The Sales Engagement Podcast
The Sales Engagement Podcast

Episode · 3 years ago

How to Prevent a Toxic Work Environment w/ Jason Vargas

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

We're talking about healthy work environments with our guest, Jason Vargas, Senior Consultant at Skaled, on today's episode of The Sales Engagement Podcast. Jason shares with us his insights on preventing toxic workplaces while also actively promoting sales engagement. Tune in!

Welcome to the sales engagement podcast.This podcast is brought to you by outreach dot I oh, the leading salesengagement platform helping companies, sellers and customer success engage with fires and customers inthe modern sales era. Check out sales engagementcom for new episodes, resources andthe book on sales engagement coming soon. Now let's get into today's episode.JOVIG ALO here, senior content managing editor at outreach out I oh, decidedto be the host of the podcast today. We've got a great show for youtoday. Got Jason Vargus, Sales Development Guru. I've worked with themin the past. He's over at scaled right now. He has years andyears and years of experience building high performing sales teams. So it's development teams, just a wealth of knowledge. He's on the show today to talk aboutenvironment and building an environment so that your sales teams can't succeed and grow.And the word environment little different the culture. Will Get into that in case youare thinking about that already, but I wanted to toss it on overto Jason to introduce himself and tell us a little bit about himself before weget into the meat of the podcast. Jason Cools got on. Joe,who are you? I'm doing well. How are you, good man,thanks for having me on. So yeah, I you know, I've been inthe text sales world for quite some time. Started at small companies.Worked at coming called data nies for a long time really to help build andskill that team from really there's just four of us on to eighty. Werevenue from about three hundred thousand two eight five million in a pretty short periodof time. That was really fun because we bootstrap that whole process and thatdefinitely learned a lot in that short period of time working at that company.And since then I moved on to other companies and then now, like youmentioned, I'm at scaled skilled, is a consulting company and we work alot of companies, start companies to help them really become modern sales organizations.Right. So looking at overall process from,...

...you know, how they hire totheir sales processes, marketing, how their technology stack works together, andwe really help them put together really strong program so that they can become thosemodern type sales organizations that we're seeing these days where they can leverage tools properlylike outreach to make sure that their teams are maximizing the important things and activitiesthat they should be versus kind of doing these manual upload tasks in sales forceor things like that. So that's where spending a lot of my time thesedays. This is working with really cool tech companies from really across the world, to be honest. So with all that experience working with different companies,you've obviously seen a lot on how different organizations are run. So that's anice segue right into the topic of today's show, building a environment that isconducive to creating high performing teams, right. Yeah, so tell me a littlebit about how you define environment and the basics around that term. Theword environment. Yeah, you know, it's something that people leaders. Idon't know they really think much about it. It kind of acts. It's goingto there in the priphery right of leaders and people. And you knowwhat I mean by environment, not to kind of confuse a culture. Ido think culture can be derived from environment. I've worked at a lot of companiesand had different experiences with those companies right where I've been in positions wherethings were not going so out the company and really the environment. For me, the moment I walked into the door of the experience was like it's aseeking ship or the the battle has already been lost. It can be anenergy during experience. Right. I've been in environments and companies where I walkin and literally the first experience I have them is like well, like I'min supere survival mode, or how do I survive the day with potential threatsor tax from individuals or whatever the case might be. Again, I thinkculture could be derived from that. But, to be honest, I really lookat environment and very different way and...

I think it really a lot ofit has to do with, like what's the experience of an individual when theywalk into a company or even think about the company? A lot of itreal can be tied to the leader specifically, whether it's the CEO on down toa sales manager or any kind of manager position. Think if you lookat what happened with Uber that became a very toxic environment. Right. Wedon't say it toxic culture, we say toxic environment, right. And soI think it's something that, you know, I started writing about and I'm gladwe're talking about it here today because I think it's something that most companiesdon't think about. It's really truly, in my opinion, is one thingthat can separate one team from another in terms of performance. As a consultantfor scaled, we implement a lot of process a lot of technology changes.That's, of is amazing, right. However, if you have the mostamazing process, you have all your text act synked and working as efficiently asit should be, and you have an incredibly toxic environment, I don't carethat the team is just stopping to perform as well as a team who maybedoesn't have the best processes in place, but the environment is one that's supercollaborative, creative, supportive, right, and so that's King of what Imean by environment. And so it sounds to me that environment can not onlyencompass the feel and at aspects of the culture, but also the physical surroundings, how people interact within the company. So there's a lot of facets tohow you're using environment. Whose responsibility is it to build a strong environment sothat sales team members, are really any employee of the company, can performto their potential? In my opinion, I think it starts with the leaderand, to be honest, I think they can almost be like these microenvironments. Right. I think I've also work with some incredible sales leaders whothey shielded their teams from a lot of the potential negativity from maybe the higherups. Right. But for a company overall really starts at the CEO,of founder. Drawing back on my experience my company, I worked at theleader. Each didn't trust. There's no trust. He was a bit ofa shady character, and so the environment...

...in the company really was that ofno one trusted anyone, everyone always watching the back, very secretive. IsReally Weird Environment to be our company, to be a part of, becausethat that that was the environment. But it started with the person at thetop. That's how he operated, and so there's there're a lot of thesecrecy and so I think it all starts with leadership. It's funny you mentionedthat story. That ties back to something you said earlier about walking into asituation and feeling that like pure survival mode. Right, I can see how thatwould happen. If you walk in and they think everyone's whispering behind yourback, I'm not going to perform well. No one around me is can performwell if we're preoccupied with what someone else may be saying about them.That's a good point to make. You mentioned some of these, but whatare some of the big mistakes leaders make when building environment? I'm sure thefirst one would be not even thinking of it. Yeah, but what aresome of the major missteps that you have noticed that sales leaders are making whenbuilding out an environment for their teams? It's not even a thing of likewhat mistakes do they make? I think you kind of nail that when yousay that they don't think about it. No one really thinks about it anythingabout the fact of someone saying, okay, I'm gonna purposely and intentionally design environmentwere my teams going to win. I don't think anyone ever does that. Right, to be honest, I guy, I have never set downand said, okay, I'm going to design this environment this specific way.Is like naturally derived from the personality or the character of that individual. Ifyou look at someone like rough Barsity, the energy that man has, theempathy and compassion that he has for his team did that just bleeds through hiswhole organization. Right, and so that environments can be very much derived fromRalph Right. And I think there is some things that he does that createsa good environment, but ultimately it is a natural function of who the leaderis as an individual. So you know, what I'm starting to look at iswe know these things about ourselves or personalities are characteristic. So how dothey take these things and actually apply them...

...in a way that then when weare gone or the leaders gone, it basically transcends the leader, right,because it's not scalable if you try to build environment that's just based on yourpersonality, right, because the moment you leave and someone comes in who hasa very powerful personality but might be a bit of a jerk or more basedon fear than that's going to take over. Right. So it's a just aninteresting conversation to try and start within the sales community like is this somethingright? And that's kind of what I'm more interested in looking at, tryingto do and have this become a conversation with people start thinking about this right. So I think we're starting to see a lot of a lot, butyou see us across the lot of organizations where you just have incredible opportunity butleadership by the top that it gets so toxic it bleeds down the rest ofthe company and then you have these toxic experiences and environments and then at somepoint the company had needs to have some change management of some sort, orthe company fails ultimately. And I think it's an important conversation and topic tostart having in the sales community because it is a very high pressured environment thatwe all work inside of. Right, as a tech company workspect to scaleand scale quickly efficiently and figure things out on the fly, and if youdon't have the supportive environment, then you ultimately have burnout. And I can'ttell you how many friends that I have that are executives that have experience burnedout. I've experienced burned out. It's not a very good place to beas a leader. Yeah, I think you make a good point there thatyou know, if you're experiencing is burned out and and you have this toxicenvironment, you can be able to performs to the level that is required ofyou. I think it comes down to preoccupation, right. You only haveso much bandwidth. We say bandwidth all the time, but only have somuch bandwidth to complete the task in front of you and if a lot ofyour bandwidth is used up dealing with this terrible environment, yeah, that you'rein, then there's not much left over to actually succeed, right. Yeah, so you mentioned kind of building out a framework or some sort of processthat doesn't derive directly from a amazing leader personality or a terrible leader's personality.So I mean they can be left behind,...

...something that can be taught. Yeah, where do you think that that first step is? Like what's yeah, you build out this framework. You know, I think you started lookingat a couple fundamental things, and for me a lot of it is,I guess, like a level of responsibility to or ownership. Right, ifyou, as a leader, began to take on a hundred percent responsibility andownership of the results of your team, and then you actually go and youteach your team to be a hundred percent responsible and take ownership of their results. Right, so now you have two sets of people that are taking ahundred percent responsibility for their success and failor. I think it's a very powerful placeto be, right, as a leader, like I'm going to givefifty percent or a hundred percent or seven five percent, and hopefully my teampicks up the resists lack or the reverse, like the reps, like I'm ahundred percent responsible my managers. Is there a percent responsible or vice versa? You know, that creates a lot more room for people to start puttingfingers and blame in terms of WHO's responsible for what. Right. So wethink a hundred percent responsibility for success and failure of your team. I thinkthat's very powerful place and you train your team to do the same, thenyou have a pretty cool opportunity to build a team that excels beyond any otherteam. Right. So it's like if they don't have the training that thatthey need, then they're responsible for making sure that they go get it.Kind of mentality. I think that's one thing that sounds kind of like extremeownership, right. Yeah, yeah, totally right. I think it fallsthat mindset pretty spun on, right. I think I'll it's kind of alevel of integrity that you have to have and operate inside of, because ifyou look at your success and if you're failing at something right, there's mostlikely some kind of integrity that's missing and it's just a different way of lookingat it. Right. So if you look at having a hundred percent integrityand everything you do, it's really easy at to identify where there's no integrity. Right. So, for example, if I'm out of shape or there'sI can cry FYLE. No, tons of things that are out of integrityby Diet, the lack of exercise or...

...whatever the might be right. Orif I'm missing quota, there's some kind of integrity that's out right. Itcan be maybe I'm not being responsible for getting to help I need, ormaybe a there's always going to be something right. And so I think justtraining people how to do that as a manager, as a leaders really important, because you don't want to have to micromanage. You want people who aregoing to step beyond their comfort zone and be able to push themselves because theywant to, not because you are forcing them to or putting pressure on them. Right, you want to find those people or train people to be ableto start doing that for themselves. And if you teach a hundred percent ownershipor extreme ownership or responsibility or integrity, we with whatever you want to callit. If people start are pering at a higher level than you just goingto have incredible people that that you're managing or hopefully they can start self managingthemselves. Right. So I think that's a very strong, powerful framework thatcan go a long way, because everything else, like, once you havethat based foundation of high integrity, then everything else, I think, iseasy. Right. And so as you go forth consulting and starting new teamsand new businesses, what are some of the things that you are going todo right off the bat to ensure that you are building a solid environment foryour teams? I know you mentioned integrity. Well, that's great. It isa little bit of a subjective term for the listeners today. What arelike two or three takeaways that they can go all right, let me auditmy environment. Let me see what I'm doing my team. Here's some thingsI can do today that are going to improve that. One encourage people tomake as main mistakes as possible. I think that quits really healthy environment toI think everyone just really check their ego at the door. So I guessthat in a way that can look like someone asking for constant feedback, askingwhere they can improve, and that includes a leader as well as a leader. I think you should ask your team where am I kind of dropping ballor where my gaps and where you can you see me improving? I thinkleaders who they are proactive about finding out that information. I think that showsthat they're just leaving the ego at the door and they're really interested in provingyou, making sure that their team has...

...whatever they need. This my faulton Er more like may have people make mistakes, but just just take actionin terms of nothing has to be perfect, instead of a team and I thinkencouraging people to make mistakes also encourage them to try new things. Givepeople level of ownership so that they can go make mistakes and go try newthings and be old and what they do. I think again those types of thingsis really great, a pretty awesome environment, right. So make againthis is a conversation that I've been thinking a lot of and so it's triedtime to start Di stelling it into like actionable things. I said to rightand a definitely go have all the answers. But you know, in talking withSteven Brodie, one thing that he does to ensure that he has areally powerful team in dynamic across this team. As he says, it all startswith the hiring process. Right, it all starts at hiring who youbring into the company, but not only who you bring into the company,but for him it's the the betting process, right, because Steven Brodie comes froma special forces back around the military and he said if you look acrossall special forces organizations, there's one thing in common and that's how they basicallybet through people. Right. So the Navy Seals have their hell week,the Rangers have freet what he called it, but everyone has this really intense programbecause they're basically kind of filtering out through the people who really don't wantto be there. Or we just have the fighting spirit that those teams arelooking for, and that's one thing that Stephen really implements. So if youwant to look at something like you can really implement to build a healthy environmentfor your team's it's having a very rigorous betting process when you're hiring to onlymake sure that you get the best people. I think that is probably by farand away the best takeaway right there. Right if it's easy to get,you know it probably isn't worth it. Like if you get this kind ofcruise into a position, you're not going to value that position and youmay bring negativity into it. So I think that's super youthful and actionable forour listeners and I know that any job that I have done really well atand the hope I've done really well at most jobs. But I feel I'vedone really well. It was a bitch...

...to get like. It was ahard yeah, all like the interview process was hard and my managers demanded alot out of me, but we're also extremely supportive and receptive to having aconversation and providing you feedback and receiving fe the so I think that's great advice. They're Jason. I'm really looking forward to hearing more about what you're writingon and like how to build this powerful and supportive environment for sales teams,and I know you're writing a ton about it right now. So looking forwardto seeing that, Jason. If people have questions or want to connect withyou, how can they do that? Yeah, they can reach out tomelt lankton. Not to heavy on twitter these days. My email is aJason Dot Bargus at scaled scale. This spell the K so SK. Feelfree to reach Os meaning through those two channels. Will they happen to answerany questions? Thanks again, Jason, for being on the podcast today.Thank you all for listening and we will see you next time on the salesengagement podcast. This was another episode of the sales engagement podcast. Join USat sales engagementcom or new episodes, resources and the book on sales engagement comingsoon. To get the most out of your sales engagement strategy, make sureto check out outreach that I own the leading sales and thesement plot see youon the next episode.

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