3 Key Takeaways From “Leaders Eat Last” That Apply to Sales Coaching

In his attempt to help individuals escape “The Matrix”, Tom Bilyeu, founder of Impact Theory, has a reading list of 25 books which he recommends that everyone read to better understand how they can unlock their potential. I have decided to dedicate myself to reading a book per week for the next 25 weeks, and to review each book antidotally with application to coaching. Let’s enjoy the journey together!

Book # 15: Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek

That sounds like a promising idea in theory, but this is real-life business so I’m not sure it applies to us. I’ve heard a different version of this statement uttered no less than several hundred times during the past decade. If you decode this statement here is what it really means: my self-limiting beliefs and my powerful desire for self-preservation will not allow me to make the necessary changes that will allow me or my business to execute what I know in my heart to be right and true.

Ever since I can recall, I’ve absolutely despised the statement “It’s not personal, it’s just business”. When you spend 50–60 hours a week away from your kids, family, and friends, work sure as hell better be personal because it’s where I spend most of my time and attention in any given week.

If you allow your relationships at work to become highly personal, there is a ton to be gained in terms of performance. Simon Sinek agrees. He talks a lot about the fact that we are social animals and how understanding anthropology and our biology can explain why we behave the way we do at work and why it matters. He does an especially excellent job of applying these principles to our leaders and the impact they have on our lives.

How would you like to be offered employment for life? An idea so idealistic that it seems laughable to even entertain. However, Charlie Kim from Next Jump didn’t think so. He is one of those rare leaders that takes theories and transforms them into powerful realities.

Kim believes that hiring employees is very similar to having children, once you bring them into your world you are committed to them for life. What were Next Jump’s results after executing this best practice? Revenue growth jumped to 60 % per year and their turnover rate decreased from 40% to an astonishing one percent.

All of this occurred even though their engineers were constantly being courted by the likes of Facebook, Google, and other big tech companies. When you hire the right people, and put them first on your priority, above all else, amazing things happen. This doesn’t have to remain a pipedream or theory — it can and should be done.

3 takeaways from “Leaders Eat Last” that apply to Sales Coaching

  1. Numbers of people aren’t people — Sales is a numbers heavy game, the metrics matter. However, the trap that needs to be avoided when you are looking at spreadsheets and P&L’s is this — the numbers are not the people, they are simply the output they produced. As a leader, it is your job to take full responsibility for their outputs — good or bad. After reading this book, you will have a new appreciation about how focusing on your sales team’s humanity first, and outcomes second, is the right way to coach.
  2. Time above all else — The most important item you can give any of your sales people is your time. No resource, no tool, no training course will benefit you, or them, more than face to face coaching time. Sinek talks about the importance of trust in relationships and how trust impacts performance. As a sales coach your job is to be consistent and relentless about making time for your salespeople and doing everything you can to be as impactful and effective as humanly possible when you are coaching them.
  3. Control your culture — Unless you are the CEO or the EVP of Sales, you do not ultimately have control over how your organization is run. However, if you are a front-line leader with a team of seven salespeople, you do have a ton of control over the microculture you create within your team. If you take the human centric approach Sinek describes in this book, you will create a unique culture where your salespeople will “run through a wall” for you. Your results will not go unnoticed and in time you will have the responsibility of impacting a lot more people than the seven on your team.

The environment of our work places matter — A LOT! Sinek is a master storyteller and his ideas are very pragmatic and supported by real-life success application. For these reasons he is very successful and has developed a cult-like following.

The one question I find myself asking after reading this book is this: “Do we allow our environments to have too much of an impact on our biology?” If I have learned one thing above all else through this reading challenge is that we are all responsible for owning our mental state, and the individuals who accept this as truth become unconditional to any type of environment they are placed in. I’ll have to think about this question some other time — for now, it’s time for family and giving thanks.

Next Review: 11 Rings: The Soul Of Success by Phil Jackson

If you’re the type of leader that is always looking for proven ways to grow and develop, then consider attending one of EcSell’s sales coaching events in Nashville.
Sales Coaching Academy (April 9, 2018)
Sales Coaching Summit (April 10–11, 2018)
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