🎙️ A Talk with GB Blackwell
In the summer of 2023, Gabrielle "GB" Blackwell kindly invited me to join her for an episode of The One on One Podcast.
It was a live, virtual event that centered on leadership and sales: two of our favorite topics.
View the episode here. Below is the transcript from our episode.
Hello, hello, everyone. Welcome to another session of the One On One. We got my dear friend, Ralph Barsi here. So excited.
Same here. How are you, GB? Good to be here.
We got my new favorite song going on in the background called “Desert Woman” by Paul Cauthen. I think I butchered his last name.
Spell that last name for us.
C-A-U-T-H-E-N. Little context, I am a proudly Chicago suburban gal now living in Austin, Texas, and it's taken me a year and a half to truly start immersing myself in this.
There might've been a cowboy I met where I was like, "Ooh, I'm going to learn more about Country." But, so now, I'm doing my two-step dances and I'm listening to country music and this one showed up for me today.
It sounds great. Wherever you go, there you are. Look at you listening to the tunes!
Boom! Alright, let's see. I'm trying to figure out how to do one quick thing while we wait for everybody, but alright, I was going to show a slide, but the fun thing about working in tech sales is sometimes you don't actually know how to work the tech that you're supposed to use.
We're going to skip the slides right now, because forcing me to go full screen and I can't see y'all when I go full screen, so we're not going to go there.But, just to ground us down: again, welcome to the One On One.
Today, we're really talking about engaging your team in a down market and it's going to be a little bit different. There might not be a specific manager playbook that you're going to get today, but you're going to get tons and tons of insights.
And I've got my fun guest here, Ralph Barsi, as I mentioned. He is a friend, he is a mentor, he is a guide, he is a shepherd. He's so many things. A drummer as well.
There's so many things, and so I'm really excited, because Ralph has just a strong handle on what it means to be a leader and is going to share with us some of his leadership principles as well.
We are going to get some really good insights that you can take with you for today and for the rest of the day. I'm your host, Gabrielle Blackwell, aka GB, and yeah, I'm the creator of the One On One, also an SDR manager at Culture Amp.
And yeah, I'm just super excited to get started. Maybe we can do a nice little introduction. Ralph, want to introduce yourself real quick?
Sure. Thanks for having me GB, and thanks for the kind introduction.
In terms of leadership, I would put it like this: I've been exposed to a lot of really impactful, influential leaders throughout my career, and if I've not worked for them directly or have had them in my organization per se, I have sought them out. Sometimes you'll find great leadership in the books that you read, in the people that you follow, in the people that, obviously, you engage with that are teaching and guiding and coaching you on a regular basis.
I'm one of those people that will make sure I tell those people that they're making an impact on me and some of the things I'm doing. If I've got any differentiator in this world - in this world of ours in software sales - it's that I'm an observer.
I observe, I take notes, I think deeply about what I'm learning and seeing, and then I re-share my insights with our profession and our community.
If that's not something you're doing yet as an audience member, I highly recommend you start today.
Start leaving that trail of breadcrumbs, of little lessons and nuggets that you're picking up on a daily basis because there are people 2, 4, 5 years behind you that are going to pick up what you're putting down; and they're going to have an opportunity to pay it forward and have a larger impact on the people that they're working with and influencing directly or indirectly.
Be there for others, be there to put it out there. If you're learning some stuff that you think is valuable to what you're doing, know that it will be valuable to others too.
Ooh, Ralph, mic drop. Love that. And actually, real quick: questions to the audience, feel free to put in the chat.
What's maybe one resource - it could be a book, it could be a podcast, whatever it is - but, what's one resource that you'd recommend any and every manager or aspiring manager to read that's been really helpful for you?
Would love to hear what y'all have to say. And with me, I forgot about the house rules real quick. Number 1, this session will be recorded for the purposes of let's keep it cool. All attendees will be muted. You can put your questions in the chat. I will see this.
And then also my dear friend in the background, Tyler, he is going to put in a link to a Slido. If you do have questions, I'll be monitoring the Slido. Feel free to drop your questions there as well. Okay, cool. Let's do this, Ralph.
Yeah, we've got some great responses already, by the way.
Oh, yeah? Okay, I read James Clear's Atomic Habits newsletter. It's so good. I did a whole newsletter where every subheader was a James Clear quote. So good.
Yeah, it's so good. That is a classic, already a classic. I think it came out three to five years ago and I would already categorize it as a classic.
Alright, perfect. Here's what I was thinking, just for everyone here: Ralph and I, we had a chance to chit-chat a little bit before we open up the room.
But the journey that I would love for us to go on is to - One: Get to understand a little bit more of Ralph's journey in sales, his journey into leadership, what's really informed his unique and authentic expression of leadership.
We've already mentioned a little bit about the principles, and then again, I really would love if y'all could engage as much as you possibly want to.
Feel free to drop it in the chat, I'll monitor it, or in the Slido for questions. And if you hear barking in the background, it's because my dog loves to bark, so there we go. Maybe Ralph, I'd love to hear this. Yeah, tell us about your journey into sales.
Happy to. It started in 1994, right after I graduated from university.
I had the privilege of starting in an account executive role for UPS, United Parcel Service. Wore a suit every day, literally carried a big heavy briefcase and started meeting clients that were in the install base, really with a charter to expand the relationships and opportunities that UPS had with those companies.
A lot of my meetings would be on the shipping dock or the loading dock. It was rare that I'd go through the front door of an office, meet a gatekeeper, ask for a meeting, et cetera. I would literally walk around the back, I would walk in where the shipping was taking place and “you're on.”
When you meet somebody right in the middle of their workday, sometimes they know you're going to be arriving, sometimes they don't. Regardless, you are on.
And so I learned very quickly to be a great listener, be as good of a communicator as I could. We weren't emailing people back then.
It's long ago, and I'm aging myself. Speaking was a craft. You had to have an articulate, clear message that was concise, that was actionable, that was intriguing, so that you could just earn another two minutes with that customer.
It helped to have a customer already, but then to open up the conversation into other products, services, and offerings that we could be working with them on was always a challenge.
Anyway, long story short, my sales career started a while back. I've spent half my career as an individual contributor and I've spent half my career, if not a little bit more, as a leader of teams.
How the transition happened was what I said earlier, I would just share the insights I was learning.
I would share the lessons I was learning from some of the challenging sales calls I had gone on or had the opportunity to shadow some of the A-players on.
I would just start telling all my peers, "Hey, you might want to think about this," or "Boy, did I fall on my face when I tried this. Next time around I'm going to go this route instead."
And not only are your peers hearing that, but the leaders in the organization are hearing that, and you attract opportunity when you start giving back to your peers.
Since then, I've had the privilege to work for a number of different leaders and companies, particularly in the SaaS space.
Over the last 12 to 15 years, I've worked for InsideView. It was inquired, or I'm sorry, acquired by Demandbase. I worked for a great employee engagement company called Achievers. It was acquired by Blackhawk Network.
I then worked for ServiceNow and I ran their global sales development organization for four years from 2015 to 2019. I've got endless stories just from that four year stint.
I worked for Tray.io, in the automation integration space. And right now, I'm at a company called Kahua, which, in Hawaiian, stands for “platform.”
And we are a project management platform in the real estate, design, and construction industry, and I'm the head of sales there. A long career, a lot to learn, and still learning.
Absolutely. And another fun fact: I feel like our paths were just bound to cross at some point in time because you mentioned InsideView.
The first AE that I ever supported as an SDR - come to find out - worked with Ralph many, many moons ago. And then also, a friend of mine ended up going to work with Ralph as well. Yeah, we were just always meant to cross paths I think.
Something that you mentioned that I wish more people talked about was that piece around, I call it having that metacognition, really starting to inquire into why do things work? Why is what you're doing working or not? Or finding ways to operationalize success.
I tell this: I had this invitation extended to me when I was an SDR many years ago. A boss came up to me and said, "Hey, you're doing really great right now. You're doing fine.
What's really going to unlock a lot more doors and a lot more opportunities for you is when you start to figure out how to operationalize your own success, and how can you articulate that in a way where other people can take it and run with it?" And, so this is something that you're mentioning, which is really, really important.
But I'd love to hear - where could people, because I mean, there's two parts to this, which is, if you're an IC, it's really helpful for maybe having more opportunities for promotion, but also as a manager or a leader, it's really helpful for being able to coach and enable your team too.
I wonder if, let's say that somebody doesn't even know where to start in building that practice or that acumen. What would you recommend they start to do?
Ooh, that's a good one. It's a big one too. We could talk about it for a while.
Keep me concise, okay. I think it's probably best for the audience to...
Let's take a two-pronged approach. We'll start with maybe how leaders can start taking action towards that and operationalize, as you said, their standards, their principles, et cetera.
And then maybe we can go the individual contributor route from there.
Leaders: I think it's really important to clearly communicate what your operation looks like and what your standards are.
And I would encourage you to start small, meaning, send a weekly update that is four bullet points, but know that you've got to be consistent in that weekly update. Don't send one weekly update this week and then maybe one two weeks from now and maybe one a month from now.
If you're going to commit to a weekly update or a daily update or a monthly update, commit to it and be consistent with it and use four little areas like, "Hey, here's some highlights from this last week. A lot of lagging indicators.
Here's some lowlights or some hurdles or some obstacles that I am running into, the leadership team's running into and you're likely running into, and some potential pathways forward for resolving some of these issues we're running into."
Maybe talk about what's coming down the pike for the week ahead or the month ahead or the quarter ahead, just to show that you're forward-thinking about what to anticipate.
And then lastly, "Hey, here's where I need some help. I need your help with this. I understand that this was an issue for several of you a month ago. Here's what I'm doing to help you and maybe what's expected moving forward."
And I think if you're really starting small, like I mentioned, and communicating what's on your radar and what should be on the radars of your team, it's an awesome start.
And then it can branch out from there, but in the interest of time, we'll now move just to the individual contributor.
Do the same thing. Start internally. Have a weekly update going to your stakeholders.
If you're a sales development rep, for example, perhaps your AEs that you support need to be hearing from you on a weekly basis with leadership copied.
Maybe the marketplace needs to be hearing from you a little bit more often about some of the trends you're running into and the conversations you're having with prospects.
You're not pitching per se, but you're just observing, like I mentioned, and you're sharing some of the things you're seeing and hearing instead of, with all due respect, talking about on LinkedIn, best practices to implement as an SDR.
That's great, but that influences an SDR, not a customer. Why don't you start thinking about what the market needs to hear from you and your company and start sharing that?
There's the internal comms and there's the external comms, and what happens is you start to build your brand as a person of value, and the more value you add to someone's life, the more valuable you become in the process.
And that comes from Jim Rohn, who said something to the effect of sales…I'm sorry, not sales…but, “success is something you attract, it's not something you pursue.”
When you think about those communications internally and externally, what you're putting out into the ether will come back to you tenfold.
Be mindful, a) with the self-talk you have in your own head, and then, b) the talk that you're putting out to the world.
Yeah, I love that. I love that because, yeah, I think from a leadership or from a manager perspective, the weekly updates, you've reminded me that I should probably start doing those again.
Thank you for that one. I think that's huge because it's also, I think some of the stuff, too, is we're really talking about managing up and there's a few different, managing up, managing out, or sometimes what I like to say is it's really controlling your narrative.
It can be really easy for people on the outside, whether it's outside of your team.
Let's say it's your boss or it's someone in marketing or it's somebody over here in another cross-functional group, especially if things aren't going well, it's super easy for someone to be like, "Mmm, what is Ralph doing?"
Right, and be mindful too, if you are the communicator, that everyone learns and processes information differently.
Not everybody's down with reading a weekly update from Ralph every Friday or every Sunday. I have to be cognizant of how people learn. And so I will also do maybe a video because people are visual learners.
I may put one slide together, and if I can compliment all the communication means in one pass, everybody's going to win and everybody's going to process the information that I'm trying to convey, whether that's up the chain of command, or down the chain of command, or across the organization.
You've got to be aware of the different ways people learn and process information.
Lastly, I'll say that I may not be resonating with you, the listener, or the viewer right now on this podcast, and I'm well aware of that.
You as a leader, and even as an individual contributor, have to be aware of the fact that people are tuning forks. They're not always registered to the same key you're registered to.
You have to adapt and be flexible with how you communicate and what you communicate to try to reach the masses as best you can.
Absolutely. Absolutely. I love that piece, too, because when we talk about... I think there's been a lot of conversation about diversity, equity, inclusion, and there is of course, okay, what does that mean for somebody's gender? What is their gender, or what is their ethnicity? What is their race, for example, but there is also this piece about how do people just function? What kind of learners are they?
How long does it take for them to ingest information and actually really comprehend it and take action on it as well?
Being very mindful of what does inclusion mean when you're thinking about communications?
There's something that you mentioned as well for the IC role, and I wonder if there's a way to abstract this up to the benefits for a manager or for a leader. I will say, part of my... If anyone was here in the last virtual event that we did for the One On One, talked a lot about competencies.
And one of the competencies that I have for my team, it's like, "Hey, this is something that I'm looking for, I'm expecting, I'm training, I'm enabling my team on, is internal brand and visibility."
Because my thought is, alright, if we are a team that has a group of people that everyone hold, not just our team, not just our department, but other parts of the business holds in high regard, then we're also the team that probably gets a lot more resources and gets a lot more opportunities.
And when they're saying, "Hey, we want to experiment with something that gives somebody high visibility," they're like, "Oh, I want to go to GB's team." But I'd love to hear how you think about enabling the folks on your teams to be that person who's expressed, or who has this internal and external communications of managing up, managing out, managing with the marketplace as well.
Yeah. Wow, that's another great topic. I think it's important to do the work, meaning do the work for people.
A lot of individual contributors who are aspiring to become leaders or aspiring to earn promotions, and I don't mean to be general, but it's just based on my experience, most of them approach a leader basically saying, "Hey, I've been here for X number of months or quarters or years. When's my shot?"
Now, they haven't done much of the heavy lifting in terms of, "Hey, let me present a business case on my work and let me present a business case on what the business's return will be on investing in me in a new role."
For example, if I were to earn an AE role in the northeast of the United States, "Here's specifically how I would think about approaching the role.
Here's how I would manage the territory based on the time that I've been in our company and working in our marketplace.
I've noticed these trends, or I've noticed these key problems that a lot of our customers and prospects have run into. I would suggest taking one of these three paths.
And if I were in the role, I could anticipate an X percent win rate if I took this approach." Basically do the work for the leaders who are the ones making the decision on you moving up.
You've got to sell yourself, but you've got to present that business case on the return that the business is going to get in investing in you.
I hope that makes sense and adds a little bit of value for the listeners.
Yes. I'm taking copious notes right now.
Yeah, especially for anyone who's leading teams that are typically early in career and/or at an organization where there is the expectation of, you're going to have people moving upwards, whether it's from an individual contributor role to a manager role, a manager role to a senior manager or director, or even you're taking someone from an SMB segment going up to mid-market.
At least what I've noticed is there can be somewhat, this is the word that's popping up for me, a little bit of entitlement that shows up.
And so I think if managers aren't meeting their reps where we need to, which is if a rep says, "Hey, I've been here for X number of years, and so it's my time. Give me what I want or else," that's not going to go very far.
But, if I as a manager don't know what to do in those moments, then there's always potential for resentment to start to fester, because we're not really being clear in our expectations.
Expectations of, "Hey, actually, what would be beneficial is," Whether it's creating a business case or sometimes we're calling it like, "Alright, we need to have a portfolio to get people bought into you."
You can have that, or it can be like, "Hey, the next part of your development within this role and preparation for the next role is really getting people bought into you. And so here are some of the things that we can do big time."
Yeah, I'd like to add a couple if that's okay.
I just jotted down some notes as you were responding - and there's three other key things that you need to be thinking about, and this also applies to just moving forward in your career, and, frankly, in life.
Number One: check your attitude and check your general disposition. I don't know about you, GB, but I like to hang around with people who shed light.
I like people who walk into a room and light that room up, are enthusiastic, and face outward.
They're focused on others versus themselves. That attitude's critical because a lot of people aren't fans of hanging out with those who are rain clouds and are bringing the whole team down, and bringing the whole situation down, whether it's one-on-one or in a group. Check your attitude.
Number Two is: leaders are great…the Go Giver is an outstanding book, by the way; that’s a great suggestion…leaders are problem solvers. Get really, really good at the craft of solving problems.
There are a couple ways that have helped me in my career learn how to solve problems faster and more efficiently.
One approach is the creative way of thinking, “What if I were to rearrange things, or what if I had this magic wishlist and some of the things that don't exist today, I could bring them into the fold?”
We could apply those to the problem that we're trying to tackle, whether it's a resource, whether it's a new offering, whether it's more money, et cetera. How would we solve this problem?
And then the second approach is obviously critical thinking.
A lot of the consultants in the world, from Bain or McKinsey or BCG, they use a great acronym called SCQA.
And S is the Situation, "Hey, here's the State of the Union, here's the state of the territory or the business or my role or our team."
You fill in the blank. "Here's the state of the business, but here's the Complication, here are the challenges we're running into and here are things that need to be addressed."
Then we transition to the Question. That begs us to ask, how would we now approach, given what we know, this problem and how would we solve it?
Which leads to the last letter in the acronym, A, which is, this is the Answer.
And so if you can think critically by using the situation complication question and answer approach, you're going to be much more articulate in addressing some of the problems that you're facing or are about to face.
And then lastly, the third piece to keep in mind is you have to have a bias for action.
You have to be a doer. You can't just be talking all the time and writing these business cases and thinking things through on a slide deck.
You actually have to show what's already been done, where you've already dipped your toe in the water and gotten to action.
And it reminds me of another book I'd recommend by a gentleman named Don Miller, and it's called Business Made Simple. It's a simple book to read, it's chock full of lessons and chock full of value and gives you a holistic, comprehensive understanding of how businesses run.
You could see what spoke in the hub you are part of and how it compliments the greater organization.
This was so good, Ralph. I've never heard of the SCQA one, so I was... Yes, all my notes, all my…
Well, that happened. I won't name the leader, but it was a very humbling experience for me when I was a leader and I was presenting a business case to my boss's boss about how we were going to forge career pathing in the sales development organization.
And he ended up ripping up my slide deck because I did not present it in a cogent manner that talked about what the answer was and how I deduced from there, how we would arrive at that answer, what questions I asked to get there, what resources I leaned on to validate how I was thinking about it.
And like I said, it was humbling, embarrassing, it was awkward, but I was very aware of what I was being taught in the moment.
I had to swallow my pride big time and shelve my ego, but as a result, it was a pivotal milestone in my career and it has really helped me solve problems since in leadership positions.
That's amazing. And let me close my door since somebody has the nerve to walk outside while my dogs are looking at them, so apologies in advance.
I think, yeah, it's like sometimes you have the best learnings from the worst lickings. That's what I'm going to call it. Yeah, that's always fun.
Alright, we've got about, I want to give us maybe... I want to do maybe one more question depending, but yeah, hey, listen, y'all, if you're in the audience, please, please, please do drop your questions.
We're going to have another about 28 minutes, maybe a little bit less. 18 minutes. 18 minutes. I think 18 minutes. Yeah, if you have questions, please let me know.
I know when we were prepping, we talked about, alright, hey, we can fall back on these leadership principles and we have yet to get there.
But, I think when you're talking about these three key things of checking your attitude, getting good at the craft to solving problems, having this bias for action, sometimes I think about this top one, the one that you have, and especially right now where, not saying this is the case for everyone, but I just think it's just a weird time to be a seller, compared to the last three or four years that we had where it seemed like people had nothing better to do than buy software.
I'd love to hear your take on how do you support people on this checking your attitude and general disposition?
Uh-oh. I think Ralph froze up a little bit. Alright, Ralph has left the building for a little bit. While we're waiting for him to come back on, though, does anyone from the crowd have any questions or any highlights, anything that you would love to dig in a little bit deeper in? No questions?
The last book recommendation that Ralph gave was Business Made Simple. I don't recall the author.
Can you hear me, GB?
Yes, you're back.
I don't know what happened. I apologize.
No worries, no worries.
I lost you at “it's a tough time to sell.” It's always a tough time to sell. It doesn't matter what is going on in the world, it is always a tough time to sell.
I mentioned earlier Jim Rohn, he said another great quote that's been influential in my career, and it's that your income is... What is it? “Your income is not determined by the economy, but by your philosophy.”
You've got to check yourself every day on “What is my attitude and disposition like today?” “How well and how often am I communicating?” “How well and how often am I learning the craft that I am a leader in?”
And a hint to all the individual contributors on this call: you, too, are leaders. And if you're not formal leaders, you're certainly capable of being one. And it's about being of service to others, being focused on empathy and sympathy.
And when you're building relationships, maybe you're putting a calendar reminder that pops up every month to check in with specific people and text them and ask them how they're doing or give them a phone call.
When you speak with them in person, you're looking at them in the eyes, you're giving them firm handshakes, you're asking them open-ended questions to prompt dialogue.
You're not so much focused on you as much as you are on them and how you could be of service and of help to them. There's just a lot of things that are very fundamental that should be rooted in how you approach life and how you approach your own personal day-to-day operation.
Regardless of the macro stuff that happens in life and the ebbs and flows that we all experience, if your personal philosophy is on point and dialed in, you're going to go very far and you're going to impact a lot of people while you're here.
I love that. And I will say, because I mean, I've had the firsthand experience of that, of the impact that you've been able to have on me.
And then I also, someone who had just worked for Ralph, so I know a work bestie from a former employer. And I think, yeah, Parker Eide, I just love this man so much. And so I was like-
He's a good one.
Yeah, I was like, "Parker, you just need to have a good boss, and if you don't go and work with Ralph, I'm never going to talk to you ever again."
But I do remember him telling me how you two actually met up and did a whiteboarding session and he was just like, "It means so much to have somebody who's willing to take time out of their day, meet in person, get to know each other, actually go through the work together, versus it being more of a transactional approach to a manager and a report relationship." It goes super far.
Well, Parker's special. He's a gem in our community and in our profession, and it was an honor to work with him.
And it's a reminder that how you do anything is how you do everything. If it comes down to carving out some time in your day to go be with your people and to learn from your people, it pays in spades for everybody. Everybody wins.
Yes, absolutely. All right, cool. Since we don't have any questions just yet... Again, y'all, you can ask whatever you want. It doesn't even have to be on this specific topic that we're talking about, but maybe round us out.
I would love to hear maybe some of... I know you've got a number of leadership principles, so maybe we can have a quick conversation about this, of when you think of the words “leadership principles,” what does that mean? And then what are some of your go-to's?
Okay, a great question. And again, I'm going to do my best to be concise, and I won't go through all of them, but I'll go through some of the good ones.
I have principles or tenets, if you will, that really underpin the work that I do and the way I approach work. If you consider “The Golden Circle” by Simon Sinek, my principles illustrate my whys, as well as my hows, as well as my what's.
If you consider the 6-page narrative or 6-page memo that was started by Jeff Bezos and the Amazon leaders, these are the tenets behind my narrative.
And if you consider The Pyramid of Success by UCLA Coach, John Wooden, these are the building blocks. First is ownership and accountability. After all, you are a leader.
Hard lessons forced me to check myself. Some of them, them I've shared already and to get this one right. Excuse me, I have to cough real quick.
Sorry, GB. Sorry everybody.
No, you're good.
Look, I was a terrible student in college. The first two years of college, I decided to just party and not focus on my schoolwork and not be disciplined enough.
And yeah, my college responded by kicking me out and they said, "Look, you've got an opportunity to come back junior year if you take x number of summer classes and get the credits needed."
Well, it just so happens that the lady I'm married to now was my girlfriend, brand new girlfriend. I would've lost her in a heartbeat if I had not buckled down and gotten my act together and gotten back into school.
It was at that time that I learned to pivot and start taking some ownership and accountability that I was the one to blame and no one else was.
Another key milestone in life was when my first son was born, I was a young account executive. I was at UPS, as I mentioned earlier, and I could've been getting after a little more, being a little more biased to take action on things.
But it wasn't until he was born that I realized that I now needed to lead by example, serve as a model. And that really got me to focus my efforts on being accountable and taking ownership.
I learned early on that when I had the opportunity to lead other people, that it was no longer about me, that it was only about them and started to double down on those efforts. Ownership and accountability is really important.
Another one that we haven't talked about yet is gratitude. We show up to work every day now, and we do work on a laptop that we likely didn't pay for. A lot of us go to conferences that we did not pay for, our companies did.
I just had to cough and guess what? I've got a fresh bottle of water right here to help me through it. There are people in the world that don't have fresh water in their villages. And so there are charities out there, like charity: water, that helps get running fresh water in places where people live and don't have that.
We're here speaking freely, we're not in pain. I can wiggle my fingers and I'm not in pain. I'm not having trouble breathing or anything. There are people who are in hospital beds right now just trying to make it to lunchtime.
Just be always mindful of all the good things that you and we have, and it'll help you to face outward a little bit. That's another key principle.
We talked a lot earlier, GB, about communication, but just a little reinforcement is you've got to learn to articulate points, shed light, bring clarity to complex situations and solve problems.
And you do that by speaking well. You speak well by studying vocabulary. You speak well by writing things out and seeing them on paper first before you actually speak. You speak well by mirroring and matching people. If someone's speaking a little slower, you speak a little slower and vice versa, or the opposite.
Bring some energy and enthusiasm to situations. That's how you learn to speak well. Write well. You do that by studying the best writers and the most influential writers, copywriters.
Several that I study include Dickie Bush and Nicholas Cole who do the Ship 30 program.
David Perell, Sean Puri, Sam Parr.
On LinkedIn, we've got people like Sam McKenna and Amy Volas. They're always writing and they write really well. Those are people to learn from.
And then there are the books, of course, my favorite is On Writing Well by William Zinsser.
And then listening, you have to seek first to understand before you're understood. That's something we learned from Dr. Steven Covey.
Learn how to have difficult conversations where you're focusing the discussion on the problem, not the person. There's a great book called Difficult Conversations that teaches you a framework for having those types of discussions.
We have Chris Voss who's taught us how to negotiate like a hostage negotiator, and that comes down to open-ended questions and listening to people and listening intently.
I think lastly, just for the interest of time, is to have a purpose and a mission. What is the grand arc that you're trying to color in? Where are you trying to end up at the end of this movie?
And that way, when you can reverse-engineer from that vision, you are intentional and you're calculated and you're measured in everything that you do and say and think about because it all ties to that greater vision and that end game that you're after. And if you're not after that, I would seek help and try to determine what that endgame is and what that true purpose is.
Absolutely. Ooh, Ralph, you dropped a word. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
And yeah, again, because I've had the honor, the pleasure, the privilege to just download from you so much, and I think one thing that you shared with me that really, really resonated was, hopefully I'm using your words here, but where you're shepherding people, really.
It's a calling. It's not just some kind of job to lead people, and I think that shows up in so many different ways. And so at least that last part that you'd mentioned of having that purpose, what's your mission? What's your legacy, really?
Because that's what we're doing when we're leading people, when we're managing people. And it's a legacy that can be a really positive one if that's what we will it to be and if that's the way that we show up.
It can also be one that has more catastrophic impacts if we're not conscious in the way that we show up with our team. I just really appreciate that you mentioned all of those kinds of things.
You reap what you sow.
Oh, a hundred percent. A hundred percent. Also, shout out to Beth for dropping all of these recommendations. So, so good.
Thank you, Beth.
Yes, thank you so much. Well listen, I know we have about four minutes left.
Definitely want to make sure we're answering any questions that you have or if there's any just... actually, let's do this: I'd love to hear from y'all, put it in the chat.
What's maybe one thing that you picked up from today's conversation that you are going, not that you would want to, but that you're going to bring with you moving forward? I want to hear from y'all in the chat.
While you're typing that, Beth mentioned a great book called Crucial Conversations to add to that list, I would have you take a look at Difficult Conversations. That's another killer book that you can learn a lot from.
Okay, “What's the book recommendation Ralph made On Writing Well?”
Yeah, it's called On Writing Well, or either that or, I think it's On Writing Well, and it's by William Zinsser. It's Z-I-N-S-S-E-R. It's a classic copywriting book written by a teacher. I think Mr. Zinsser was a teacher at one of the Ivy League universities and just, it's such a well-written guide to getting better at the craft.
Mmm. Yes, the weekly bullet point update.
Oh yeah, sure. I think I do have an example that I could share. I'll probably share it with GB offline.
And then she can share it with all of you, but happy to share that.
Yeah. Also, Ralph's got a website, it's ralphbarsi.com. Tons of content on there. Tons of... The man is a genius, y'all. Benefit. Benefit. A guru.
Yes. Alright, wonderful. Well listen, I mean, I took away so many things today. I took ample notes, pages and pages of notes. And so yeah, the weekly update I think is definitely, that's an easy one to start implementing and just creating a consistent approach to that.
I really appreciated the SCQA acronym and the approach to it as well. But I think a big thing here, and especially as the theme for the One On One right now is, yeah, it's keeping teams engaged, keeping them motivated.
And I think there's so much of what you've shared, which is what can you do for yourself as a manager or as a leader, yeah, as a leader in your organization, to give yourself a really strong why, to give yourself a really strong purpose, to reflect on the lessons that you've learned, and then how can you bring that in to your management, to your leadership practice as well.
If we're ever wondering like, "Man, how can I get more from my team?" I'd wonder, "Hey, what can I do to get a little bit more for myself and what can I do to give a little bit more of myself to my team too?"
Well, you talked about motivation and obviously, inspiration is in there too. Those out there may be struggling with this, number one, you're not alone. We all go through it. The good news is it's temporary, it passes. But be mindful of that too.
When you're super excited and enthusiastic about stuff, that, too, is temporary and will pass. But I think as a principle, if you can keep this quote in mind, it might help you through, and it's from the poet Rumi, and it is, "Act as if everything is rigged in your favor."
Another good one is, "Live life as if something incredible is about to happen. It's just a matter of time."
If you just keep those two things swimming around in your head, it's like, "Holy cow, it's going to be a great day today. Everything is rigged in my favor. The universe is going to conspire to help me go from A to B."
And you don't have to go from A to Z, go from A to B, just go to the next step forward because progress equals happiness.
As long as you're moving forward, everything's going to work out for everyone and we want to get the best of you as well. It's important to consider those philosophies.
Amazing. Listen, we are right on time, Ralph. What an episode. I so appreciate you so much. Really, really, I really do.
Okay, I'm going to call you, so that we don't have to wait until we're on a recorded virtual event to talk, but…thank you everyone for being here.
Be sure to follow Ralph on LinkedIn, check out his content, send him a note, express some gratitude. Shower this man.
Yeah, you've been generous with your time, everybody. Thanks for being with us today. GB, you're a gem. Thanks so much for having me on and I look forward to hearing from the audience.
Yes. Thanks, y'all.