July 05, 2022
How Leadership Style and Training Impacts Humans with Jim Kanichirayil

On this installment of the RRH, we’ve got the fab Dr. Jim Kanichirayil. Jim is currently a Talent Strategy Evangelist at Circa. He’s co-host of the Cascading Leadership podcast. Today Jim and I dig into all that is backwards ...


On this installment of the RRH, we’ve got the fab Dr. Jim Kanichirayil. Jim is currently a Talent Strategy Evangelist at Circa. He’s co-host of the Cascading Leadership podcast. Today Jim and I dig into all that is backwards about the employee/employer relationship. And what great leaders are doing about it. 

 

Topics Discussed

What exactly is it that’s fundamentally broken about today’s talent marketplace ? (3:50)

What is driving change within our organizations now? (7:17)

Does the arc of the universe bend towards justice? (12:41)

What’s wrong with the bs indoctrination about the employee/employer relationship? (13:42)

What do Millenials and Gen Z most care about when choosing an organization to work with and for? (15:45)

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 ride. 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 Dr. Jim Kenny. Triol welcome to the revenue real hotline, sir. It's so strange, man. I feel like I know you all already, like have a deep, like relationship with you, but what is this our first, second time? Like actually solo talking.

Jim:

Yeah, I think, uh, I think you and I met on, uh, Andy's first kickoff call for sell the sell without selling out launch team. And then, uh, we had a handful of conversations and then we're in a couple of the same communities. Yeah, this is probably a second conversation, but, uh, I think like live. Yeah,

Amy:

yeah. Yeah. I feel like I've been slacking with you at least every other day since January. So now we can make it, you know, public official with a podcast episode, Dr. Jim, why don't you start by sharing with our listeners a little bit about who you are and what you do every day, and then we'll dive right in.

Jim:

I think the best way to describe myself, is to narrow it down and say, look, I, I. Work and act as if I'm gonna drop dead tomorrow. And I learn as if I'm gonna live forever. And that pretty much defines my, my cadence. Now in terms of the actual work that I do, um, I currently, uh, am one of the sales managers at CERCA. So we are a SaaS technology platform, but we are an end to end talent strategy solution. And we take a DEI first approach to the marketplace. Whereas most of our other competitors are generally operating on the talent acquisition side. We operate from acquisition. Development, retention. We don't do anything on the exiting side. But we are a full, uh, life cycle talent solution which gives us a, a unique place in the marketplace. And that's, before we talk about our diversity first approach to the market. So what we do is we allow organizations to find more talent. Find more diverse talent. And then as an offshoot or a downstream impact of that, you're better able to retain your talent because you're more diverse and you have more representation within your organization. And,

Amy:

and so all that is absolutely fabulous. And you're sitting under the all seeing eye of carton or,

Jim:

uh, yep. We, we are we are under the all seeing eye of Carman listeners

Amy:

listener. Wait, hold on, Jim. I listeners, I'm looking, we're talking about Jim's background right now. And Jim, I don't think I've ever seen anybody that pulls in. What are those like vintage toys up there too? Somehow? What are

Jim:

those? They're, uh, they're not vintage, but I have a, a fair amount of, uh, of Funko pops. I have a couple of McFarland toys, so I have, uh, spawn figure. Uh, I have ink who is from bat band beyond. I have a Bobba Fe that's made out of nuts and bolts. That's pretty cool. Uh, and then I have a ton of books and other, you know, tchotchkes hanging around. Very,

Amy:

very interesting. Okay. So I love this and I could talk about that all day. But I wanna go back to this diversity thing. Let's start with a high level overview of what your take of the current state of, let's say diversity and exclusion.

Jim:

So I think I can talk in general about the talent marketplace, uh, from a, from a broad perspective. Yeah, let's do it. I, I, I make no bones about it. I think, uh, I. Talent and hiring and, and the way things are done are fundamentally broken. Right. Um,

Amy:

he would, I agree about that. So I'm, I'm a little bit sad cuz it's like, I'm trying to bring more people that I disagree with on the show, but like you get up on that soapbox, sir.

Jim:

And I'm gonna give context. So most of my career has been spent. In the staffing and recruiting space or in the technology sales space. So I, I, I have a particular sort of world viewer experience within both of those spaces. And I nerd out about all of this talent strategy stuff where I'm one of the only people that actually has terminal research on retention internal. My study was on how leadership style and leadership training impacts employee retention and turnover. So my brand, when I talked to anybody involved in a hiring position comes from that lens of not only being a theoretician, but also a practitioner uh, that's actually helped put hundreds and hundreds of people to work. And one of the consistent challenges that happen that's happened throughout my career. And it still happens now is. People get tied into a particular box that is engineered by whoever is involved in talent acquisition or job design, and saying, if you don't fit nicely into this box, um, we're not even gonna have a conversation with you. And I have a fundamental disagreement with that approach because it's not about like the checklist that you check off. It's what do you deliver? What have you done from an outcomes based perspective? And that's how I talk to internal talent acquisition HR. That's how I actually recruit and hire, uh, for people on my team is. I don't care about how much time and seat criteria you've had through your career. It's what have you delivered? What's been the outcome that is consistent or representative of the outcome that I'm seeking. That's the best predictor of success, not these time and seat metrics,

Amy:

Okay. So I like, I love that Jim. I love that. Assessment, but, but I also, what I love also love about 2022 is it's the year of execution. Yeah. And like in many ways on the show, like I'm, I'm getting kind of bored of talking about all this stuff. That's not bored, but like, I, we could spend all day talking about the problem and where it came from. And, and frankly, I'm, I'm interested to do that, but I'm also very excited to hear your take on what's working right now. You know, how people are. Injecting more fairness, I guess you could say into the process, or maybe fair is the wrong word, but just like trying something different. And what I love about this circa tagline, right? Which is that. Elite diverse teams drive transformation. And I, I that's been my personal experience. I, I see that. But then I look at the current state of our tech sales floors and it's still very much not diverse at all. But anyway, what are you excited about? What are you, what are you seeing this year that's different or better in how companies are approaching? I guess the solution,

Jim:

I think there is a snowball effect that is just starting. and it's starting because people are actually being VO more vocal about what they stand for and what they believe. And I have these conversations all the time about encouraging people on my teams and just people in my network that, you know, you don't have to be at a certain level to have a point of view. You know, whatever you're passionate about, whatever you care about, you know, put that out in the world because that's gonna impact a bunch of other people that are probably saying, or thinking the same thing, but are afraid to say it. So you have to create the opportunity for these things to be said out loud. And then that's how you start impacting change. So to your question about, what am I excited about? This is actually in like LinkedIn is a great model for it or place for it. You're actually seeing people at all levels of experience sharing their stories and their journeys. And that's starting to have a trickle up effect on organizational strategies and philosophies when it comes to hiring. So you referenced this earlier, you said that, Hey, you know, there's all this stuff going on from a diversity and inclusion perspective. And when I look at tech sales, they seem to be lagging. And that's not surprising because when you think about broader tech sales and how they operate within marketplaces and within communities, They're looking for a certain profile. You have to go to the right school. You have to, you know, know somebody within, uh, the organization. You have to have a certain pedigree. And generally, if, if you're looking at a baseline requirement of having a college degree to enter into sales, and the guys that train you talk about it, Omar and Sunil, talk about this, uh, pretty extensively that automatically locks you into an upper middle class or higher demographic that you're recruiting from mm-hmm But when you look at what are the core competencies required for being successful in sales? What is it? It's curiosity,

Amy:

curiosity, continuous learner resilience. Yep. Yep. Um, likes to win, right? Yeah. Not to say money, like when operated or money motivated, but there's a competitive aspect to yep.

Jim:

All of those. Yeah. Yeah. So when, when we look at how organizations and tech are hiring, or at least, uh, predominantly have been hiring, they operate with the belief that those attributes that you just listed off are exclusive to an upper middle class or higher upbringing. And that's simply not true. Well,

Amy:

I'm gonna, I wanna add to that too, cuz I, I just did a post about this, this past week. Like my, my only post on LinkedIn is whatever it's getting taxing, but it needs to happen. But anyway, does selling SAS require. A special set of selling skills. That one can only acquire while selling SA question mark. Because I happen to believe that when you cultivate the skills to create something from nothing, cough, revenue, cough, that translates universally. But I believe that a lot of people still have this mindset that like there's so. Special about selling SAS, which is nonsense. And so that, I think that that's a piece of it, but I, I also, I, how do you take ego out of this conversation? How do you take the trickle down effects from the way that we are allocating venture capital dollars, right. Which starts at the fucking top, you know? And so then, and you know what Dr. Jim, I can also, I've been able to find actually a lot more empathy for. The subconscious bias associated here. That is just as I'm starting to root out my. Then I look at, I think it's the IMF has their economic participation index line that they do. We're moving backwards. And the United States is literally one of the worst in first world countries. And again, we're not making any fucking progress and it's been like 30 years since we've all been talking about this. And I said, I wouldn't get up on a soapbox or be mad about it because I wanna be hopeful and I am hopeful. But again, like it's just that ego that harbors, this thought that like selling sass is harder or different. Is absolutely another piece of the, the pie. And then we can even look at the demographics that are starting to play out on the SD R AE front or frontline managers, SDR managers, and AE managers. But with that, I'm gonna pause. Like, what's

Jim:

say you, sir. So I might, I might challenge you on a, on a couple of those points, so, okay. I, I think when, and, and, and I don't know if, uh, if you were just saying it for a factor, if, if you really believe it. I think, uh, I think if you, if you think. You know, Hey, we're not moving the needle and it's been 30 years. I think there are, you know, there has been movement in the right direction, but you have to, oftentimes when people say that

Amy:

I'm talking. Yeah. All right. Let me clarify. Yeah, because I don't wanna take away from the progress that has been made. I'm talking about the leadership stats. Yeah. That the demographics at the leadership level in particular, um, that then make the decisions about that trickle up that you were talking about. And. That piece in particular is,

Jim:

is the thing. Yeah. So when you're looking at leadership within organizations and senior leadership within organizations, it's a, it's still pretty monochro, but it's a it's it's moving in, in, in the direction that it should. Now we can have discussions or arguments or debates about the pace of change and what that needs to look like. But I think it was president Obama who said the arc of the universe always bends to justice. And that's a true statement. And you know, some people that know me really well are gonna find it ironic that I'm quoting president Obama, but you know, there's value in that statement. So those things are moving in the right direction because more people are talking about it and you know what, I'm a gen Xer and a lot of my, uh, Demographic or my age, demographic rolls their eyes at things that millennials and generation Z care about. If you look at the changes that are happening and all the progress that are happening, it's actually millennials and generation Z that are driving it. They're the ones that have been saying for a period of time that this stuff is screwed up. When you look at things like the employer, employee relat. you know, we, and, and, and, you know, this ties into your overarching point about things are moving too slow. Things are moving too slow because we've been like indoctrinated into a bunch of BS that just isn't true. Like. My generation gen X, we came up in the era of if you work hard and you know, you do all this stuff, you'll get ahead. Just keep your head down. And, and people notice

Amy:

you. Yeah, don't forget about that. Gold. Yeah, the pension and that gold watch for, you know, retiring.

Jim:

I didn't come in in the pension and gold watch, but that mentality yeah. Was, was very much evident in our generation. And it was the millennials and generation Z who had serious economic upheavals that happened when they were coming up in the world of work that said, That's all horse shit. Um, I, I don't typically like swear in these things, but, you

Amy:

know, wait, be welcome to the revenue real hotline. And I'm also from Jersey. So you could say whatever the fuck you want on my side, Dr.

Jim:

Jim. Um, so, so it was, it was them that called it out. And now you see a fundamental shift in the employee, employer relationship, and as it should be one of the things that I always talk about with my is that we're all free agents. So my role as a leader of an organization or a leader within an organization is to understand what your big picture moonshot is and help you achieve those things in service of our collective mission as an organization. But you're only gonna be here for a period of time. So I'm, I'm like deliberately getting rid of that mentality that when you join an organization, you're gonna be here until you die, because that's the, that's the stuff that I had indoctrinated into me. And actually, when you look at the talent marketplace and the hiring marketplace, there are a lot of people in hiring that still think about things that same way. Oh, this person's moved from job to job every six to 12 months. They're. You know, a fit, they're a

Amy:

job hopper. They're not a, a quality candidate. quality human.

Jim:

Yes. And you know what? That's bullshit too. No demographic is monolithic. So I will introduce that caveat, but what do millennials and generation Z care highly about? Like all of the surveys that are out there say that their, one of their biggest attraction factors is the ability to make an impact at the dusk level and organizations that are doing well by doing good. so that person who is moving roles every six to 18 months or whatever, what if they are driven by making an impact they're brought in for a type of impact, they make that impact. And then go to the next thing, because they're not the type of person that just wants to sit around and keep the lights on. Like, I can totally identify with that. So you have all of these broken ways of thinking. I think all of that factors into. I guess the scope of the challenge. And we can't expect the scope and breadth of this challenge. Like we're talking about fundamentally transforming the way people think about things. Yeah. Right. and that means stripping away all of the decades of indoctrination in terms of what hiring looks like, what a, what a, what a good candidate. And I'm using air quotes looks like. So that takes work. And it only happens if people like you and me and everybody else are loud about, Hey, this is backwards. Hiring and especially in sales has nothing to do with time and seat it. It's all about aptitude and attitude. Mm-hmm and then you can teach them the skill mm-hmm The the, the mechanics of a complex sale, that's teachable your attitude and your aptitude to figure stuff out. That's what's not teachable. And that's how I actually interview for people to join on my.

Amy:

It's and yet we like this whole idea that talent is a scarcity thing is, is prevalent. And this one is a little bit dated. This was a Miller Hyman study. It was a, they do a talent report every year. Um, I think this is maybe like two, three years ago at this point, but I remember seeing red when I read this Dr. Jim, because it was like, a bunch of CROs. Do you have, do you believe that you have enough talent on your team this year? To do what needs to be done. And it was some ungodly number, like in the, the high eighties, low nineties that said we, no, I don't have the talent on my team. And I just, again, I remember feeling rage in that moment because it's like, whose responsibility is that? But it brings it back to like awareness. I'm totally with you, right? You gotta, you gotta be aware of what you need to change or, uh, especially when it comes to yourself in your thinking, which is why I have a show about uncomfortableations and the most uncomfortable conversation that we will ever have in this business is with ourselves. But that said whether or not someone wants to acknowledge that. I don't wanna use the word wrong, but that there's room for improvement in how they're interpreting, how they've been interpreting. Mm-hmm, something for their entire life. How, the way that they've been interpreting that's gotten them. The results that they've gotten for better or worse is wrong. And that is, um, that's a tall order that wraps in. 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 dot. 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 off. Please do follow the show wherever you listen to your podcast. 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 UFF 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 re hub check. This is the revenue real hotline, happy selling.

Dr. Jim Kanichirayil Profile Photo

Dr. Jim Kanichirayil

Talent Strategy Transformation Evangelist @ Circa | Co-Host of Cascading Leadership podcast