really extending on the natural strengths that they already exhibited within the team to degree.

Paul Daniels: Yeah. They're kind of given a title that they've been performing informally. I think there are certainly lots of leadership styles, all valid but those that you've just described probably would fall in that bucket of a servant leader of, consensus, builder, those kinds of leaders tend to have a pretty positive impact on organizations, sort of wherever they go.

Ray J. Green: You mentioned that early you were the whole company. So you have experience with, small businesses, large corporations, global conglomerates. If you're in a small business today and you're in sales, and you're thinking I want to make the move into a big company or, you're in a big company and you have an offer on the table to move into sales or leadership at a small company.

We're there looking back on the differences between those. Are you able to talk about the strengths and the weaknesses of getting experience at both or which you prefer?

Paul Daniels: If you haven't caught it already on big ending experiences. Try even that you don't think you're going to like it just, anything that's going to expand my area of understanding and respect for that. I've got huge respect for people that are leading within large organizations that tend to be more hierarchical. There's a certain level of, we'll just call it professional politics that, you need to develop that muscle in a small, medium-sized company or startup company, all of that sort of goes away, the muscle you need is the one in your back because you're lifting everything. You have to contribute beyond a job description. There is no job description that you're only going to do this from eight to five, and that's all you're going to do, in a startup it's all hands on deck.

 All of those experiences are great and, I guess I've been fortunate to do both. I would say, like anything going into an opportunity to know yourself and know what you are good at, know where you're trying to improve, and when you improve how that will contribute to the success of the organization you're considering joining, and what your weaknesses are and, if those can in the environment that you're looking at, if you really like structure and asking permission for, from three people before you do something, then a larger organization may be a better student, and that's perfectly fine, nothing wrong with. If you want to own the success and the failure of doing something and smaller businesses going to be probably a good fit.

I suggest people try both but again, Ray, you've been an entrepreneur like your whole life. You've always had that entrepreneurial spirit and moved around the world and have had all of those experiences. So, I'd turn the question back on you, do you think there's value in both and is there something that would keep somebody from even entertaining a new opportunity in a different structured environment?

Ray J. Green: Yeah, it's a really good question. I would argue that there are different personality types. I would go into an organization with different strengths and weaknesses. I think the experience in both is really helpful. But they are so different I mean, even within the small business world, there's your startup, there's your family-owned business, there's a huge difference between joining a team that wants to triple revenue in 18 months versus the family-owned business that's been doing what they're doing for 20 years in 5% next year is perfectly fine.

In fact, that would be a home run and the same is probably true within large organizations, I was at the US chamber for a long time, but they allowed me to be an entrepreneur. They allowed entrepreneurship to take place within the organization.

So I was able to add the best of both worlds and if you can find that, that's really cool, where you have freedom and autonomy to test and experiment, and you start at methods or, and also have the backing and the support and the stability of a large organization. But those, the number of large organizations that truly promote and allow that I think are few and far between.

But it's, I think you're right. It's, it depends on what your strengths and weaknesses are because picking the wrong one could just be a misalignment that isn't even necessarily about a potential skillset, but more so a personality, conflict.

Paul Daniels: I've seen that in and people saying, oh, I want to go to a large company because there's more security there.

Right, was proven anything it's the truism, that the only thing that changes has changed, right? The changes has been here and will always be here in varying degrees and, we got a big dose of it.

Ray J. Green: Yup. One of the best speeches or messages that I've heard on big companies and stability is actually from Jim Carey and, he has a, I can't remember what it is, maybe a speech at a college or something, and I'll find it on the show notes. But he speaks to his dad, one of the reasons he went into doing what he does now was watching his dad, basically play it safe and go the safe route. I think he is an accountant, and at some point in his career, they just laid him off, so he's invested basically everything, he didn't follow his passion, he didn't do what he was really great at or what's fun and, then he's out on his ass for a day, like it's overnight. So, no, I don't, whenever I hear the security thing, that's always a flag to me.

Paul Daniels: Pretty good response from you, yeah.

Ray J. Green: Yeah, physical reaction. So you mentioned the experiences, I know that you're really big on experiences. What are some stories that have affected how you build teams and lead them? Cause I have a real respect for your leadership style.

I know that it's authentically a servant leadership style. What are those experiences that led you to that particular style?

Paul Daniels: Yeah, thanks. Certainly knowing that I can't achieve on my own, and knowing that being part of a team means giving your all to that team, there was a gentleman that, Bob Adams, I'll call it, shout out to Bob Adams, who's been my mentor for decades and, I met Bob in an interview at the Hyatt DFW airport as he was flying through and filling positions for this company. There was something about his genuineness, his preparedness, and his authenticity. that attracted me to it. Obviously, I believe I was the best candidate for the job, I asked for the job, but I also asked him, Hey, if this isn't going to work, I would love to learn from you if you'd be willing to mentor me.

We fast forward, I got the job and, I've had the great pleasure of working for Bob twice, two different companies and with him, across a number of companies and his ability to think ahead for what's best for the team and prepare for that, really inspired me.

At 18, I was a gymnast, and I broke my back, so I've always had a bad back of my life and, we had quarterly meetings. So I'd come into the sort of quarterly meetings we'd have around different parts of the country, Bob knew that I'd thrown my back out and, he met me at the door of this conference center where we'd rented some space for a three or four day, huddle.

He met me there to help carry my bag to the meeting room, and I'm like, oh, okay. So, my team is doing really well, we're performing well, but is this real, he's like Karen bay, and of course, the room is set up properly and what I learned from him was that he was always there first.

He was the first and last one to leave, and it was all about the team. It was about how can I create an environment that brings out the absolute best in everyone on this, and so he managed to the individual and he did the same thing with clients and prospects. Fast forward that lesson I've applied many times in different situations.

One was leading a team to meet with a client we were finishing up our valuation, we'd been pressed for time, they wanted to collapse the timeframe and they said, come in, spend two days with us and then give us sort of your final proposal and we flew people in from all over the world had about 25 people that were that on this team that we're proposing.

And frankly, the team stayed up 48 hours straight, that's what it took in order for that team to develop and present a viable solution and, for whatever reason, the buyer came in and he'd had a bad day when we went to present, he just kind of went off on the team, and I timeout on the meeting said, I'd like to ask my team to leave the conference room, please.

Anyone else can stay, but I need to speak with you specifically to the economic buyer and we talked and, I said, I don't know what's going on and obviously you're upset, but I can't allow you to speak to our team that way, that's not acceptable and, of course he took that as a challenge who was angry with me.

I said, again, you can yell at me all you want, but we're done. I left and, the teams that are we going back in? Nope, we're heading to the airport, we're going home. The great news is, wasn't a client really that we probably wanted to have, but when we got off the plane, some of were connecting through DFW.

I was in a front plane and, people were coming off. I stayed and, I didn't leave, I made sure that I shook everybody's hand and told them how appreciative I was of them participating in that crucible to present what I thought we'd get awesome solution, which we would use later and win deal after deal with and that whatever they were feeling about, whether they let it down or not, it's not true.

The truth is you did a great job and, I'm not going to let anybody treat you that way just, as I would hope you would never want other people to treat me that way fast forward a few years, and that same team really wanted to work on deals that my team was working on for development and a bunch of our organizational groups.

 We did six months of that kind of work. I took Bob's lessons and I was the first one up that was the last one to sleep and whether it was, negotiating terms or making sure people have napkins for the pizza that we ordered at midnight, that was my job, I wanted to make sure the team had what they need to be successful.

Put them in the best spot where we can be sick. We were successful a couple hundred million dollar deal, largest in that company's history and was a great win, same thing got off the plane after winning the contract and shook everybody's hand and, it was cool the number of people that were coming off of that plane that was the same people that came off the plane after we kind of left, the other company.

Ray J. Green: That's incredible. I love that those are both great stories and just two sides of the exact same coin. Really great story, on Bob Adams, as a mentor, I guess this may be a two-part question, but what would you recommend, what stood out about him that led you to ask that question?

Was it pedigree? Was it reputation? Was it prior conversations? Like how did you know that kind of that quickly? And, I'll stop there, what led you to ask that?

Paul Daniels: I'm not sure that I can be really specific on all the things that played into that, partly because of that whole dyslexic thing. I pick up on body language and the pickup on the unspoken word and a number of other things.

There was something about this guy that was generous, authentic, he was trustworthy, obviously you don't want to just throw your trust at somebody because you like them, or they've got a great job for you, whatever, but there was something about him, and he was prepared for our meeting, and he said, look, my goal in our discussion is to find out what you're really good at, I want the very best from you. So I can see that, and don't worry about, mistakes or anything like that, or rambling just let's talk and get to know each other, and it was about a 90 minute interview.

 And he took copious notes, but they weren't, I could see any salesperson that learned to read upside down. We'll get this record, I can see that he was marking down areas of strength and then he would note where that's going to play within the team or a particular issue that they have, that it was going to address.

But whatever I'm thinking, man, he's really setting me up for success, he wants to see if what I have will fit with them. I think that was probably one of the tangible examples of why I wanted to do stuck with Bob, whether it was worked for him, worked with him, just know him, learn from him.

It's been a great experience. I'm very fortunate. I've had some other mentors that didn't work out so well. But this, the two that I have that I got are go tos, both have that same characteristic.

Ray J. Green: Yeah, I have a couple that they're just lifelong friends now. Like there that's as close to me as anybody, in terms of what I lean on them for.

So what would you recommend? I mean similar type of deal where I serendipitously like through the organization that I was at, they were really good at developing people they're really good at, and they just had really high caliber, it wasn't a run of the mill type of organization.

When they provided people at that were coaches or that were, it was a top-notch. That's a benefit that I've had that I didn't necessarily earn. If you're in a small organization or you don't work for somebody that you really want to mentor you, how do you go find, or how would you recommend go going and finding a Bob Adams or mentor that you can really trust and put your, that you could seek for advice on a regular basis?

Paul Daniels: Yeah, it's keeping your eyes open for opportunities where you meet people, just having that, maybe not front of mind, but pretty close to the front where it's not an afterthought, but it's okay. If it is an afterthought and you leave a networking event, I think, that would be a really good person, finding them again, and then reaching out and asking, Hey, can we spend some time together?

I'm developing in my career and, I can see the value of having mentors, and I'd like to talk with you. Have you ever mentored anyone in those kinds of things? One, just keeping your eyes open. The second, I mentor two people a year and, I take on that and if it goes along longer than a year, that's fine too.

And almost all of those come, as candidates who are mentoring through LinkedIn, there are people. So there's a way in LinkedIn that you can raise your hand and say, I'm looking for a mentor, here's what I'm trying to accomplish, or here's where I in my career, where I want to go and, people that are sort of aligned with that will be notified and get a chance to interact and talk with folks.

So there's not as many mentors, though. I think it's becoming more prevalent now and, I'm glad to see that time is such a precious commodity that it's difficult, especially for people in senior positions. You don't have a day job and then on their spare time and in their spare time for doing other things, but those that are willing to be mentors they're absolutely.

And they're completely invaluable if there's one thing I would say to someone that's new in their career, whether you're an individual performer or you're leading a team for the first time, you've been leading a team for decades a mentor is not a nice day, it's a must have. You've got to have somebody that you can have, candid conversations with, spill your guts, look for help, ask for help.

I'm not the person I am without, my two mentors both happen to have the name Bob.

Ray J. Green: What's funny, one of mine is Bob too. It's really interesting because I look at mentorship almost like scaling learning. I get to benefit from people who are already really smart, already lifelong learners, and really experienced.

And they're imparting their knowledge onto me. Like I don't have to necessarily make those things. I get the benefit of their experience and wisdom, so you get to scale learning in a way that you otherwise wouldn't. There's absolutely no way that I would have done any of what I've done without the benefit of incredibly generous mentors.

 I second that if you have the opportunity and then, if you have the benefit of great mentors and you have an opportunity to pay it forward, I think that it's really imperative that you look for those opportunities and when somebody comes along and asks the question, try to make the time if you've benefited from it.

Paul Daniels: Exactly, that's part of the agreement that I make with the people that I mentor that, depending on where they are in their career and in the next five years, Hopefully sooner that they will offer up to be a mentor to someone else, that's part of our unwritten. But I'll write it down if I need to kind of contract that says I'm happy to do this, but it can't stop with you.

Ray J. Green: Smart. I remember asking, cause at times I have felt guilty. I'm like, this is a one-way street, I have virtually nothing in return to give and the only requirement has been when you have the opportunity, pay it forward, they benefited from it. So it's a good cycle to keep going.

And this may be the last question here, I know you and I share many of the same perspectives on, what goes into making a great sales organization and how to get a team that build a high-performance team in terms of results and culture in terms of engagement.

And with an emphasis on strong leadership, what are some of the most common mistakes that you've seen managers or executives, even CEOs, make when it comes to building a great sales organization?

Paul Daniels: Yeah. So there are a few and, I'll say these with the hopes that none of them offend the folks that are watching or listening, and if it does, it's not intended, and maybe you should look at it.

Ray J. Green: With the alert, if this hurts, I listen.

Paul Daniels: Might be something area for improvement, if we ask our people, I want to say sales professions, but our people, if we ask those that, are on our team to do something, let's make sure that it's valuable to the company.

If I want a report of certain activities or whatever, and I can only get that out of the CRM in Salesforce or whatever I'm using but, it is not helpful for the sales process. It doesn't empower the sales professional to achieve their goals, then I need to stop and ask, do I really need that?

Or is there something in the sales process that I have not added because I'm asking for this metric, that I haven't explained the importance of to the sales organization. So you know, what gets measured gets done, but what gets done isn't always profit. Quick story, back when CBO was the DUS system, went to leading the team and we worked with some folks at Verizon and, they'd spent $33 million implementing Siebel 33 million.

And they had less than 10% adoption. So great opportunity, we had this business intelligence tool that could plug and play and, within six months they had 77% adoption. Why? Because all those things that they were asked to put in that were just such a pain persistent. So it was already in there and, it added a bunch of other things that the system didn't have that actually made them productive.

So if we ask our folks to do something, we should make sure that it's worthwhile. So that's one of those things that, certain new managers and people that have been around a long time say, well, it's just gotta be done. It's not the same as doing your expense report ,and Ray, you still have to.

I'm just saying.

Ray J. Green: It's a weakness, Paul. Can't do it.

Paul Daniels: Yeah, we're going to see how long it's going to be, you got some more work to do. One of the other things that I've seen not work well is putting someone in charge of sales that has no sales experience. It would be like putting a CFO in place that has no accounting background or finance background.

That it just doesn't go well, so if your brother-in-law who needs a job and you're the CEO and you want to make her or, him or whoever, the chief revenue officer, chief sales officer, VP of sales, and they haven't carried a bag. Now what it's like to live under quota to deliver to walk that beat.

I think you set yourself up for failure. The last, I guess I'd say is without a clear definition of the interaction between sales and all other departments, if we don't teach our people how, what they do influences what others do, and if as leaders, our cohort leaders don't do that same thing. We're building silos and we're building an organization not organized. We're building things that are not interdependent even though they really are, we're building those barriers. And I've loved doing that, going into, new companies and giving an overview and then sharing how this developer's work influences the tuition that this person is going to pay for their kid's college.

And you start making things really personal, it becomes really personal, right, and sales is not just a taker sales, yes, is kind of tip of the spear. The sales must get back to marketing, must get back to development, must explain to legal and operations. Why we're doing what we're learning? We're in the field, what are we learning about?

Operations needs to explain our operational boundaries so that sales doesn't get out over its skis, as the chief revenue officer here I go home every night and, I think the 16 families that I'm responsible for them. They're not all in sales and the 60 families in this small company that my work is responsible for.

And yeah, I need to make sure that we're selling we're good partners and so on, because I know the interdependencies, I teach our teams those interdependencies and, I don't let. Yeah, I know, that's not a good answer. No, show me that you know, by respecting the fact that we just got to call a support desk on a client that you closed, that isn't doing well.

I know that there's an interaction there and, it may not be something you did, but know that there's this ripple effect the butterfly wings flap all the time.

Ray J. Green: It's really good. Those are some great points, then you hit on something I like the organism and organization piece, but you hit on like the revenue.

So I've always liked revenue as a holistic because you can't count it until the job is done. I was at an organization once where, you had sales and, they focused on sales almost exclusively. But you couldn't count that on the income sheet, and until the books left, right until the package is sent until the job is done, and so by almost by default, it creates this holistic that's, the scoreboard and sales is one component, but it's all one system with different parts working together, and the output is if it's a car speed, if it's a business it's revenue.

I like that some great points in there. So this has been very helpful. I've loved talking. We're gonna have to do this at least a couple more times, and this is too easy. We could go three times as long, and I guess within your answers are more questions that I have, so let's plan on doing this again.

Paul Daniels: Absolutely and I'll be bringing my surfboard with me and we'll do it in Baja.

Ray J. Green: It wouldn't Baja. I think that is, I'm game for that, that's I tell people I'm in Baja, primarily for them, so that we can do team building, you can come on down here. It's for business, in the meantime where can people find you if they're looking for you?

Paul Daniels: Yeah. I'm on LinkedIn, at the HTTPS, all that stuff, LinkedIn slash and, it's Paul Daniels, jr. You can find me on LinkedIn. You can also reach me at the company on the CRO at Paul dot Daniels, with an [email protected]

Ray J. Green: Yeah, there you go. I was like, that's gutsy, man.

Paul Daniels: I might be driving through Mexico. I'm away to Baja.

Ray J. Green: There you go, coverage. This isn't good. Isn't that great sometimes and, then I'll also add that for anybody that wants to engage with Paul a little bit more. The sales leadership foundations forum is Paul's is probably our most active member, next to me on there, so if you liked what you heard and want to engage and have some questions, feel free to join there and start a conversation.

Paul Daniels: It's a great forum, I encourage, anyone that's interested to apply. I feel like a mentee when I'm on there. I'm learning a bunch since you've launched that it's an incredible community. One that I have not seen in many, many years.

 Kudos to you for developing it, and thanks for letting me in.

Ray J. Green: Thanks, it's we all feel like mentees. It's the whole, the virtual mastermind nature of it. We're all learning from each other. Well, I thanks again for your time.

 We'll catch up again and everyone thanks for listening.

Paul Daniels: Yeah, Mala. Okay, See you.

 

 

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