What should new hire onboarding entail to guarantee their success?
Onboarding often concentrates on values, missions, and product overviews, but in order to address employee turnover and effectiveness, more thorough onboarding is required.
Why do managers frequently receive inadequate training and insufficient preparation for their jobs?
The promotion of outstanding performers without enough training and the misunderstanding of player-coach roles are blamed for the absence of comprehensive training for managers.
What are the responsibilities and tasks of a sales manager?
Instead of acting as player managers, sales managers should concentrate on recruiting, mentoring, offering resources, and reducing obstacles for salespeople.
Why is it necessary to have ongoing support and development after onboarding?
For the purpose of identifying gaps, developing individuals, and adding value for both the employee and the company, onboarding shouldn't be a one-time event but rather a continuous process.
Marcus Cauchi: Hello and welcome back to the Inquisitor Podcast with me, Marcus Cauchi. Today I'm delighted to have my good friend Tamara McMillan, who is a champion of diversity and inclusion. She is a, an advisor to CSO UK and she has also driven fast growth businesses in tech for the last 20 years. Tamara, welcome.
Tamara McMillen: Thank you, Marcus.
It's such a pleasure to be here and great to see you.
Marcus Cauchi: Excellent. I see your hair's grown long while mine has shrunk.
Tamara McMillen: It has. It has and yes. And yours has not grown any longer.
Marcus Cauchi: It fled
It it was either
Tamara McMillen: Maintenance is the way to go.
Marcus Cauchi: It was either that or looked like Bill Bailey, and I figured I'd have it. Would you mind giving a
90-second introduction to your career path to date
Marcus Cauchi: 90-second introduction to your career path to date.
Tamara McMillen: Sure. Well, uh, the first thing everyone notices is I'm not from around these parts. So I come from California. My career began and [00:01:00] really grew in the Silicon Valley.
I've worked in technology companies for well over 20 years, largely leading, uh, sales organizations as well as those organizations that support sales, so, uh, solution architects, et cetera. I've had the pleasure of working in everything from startups and incubation businesses to Fortune 500 and Footsie companies and across a variety of different countries and continents.
So, I've now been in the UK for, since 2012, so eight years and in Europe for 12 years. And I think the best thing that I have learned is so many things are similar no matter where you go. And yet everything is also quite different. So, uh, life continues to be a daily teacher.
Marcus Cauchi: I can echo that. Having, uh, worked with multinationals and probably 80 different nationalities. There are common themes cuz we're wired the same way. But then culture, language, upbringing, background, [00:02:00] have a massive impact. So Tamara, I know that we were, the main thread of today is to talk about pre onboarding and onboarding.
Tamara McMillen: Yeah.
Marcus Cauchi: But we're also gonna delve into inclusion and diversity as well.
What are the foremost common questions that you get asked about the pre onboarding and onboarding process?
Tamara McMillen: I think there's a question of, first of all, regarding pre-boarding. How effective is it? Um, what are the key things that you should focus on and what's the result that you get if you choose to do pre-boarding versus not?
I think when it comes to onboarding, it's what should onboarding include? I think traditionally it's been focused on the values and missions of a company and a high level overview of products. But is that enough to accelerate and ensure success of new employees? And if you look at the statistics, you know, turnover and sales is about 34% average tenure of an employee is under two years, [00:03:00] and it takes two to three years for an employee to become effective in a job.
You can see that there are some real problems that we need to resolve around talent.
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah. Uh, absolutely. I couldn't agree more. If they do any pre onboarding, I'd be amazed. But the onboarding process is normally, hello, here's uh, the operations manual, read through that and uh, here's a phone, here's a database, off you go.
And yeah, that is not an onboarding process. No. So, uh, in, in a moment we'll delve into what a good onboarding process looks like, and I suspect we'll have a robust discussion what that might look like.
What are the other common questions that you get asked?
Marcus Cauchi: So what are the other common questions that you get asked?
Tamara McMillen: Well, if I touch on the diversity part, I think what's the most common question I get asked actually is why would you leave California and come and live in the UK?
Marcus Cauchi: You like the rain.
Tamara McMillen: That's not the point of, that's not the point of this conversation.
Marcus Cauchi: 32% of your genes with the duck.
Tamara McMillen: Yeah, there you go. Well, [00:04:00] my mom is from Ireland. Perhaps that's not too far from true. I think I do get asked a lot of questions in the diverse diversity area around how have I succeeded in senior leadership as a female, particularly in technology and even more so in sales.
How have I managed to have a career in family and how have my children handled moving around to different countries and cultures and then, and sort of how did I handle that from a work perspective? Those aren't specific to pre-boarding and onboarding, but they're related because I've been onboarded and pre boarded in different cultural environments and there are different considerations. Also when you're hiring different types of employees, which is not to put the cart before the horse conversationally, but it's certainly one of the things that I think we often do not think about when we are onboarding employees, that they're different types of people and we wanna have one process, and is that really the right answer when we're not trying to have one type of human being in our business?
Marcus Cauchi: Well, [00:05:00] that opens up a wealth of interesting dialogue around the value of having people with different perspectives in your team. I dunno if you've ever read Range or Rebel Ideas. Both of those really focus on the importance of having a diverse team and also a team that has a number of generalists who are focused on a specialist problem.
And so Rebel Ideas is by Matthew side and ranges by David Epstein. Okay. Both fabulous books and really worth a read, but we can delve into that in a minute.
Any other common questions that you get asked?
Marcus Cauchi: Any other common questions that you get asked?
Tamara McMillen: Uh, well, I think they're more statements, particularly as it relates to, to onboarding, you know, sort of, well we have an onboarding program.
Why do you always connect onboarding and development? You know, cuz onboarding seems like a very finite thing, but actually [00:06:00] it, you know, I like to think of it as just a rung on the ladder of the employee journey with the business, but it gets looked at as a very compartmentalized activity that's a tick box, kind of like filling out your employee information or deciding who's gonna be your benefactor, you know, for life insurance it's, it seems as if it's that simplistic.
So I get asked a lot of questions around why I'm so passionate about not only the, the onboarding of employees, but how we continue to enable and develop them for success.
Marcus Cauchi: Again, we see this very often where people think it's a one and done.
Tamara McMillen: Yeah.
Marcus Cauchi: And if you want your employees to stay, be loyal and keep developing and get the best outta them. Anyone who thinks like that, that it's a one and done, frankly, is an idiot.
Tamara McMillen: Yeah, and onboarding's also an opportunity I think to have an, a transparent conversation with your new employees about where their gaps are. You know, the, the interview process, no matter which methodologies you use and [00:07:00] assessment tools, the reality is there's only so many things you learn about the employees and in sales we are particularly poor at assuming that, you know, the winner of the prize with the job offer certainly can do the job.
I mean, they sold before they told a good sales story, they, you know, quoted some good numbers so they know how to sell. And so then the only thing we do is we stuff a bit of product at them and you know, off they go most often to fail. And I know this is a conversation and a passion that we have, but you know, for me there is such a moral obligation that leaders and hiring managers have to the employees that they bring in their company. You know, not only from the financial responsibility that we have over the resources we're spending for the business we represent, but to a human being who has also made a decision to come and join our business with the hopes and expectations of being successful in whatever job it is we've hired them into.
And then we kind of leave them [00:08:00] to it. And I like to make this akin to when my son was younger and I remember asking him, I mean, he wasn't that little, but you know, I asked him to go and clean the bathroom and he has used a clean bathroom. He has seen me clean the bathroom or the cleaners clean the bathroom.
You know, he's experienced what it's like to have a clean bathroom. So to be really honest, I thought he knew how to clean a bathroom. What happens? I come back, the bathroom is definitely not clean, you know, I mean, there's like, he's tried to clean it with toilet tissue. It stuck all over the mirror. He forgot to empty the waste bin.
Why? Because I, you know, I made so many assumptions about what he knew and what his skills were and that he understood the ways that we also wanted it done in our own home, that he failed essentially, right? Now that was a teaching moment for me to learn that in life, you can't just expect everyone to, to have these skills or know, and onboarding is the opportunity for us to uncover where those other gaps might [00:09:00] be and have that be part of their developmental journey within our business so that they grow in value for themselves and for us.
Marcus Cauchi: I couldn't agree more. And this then brings me to another bug bear of mine, which is the under training or total lack of training of management. We recently released a study. And, uh, the conclusion depressingly was that only 6% of sales managers globally are qualified for the job. And honestly, I'm quite surprised it's that high, but
Tamara McMillen: Ever the optimist.
Marcus Cauchi: Why is it that managers are tapped on the shoulder and told Tamara, congratulations, you're a manager now when five minutes before you were a producer and they're not given any training of any real substance, I mean, 43% of companies claimed that they gave, you know, meaningful training to managers. But I don't see the evidence in their performance.
Why is it that managers are so undertrained underdeveloped and they're not ramped up over a six to 18 month period to learn how to do the job?
Marcus Cauchi: So why is [00:10:00] it that managers are so undertrained underdeveloped and they're not ramped up over a six to 18 month period to learn how to do the job?
Tamara McMillen: It's a big list of things to go with there. I mean, I think we know the answer to the first question, which is why are these people tapped and moved into these roles? And it's normally because they were the top performer on their team and someone above them has this ambition that they can be a great player coach.
So they can not only, you know, lead the team, but they can show everybody else their magic. I personally hate, I really try to avoid the player coach term. I think we do have to roll our sleeves up as leaders, but. One of the things that I focused a lot on at Virgin Media was stopping the player-coach mentality.
And, and now in fairness, it tends to work better in early stage startups, early stage startups, you have to have player coaches. You want someone that's got enough talent and capability that they have some foresight and leadership skills, but they need to really be [00:11:00] still quite doers in what they're good at and what their passions are.
Because one, we can't afford and it doesn't make sense to build at this massive organization and you know, you don't just need a lot of leaders, you do need doers. So there, there is a time, but I think it's not too far into the journey when you really need people that know how to lead and develop talent.
And you need individuals that know how to nurture customers or run programs and solve particular problems. And when you try to mix those, uh, I think what you do is you make everybody do poorly. So we would have very often. I saw this where a manager would lose a person. Why? Because they hadn't done any success in planning.
They probably weren't doing the job in the way that they should have. So wow, all of a sudden I have an empty box. They do one of two things. They either make another salesperson take on that responsibility or help, you know, and, and that's gonna get them some additional sales while I try to find someone. Or the manager steps down into the rep role and begins to do the rep role.
Therefore, diluting [00:12:00] all their leadership to the rest of the, is when a manager goes. Their senior manager, director says to an individual contributor, why don't you manage the team whilst you manage your territory? This will be good player coach training for you.
Marcus Cauchi: Mm-hmm.
Tamara McMillen: And you can, you can develop your management skills.
I'm like, you don't, you know, I love the whole learning by fire thing, but it's a very concrete set of skills. And most likely they will become frustrated and fail and they won't succeed at making their own plan. So I'm not really sure where anybody's benefiting here. What if we were passionate about the roles that we're serving and we did those jobs effectively?
And we do roll up our sleeves and we come alongside and we do the things that we're supposed to do. But leaders and managers have a very distinct role. And it's uniquely different than individual contributors, no matter what department you're working in. And we, we can't conflate those things. Cause when we do, everybody loses, I think, am I right?
Marcus Cauchi: You, you're absolutely on the money. I think out of expediency and [00:13:00] necessity, the player coach in an early stage startup exists definitely. But the sooner you can get out of that role managers have four functions in sales. Hire the best salespeople, get the best out of them. That means pre-boarding, onboarding, training, coaching, accountability.
Make sure they have the tools and resources they need to do their best work every day. So make sure that they've got the kit that they need, the software that they need. Make sure that it's functional. Now, only 20% of data in CRM is viewed as valuable. That's worse than the toss of a coin. And companies are making strategic decisions on the future of their business, on the basis of what's allegedly in the CRM.
And the fourth thing is be the, uh, the point guy. So your job is to help clear the roadblocks and also to protect them from act of idiocy, from senior management. Now if you do those four things well then your job is not to [00:14:00] spend time worrying about your production. So if you are a player manager, then chances are under pressure, you will revert back to focusing what pays the mortgage, which is hitting your target.
And you'll drop the coaching, the training.
Tamara McMillen: Well,
Marcus Cauchi: The mentoring.
Tamara McMillen: And what ha, and I think we mistake being physically present as coaching and, and they're really different things. So, um, you know, another business that I worked in, the sales director went on every sales call with, you know, and certainly on any closing calls.
Now I can understand this, for a new employee, maybe the first time around the loop, you know, maybe you wanna check out those skills. You wanna show them how you bring your particular value proposition across the line. But beyond that, I really have to question what is it that they don't have the skills to do the job? And if you're out on every one of their sales calls, how are you doing your relationship building?
How are you developing the team? How are you looking strategically at the business to understand what else you need to be doing? And [00:15:00] I think that's where part of this danger comes in. And I think it's one of the reasons we also shortchange processes like onboarding, because we tick the bare minimum boxes and then we figure that we'll kind of figure it out with them along the way.
And so we almost maintain this leash distance continually with our team instead of empowering them with the tools that they need to go out and be ridiculously successful. So much so that I either have to promote them or find new challenges because they've outrun the job. That's a better reality.
Marcus Cauchi: A ride along is a coaching opportunity. It's not an opportunity to prove what a study you are.
Tamara McMillen: Yes.
Marcus Cauchi: And the problem is that if you go on those calls and you take over the sale, you disempower the salesperson.
Tamara McMillen: Yeah.
Marcus Cauchi: And you create a culture of learned helplessness and upward delegation. And that's rescuing.
Tamara McMillen: Yeah.
Marcus Cauchi: Rescuing is helping without boundaries or permission and it, it creates a very bad culture.
Tamara McMillen: But I think because this has been [00:16:00] a really common practice, it's sort of seen as a best practice. Right. I mean it's, it is systemically what people do. It's why we are still talking all these years later about promoting the most successful salesperson to the sales leader. That's not definitely, they have different interests usually.
I mean, sales managers, sales leaders, leaders of people love developing, managing and leading people. That's what they love doing. They love solving the broader business problems. They love helping people achieve their personal best individual contributors love helping themselves achieve their best. That is what they're supposed to do.
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah.
Tamara McMillen: So unless they've made a really conscious decision, as people do, as I certainly date in my career and many others have, but a lot of people just end up there because it seems like, well, I've reached the height of what I can do in this job. So the next thing must be for me to be the manager of the people that do this job.
Marcus Cauchi: So let's go [00:17:00] back to the recruitment process because I think, uh, all of this really stems from that. The recruitment process in my experience is generally a little bit cookie cutter and not done well, which is why you have such a high turnover rate. You have high failure rates, and you have the wrong hires. Now, Phil McGowan, who's an academic at the University of Portsmouth, he's just finishing his PhD. He's just finished a meta study of, I think it was, uh, he distilled down 5,000 academic studies into the top 130. And the findings from those 130 were that it takes 38 months to recover when a salesperson leaves.
Tamara McMillen: Yeah, I've seen that study.
Marcus Cauchi: That is a truly depressing statistic. In enterprise, you can lose as much as 35 to 125 times salary for a wrong hire. So the recruitment process, I think is [00:18:00] where the many of these problems start.
Why is the recruitment process so broken in sales?
Marcus Cauchi: Why is the recruitment process so broken in sales?
Tamara McMillen: Well, I have to be honest, I don't think it's just broken in sales.
I think recruitment is struggling in every kind of job. I mean,
Marcus Cauchi: Fair.
Tamara McMillen: Being somebody that myself is essentially in the job market, right? I mean, it's horrible. You know, recruiters trade in people, which means that they, they need to focus on the people that are making them money in that day to pay their own bills.
And, you know, that, that creates, I think, a natural, in some ways conflict for them. Not that they're not great people and they're not some of them doing it well, but it's a, it's a in different kind of business to be in. I think most companies don't necessarily know what they want. I think job descriptions are old and we hire based off what we wrote about a long time ago, as opposed to what was the person who left this job actually doing and taking time to recraft what it is that we need to hire.
I think we rely on self-reporting in the interview process. So, you know, I, I'm as good as the story that I tell you [00:19:00] and your job is to determine if I'm an accurate or good storyteller, but there's not a lot of facts in there. Um, you know, the interview process doesn't have very great ways of really ascertaining if you truly have the capabilities that the job requires and those capabilities go beyond.
You know, being able to say that you achieved a certain percentage. It might be your mindset. It might be, you know, your ability to adapt and accept change. It might be how well you handle failure. Salespeople get more nos than yeses. Are you really comfortable with that? Or does it really stress you out?
But you've been in sales doing a sales job, so you keep doing a sales job cuz you've been a salesperson. The interview process doesn't ferret out a lot of those things, and we historically, humans aren't great interviewers and we're not consistent interviewers. The conversation I have with you about a job, about the exact same job, the questions I ask you are probably not going to be the same as the questions that I ask the next person, because conversation becomes dynamic.
That means I'm [00:20:00] comparing apples and oranges when I make my hiring decision. So I think. That's part of the, those are some reasons that it's broken.
Marcus Cauchi: It's interesting, I had a, a conversation with Colin Ferguson, who's the regional VP for OutSystems, and both of us were bemoaning the fact that salespeople turn up to interview in their passive.
He was, uh, sharing an example of one salesperson who turned up and just took over the, the interview. And my favorite opening question is, Tamara, welcome. Really been looking forward to meeting you over to you. If they sell to me at that point, and they have a structure, they have a plan, they do pain discovery, they establish budget, they establish a decision making process, that's a really good indicator as to whether or not they're gonna perform well.
In my role, I wanna understand what their habits are. I wanna know that they have a planning habit, a prospecting habit, a a pre-call planning habit, a post-call debriefing habit. I want to know that they prioritize well. I wanna understand that they time block [00:21:00] their diaries consistently. So I wanna see evidence of that.
Uh, I wanna see that they have a strong self-concept, a strong money concept, that they see themselves as having parity with the customer, that they are, they understand that they exist. The reason the company exists is because of the customer, not in spite of them. That
Tamara McMillen: Mm-hmm.
Marcus Cauchi: If they're selling through partners, their job is to make the partners wildly successful.
If they're in a management role, their job is to make their salespeople wildly successful. And the, the problem that I see time and time again is people are focused on the wrong end of the problem. They're focused on lagging indicators all the time.
Tamara McMillen: But back to the point that you made early on, around the lack of training for managers.
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah.
Tamara McMillen: You know, and, and it, the entire success of a company literally sits on the shoulders of the sales manager.
Marcus Cauchi: Absolutely.
Tamara McMillen: The person who's managing the individual contributors, and, and because we don't invest the time, money, effort, coaching that we should for those individuals, [00:22:00] that means that they all do that conversation that you just talked about differently, and then they even do it differently with different human beings.
So how are we expecting a similar result on the backend of all those conversations when we haven't provided a consistent framework, methodology, approach, set of skills or attributes that we're looking for? And I, and I think. If we did that, it also would help set the framework for, well now how do we pre-board an employee?
Which is that point of, you know, nurturing the relationship with them from the time they've accepted the offer until the time they walk through the door as the, you know, their first day on the job. What are those activities, engagements, communications that were engaging with them, which by way is proven to reduce turnover.
Make sure that there's broader cul cultural acceptance. Ensures that you don't have ghosts on the day, uh, that they were supposed to walk through the door, which also happens. It [00:23:00] also moves a lot of the boring administrative ticky stuff off of a first day, because first days are kind of let downs, aren't they?
Like, I got the job. I'm so excited that I walk through the door and I'm gonna be stuck in a corner with a laptop and a bunch of forms by myself.
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah.
Tamara McMillen: I mean that's, that's, and I'm gonna, you know, get all my logins and I'm gonna, uh, figure out what my passwords are and you know, my email address and, you know, and some companies even still order business cards and get my Salesforce access.
And like, there are so much more meaningful ways to bring people into a business on their first day. And mo most of those things could happen in any other construct than sitting down on your first day. But that all takes thoughtfulness and it takes a process and a consistency. And when you think about hypergrowth businesses, they can't scale without process and structure, which is not intended to kill innovation.
It actually does the opposite. It underpins and empowers innovation. You get to a certain point, you [00:24:00] cannot keep creating the wheel over and over. It's a massive distraction. But now you find enterprise organizations, they never did it either. So they're almost worse off cuz the machine is rolling. Like course correcting is really hard.
What should the pre onboarding look like for a sales manager?
Marcus Cauchi: So what should the pre onboarding look like for a sales manager?
Tamara McMillen: The first fact you have to consider is how much time do you have? Because you know, depending on the country that you're hiring in and the circumstances of the individual, their ability to start quickly or over two, three months, that's gonna determine some of what you do.
But pre-boarding should be everything from, you know, you can share all the information about the values and the missions. You can let them watch videos of your executives kind of championing the story and getting them involved in the journey. You can have them have conversations with some key stakeholders so they begin to understand how they're gonna work with these individuals.
You can also have them fill out all the boring paperwork, hire their laptop, get the phone, get the phone number. They can get access to all the systems, they can get their [00:25:00] email established. All of that stuff is quite boring and can be done remotely and simplistically, it is important that you don't overwhelm in pre-boarding.
I've seen that happen where they forget that this person might still be employed somewhere else. And they want to significantly engage them or sort of give them as much as they can handle. That would be a don't. The other great opportunity that would be a do in the pre-boarding is we work with people, right?
So what we want are relationships. Have a dinner, have a drinks night. Invite around the people that this person needs to know that they're gonna work with, the team they're gonna be part of. Just let them get to know one another because the phone calls are great for understanding the practical day to days, but it doesn't let me know the people and the human element that I'm gonna work with.
And if I can walk in on my first day, we don't know that we'll be walking in anymore. But if we can walk in on our first day and I feel like I already have a friend, or I already know a resource to go to, cause [00:26:00] my hiring manager will have a schedule likely that day of their own meetings, they won't be fully available to me.
How great is that? I already have somebody I'm gonna have lunch with. I already know who my buddy is for those key process questions. Um, that will go a huge way towards someone already feeling part of the family instead of that process beginning day one.
Marcus Cauchi: That makes a lot of sense.
When we're talking about salespeople, what should we really focus on in those first 120 days?
Marcus Cauchi: So what about the first 120 days, the onboarding process, when we're talking about salespeople, what, what should we really focus on in those first 120 days?
Tamara McMillen: Well, I think the first 120 days or first 90 days, depending on your company and you know, sort of the sales cycles and complexity of the environment that you're in. But that time period needs to include. The brilliant basics of what are the products, what are the services, what are our value propositions, and how do we sell it?
It needs to include time with your solution architects or your technical teams or your consultants, anyone else that engages with the customer to really understand the common [00:27:00] objections. What are the objections? Why are people not buying our products? Why do they buy somebody else? Give them really good competitive intelligence.
It needs to include things like the processes that are in place and the workarounds for the processes that don't work. You know, what's the secret sauce? Because the internal sale is hard. You know, we take the time to tell them, this is how you submit an order, and this is, we forget to tell them this is why the order won't go through.
These are the problems that we have making stuff happen. This is the guy that you call, cause the issue is not, you know, getting the first sale or the first. Yes. It's getting that first bill generated. It's getting the invoice to be paid. And when you start doing that, you build confidence in the employee and the company that I've hired, the products that I'm selling, the outcomes I can create for customers.
So hundred 20 days needs to include that. It should have a buddy, quite literally who's my partner in crime and the person that I can go to? It needs to have [00:28:00] shadow days, drive along days. I don't care how senior or whatever you are, take them to a customer that's not theirs, just so that they can meet a customer and hear the conversation and, and what are the kinds of things that customers say about us firsthand?
What happens is we want them to be productive right away and they should, you know, of course we wanna get them to that point as soon as possible, but we only give them enough to be a little bit successful. And what does that end up resulting in? Pipeline that's filled with column fodder, poorly qualified opportunities, overuse of resources because they're insecure about what, you know, they don't have all the answers, so they feel like they need to grab all the resources and take them with them.
Or maybe worse, they take no one because they're embarrassed so they don't progress opportunities. That is what we have the opportunity to solve in that 90, 120 day period. But I think it needs to be an academy process. Something I've implemented a few times is, [00:29:00] here's the 90 day plan. Each week it will include these things.
Every week we're gonna check in and see how you progress. We're gonna also align what we think that should mean in terms of an expectation of sales performance and when is it appropriate. And by the way, in this time, you get to raise your hand and say, I'm not getting it. This isn't working. I don't like it.
It needs to be human. Don't just stick them in videos, after video, after video. And it does need to take into consideration when you bring people in, I think the first thing you should do is a skill assessment. What are they really good at? Where do they need help? And then make that part of their plan.
And it's, you know, the 120 days is just sort of how we're gonna get you to the place where you can start being successful. But we need to continue to develop people. And so I almost don't like onboarding because it is that finite period of time. And then people kind of get forgotten. W we need to be continually developing, coaching our people because our [00:30:00] business keeps changing. Our customers keep changing. The market keeps
Marcus Cauchi: If you're in hypergrowth.
Tamara McMillen: Yeah.
Marcus Cauchi: The business that you started out on the 1st of January is not gonna be on the same on the 6th of June, and it's gonna be a different one by the 21st of December. I think you've touched on a number of issues here, which I'd like to, uh, build on.
The first thing is that in the first 120 days, a new employee is putting the company, the job, and the manager on probation. Have I bought the job I was sold?
Tamara McMillen: Mm-hmm.
Marcus Cauchi: Is my boss and ass? Can I do this? Do I like the people I work with? Do I like the customers? Can I be successful? And in that first 120 days, they're making that assessment.
The second thing is that in that time, veterans especially, I think, need to go through an onboarding process because you don't know what baggage and what bad habits and behaviors they've been instilled with and they're bringing with them. So you need to use that 120 days [00:31:00] to identify, uh, where there are those development areas and coaching.
Tamara McMillen: Yes.
Marcus Cauchi: There needs to be a rhy, an operating rhythm that managers, VPs of Sales, CEOs all have around sales. And I think that too often the sales operation is not valued as much as it really ought to be because it's the lifeblood of every business. And especially when you are going through, uh, rapid growth. If sales is not really valued and lack of clarity in terms of the message coming down from above, will mean that sales will focus on the wrong thing.
They'll focus on what they think they need to focus on. The compensation plan is another thing. What you measure and manage and how you compensate will determine their behavior.
Tamara McMillen: Mm-hmm.
Marcus Cauchi: So if managers are beating the drum about get more meetings, get more proposals out, do more demos, then that's what salespeople will focus their [00:32:00] attention on.
Instead of unique, effective conversations, instead of second meetings, did you know that only 12% of first meetings result in a second meeting? Why would you waste seven eight of your marketing spend and your lead generation spend because you haven't done pre-core planning rehearsal, and you are spending time with the wrong type of prospect?
What a waste. One of the things I'm grateful for with Covid is I fundamentally believe this is a God-given opportunity for us to restructure ourselves, operations, take a blank sheet of paper and ask ourselves a question. If I was starting again, like I can now without feeling guilty about it, if I was starting again, who would still be on their payroll on the 1st of January?
Tamara McMillen: Yeah.
Marcus Cauchi: Which of my partners would I keep? Which of my managers would I still keep? What would sales really need to look like? So it was an effective sales operation.
Tamara McMillen: Yeah.
Marcus Cauchi: And people are afraid of that, and they're, they get squeamish about that [00:33:00] conversation. But if you're squeamish about that, you are holding your business back.
Great managers let salespeople fail
Marcus Cauchi: And I'd just like to make one more point, which is that great managers let salespeople fail. They won't let the business fail, but they will let the salesperson fail because every failure is a learning and a teaching opportunity.
Tamara McMillen: Mm-hmm.
Marcus Cauchi: But they then complain that they don't have enough time for coaching, so they don't coach.
The reason you haven't got time for coaching is you're not done well coaching. So why do leadership allow that to persist?
Marcus Cauchi: The reason you haven't got time for coaching is you're not done well coaching. So why do leadership allow that to persist?
Tamara McMillen: Yeah. I, I mean, I think that there's a couple of systemic things and, and maybe I'll answer the question in a different way. I, I think successful onboarding and growing and retention of talent happens when you have a really positive partnership between sales managers or leaders.
Your sales enablement, your learning and development, and your human resources. You know, they, they need to sit as is sort of a pod around [00:34:00] what we are doing initially and continually to help our employees be successful. It's the systems, it's the tools, it's the processes, it's the training, it's the collateral.
I mean it's, it's all of that sort of stuff. I think what happens is our l and d budgets get a bit cut, so we give them the basics. It's the company history, the company overview, here's some tips and tools. Then we assume the manager's gonna help them out. Then the manager goes and says, well, the reps can teach you the tools because they know how to process the orders.
They do it every day. The only reps that have time usually to help are the ones that are less successful. Yeah. Which is 80% of the team. So now you have people who are not your greatest brand champions, who are probably not the most efficient or effective people in the organization at getting the job done, teaching the new people.
Their habits or their, you know, their inability to be successful and they got in that place for a similar reason because the manager either couldn't take it on or didn't take it on. And, you know, I, I think this [00:35:00] failure culture, um, you know, you talked about we have to embrace failure. I, I think you have to have a growth mindset culture and that starts at the top.
And, you know, I think it's fair to say, how many CEOs do you run into that really encourage a growth mindset? You know, how many of them have that exact perspective on failure? How many of them can, you know, look at investors and say, we're not gonna make it because we're making these long-term decisions and those are the right decisions, versus we're gonna lay off 15% of the workforce to make the number.
There's a lot of things that have to flow down and that happen around an employee. So an individual can. With the best of intentions. And you might even have their first line manager wanting the same thing. But you know, you do need the organization to support the success, success of sales. And you know, you made a point about the importance of sales.
Unabashedly proud of sales. We tend to be 10 to 17% of an organization and we drive [00:36:00] 100% outta the bro, the revenue. So, you know, that means that gives everybody a job. I mean, I think that's a really exciting, important role that we play. And when you consider that 20% of reps might make plan every year, that means that there's actually very few people who are driving the majority of that business.
It doesn't make us better than anybody. It's a team sport. We do it in partnership with everybody else, but it is something that we need to take more seriously because the better those people are, the faster we'll grow, the more profitable we will be, the happier customers we will have. So the more customers we're gonna get.
And that's just good business.
I'd like to take this in a slightly different direction for a moment. I see so many companies, particularly hypergrowth tech scale apps, obsessed with growth, but they're not obsessed with longevity. And that's a, a major handicap because you see so many business failures because what they do is they focus on [00:37:00] growth.
And I think to a large extent, it's driven by how they're funded. I have a real b in my bonnet about the corrupt and broken private equity and venture capital system that encourages businesses to go into massive debt and not focus on profitability, not focus on longevity. And as a result, you see lots of companies, I mean well over 75% of companies invested in by private equity fail.
I think it's probably close high eighties or early nineties, uh, mark. And that I think is something that. Leadership really needs to ask themselves the question, why are we going for funding and why are we going on this OB race for growth when we don't have a great sustainable business? Now I've been fortunate enough to interview a number of the sales leaders in the world's fastest growing and sustained tech, uh, hyper-growth businesses.
And what was really [00:38:00] interesting about them is whilst they reinvest all of their profits in continuing the growth they have in place, a lot of the stuff that we've talked about, they have a great recruitment system and it's ongoing. So they're always building the bench. They don't compromise on recruitment, so they're acquiring good talent.
That talent is pre onboarded. It's onboarded. Then they have a cadence for coaching and training on an ongoing basis. They are looked after. So sales. Sales enablement management, l and d, hr, working concert. And you know, one of the things that frustrates me is, and forgive me for offending, a lot of you who may be listening, but I think most sales enablement directors are people looking for a job within the company where they're already employed.
I don't think most sales enablement is affected because if you put great sales enablement tools over a broken [00:39:00] sales organization, it will amplify the flaws. Um, if you put great sales enablement over an already fundamentally strong sales organization, it will amplify the strengths.
And I think that the reality is that sales enablement shouldn't be done to sales.
You know, and I think that's actually part of the problem is they function. Too siloed. Of course, they operationally have to get together all the time. But the thought leadership and, and that top table decision making around what are the tools, where is the budget gonna be invested? Which tools are making the most sense?
You know, they're, they're not really focused on solving a lot of the frustrations that sales face or the administrative waste because we might be chasing the next new shiny thing. And, and I think that's where the organizations that have sales enablement, right, are those that are working in lockstep with their sales leadership to say, what is it we need to be doing?
How do we make sales more successful? How do we, you know, take, give them [00:40:00] more selling time, more time in front of the customer? How, how do we simplify processes? You know, that's, those are the things that salespeople need.
I have a shining example of a really good environment and it comes from the Swedish public sector.
I interviewed the chief tech Innovation advisor for the City of Helsingborg in Sweden, and they've been given 250 million Swedish krona to innovate and makes Helsingborg a center of innovation in Europe. And they've been given a mandate that they may fail. All the different departments meet on a regular basis and they do something else, which I think is really clever.
They have managers whose job title is manager of the Gap, so what they do is they manage the gap between the different silos and the different departments in order to ensure that stuff doesn't fall through the cracks. And it's really fascinating. His name is Patrick Lin. It's [00:41:00] really worthwhile having a listen to that interview.
It opens your eyes to what's possible. And, you know, interviewing people like Tom Schor and Tom Caley and Chris, one of the things that comes through in all of those conversations is that they meet with other departments. They recognize that sales doesn't exist in isolation, and that there is, there are standup fights.
I mean, they literally just get up and they beat each other to death until they come up with a solution that works. And I, I think too often people are afraid of conflict. I think conflict
massively valuable. I think also they're, they're different types of sales leaders and I think the ones that we're finding that are more successful are the ones that are great collaborators.
But you still have some who are just kind of sales jockeys. Like what they wanna do is just sling deals and sit with the customer and close, close, close, which of course we need to do, but, Making the [00:42:00] internal sale the obstacles, minimizing those so that sales can happen more successfully once those contracts are signed, getting out in front of where the market is going so that we're developing leads and our brand in a way that we understand customers want us to.
And those are the things that we need to be doing. And we can only be doing that if we are collaborating and meeting with those other organizations. And, and again, I think that's a little bit of a cultural drive that happens from the top table that says the rest of the organization is not here to serve sales.
Cause we see that negative culture happen as well where everyone feels like they're less than sales. And then you have the opposite where it's sort of like, sales is always winging and whining. You know, just go get it done. We've given you the leads, we've given you this, we've given you that. And it, it's this sort of us and them mentality, no matter who's sitting on which side, we're all on the same team.
That's the customers team.
But that's bottom line starts with leadership. That's, that's exactly right. That top table. I, I, I heard of batter report. That said 42% [00:43:00] of C-suite and board members felt that their company would function more effectively if only the board was in alignment. And isn't that a damning travesty?
wanted to go back and make two comments that before we move on, if my kids, Marcus, just real quick, one was around just when we bring new people on and we talked about what that onboarding should include. One of the things that I've seen missed so many times, and I, and I wanna mention it because I think it's an easy one to miss, but is giving the new people part of their onboarding should be going around and presenting to different people inside the company about wherever they just came from, whatever that knowledge is that they had.
A lot of times we're hiring from competitors or people in similar spaces and we forget. To get out of them what they already know cuz we're so busy putting into them what we want them to know. So I think that there's this beautifully missed repository of data and content that we wanna be sure that we extract from our new [00:44:00] people.
And it's also a great way for them to begin to build their personal brand and give them confidence because there is a bunch of stuff that they do know and we wanna give them an arena to, to share that information and when they can do that. Cause otherwise they're the person in the room who knows the least all the time.
And obviously they, they know lots of things. That's why we hired them and why they've been successful in the past. So that was one of the comments I just wanted to share. The other was you, you know, we talked about coach player and you were talking just a few minutes ago about these cracks getting exposed.
In the Swedish example, one of the reason I also don't like the coach player model is because it doesn't let cracks. Right. And, and, um, salespeople are notorious also for going around and kind of just getting stuff done, doing whatever it takes to get that order in the deal across the line. In fact, this way they're great orchestrators behind the scenes, but each person's doing it differently and they're covering over all of these problems in our organization.[00:45:00]
And all we do is hear these little whinges here and there. So when we play in position and we fulfill the role that we've been asked to do, it can help amplify the problems so we can prioritize and fix the ones that are gonna drive the most revenue or the best result of the organization. When we have everybody running around doing all sorts of things and filling in gaps.
And I'm gonna be your trainer now and I'm gonna go over and I'm gonna do this. We really can't see what the business needs. So we, we are very inefficient and I think wasteful about how we all spend our time. So that was just the comment I wanted to add in. Well, that
now raises the other question around recruiting What.
From a diverse pool in Helsingborg, one of the things that they did was they made sure that when they were working on their transport project, none of the people came from a transport background. They were all users of public transport. And I think, uh, in Rebel Ideas side talks about how important it is to [00:46:00] have people with different perspectives because from different cultures, from different races, from different religions, from different ethnic backgrounds, from different industries, because then you get a much fuller, richer picture.
Because if you've only come from selling E E R P to enterprise, that's the only perspective you have. And so you got blinders on, you got blinkers on. And you only see that narrow focus. And in David Epstein's book range, he talks about how generalists operating in a specialist field, which requires creativity, tend to massively outperform the specialists.
And I think having diverse teams is really important. And it's not about positive discrimination for any politically correct reason. I genuinely believe that what it does is it enriches the environment and it enriches the perspective that [00:47:00] people have. I was interviewing, uh, Juliana Vida, who is Chief technical advisor to Splunk last week, and she was fascinating.
She was 27 years as a a Navy pilot doing combat helicopter runs, and then three years at the Pentagon as Deputy Chief Information Officer for the Navy. And then three years at Gartner, not a technical bone in her body, not come from sales. She sees the world through the customer's lens, and she enriches the sales process for Splunk in ways that no salesperson is likely to be able to do unless they come from that varied background, unless they've experienced the pain of being on the bias.
Yeah. I mean, all I can say is amen and amen. Um, I've given different kinds of talks and facilitated round tables on diversity and inclusion, and I I often focus on what I call the, the dimensions of diversity or cognitive diversity, that [00:48:00] yes, we want to get gender representation and we want to get different ethnicities represented, but ultimately the goal of diversity is, the benefit of diversity is that people think differently, right?
And they think differently for a variety of reasons. And the broader set variable attributes that you can have. Yes. The more innovative, the more creative. The more healthy challenge you can bring to a conversation. So it is about eco, you know, socioeconomic education background. Have they traveled? Are they an immigrant?
Do they, you know, have they pulled themselves up by the bootstraps? Have they been raised with a silver spoon? Have they gone from to different types of university? Because if you end up hiring, you know, half men, half women, and they all went to Cambridge and they all read English, well yeah, they're gonna have some differences in the background.
But you know, you begin to create such a commonality that groups think happens outta the very nature of the fact that they share so much in common naturally. And even if they're capable of individually contributing differently. When you get too many like-minded people together, they just [00:49:00] continued to be like-minded.
But it takes. Real effort and intention. And so I think one of the opportunities we have as hiring managers is to become very intentional about the kinds of people that we want to hire, the types of attributes that our team needs to round itself out so that we are having some people that might have more technical backgrounds or maybe people that come from different types of industries that we wanna sell into and we don't know anything really about, or different countries that we'd like to get to know better.
And how, what are their ways of selling? And even taking it a step further and beginning to align our people to the different types of customers, human beings that we sell to. I worked in businesses where, well, you walk in and you go, I just wanna tell you before you get all excited, they've never bought anything.
They don't like us. You know, they, they've bought all the bad stories and they've been, they've been basically sending the same kinds of salespeople to the way of those exact same customers for ages. And you find if you change the [00:50:00] type of person that's approaching them, Well, the success rate somehow changes too.
It just might have been a bad match of kinds of people, and we need to be brave enough to think about that.
I had a prospect and we were talking about particular problem that they were having, and they eventually became a client and they let one sales rep go and in the following quarter, sales went up 30% with no one on the territory.
That's the impact the wrong sales rep can have. I'm coaching a guy at the moment and, uh, he works in the hardware space and he sells into channel, and his territory lost 40% revenue over the last year before he came in. They'd managed to churn three reps covering it, and, you know, so the, the partners were getting really frustrated.
They were suffering from vendor fatigue. And in seven weeks he's managed to go from being brand new to the [00:51:00] job, to being the number three rep in the company. Yeah. That's the difference. Great sales can make with great systems, great methodology, focusing on making the partner and the customer wildly successful.
It's huge, uh, impact. But the problem is so often people are so focused on the wrong end of the problem. And if you see this time and time again and there's this emphasis on, they're not one of us. Well, absolutely they, in that case, that tells me that you are broken and you need to be ready to have more.
Not one of us in the team. Yeah.
Well, I think the other thing that's interesting though is when we. Designed to take up the mantle of creating diverse teams and, and all of the things that, that means. One of the things we really have to do is make sure that you put the right nutrients in the soil. You know, cause this is the other problem that I've seen is, you know, I'm a farmer.
I've always grown wheat. That's what I grow. And all of a sudden one day I realize that [00:52:00] I need to vary my crops. And so what do I do? I just plant different crops, but in the same soil. Well, I haven't prepared the soil to receive those. And, and one crop can choke out another one. Same thing happens with human beings.
You know, you bring them in, you are excited that they're different, but ultimately everyone else is really expecting them kind of to be the same. They don't get a platform to be different. We don't really encourage the difference. We don't prepare for different, so they tend to leave because they weren't able to flourish.
And the organization doesn't change. And I, I, you know, I think that's a problem that will become something we need to be more conscious about as we pursue. Greater types of diversity that you have to manage those teams differently. You have to approach those teams differently. I think you actually need to empower those teams even more in terms of the kinds of things we should be doing, what we should be thinking about, and how we need to, you know, engage with our customers.
Because otherwise we're just kind of changing a few coats of paint, but we're really doing the same thing and [00:53:00] it
won't work. I interviewed a fascinating chap. His name is Ian Dodds, and he came from council estate in the north of England, went to Oxford and he, throughout his career, was very heavily involved in creating inclusivity and he turned around a number of the worst performing plants in ICI over a 22 year period.
He then became head of Tower's parents, European diversity practice and various others. He's won lifetime awards for this stuff, and what's really fascinating is the stories that he tells around. How lack of inclusion, lack of diversity created a culture for management and worker conflict? Yeah, there was a huge problem.
His first plant that he worked in, there was a branch of the Communist party and you know, there was constant unrest and dispute. And [00:54:00] he came home one day and he heard his parents whining about their managers and he suddenly thought, you know what, if we actually spoke to the people who were suffering this management.
And by doing that, he ended up making friends with the union leaders who were running the, uh, the communist part within the plant. And what happened over a five year period, they went from the worst to the best performing, and then he replicated that time and time and time again. They had a massive Afro-Caribbean community locally, but no Afro-Caribbean in the plant at all.
They started recruiting local Afro-Caribbean. The culture changed their, you know, undoubtedly there would've been teething troubles, but what happened was they were richer for it. And, you know, you see, uh, the, the lack of ethnic minorities on boards, you see the lack of women on boards. I fundamentally believe that we need to start looking at how we recruit [00:55:00] talent while putting our biases aside in order to enrich the leadership.
Because if you don't have that, then it's just gonna be more of the same. So what, what would you suggest to people when they're starting their business up? In terms of deliberately, intentionally building the network and creating a bench of suitable candidates that come from a, a one of them type of backgrounds rather than one of us.
I think that you have to do a few different things. One is engage others in the journey with you that represent the kinds of people that you wanna find, right? Because people know where their people are. If I'm gonna try and find those people, I might not know where they are because I'm trying to find things that are different than me.
They may be in different communities, cultural areas, academic environments, lots of different places you can go to find candidates for jobs, depending on are they entry level or more experience, et cetera. There are a number of [00:56:00] wonderful HR tech software tools coming on the market that help to mitigate our humanness.
You know, whether it's technologies that strip all. Elements of gender off of CVS so that they can be more blindly evaluated or different types of psychometric assessments that you can have a variety of candidates dip into so that you select them on the basis of an output of characteristics as opposed to what their CV says.
There's a lot of different things that we can do. I think it just takes the intention, you know, advertising in highly ethnic areas, for example, if what you wanna do is get a broader representation within your organization. Cuz we tend to go and advertise in the same types of places with the same types of recruiters, through the same types of websites.
But perhaps that's not where those candidates. Are looking, maybe that's not where they're most comfortable, um, because they haven't found as many of their people there. So I think it's some of that. I think it's producing thought leadership that says, this is what my company is about. These are the kinds of [00:57:00] individuals we want to come and work for us.
If you're that kind of person, please reach out. You know, maybe don't always make it job specific. Why don't you just make it characteristic specific and start engaging in a conversation and see where they might have a fit based on what those attributes are that they bring. Those are some of the things that I think will begin to help us be more successful.
Have mixed interview panels. How many times have I gone into panel interviews and there's no female interviewing me or. Now just because it gives the person that's being interviewed comfort if they see someone that's more similar to them and they might think a little bit more like them. So that's a pretty simple thing to do, you know?
And if you're small so you don't have a lot of bench strength in your organization, you probably have a great network of people that you trust dip into the network. Ask them to come and participate because maybe that outside in view will give you a better evaluation of the possible talent you could bring on board.
I love that idea. I think that's a fabulous idea. So look, [00:58:00] we've come to the top of the hour. Thank you for this. It's been really insightful. Te tell me this, what, what are you being influenced by? What are you reading, watching, listening to that you think, yeah, this is stuff that other people should really pay heed.
the two areas of really a really big interest for me and where I'm keen to implement in my business are the technologies around sales enablement and. Human resources and recruitment. And the reason is they're getting so much smarter. You know, whether it's the use of machine learning and artificial intelligence, but it's about equipping people to focus on really doing selling, simplifying the huge administrative burdens that sales has become, which we're terrible at also, by the way, so, so I think that there are some very exciting things happening in the sales enablement space, and they seem to be helping to solve the problem we talked about earlier, that getting together and collaborating, sales enablement and sales for the true betterment and serving our customers and prospects.
So [00:59:00] where I find thought leadership around that, whether it's through podcast books, you know, I do a lot of webinars and panels, things like that. So those are the things I spend time on and. As I've mentioned, you know, I think creating d diverse, innovative, exciting teams, giving every human an opportunity to achieve their personal best and to contribute to a business and make us better.
So technologies, tools and ways of engaging with people that can help us do that better are meaningful for me. So I follow different types of companies that are working to do those sorts of
things. Can you give any specifics that people can do some research on?
So one company that's really fascinating is called Pymetrics.
They're combining neuroscience and data science to help match people's potential to their jobs where they would be successful. And they do this by having candidates play, I think it's 12 neuroscience games, very classic, uh, historic neuroscience games. It's a [01:00:00] company founded by two women from mt and they go into, Company and they profile and have the successful employees of that company as selected by leadership, et cetera, play the games first.
So they create success profiles and all the algorithms are repeatedly tested in open source market to remove bias. So what they're doing is creating the greatest opportunity for people to not be judged by their pedigree or their ability to self-report on a cv, but to actually go into an environment, demonstrate sort of their cognitive behavioral skills and attributes and mindset, and have that align them to the types of jobs where a person like that would be successful.
Because we know when people come in and they're successful, they will be retained, they'll contribute positively to the organization and their employee satisfaction goes up. So that that would be ones, there are many softwares out there that are doing sort of the blind CV type stuff. So I think that's really interesting.
I'm also interested, we talked about [01:01:00] skill gap assessment technologies that can help assess salespeople and where are they strong and where did they miss some stuff or where do they have bad habits, and how do we turn those into strengths by understanding the roadmap they need to go on and committing that as part of our learning journey for employee development.
Those are kind of the things that I'm keen on because personally, I'm a very purpose driven leader. As you know, I'm a people person, and my intention is to ensure that every employee that I have the opportunity to work with is able to achieve their personal best. And I think the obligation of leadership in schools that are independent here in the uk, you've probably heard they have, it's called added value.
And independent schools get measured on that, right? If you're bringing a bunch of C students in, are they leaving as B students? And this is a way that they can compare in league tables to sort of performance. Well, I challenge every leader out there. What's your added value as a leader? Our employees coming into your employee and leaving better [01:02:00] equipped, more skilled, more capable.
They're not gonna stay with us forever, but while they're there, I hope that they've had the best time that they could make and be successful. And if they found that that's not their place, that's okay too. Let's help 'em go be successful somewhere else. And I, I, you know, for me that's really important because life is too short and we work too hard to be miserable when we get up and go in and face the day.
Patrick Lindquist recommended a book, I've haven't got, I haven't got round to reading it yet, but it's called Images of Organization by Gareth Morgan. And it sounds fascinating, and it's essentially looking at the different metaphors and implicit images that people build around their organization. But the, the risk of distortion is massive because if you see yourself as one type of organization, but actually in reality, you are another.
And the, the stories that run through the narrative that run through your organization. So I'm [01:03:00] looking forward to plow through that, although it does look okay. So you've got a golden ticket and you can whisper in the ear of the idiot. Tamara, age 23. What advice would you give her to avoid a lifetime of misery and self-sabotage?
You're limitless. You know, don't be afraid to fail over and over and over again, and you're limitless. So go for it. You know, I think we place so many limits on ourself, whether it's fears, beliefs, perceptions, whatever it is. And I think, you know, you just, you have to remind yourself that you're the only limits that are there are the ones that you choose to set.
That doesn't mean it's equally easy for everyone to achieve. We all have different starting places, backgrounds and challenges, but. I think anything is really possible. Uh, I'm a huge Audrey Hepburn fan, and you know, she, she's famous for saying impossible, says I'm possible. And I [01:04:00] think that that's something every 23 year old needs to hear.
good. So, okay. I'm curious about something there. Am I making your head hurt? No, no, no. Not at all. I, I'm curious about something, I'm interested in the flip side of that as well. I recently had my daughter take the implicit association test from Harvard looking at cognitive bias. Mm-hmm. And that was really fascinating because what we carry with us are so many biases.
So it's called the I a t, the Association test, and it's project implicit, and it looks at how we carry around biases that we don't necessarily know that we have. Mm-hmm. Because what it does, it, uh, for example, around race, it will have word association with white and good, black and bad, and then it swaps it so white and bad, black and good.
And it measures the response times between how quickly you can hit the keys [01:05:00] and it shows a l uh, where your cognitive biases are around race, weight, gender, age, all that kinda stuff. And I'm really curious, again, because I, I think one of the things that would've been really helpful for whispering into my 23 year old beer was the realization of just where my biases were so I could become aware of them.
Because if, you know, we're, we're seeing Black Lives Matter at the moment and the realization by so many people that actually there is this implicit. Bias within society. And just because we don't experience it doesn't mean it doesn't happen. Yeah. One, one of the things that, uh, frustrates me and bear in mind, I'm a bang down the middle of the road, boring, liberal, neither left nor right, but both sides would accuse me of being either a right wing fascist or a communist one way or the other.
One of the things that always disappoints and frustrates me is how easy it is as you grow older [01:06:00] to become very judgemental. So, for example, benefits, my wife and I were only talking about it this morning. You see people on the news who are clearly impoverished and they, they really need the benefit system as a net to catch them.
But the media then shows video footage of people who are scrounged. And so that association is there. And I think you see the same thing, uh, in the workplace where sales is bundled into this pigeon hole. Depending on whether you're technical or sales as a culture, and we miss those biases. And I think that should be, or should also be part of management development.
What are your thoughts on that?
Absolutely. I mean, I think should just be part of human development to figure out where our biases are and, and also to approach it maybe less negatively. Not that biases aren't negative, but I think we have to, is we wanna [01:07:00] embrace fail because failure is a teacher, then we have to create a safety zone that says it's okay to uncover that you have biases because it's only by creating a more conscious awareness of them that you can then mitigate them and do something about it.
And so creating a safe place, but yeah, we should all be developing. And I think, you know, that it really comes down to looking at humans and where they come from in their personal histories, you know? One of the stories that I love to tell about unconscious bias, cause we always think of it in quite race and gender terms, but I mean, imagine that you are the child of a single parent and you remember your parents struggling financially and the guilt that they felt cause they had to work, they couldn't help you with your homework and the stress that that kind of created in your home.
And you're super proud of your single parent. And now here you are successful in a job and you're interviewing. And in the course of an interview it comes up that the person opposite you is a single parent. It probably isn't gonna be a [01:08:00] conscious moment that you go, oh my God, I remember when my parent was stressful.
But it is possible that in the back of your mind, you might be worried about stress that you could be creating for them because you feel like this job could have demands that they're not expecting and almost outta a caring concern bias, but something subconscious, they may become diminished as a viable candidate in your mind.
And, and how can you uncover those days? I mean, it is a little bit of therapy, but it's, it's that kind of thing where. We just can't help ourselves. So if we aren't putting ourselves in positions of uncovering those things, we'll never cure them. We can use technology and that's great, but guess what? Then those employees are on board.
Now this pymetrics tech technology actually works for helping to align employees also to their promotable positions, um, and helps you create development paths and all that sort of stuff. But the reality is we're gonna still operate with human beings every single day, interactions, meetings. So we need to, we need to uncover [01:09:00] those things and, and face them cuz they are there.
There's nothing else you can do about it. I mean, they're part of the human fabric.
Fabulous. So final question. What are you struggling with? What are you wrestling with at the moment?
I think it's a really interesting time that I personally see this time as huge opportunity. I think there's been so much learning.
Confrontation and challenge and, and usually that is the most difficult times in history. The, the greatest things come. So it's not a challenge, but I'm excited. I mean, that does create some personal challenge on, you know, in trying to find employment and those sorts of things. But I think it's just a cycle.
You, you have to ride out the storms and, um, you know, I think like anyone who's a parent, there are always struggles of how you manage the needs of your family with the needs of life. So, you know, there's always a bit of that, but I'm a glass half full kind of girl. I count my blessings, not my troubles. So [01:10:00] I, you know, that's just life.
Life has bumps in the road. That's what makes it fun to drive.
Excellent. Tamara, thank you so much. How, how can people get hold of you?
You can connect with me on LinkedIn, Tamara McMillan, and it's an, and also add my email address. Tamara McMillan, M C M I double L E nme.com.
Brilliant. So Tamara McMillan, thank you very much.
Wonderful interview. Thank you.
Thank you. It's been an absolute pleasure. Take care.
So this is Marcus Kki signing off from the Insta Podcast. If you've enjoyed this conversation, then please like, comment, share, and subscribe. If there's someone you know who would be a good guest on the podcast or you'd be a good guest on the podcast, please email me at mhi sandler com.
Thanks for listening and happy selling. Stay safe. Bye-bye.