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In the August 2017 SalesProChat episode, Charlie Judy talks with host Bill Banham about the cultural DNA of organizations and the impact on Sales. Bill Banham and Charlie consider ways to get at the genetic code of companies and how the data can have big positive impacts on sales.
Charlie Judy is CEO at WorkXO, a company which uses a groundbreaking model to measure workplace culture, a powerful set of tools to analyze it, and a proven system to turn your culture into a differentiator.
Listen to the CPSA’s two-part interview with Charlie Judy and Join us August 31 for our monthly #SalesProChat Twitter chat.
Listen to part one.
Read the transcription of part one:
Bill Banham: What if you could identify the makeup of your organization and use it to spearhead new initiatives underlying goals for your sales teams? In the August SalesProChat, I talked with an expert who says you can just that. Listen to this show as Charlie Judy discusses the idea and the implications of mapping the workplace genome and how it can help increase your bottom line.
Charlie Judy is CEO at WorkXO, a company, which uses ground-breaking models to measure workplace culture and ways to turn company culture into a differentiator. Charlie co-founded DisruptHR in Chicago, and he is a well-known speaker. His most well-received sessions include Cultural Intelligence, Not Workforce Analytics, Simplifying Human Resources, and Get Out of the Way and Let Your Employees Lead. Here's the first of a two-parting for you.
Charlie Judy, welcome to the August edition of the SalesProChat Show.
Charlie Judy: Thank you so much! Bill, thanks for having me on. I'm really glad to be here.
Bill Banham: We're going to start straight away with a big question, Charlie. Why is it important, do you think, to sales teams that their company aligns their work culture with what drives their organization success?
Charlie Judy: Yeah. I think this is one of the biggest questions facing, maybe the most important questions facing the workforce, the world at work, at large these days. It's a new way of thinking about how we get work done, and I think, frankly, we've been missing it. You have a set of drivers that will determine your success, however you define that. It is likely that those drivers are unique and distinct to your team, and to what it is you're trying to accomplish, and what it is that you're facing. If the culture that you've created around it, so for me and for us that's all about the words, the actions, the behaviors, the stuff that you can touch and feel, if those things don't really clarify and reinforce what it is that drives your success, then you very simply have misalignment. You have a contradiction. You have redundancy or overlap or confusion. You have missed opportunity, sub-optimization, etc. because those things aren't all pushing each other in the right direction.
It's very important to get clear about what distinctly is going to drive your success, and then to make sure that you're reinforcing it and clarifying it every turn so that it is form of mind to not only you, your sales team, but everybody else that relies upon that sales team.
Bill Banham: You've done talks and your company is very focused on this concept of a workplace genome. Can you explain the concept of company DNA and why this is important to the performance of the company, and specifically, its sales-focused employees?
Charlie Judy: We've spent a lot of time and have where we last a couple of decades trying to get better at understanding our workforce. We've put some measures in place and we do some surveys and we are, I think, getting better at collecting data on our workforce. What we're not really getting better at is doing anything with it, and there are a number of reasons for that. The biggest reason in my mind is that we are still measuring things like employee sentiment, how you feel about work or how our employees feel about work. What we're really not doing is understanding at a more intricate and nuanced level how we work. What again are the behaviors and the actions that are driving how we get stuff done?
If we can't understand it at that root level, the genetic level, just why I kind of referred to it as the workplace genome, it's really getting at the root level how you behave and act in the workplace; then you can start solving for those individual behaviors and actions. Then you can start saying, does this first of all sound like who we are, and then does it sound like who we need to be? Now we're not just talking about outcomes, i.e., how I feel or how happy I am or how engaged I am, but we're talking about drivers. Getting to the DNA is really about the drivers, not the outcomes.
Bill Banham: OK. What does a sales team do with those drivers? How do they interpret that, and then perform better, become more successful sellers?
Charlie Judy: Let's start sales team by understanding what are the behaviors and actions that are necessary to drive your success. What are the things that are going to reinforce and clarify what drives your success? As an example, if it is crucial that everybody on that team has visibility to what everybody else is doing, and that visibility is not about maybe quantity of information but quality of information, and at the right time and then the right places, then you need to start understanding whether or not those things are happening. That's a behavioral thing. That's an operational thing. It's a functional thing. It doesn't really care how you feel about that. It doesn't really matter how you feel about that. It matters whether or not those things are happening.
It is about understanding which of those behaviors are leading to optimized sales and then making sure that you're understanding whether or not those are showing up.
Bill Banham: How can companies dig into the analytics and identify the key cultural priorities?
Charlie Judy: It starts with awareness, and I think that's where our organizations fall down all time. We don't take the time to really understand what is. We take the time to try to figure out whether or not we're fitting into some kind of pre-ordained notion of best place to work or employer of choice, and all of those concepts are really interesting. Again, when you start breaking it down to the individual level, so for the sales team, what constitutes the best place to work for a really bang-up, leading edge sales leader, sales BD manager, even a guy that's picking up the phone and knocking on doors. Those are different prospects. Those are different environments, potentially. They are certainly different relationships, motivators, drivers, aspirations, etc. If we can start unlocking what's happening at that individual team level, and what's going to drive, again, the success of that particular team, then we can start getting serious about whether or not this is the right kind of stuff.
Bill Banham: Why do companies and sales employees need to get intentional about aligning culture with what drives an organization success?
Charlie Judy: It's hard work. It's complex. It's moving. It's constantly evolving. It's constantly being touched on and affected by any person that really enters, walks through experiences your organization. We're learning that organizations that take the time to focus on get methodical about, even establish clearer objectives, deliverables, and points of accountability, or sustaining and/or growing a culture in a way that will drive success are those organizations are finding heck of a lot more measurable results, like growth and net promoter score, and other things that really add immediate value to your organization. You can let a culture grow organically. I promise that most organizations do that. If you do that, however, you are at risk of letting that culture grow into something you don't need it to be, or want it to be for that matter. It has to be nurtured. It has to be cultivated. It has to be given time and attention. There are organizations that are literally putting roles, distinct, explicit roles aside for culture. These are people that are now investing in and putting energy towards monitoring, and constantly and intentionally working towards building that culture that works.
Bill Banham: Let's consider a company that's built their cultural playbook, to borrow a term from WorkXO, and they're ready to take action. What does that look like?
Charlie Judy: That sits in the kind of the last question around getting intentional. Whether you call it a playbook or an action plan or just a set of priorities, you should be explicit about that, and you should be sharing them with all of your stakeholders. These are the things that we believe, in our culture, will help us drive our success. It's important that we all line up against that, but then stay beholden to it. In order for that to happen, we're going to do X, Y and Z. One of the mistakes organizations make all the time, whether we're talking about culture or other things, and certainly, other people-related manners is that they try to blow the ocean, and they try to fix everything in this holistic way. It doesn't work in most environments. It certainly doesn't work in most business functions.
We've actually borrowed and learned a lot from how software developers get stuff done. We really like the agile software development principles in getting intentional about culture. Those principles, we certainly don't have the time obviously to talk about those, but it means we're going to prioritize, and we're going to understand the things at the top of that list that is going to have the most immediate and hopefully lasting impact on our culture, on our organization, and those are the things we're going to focus on first. In fact, we may just focus on one thing at a time, and we're OK with that because we're about moving the needle; we're about demonstrating commitment; we're about demonstrating progress, and we're about demonstrating results.
All too often, organizations get data, they talk about it, they may be even getting excited about it, and they all have ana idea about what they want to do about it, but then it goes up on the shelf because other priorities get in the way. You've got to have a methodology that allows you to take this action plan, which you've now committed to the world on, and you start chipping away at it. That's what kind of moving it from ideation to analytics to action and to results is all about.
Bill Banham: Perfect. Thank you. Numbers of course without context are meaningless. How can sales teams align data point with a distinct storyline around how individuals in a sales team really work? The actions, the behaviors, the tangible stuff that sales persons experience?
Charlie Judy: You got to give them that language. We're talking about people, and we're talking about behaviors, and we're talking about human interactions, which are dynamic and have lots of layers to them. I think it's unfair; it's even a little patronizing for the models of the world today that try to sum up an employment experience or a career experience into one number. Go to Glassdoor. Glassdoor has lots of great things that they're offering. If you try to judge an experience or a culture based on one number, you cannot get the context that you need to draw your own conclusions, let alone to fix or to identify, even change that need to be fixed.
What does 3.5 mean? I don't really know. You need language behind that. You need to go to an exercise, your sales team needs to go to an exercise to understand. Alright, let's talk about when we say we need to be transparent, what does that mean? Transparency is a big word. It can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Again, we have to describe what does that look like, what does that sound like, what does that feel like. How do I know that that's happening? Now I can start to hold ourselves accountable to that. I cannot hold ourselves accountable to a 3.5 in transparency and we need to be a 3.7. It doesn't give me anything to work with. Put your own language behind it. Put your own context and color behind it. That can be a group activity, be a team activity. That can be a bottom up or a top down. It doesn't really matter as long as you have a dialogue around or some sort of discovery process.
Bill Banham: OK. Now let's get the grips with the gaps and the priorities. Sales teams, of course, need results and often they need them fostered in other departments. That means that they need to focus on what's driving their organization success, and what might be getting in the way of more of it. Talk to us a bit about the benefits of being a trajectory map as one of these tools. Can they, for example, help highlight things about your culture that impacts performance and the bottom line?
Charlie Judy: Without getting into the science behind some of the tools that we use, here's the easiest way for really any organization to think about it. I like reverse engineering. I like to find the one or two or three, depending on the size of your organization, obviously, or your sales team, find those people that are really most successful. Again, you define that success, whether that's rainmaking, numbers generation or just long lasting relationships. Whatever those things are, figure out who those people are, understand how they work, and also understand how they experience work. When it comes to things like how are decisions made, how do they fix stuff that may be broken in their mind, how do they get the resources that they need; again, that's not just about do they get the resources that they need, because chances are that they do; it's about how do they go about doing that.
Here's how I do it, I walk down this hall, I talk to this person, whatever the case may be. You can create an archetype for the successful culture in your organization. If for whatever reason other people in that same organization or on that same sales team aren't experiencing that culture the same way, then they're missing something that's going to drive their success. Figure out how to get it to them. That's kind of this carve out the things that we know work and let's make sure everybody gets access to that same kind of experience.
Bill Banham: Well that just leads me to say, Charlie Judy, thank you for being the guest on this SalesProChat episode.
Charlie Judy: Thanks for having me. I really enjoyed it!
Bill Banham: Until next time, happy selling.
Listen to part two.
More About Charlie Judy
Charlie spent two decades as an HR executive with highly prominent and successful organizations with as many as 220,000 employees globally.
This extensive experience in-the-trenches makes his interaction with the Human Resources, Recruiting, and Talent Management audiences relevant. As a speaker, his topics help leaders foster an environment where their employees (and their authentic selves) become the fuel that drives businesses to flourish as if they were communities, not institutions. His content reflects his fundamental belief that the future of work is not about better HR systems, technologies, programs, practices, or any one “best practice.” Rather, it's about simplifying Human Resources and finding ways to re-humanize work.
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