June 23, 2022
Catch Burnout Before the Fire with Bryan Smith

On this installment of RRH, we’ve got the co-founder and CEO of Leon Bryan Smith. Together we dig into the impact of managing human beings and measuring burnout. Topics Discussed : What’s the impact of measuring team burnout?...


On this installment of RRH, we’ve got the co-founder and CEO of Leon Bryan Smith. Together we dig into the impact of managing human beings and measuring burnout. 

Topics Discussed

 

  • What’s the impact of measuring team burnout? (3:09)
  • How do opportunities drop? 
  • How does call volume decrease or increase? 
  • What happens when you have a bad manager and what happens to sort of sales rep performance? 

 

 

Resources Mentioned: 

 

 

For more Guest:

 

 

For more Amy

 

 

Transcript

Amy:

What's up human. Welcome to the revenue real hotline. I'm Amy UFF check more importantly. I'm excited. You decided to join us today. I know you've got a ton of options and I appreciate you. This is a show about all the hard and uncomfortable conversations that arise while generating revenue and how to think, or rethink what you're doing, why you're doing it. And then of course, how to execute differently. And like I said, I'm happy you decided to come along for the. Don't forget to follow the show wherever you listen. So you can be notified each time a new episode drops and do me a favor friend. Don't tell anybody about the show. Let's keep it our little secret. I'm Amy UFF check. This is the revenue real hotline. Enjoy Brian Smith. Welcome to the revenue real hotline

Bryan:

friend. What's up Amy? How are. Ah,

Amy:

I am pretty fantastic. We got a light breeze coming from the east, so the air is cool here on the Jersey shore. And I can hear the, the waves and the birds. And so I got no complaints, but unlike your day, you just, you did doctor's office for a new baby, right?

Bryan:

Yeah. Three month checkups. It's a little three month old. Right. So it's just like, you know, it's like, it's at this point right now where you're at the doctors pretty much every, I think. At this point for other shots or checkups or whatnot. Right. But yeah, he's all good. So no complaints there, you're an

Amy:

old pro it may have been a couple of years, Brian, but it's like riding a bike. So I'm told

Bryan:

it's like, we, it's not at all, like riding a bike. Like I completely forgot. I, so for the listeners, I have a, I have a 13 year old, a 10 year old and a three month old. Um, this shit is not like grinding. Right. I completely forgot how to do all of. And you like, I totally forgot. Like, and also I'm older now. Yeah. So I'm like, sleeping is more important. Now my wife is breastfeeding, so it's, I sort of, I'm lucky that way, but God, I'm tired. I'm really tired. Oh man.

Amy:

Well, thoughts and prayers, Brian, thoughts and prayers. I like and prayer. So, so why, why don't we, why don't you tell our listeners a little bit about who you are and what you do every day and then we'll dive

Bryan:

right in. Sure. Um, Brian Smith. So I'm one of the co-founders at Leon. We are a sales focused mental health platform. Um, and yeah, my, my background is, uh, I, I grew up in the world of sports science. So I, uh, worked for USA track and field and IX, which is a football club, B Holland, Philadelphia Eagles, um, bunch of different organizations, essentially just doing really cool stuff with data. To sort of predict performance or predict injuries with, uh, professional athletes. And somehow I ended up in the world of tech sort of doing it's something. I was sellers I'm that did the exact thing for sales teams. It's still pretty cool. I still get to work with, with high performers. So I like

Amy:

that. That's awesome. That's those are my favorite people to work with as well. All right, Brian, I. I gotta say, I mean, we have to start with this. You just made the decision to, um, make Leon a platform that currently has over. I think it was 240 sales teams and 2.4 million data points about burnout. Right. And specifically with the goal to prevent burnout, right. Predictive, um, at the manager level. But I love the phrase catch burnout before the fire, as someone that went through the fire and came out on the other side, like I'm speaking from experience listeners, you don't wanna go through the fire. This is something you wanna get in front of. But anyway, Brian, I, you gotta, you gotta tell me how you came to this decision that you're going to, you know, give the platform away for free shift business models. You'd put a ranger post out about how, you know, you cared more about your sellers than, than the, like the VCs and they may fire you for it, which listeners that'll be linked in the show notes too. But Brian, tell us, tell, tell us about.

Bryan:

Yeah. So it's important to understand what Leon does, right. And what we do is we collect data points from a bunch of different sort of things. If it's surveys and sort of like diagnostic surveys and Salesforce integrations and whatnot. And then we take that data and then we help frontline managers understand the teams that are at risk of burning out the teams that are at risk of mental health issues. The teams that you know, are not very aligned to the organization or the team or whatever, have. But on the opposite end of that, we actually tell them how to challenge or push your teams harder. Right? We take data in that. We tell frontline managers, this is what you can do and can't do. And here are some recommendations and services and some consultants that you can engage in to be able to better support your team. Now, why we, how we did that for free. In the world of tech it's, the sales manager is like sort of this like really interesting thing. Right. And the re, and the reason I say that is unlike every other manager in the world, sales teams managed by Salesforce. That's what they do, right? It's a dashboard. It's like, are you hitting your goals or you, are you not? And that's how AEs who get promoted or SDRs who get promoted. That's the path they usually take. Right. And that's what they learn from. But what they don't learn is how to manage human beings. How to manage sort of like the intricacies of understanding stress and understanding recovery and understanding mental health. And you probably agree to this, Amy is that that's probably 90% of what we do as sales leaders, right? It's driving performance by better coaching up our people. and quite honestly, to me, it just felt like Leon's too valuable to protect in protecting people to not give it to free for people. If that makes sense. Um, I didn't want a barrier of money to be the restriction that, you know, prevents people from getting burned out or prevents people from quitting art, prevents people from, you know, getting promoted. Does that make sense? It

Amy:

does actually, it does very much so. And what's most impressive about the pivot as someone that's, you know, a friend and a cheerleader and an advocate and just super excited about the whole thing is is you, a lot of people get stuck in their. Way of thinking their train of thought, right? It it's in the same way that people, their experiences with these, these sales bosses, as you say, like sometimes the most the thing that's kind of pulling against you, the hardest is your own experience, right. Where you've had success in the past. And it's it almost. It closes the mind around other paths to success, right? Or the changing nature of pretty much all things, or just at least, especially since COVID what you exhibited to me is the opposite of that because you not only saw the value of, of the good that you can do right now in the present moment, but you also found an adjacent path to deliver value for the company. right. Mm-hmm as well as, you know, ran the calculation around the gathering more data faster, which is an important step, especially if we're gonna plan the game of right. How sales is currently managed right now. And it's through dashboards and aggressive use of dashboards. And. A lack of an understanding about where true performance comes from. But Brian, it's interesting though, because while you were speaking, it made, I had a thought, right? I think that even when you do kind of push through as a, as an, I see as an individual contributor, right. And you get to a certain point. I don't know, like most of my friends that are my age or other advocates on the mental health front, like we learned the hard way, I guess you could say. And that generally, I don't know if it's like a mid 30 thing or just like, I, I don't know, but it's just a trend I'm noticing. And so I guess what I'm trying to say is that I don't know of many human beings that are this evolved on the understanding and communicating around the internal struggle that it is. Operate as a salesperson without having gone through the learning curve of getting their, their own head game in order. Yeah.

Bryan:

You know, what's, uh, it's funny. I was just talking to my, my co-founder about this. People now mean employees now are demonstrably more productive than they've ever been throughout history, right? Like you take, you know, going to work in the nineties, hiring a sales rep in the nineties versus hiring a sales rep. Now they're infinitely more productive. Right. But with that productivity does come up sort of a level of protection, but also a level of demand that those sales reps or that employees can now demand that sort of take account to. Right. So when we talk about mental health and we talk about all of these things, I almost look to medicine, right? Like medicine has used this concept of evidence-based practice to dictate a lot of the decisions that we make on a daily basis within a hospital system. Right. The idea is that we wanna make sure we use evidence to be about in data to support its decisions that we make within our people. And that's why we decided to make it free, right. Is because we wanna understand what does your Salesforce instances look like when we're seeing on our system, that a team is starting to burn out. How do opportunities drop? How does call volume decrease or increase? What happens when you have a bad manager and what happens to sort of sales rep performance? Like we can say this generally, like, oh, most likely they'll sell less or they'll turn over whenever have you, but we haven't been able to quantify that. All right. I wanna be able to say let's take data in and I wanna be able to serve let's predict. When burnout's gonna happen using Salesforce and surveys and whatever else. So we can mitigate those costs before performance drops by 20%, you burn out your entire team and you lose your job as the sales manager, that's what I wanna be able to do. And that's why we're giving away for free. Cuz we're moving to that point where we can start using that data to make real recommendations. On like how to better manage your

Amy:

team. Brian, I sold data, right? Embroiders wore data. This was my fucking house. And one of the things, one of the soapbox that I would climb up on is that there's a tremendous amount of data around us right now. And. One of the first things. If you want to plan a game of using evidence based data to make smart decisions, smart business decisions as an organization, let's start by figuring out how to use the data we've got right now. And I'm thinking about the I, what is it? The Google project oxygen study that I believe was done first, it's been done more than once now, but it was the first time was 2000 and. And they came up with a pretty exquisite framework using evidence based data across Google, which at that point was moderately large to identify the eight characteristics that went into exceptional results, right. The performance that the team was having. And then they went back and expanded on it and I. This is all like pretty known information it's out there. We live in the information agent. So to this idea of solving for the root cause why do you think that our landscape. Has not used or incorporated the data that is, has been out there just to use that one example for 12

Bryan:

years. Yeah. I mean, uh, to your point with Google, right? I mean, so when, when Google puts out a report like that, what they're trying to establish is best practices. Right. Which, which makes sense. Right. But that's also Google. All right. That's also a very specific type of person that's being hired at Google and a pedigree of managers, a pedigree of culture and all those other things that are sort of influencing that. Right. Mm-hmm so what we're trying to

Amy:

understand is also known as a control group, listener this, and he set me up here and I'm like, where's going, Brian,

Bryan:

please. There's a gentleman by the name of Dave Snowden who talks. Is that in the world of complexity. All right. Which is managing people. There is no such thing as best practice. There's only emergent practice. All right. And what you have to be able to do is run safe to fail experiments, to wait for signals, to emerge, to understand what works for your team. You can run safe to fail experiments in Google and have a good understanding or a good control, uh, to what's gonna happen. But it doesn't mean that your sales team in Kentucky, right. That is selling, you know, a widget is going to be able to, you're gonna be able to implement Google's best practices than it's gonna work for your team. So what we would rather do is we give you a signal. We give you recommendations. We have you run the recommendation, we collect the data to understand the impact of that recommendation. And then we tell you if it works for you or not. Does that make sense? Of course it

Amy:

does. Okay. So I wanna bring this more to the practical that was well said and, and point conceited and made to you, sir. Okay. When you were talking about mental health and burnout is so subjective, right? It means wellness means different things to different people, right? And, and how to go about getting there is also very individual. And this is why the, the coaching skills, um, at the manager level are massive wellness, intelligence index. I love that frame. I think what I wanna talk about is how we organize and structure a period of performance for sales teams. And I loved this three week on and then recovery week, um, because one, I had never heard it before. And two, I was just having conversation last night with a new manager, a new sales manager. She's a friend of mine and the new directive came down and it's like the same. It's like do more. Zero extra inputs go and do more like that in turn turns or feels like at the rep level, just do twice as more. What you've done is not good enough, like all those things. And I don't know. Let's talk more about how, what is organizing and structuring the team. Performance periods look like to

Bryan:

you. So, um, so to your point about, uh, wellness being subjective, right? Our level of resiliency is dictated by so many different things, right. And how resilient a team is to a point of things that you can't even control. I, for example, Epigenetics, like there's an interesting study done, um, with Holocaust survivors, right? So they took Holocaust survivors. And what they did is they measure hormonal stress responses to other great grandchildren. And what they found is that their great grandchildren lacked certain ability to adapt, to stress due to epigenetic factors from their great grandparents who were so stressed out and the Holocaust that it impacted generations of families down the line. So that made that subset of population less resilient. And I bring that up because when we're talking about. Stress and performance, whatnot. It's all subjective. So it can be

Amy:

subjective around the time of day. Like exactly Dan Pink's, um, scientific benefits of perfect timing talks about what is it? Chronobiology blue. My mind started with a case study or a story about, I figured it's the Lucita and how the captain made his. Stupid decision at like three o'clock right. When that dip comes in, I CA I tell stories all the time about how I, when I've taken the Myers Briggs test, I, I actually straddle between introverted and extroverted and realizing that something so fundamental, like how I physically char recharge, excuse me, changed. There is so much subjectivity. There is. So it's internal factors. It's external factors. It's the time of day. It's our genetics, what our, our grandparents experience. And yet everyone's still looking for a, I don't know, a magic wand or some kind of, yeah. You know, here, let me read somebody else's routine. Let me. Implement this turnkey thing, but still that said, we do need to design sales floors with a high degree of predictability and control. But tell me more about, so what

Bryan:

I was getting at is with that understanding is. High performance isn't necessarily like tape a phone to your hand, like old school sort of like boiler room, right. And like bang out 25 red bulls all, although that can be part of, sort of the creating a high performance environment, right. At least within a certain subset of population. But when we develop these sort of three weeks on one week off model, the idea is, is that we're turning up sort of a stress response during that three weeks. Right. Right. So we're increasing goals. Maybe you're having a little bit harder conversations. Maybe that's when you're using that radical candor sort of concept where like, everything is just a little bit more poignant and targeted on performance. Right. So we do that for maybe three weeks. Maybe we sort of step up the sort of volume. So like week one, it's uh, like I talked about this in the podcast with Brian ancestor tother, you wanna almost run like an MVP. With sales professionals. We're so fucking busy, right? We have from LinkedIn to like whatever, writing blogs, whatever it is, like there's a million different things we're doing with that week. One, let's make that an MVP week. Let's get rid of all the unnecessary stuff that you don't need to be doing from a sales standpoint. Just focus on the task at hand, right? Align on goals, align on calls, align on whatever it is, right. Align, align on sort of performance. And then you slowly sort of ramp that up over, over a period of time, right over week one week two in week three. But while you're doing that as a manager, you're. Implementing sort of like micro strategies or micro, whatever to sort of help your team recover a little bit. Maybe that's when you turn on head space for that week, maybe that's when you do that team building event, maybe that's when you realign on personal goals. Right? So you're increasing ramp of performance while you're supporting them during that time. All right. And once you hit that three week ramp, that's when you drop down and you recover and that's when you recover. But to your point, it follows this sort of super compensation cycle, which is you're sort of maintaining a level of homeostasis. You increase stress, increase, stress, increase stress, right back off, or recover a little bit, allow your body to sort of super compensate and get back to that sort of new level of homeostasis. And now performance improves. When you take a focused approach, what happens is it's cyclical, right? It's stress recover, increased performance, stress, recover, increased performance, or increased resilience or whatever it is too often in sales, we go baseline, say you onboard as an SDR and you just go, go, go, go, go, go. And you're trying to get promoted. So you don't take a vacation and you're trying to get promoted. So you don't talk to your manager about taking time off and you. Go. All right. But as managers, we can build this stuff in. It's just understanding sort of the signals and the data that you have to figure out if like, all right, this team is struggling right now. Let me just run some micro strategies or micro interactions, or just like me talk to them about their personal love being goals. Right. That down regulates that stress response. So then it gives you more of an opportunity or bandwidth to stretch that performance out a little bit more. Does that make sense? Of course it does.

Amy:

I loved your hand. Gestures, listeners missed out, like you missed out. It was, there were some serious graphs and bar lines and like, um, standard deviation of pretty sure calculated. Yeah. Shouldn't have pretty sure it's calculated. Yeah. All of we are sitting here, so just so you know, like don't take off Brian without a calculator. Consider yourself worth. Okay, Brian, that was awesome. I. Love it. And I love this idea very much about like three, even three weeks on three weeks or a week of rest, like the first week of the month and introducing new stretching exercises. But I stand by what, what I said. I think that all managers should. Be working with a cognitive behavioral therapist or frankly, I feel like the organization should have one staff, um, like billions on, on Showtime, like in 10 years. Yeah. I think, I think that's where it's gonna be. Like, it just, it seems silly. Like how hard do you think bill Belichick had to be convinced to get a sports? I put colleges hired for like the, well,

Bryan:

what's crazy about it though. Educate this approach in the beginning, you're increasing the overall capacity of performance in the long. Yeah. Cause

Amy:

your muscles, even, even, even if it's just one cycle, like every time your muscles come back and grow together strong. Um, they are just that.

Bryan:

Yeah. Right. It's called the establishment of a functional system. Like your body is creating systems. Alright. And I mean, body as like holistically mind, you know, whatever else is creating systems to learn how to adapt to that new stressor. So now for the first like six weeks, you did three weeks on when we call for whatever strategy you're using. Right. But after six weeks, Now you can maybe stretch it out to four weeks on one week off five weeks on one week off, six weeks on one week off. So you're developing a more resilient workforce if you're using strategy to be able to do it, versus how we do it now, versus just like hit your goals or get on a pit plan and die, you know?

Amy:

Yeah. Um, yeah, one of the most interesting things that I've read recently on this topic. I think it was looking at Navy seals and there were two control or two groups, and it was like, which one performed better. Right. And they ended up identifying the way these, um, two groups assessed a problem and went after solving it group a comes up with the whole plan, thinks it through blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, and then executes. But far more prepared group B take on a task rest. Take on a task and rest task rest. And I, I mean, I feel like it's kind of obvious here, but given the context of the conversation, but care to take a guess, which group performed way better than the other one. I would say

Bryan:

that the, the rest one, the task

Amy:

and the rest. Right. And it struck me because I'm a planner. I can see a project like in, you know, year, a month or months down the road. And I like to have it all planned out now don't get me wrong. I was raised by a sales VP. We were asked every night at dinner. Like how many, how many times did you feel butterflies in your stomach today? Or tell me a story of when, so we were raised to seek out the discomfort, which I think is a key part of wellness, but that said, I'm still a planner and I read this and it was just like, oh my gosh. And so I started making this change. right. And not only did it allow me to be more intentional with going to take a walk in between a task or maybe not feel so overwhelmed at the start of the day with all the stuff that I'm gonna try to do, you know? And it just, it it's been awesome. But on that, I'll give you, I'll give you a final

Bryan:

word and then, then we'll. Yeah. I mean, uh, well that, that, I think that same thing applies to leader. Right. Is that it's not just task specific. It's also how you're managing people. Cuz I think as sales leaders, we get too caught up and like we said before about managing the dashboard that you never just pause and reflect and be like, how can I support my people right now? Right? Like what is something I can do to downregulate stress for them a little bit, have them realign on the mission hand and then push forward. Wow. So great point. Awesome.

Amy:

That wraps another installment of the revenue real hotline. I'd like to thank my guest for being so damn real and for sharing their insights and for, of course, being so much fun. And I'd like to thank you, two listeners. It means the world. And I appreciate you. If you have any thoughts or comments or experiences, you feel inclined to share head straight over to revenue, rail.com. There's a new join. The conversation feature on the right side of the page. I am old damn ears. Final thought. We are introducing a coaching aspect to the show. So anyone who's brave enough to dig into an account strategy or outbound strategy session. That's where we kick things. Please do follow the show wherever you listen to your podcasts. So you'll always have the latest episode downloaded. If you want to contact me, I'm at Amy at revenue, rail.com. If you wanna follow me on social Twitter is Amy underscore Raub check. And LinkedIn is linkedin.com/amy UFF. Check. This episode was produced by the fabulous Neen Feedler rock, man. And I appreciate you too friend. And of course, whatever you do, don't tell anybody about the show. Let's keep it our little secret. Until next time, all I'm Amy hub check. This is the revenue real hotline, happy selling.

Bryan Smith Profile Photo

Bryan Smith

Co Founder @ LEON Health Science | Founder @ HUMANS Community