The Founders Sandbox: Purposeful Culture Driven Sales (2024)

May 2, 2024

On this episode of The Founder's Sandbox, BrendaMcCabe speaks with Kelly BreslinWright, Founder & CEO of Culture Driven Sales. They discussresilience and purpose related to the Culture Driven Salesmethodology where Kelly Breslin Wright operates as a C-levelexecutive, board director, advisor, and adjunct universityprofessor.

Kelly Breslin Wright is an experienced executive andcorporate board director for both public and private companies,with over 30 years of experience in leadership, sales, operations,and strategy roles. She has served as an Independent Director andAdvisor for multipleBoards and has helpedcompanies navigate multiple stages of growth. These include IPOs,enterprise expansion, CEO and leadership transitions,globalization, M&A, financings, business model changes, andglobal crises. She has a unique mastery of sales, go-to-market,leadership, transformation, strategy, growth and scaling, data andanalytics, and culture.

As an operator, Kelly Breslin Wright served asPresident and COO ofGong,an artificial intelligence platform that serves revenueorganizations to deliver insights at scale. There, she managed allgo-to-market functions, including Sales, Customer Success, andMarketing. For nearly 12 years prior to Gong, Kelly Breslin Wrightwas Executive Vice President of Sales (Chief Revenue Officer) atTableau Software (formerlyNYSE: DATA). She joined as the company's first salesperson, whereshe grew Tableau’s worldwide sales and field operations from zeroto $850M in revenue and managed over half of the company’s 3,400global employees. Tableau was purchased by Salesforce in 2019 for$15.7B. Before Tableau, Kelly Breslin Wright spent time at Bain &Company, McKinsey & Company, Bank of America, Dale CarnegieTraining, AtHoc, and Southwestern Advantage.

You can find out more about Kelly Breslin Wrightat: 

Culture Driven Sales Website: 

University of Washington Foster School of BusinessWebsite: 

Winning the BoardGame:
How Women Corporate Make THEDifference

Show transcription:


Welcome back to the Founder's Sandbox. The Founder'sSandbox is a podcast now in its second season. It's a monthlypodcast in which I reach entrepreneurs and business owners thatwant to learn


about building resilient, scalable, and sustainablebusinesses with great corporate governance. I am Brenda McCabe,your host on the Founder's Sandbox, and my mission is reallysimple. By interviewing guests through their stories, I want toassist entrepreneurs in building those scalable, well-governed, andresilient businesses. Guests to my podcast are founders, businessowners, corporate directors, and professional service providers


who like me want to use the power of the privateenterprise, be it small, medium, or large, to create change for abetter world. Through storytelling with a guest that will touch ontopics that include resilience, purpose-driven enterprise, andsustainable growth, my goal is to recreate a fun sandboxenvironment where we can equip one startup founder at a time tobuild a better world through great corporate governance. Today, myguest is Kelly Breslin Wright. Thank you, Kelly, for joining metoday.


Thank you for having me. I'm excited for theconversation. I've been pursuing Kelly for a number of years. Andfinally, we're making it happen today. So Kelly and I are going totalk about purposeful, culture driven sales. I'm going to give youa little background on Kelly. She is founder and CEO of CultureDriven Sales. She has promoted and led the Culture Driven Salesmethodology as a C level executive,


public and private company board director, advisor,and adjunct university professor. She is an experienced executiveand corporate board director for both public and private with over30 years of experience in leadership, sales, operations, andstrategy roles. We actually share a common past. We both originatedfrom McKinsey and Company, where are paths crossed there. She hasserved as an independent director and advisor for multipleboards.


She's helped companies navigate multiple stages ofgrowth, including IPOs, enterprise expansion, CEO and leadershipstransitions, globalization, M&A, financing, business modelchanges, and global crisis. So we're in for a treat today. I askedKelly to come because she really has a unique way of bringing inculture


behind sales. I think sales often times is a hidden orunwanted child. And I was amazed that none of my guests up untilnow has the expertise nor did they speak about sales. So it's thefirst time, Kelly, that you're gonna be talking to my listenersaround your 30 years experience in sales. As an operator, Kellyserved as president and COO at Gong, an artificial intelligenceplatform.


And we're going to talk a little bit about AI today.And prior to Gong, Kelly was Executive Vice President, Sales ChiefRevenue Officer at Tableau Software. And it is formerly was on thestock exchange with the sticker symbol DATA. She was there fornearly 12 years. And she joined that company as the 10th employee.And we're going to listen to her story and what brought her tothem.


So thank you again for joining me on the Founder'sSandbox, Kelly. Thank you for having me. You know, when we werejust prepping for today's podcast, Kelly said, what actually madeyou wanna reach out to me? And it goes back quite a few years. Ourfirst encounter was through a common passion serving on corporateboards. And you reached out to me to thank me for sharing myexperiences that is in a book.


published and written by Betsy Berkhemer-Credaire,winning the board game, how women corporate directors make thedifference. So I'm always thankful to people that do reach outunexpectedly and just thank you. And I finally, two years later,I've achieved what I wanted to get you on my podcast. So I amhonored that you agreed to share


quite a few real world experiences that started whilein undergraduate days and informed your career choices that led youto be the first sales person to join Tableau and number 10employee. And while you were the CRO, the company went public. Thelearnings you continue to share as advisor, educator, boarddirector, and executive to private and public companies arecentered around your passion for culture-driven sales.


In preparation, I listened to a recent podcastinterview on operators, building and scaling companies and yourrecruitment to Tableau. It had something to do with educationalbooks. It also had something to do with grit and resiliency. And Iwork on resilience with the founders I serve as the foundationalpiece. And I wrote an article myself on empowering resilience


by unlocking your personal and enterprise value. Itouch on three things, Kelly. I'm knowing oneself as a leader,having options and making choices, and finally being thankful. Socan you share why Tableau asked you to join as employee number 10?That's going way, way, way back to the beginning of the career.Well, so,


it's interesting, you mentioned about selling booksdoor to door. When I was in college, I knew I wanted to dosomething entrepreneurial and I wanted to be independent. And Icame across this opportunity to run my own business sellingeducational books door to door. And that's what I did for my foursummers when I was in college. And I think there are a lot ofthings, Brenda, that you had touched base on. One was sales. Andwe'll talk about that a lot today.


The second was resiliency. And I appreciate thatyou're always talking about resiliency because it's so critical,not only in business, but in life. And selling educational booksdoor to door, when you show up at someone's house, you're not themost welcome person that they want to see that day. So there's alot of doors that are slammed in your face and a lot of adversitythat I dealt with in my 18 to 21 year old formative years.


taught a lot about resiliency of how to get yourselfback up, keep on going, being able to learn to control what you cancontrol and not worrying as much about the rest, a whole bunch ofthings. So we could talk about resiliency. Anyway, going back tohow I started at Tableau, because when I was in college, I wasknown as this person that while everyone else was doing these coolinternships or


They were lifeguarding at their home pool. I wastalking to thousands of families, working 80 plus hours a week,running my own business. And people thought I was crazy, but Iended up making quite a bit of money. I paid for my undergrad, itpaid for my first car, paid for my first house, paid for most ofbusiness school. And so later on in my career, when people werestarting their first,


their startup or starting their own entrepreneurialventure. Oftentimes people would call me and say, hey, Kelly, youdid that crazy job in college. They'd say, you sold all thosebooks. Maybe you can help us. And that's exactly what happened atTableau. So what happened at Tableau was the CEO of Tableau hadgone to Stanford Business School and was classmates with a friendof mine from undergrad.


And so I had met him multiple times as Tableau was anincubation idea. And we had met actually at an Oscar party. And sowhen it came time to, to hire the first salesperson, there was thisconversation of, Hey, maybe you should go talk to Kelly. And Iremember thinking about resiliency and just raising your hand. WhenI first had that conversation and I looked at the jobrequirement.


Brenda, I literally didn't match anything on there. Itwas understand a lot about data, has taken multiple companiespublic, has been at companies that have grown to sizable amounts ofrevenue. And I had done none of that. So I think I'd had sales andhopefully the, smart and can think on your feet, hopefully thatmatched, but I didn't match any of the other things. And it reallycame down to,


having a passion about what the company's mission wasand alignment of the values and how we wanted to work, which is howI ended up joining as the first salesperson. And then the storygoes on from there. Wow. And you did just touch briefly on missionand we're gonna get to that in the next question. Okay. Yeah. So,so Tableau, 12 years, amazing. I admire that company.


A piece you wrote back in 2021, it's on your websiteand it will be in the show notes. It's called creating winningcompany culture by perfecting these two elements. You touch onmission. Often founders wait for later in creating a missionstatement. And that they're either focused on for a client, acustomer, their product or service, hiring a few of their teammembers


When does it make sense in your experience, Kelly, tocreate a mission statement? And what are those two elements youbelieve that create a winning company culture? That's a loadedquestion, but you've written about it. We're gonna hear it here onthe founder's sandbox. Well, Brenda, I think that it's reallyimportant to have a mission from really early days.


And I think you're right in that companies often feellike they need to have, they need to figure out their product, theyfigure out the service, they figure out their operational cadence,they go get the first customers. But it can be very confusing ifyou don't understand where you're going. The way I like to describeit is building a business as you hire employees and as you getinvestors and


as you find your first customers and partners, it'sbuilding with these building blocks, similar to having a map. Okay.You have a map, you have to have a destination, you have to knowwhere you're headed, because otherwise you can get very lost. Andso although companies might not have their exact wording of amission statement from very early days, it's important, I mean, Ithink it's important to have a mission right from the beginning.When I talk about Tableau,


Tableau from the time I started, the mission was helppeople see and understand data. And that was something that Ireally was drawn to, which is how I ended up joining as the firstsalesperson and employee 10 before we even launched version one.Because everyone then that we were hiring, our customers, the wholeteam was aligned on what it is that we were doing. What was thecompany's purpose? What was our why?


And what ends up happening is when companies are notclear on what that is, you might hire different people that allknow you're building something in this space, but they may havevery different ideas of the reason and the purpose of the company,the why of the company. And so it's really imperative to not onlydrive the alignment, but to also...


be able to make sure that the people that you'rehiring to go on this journey with you are passionate and committedto what it is that you're trying to build. And if you don't have astated mission, then everyone will come up with their owndefinition and reason for why you exist. And it's not always thesame. And one thing, Brenda, that I really liked, like forinstance, when you started off and kicked off this podcast, thefirst thing you said is at the Founder's Sandbox, our mission isthis, and you explained it.


So everyone knows what it is that your, what yourpurpose is and why they're listening. And it's really important forcompanies to do that. But the mission isn't the only importantpart. So the two things is there's a mission and then also corevalues. Okay. Any companies that I meet with, they'll say, we'renot gonna spend that much time on mission and core values, becausethen they're just words on the wall. You throw it up and it doesn'tmean anything. Well.


If you're going to have mission and core values andthey're just going to be words on the wall, yeah, then they're notgoing to work. They're not going to work and it's not going to meananything. But it is actually really important to have them and helpthem guide and advise how you build your business, how you hire,how you engage with your customers, and then holding yourself andyour teams accountable.


to make sure that you're behaving in a way that's inaccordance with your core values or your operating principles. AndI'm sure we can talk about that more as we go through. But eachcompany that I have joined is very intentional about their missionand core values. And that helps them to be very intentional abouthow they build their culture and how they're guardians of thatculture. Yes, and you actually, for your...


the course you're teaching in the Culture-Driven SalesInstitute. You did a lot of surveys and interviews. Can you shedsome light on some of the background? I think you talked about the85 companies at different stages of growth. Tell us a little bitabout what you found, those aha moments of particularly back tomission and core values. Yeah, well, so at Tableau, just to go backa little bit.


So at Tableau, the management team at Tableau had notbuilt a business of that scale before. We were all doing it for thefirst time. And so we were in a space that was very disruptive andtransformative. We were in business intelligence, we were doingdata analytics in a different way. We had a different go-to-marketapproach of how we were actually handling sales. And there weren'tcompanies to go look at to how to do it. So the way we were doingit as,


first time executives in a first time team is we werevery clear, I mentioned on our mission, to help people see andunderstand data. And we had very specific core values that helpedto drive the way that we were behaving. We were on a mission, weused our products, we kept things simple, and we could go throughand talk about a lot of these other core values. Well, that isreally what helped us to go build this


really transformative company. When I finished atTableau and decided that in this next stage, I wanted to be able tohelp other companies to grow and scale and do work both in teachingas well as an advisor or board director. I wanted to figure out,well, how can I be the most helpful? What is it that companiesactually need? And so I ended up meeting with the whole slew


of founders, go-to-market leaders and CEOs. So in thatfirst year, I did, I sat down with about 85 founders and CEOs overthe course of the next few years. I've met with maybe 135, 140. AndI asked these companies some very specific questions. One of thefirst questions that I've always asked, because I'm so passionateabout mission, and I just assumed that companies were doing it inthe same way we did at Tableau. And I found out,


that that actually is not the case. So when I wasmeeting with companies, one of the first things I would ask theseCEOs is, well, tell me about your mission. Tell me about yourcompany why. What I learned was actually quite eye-opening. Some ofthese founders would say, our mission is to get 30% market share.Our mission is to get to profitability in X number of years.


or very operational KPIs. And so I'd say to them,that's not a mission statement. That doesn't rally around thepurpose of what you're doing. And sometimes these CEOs would say,no, that is our mission statement. That's how we're rallying ourteam. And so that I kind of was scratching my head. That's not amission statement. Even more interesting to this though, is oftentimes these CEOs or founders would say, hey, Kelly, you're anexpert in go to market.


we're having some lack of alignment and we need helpof why we have our salespeople don't want to sell what it is ourproduct team is building or our sales team is trying to sellsomething that's different than how the marketing team is marketingit. Got it. And so then I would say, well, let me talk to some ofthose other leaders. And I would ask everyone that I talked to,first question is, what's your mission statement? And this was whatwas so...


crazy. I would ask the CEO, I would ask theco-founder, I would ask the chief revenue officer, I'd ask thechief marketing officer, the head of product, what is your missionstatement? And guess what? Almost all of the time, each executivethat I would ask would have a different answer to what theirmission statement was. Wow, at the same company. So crazy, even ifthey had a published mission statement. And that's when I realized,oh,


People are just using these as words on a wall. Andthen you wanna know, well, why is a company not aligned? Well, ifyou have a product leader who is driving the engineers according toone mission statement, and you have a sales leader that's going andtrying to engage your customers with a different mission statement,well, duh, you're not aligned if you're actually training yourteams and advising your customers that you do somethingdifferent.


And that was a huge aha. And the same thing was truefor the core values. And so it is actually, here's just a maintakeaway. Okay. Companies need to realize that the corporatestrategy is very intertwined with the go-to-market strategy. Gotit. Many companies think of their corporate strategy is often veryaligned with the...


product strategy, but it all trickles down to how areyou hiring? How are you engaging with customers? How are you makingsure those customers are successful? How are you telling your storyon your website and how you engage with your investors and in theworld? And that go to market strategy goes all the way back up tothe corporate strategy and all starts from mission, vision.


What is your company's story? What is your company'swhy? And we need to roll that all together. And that's a lot ofwhat I teach in my course on culture-driven sales. That's a lot ofhow I end up helping companies when I'm advising or on the board.All right. So I often pride myself on my guests bringing in somepractical tools while in the interview.


alignment of strategy with the culture. All right, weget that. Corporate strategy is very intertwined with salesstrategy. And again, depending on the stage of the company, what doyou see as key takeaways? I mean, how do you recruit? Is itdependent upon stage of the company? What are those KPIs or whatare those core values? How do you measure? So can you walk usthrough some specific examples and tools that you perhaps used atTableau?


on bringing in the mission to the core processes,hiring, training, the sales motion. What are those behavioralelements that you would include in your managing your teams, aswell as growing the company? Yeah. Well, Brenda, I think it isreally important to be able to have very specific hiring andperformance management tactics that help to make sure you'remanaging that.


bar of your mission and value. So here are some veryspecific things. And I can give kind of tangible examples. Like forinstance, companies should be using behavioral interviewing. Andwhat happens is many companies are focused so much on theexperience and the resume skills that they're looking at, hassomeone done this job before? Have they been successful in doingthis exact


thing that I need, whether it's enterprise sales orhave they been a CFO before, depending on whatever the role is. Butit's really important that everyone can do behavioral interviewing.Now behavioral interviewing can be kind of tricky. The first thingyou need to do is you need to make sure that you understand whatbehavioral traits you're trying to flesh out and be very specificon that. And then training everyone that is in the interviewprocess on


How do you do behavioral interviewing? Now, some ofthe things that to do with behavioral attributes is look at themost successful people in your company, what are the behavioralattributes that they have, and then how do you interview and flushthat out in the interview process? So that's example one, and wecan do a little bit more there. Number two is how...


can you make sure that your core values are beingidentified and fleshed out, not only in your interview process, butin performance management? So I'll give a very specific example. AtTableau, one of our core values were like the first core value waswe build great products, second core value, we use our products.How do we flush that out? In at Tableau, I had.


at the end, maybe 1800 people on my team in theGoToMarket organization. Virtually every single one when they werehired during the interview process had to do a demo on Tableaubecause our mission was we help people see and understand data. Ourproduct was so easy, everyone could use it. And typically insoftware sales, it's the sales consultant or the sales engineer


that does the demo. But in Tableau, it's so easy, wewanted everyone to use the product. So here's an example of whatoften would happen, especially for someone that was moreexperienced and further along in their career, we would give themthe assignment of, we need you to go download the product, takes 90seconds to download, go find your own data set or you can use oursample one and do a demo. And this is gonna be one of the interviewstages.


And sometimes people would be very excited about it.Other times people would say, hey, you know, Kelly, I'minterviewing with a ton of companies. And if you hire me, then Iwill learn the product, but I'm not gonna spend tons of time to golearn the product in the interview process. And the answer there,you can imagine Brenda, was thank you very much. The interviewprocess is done.


And yeah, because, and that was a few things. One isour mission is we help people see and understand data. We wantpeople that are super excited about that. So if you want to workhere, we want you to be very excited about understanding what it isthat we do. And if you're not going to do that in the interviewprocess and you're not really that passionate about our mission.But secondly, we wanted people who were going to be all in and beable to use our product.


And that was one of our core values that we fleshedout very early on. So there's ways that you can look at that.Another tangible is in the annual performance review, it wasn'tjust the work that you did, but in our annual performance review,at most of the companies that I've been involved in, one of thechecks are how much are you abiding


and embodying the core values of the company. Peopledidn't get promotions, they didn't get pay increases, they didn'tget high ratings unless they were living every day according to thecore values of how they interacted with the internal team and withthe customer. So those are some tangible ways to summarize again,behavioral interviewing flesh out the core values in the interviewprocess.


and make sure that those core values and adherence andpassion about the mission are part of your annual performancereview process. Thank you very much. Three practical tools whenyou're scaling your organization, not just in sales, the entireorganization. That's very, very helpful. You've recently launchedCulture Driven Sales Institute.


And I know in one of the podcasts that you've been aguest to, you talk about storytelling and that a salesperson has tohave at least three stories. So I wanted to do a practical exercisehere today. Give you a bit of your own medicine, right? Which isyou've started a culture-driven


that you would tell about. Yes. Well, so let's back upa little bit and why storytelling is so important. Thank you. Ithink what happens is when companies think about selling theirproduct, they often are so focused on the what and the how, theymiss the why. And the why comes back to why the mission is reallyimportant. Because


Well, when you think about not only employees, but forcustomers, customers want to understand why a company exists.Because what people don't realize is that the whole process ofpurchasing is very emotional. People use logic to do theirresearch, to make sure that that product or service has everythingthat they need. But the lion's share of why someone actually makesa purchase decision,


is actually emotional. And so companies need to beemotionally connecting with their prospect and their customers.Think about this on a very tangible level. Just think about itseparately of why you as an individual would buy a house or why youwould buy a car. If you're looking for a house, you know you wantit in this neighborhood, you want this number of bedrooms, you wantthis amount of square footage, this amount of bathrooms, but in theend,


you have to like feel it with the house. It's anemotional connection with that house. And this is the same reasonthat people buy, even if it is a software or an enterprise productor whatever it is that people are buying, a system or consulting,you need to feel it with the person and company that you're goingto be interacting with. And it's shown in, if you look atresearch,


had done a whole survey to understand why people buy acertain product or service, most companies behave as if it is thespecs of the product or service and the price. And as it turns out,those are two reasons why people buy. But the largest reason whypeople buy is actually their engagement and experience with thecompany. So this is really important to think about. So now goingback to the stories.


The stories are, well, you want to be able tocommunicate the company story. You want to be able to communicatethe individual, your personal story, and then also your customerstory. So three stories, company story, personal story, and yourcustomer story. So if I were to talk about it specifically for me,the company story of why I founded culture driven sales in thefirst place was.


What I realized is companies were just focused so muchon the what and the how, focused so much on operational processesand operational execution and all these tactics. And they weremissing the real reason of why companies buy, which is tied to


having an integrated go-to-market strategy that tiesback to the corporate strategy, coming all the way from mission,vision, company story, values, but then how that ties into how acompany tells their company story. What are your uniquedifferentiated value propositions? Who is the ideal customerprofile that you're trying to reach?


And then what is the best sales approach to bethinking about it? Companies were often asking me, well, how can Igo get my specific sales? Hey, Kelly, just help me with, should Ibe enterprise sales or a different motion? What should be on mysales operational tactics? And they were getting in at such adetailed operational level, they were missing that high piece,which helped guide the strategy on the go-to-market strategy. Sothis is why.


I founded Culture Driven Sales in the first place. Thesecond reason of my personal story is why was this important to me?Well, when I talk about what we did at Tableau, remember wediscussed how this was the first time I had built an enterprisesoftware team. And the first time that I had been building acompany from zero up to a public company.


We had a team that we were so focused not only onbuilding a great company, but thinking about our high priority waswe want to build a great place to work. We were intentional oncreating a great place to work with a great culture where peoplefelt like they could bring their authentic self and be able toreally build their career at Tableau. That was as important a goalto us.


as it was to go build a huge sustainable business thatwas creating great products for our customers and good returns forour investors. And what I realized was not all companies werethinking about that, but we were creating this movement where ourcustomers were really excited and our employees are really excited.And this is something companies want to do, but they just don'tknow how to do it.


by putting culture at the center is really important.And so having culture drive sales rather than just focusing on yoursales and thinking culture will just fall out on the backside.Culture isn't just a derivative that happens. You have to be asintentional and thoughtful about culture as you are in driving allof your other strategic priorities as a company. So that is thewhole company story.


And then my own personal reason, my personal story forwhy I did it for a customer story is customers are actuallyrealized that they get better results when they do this. And sowhen I'm on these different boards, oftentimes companies aresaying, you know, how, like what, what, one specific example isoftentimes a company will say,


Well, how can I do this myself? If you look at theirwebsite and then you look at the website of their five competitors,they might all look identical. You take their name and their brandsoff and they all say that they're doing the same thing. But whenyou weave the company's story into it and their uniquedifferentiated value propositions, that company gets more of apersonality. It actually is unique. And that is what...


can really help to light up these individual companiesso they can be different, they can be unique, and they canunderstand how they're gonna go and differentiate themselves acrosseveryone else in the noise when they go and focus on culture morethan they have before. Yeah, so what maybe, you know, biodegradablechickens are largely made by emotional, right? Okay, so.


One of the things that we did that was very differentat Tableau is we did storytelling training. Okay. Many companies,they do when they're training their salespeople, they do customercentric selling, they do spin selling. They're trying to talk aboutsolution selling in a way where it's really more about pitching thewares of the company. When you're really focused on the customermore.


you want to do storytelling because we've alreadyestablished that it's an emotional type of cell. So we did a veryatypical type of training. We brought in storytelling training andwe taught people, well, how can you learn to tell stories? Moreabout the company's why, more about the customer story, more aboutyour personal story. And it was very interesting what happened isafter this two interesting derivatives came out of this is


Our employees said, wow, this is not a typical salestrading. This is a communication trading that's helping me tocommunicate with not only my prospects and my customers, buteveryone in my life, my family, my kids, all these things, becausesales is about communication and emotionally connected. So that wasthe first derivative of our employees said, this is reallyuseful.


The second derivative that came out of this is we hadour customers came back and they were saying to me and my team,huh, why is it that Tableau is selling in such a different way? Itseems like the Tableau salespeople are understanding me and myproblems and my company in a way that others are not. And it wasbecause when you're storytelling,


you're really emotionally connecting in this more deepcommunication way. It's not just twitching your wares. This is whyyou should buy. Here are all the things that we should do. Andcompanies want to really be able to strive to do that. And thecompanies that do this well, they're often talked about thatthey're creating a movement. They're doing somethingtransformational and disruptive where they're bringing thesecustomers in that really wanna be


part of that whole aura, rather than just buying thewidget in a transactional way. It's a way to really connect withyour customers in a much deeper, more meaningful way. Thank you.You heard it here. Storytelling training. This is fascinating.Going to switch gears. Let's get back to the corporate boardroom.All right.


The right you check so many boxes. So you with scalingcompanies. They start out with advisory boards, but when they're attheir first fiduciary fiduciary board of directors, what would yoube seeking in a high performing company, Kelly, for this importantmilestone in terms of all the nuggets you've provided today,mission, core values.


storytelling, what are some of the nuggets you'd wantto bring into the boardroom at the fiduciary board level?


at the board level? Well, that's a really widequestion. I think there's a couple things, Brenda, to consider,especially if people are considering adding board directors or forthose in the audience who are considering maybe being a boarddirector yourself. Okay. First thing is companies will often have aboard matrix. They'll have their idea of what are the differentskills that they want to have represented


on the board. And so if you're a company, you want tobe able to be thinking of what are the different skills andexperiences that you want on the board to be able to help guideyour executive team and your entire company. So for instance, forme, I brought, I've been a strategic consultant, so there'sstrategy. Strategy is a very big part of what happens on the boardto help


the company think about their short and long-termstrategy. Two, I'm a go-to-market expert, I'm in sales. And manyboards will have different experts in different disciplines. Sopretty much every board will have a former or currently sitting CEOto be a CEO coach or mentor. Oftentimes there will be a financialexpert who was a CFO or worked at one of the big audit firms.


because they might be chair of the audit committee tohelp drive all of the financial and regulatory issues that are onthere. And then oftentimes they'll have a product person that helpsthem with the actual product. My expertise would go to market forsales and marketing and branding. And you want different members onthe board to have different expertise. So you can bring that andhave resources for all those different areas of knowledge


will help to upscale and scale your team. The nextpiece is you want to be able to have a culture in the boardroomthat is reflective and complimentary to your culture as a company.So you just in the same way, you want to do behavioral interviewingfor your employees to make sure that the employees...


are aligned and operate in adherence with your corevalues and are passionate about your mission, you want that in theboardroom too. You don't want people that are just gonna tick theboxes for experience and resume, but they're passionate about whatit is that your company is doing and that they will behave in a waythat will help to further those core values and the culture. Thelast thing that I'll say is,


You want to be able to have discourse and openconversation in the boardroom. Yes. And you want to be able topromote diversity of thoughts and ideas so that you not only canhave different experiences represented in the boardroom, but you'regoing to be able to have different respectful conversation so thatthe best idea wins.


and that you can have board directors who willchallenge your way of thinking and ask questions to make sure thatyou're getting that top performance. And many companies, they thinkthey want that in the boardroom, but they actually operate in a waywhere they want more yes people on the board. Just people tovalidate and say yes and agree, that is not going to be the mosteffective board.


You actually want people in the boardroom who aregoing to be able to challenge your way of thinking to call you whenthere may be a better way to do things. And of course, they're notthe ones ultimately making the decision. You as the operators aregoing to make the decisions, but you want to have a respectfuldiscourse where people are going to be able to challenge the way ofthinking.


rather than just have a stamp of approval.


Excellent. Thank you for changing course there. Soskill matrix, largely functional, strategy, finance, go to marketsales, prior CEO or sitting CEO, culture in the boardroom, that isreflective of the company. So actually choosing and through theinterview processes, right? For the corporate boardroom. I likethat. And then finally, diversity of thought.


Right. First thing you thought is really important,not only in the boardroom, it's important inside the company too.And that is when we go back to having the best culture andbehavioral interviewing, all of those kinds of things. Rememberwhen you're thinking about culture, companies evolve. So in thepast, people talked about cultural fit. I don't like to use thatterm because cultural fit is they're fitting into the mold of whatthe company already is. It's more of.


Are they going to be culturally additive to help toabide by these core values and to help to continue to grow andextend the culture in a way that you're scaling and growing intoyour next space? Thank you, Kelly. I want to ask you a questionbecause last night when I was preparing the Zoom, we record this onZoom platform,


they now have generative AI. And it is the presence ofAI for me as an operator on my podcast and other materials that Igenerate myself, it's quite overwhelming and kind of intrusive. SoI tried to turn it off, right? I was unable to. So after thisrecording, we'll have AI generated summary. How do you see...


AI's role in sales motions. And can you share yourexperience while perhaps you served as president and COO at Gong,which is indeed an artificial intelligence platform that servesrevenue organizations to deliver insights? Just bring some lightand maybe I'll be less overwhelmed. Well, I think Brenda, anytimeyou're introducing a new technology,


There is a transformative time because things change.And a lot of it has to do with change management and people justaccepting that new technology. And you can think about that with,it took a while for people to accept new cell phones andsmartphones. If I think back to early days at Tableau, for peopleto say, wait, you're going to collect all my data?


Are you, oh my goodness, no, there's the privacy andall of that. Now that's the same thing that's happening now withgenerative AI. Okay. Saying, Oh, it's a little scary. It's a littlebig brother. I don't want someone to be looking at all of this dataand information. It seems a little creepy. And this is just typicalof technology evolutions. You have the first movers who are theearly adopters.


And then you have the rest of the world you ask to getcomfortable with that. So, so Brenda, you shouldn't feel bad. It'sjust, there's many companies that are saying, Hey, I'm not surethat I'm really comfortable with it. I think the next thing though,is it's interesting for companies to look at it in a differentperspective and see generative AI and AI overall. It's here tostay. It is not going away.


and it's going to transform businesses and transformthe way we do work in a pretty meaningful way. And so you can push*t, but it's gonna catch up anyway. So the companies who areactually going to do the best are going to be those who embrace thenew technology and figure out how they can make it beneficial tothem and help get through that change management faster.


Now you asked a specific question about how is itgoing to transform and augment go to market and sales. Yes. If youthink about a sales person, salespeople have to know so much. Imean, when you're interacting with a company and a prospect, youhave so many conversations, you have emails, there's texts, there'sso many different things and there's their. Customers are going toyour website. They're putting in.


report and support questions and tickets and all ofthis. And it is very difficult for any one human being to actuallyrecognize, synthesize, and know everything that's going on with allthose customer interactions. Okay. And from a sales way, if youcould as a sales person actually have a technology that would helpyou to understand


What is this customer a prospect? What are they mostinterested in? What are their key issues and problems andchallenges? What are the main things that they've been bringing upconsistently on all of these prior conversations and sales callsand interactions and support tickets? And it was able to say toyou, Hey, this is what you need to know. Okay. Then it, then itdoesn't become scary anymore. Then it becomes, wow.


I am helping someone as my own personal assistant todo my job faster and more effectively. And that is what AI does.That's what Gong does, is Gong takes all the interaction with thecustomer and helps to tease out what are the most important thingsthat you need to know. And now it can even be more of an assistantof I'm writing an email to you as a followup for this call.


Well, the AI will actually tell me, here are the mostimportant things we talked about. It might even draft the email.And then it allows me to have more time to help my customers andless time having to parse through all of these disparate sources ofinformation and content to try to remember, or sometimes it's noteven remembering because I wasn't even involved in all thoseconversations. So you should think about AI as a way


that is a personal assistant to help you be faster,more effective, and you can always change it and you can augment itand you can edit it, but it's helping you to do your work fasterand better and more effectively. Excellent. Productivity.Productivity, yes. Helping productivity. Wow. So the show notes areactually generated in Zoom. I have...


use a different platform myself, Riverside. But youshould see how it works. Yeah, and it's amazing. Yeah, and it wasin beta and now it's fully, so I was like, oh, that saves me atleast two hours of running things. It saves you two hours of time.So ask yourself, it seems scary and overwhelming, but if it savesyou two hours, then one, you have two hours of your time back to domore meaningful work.


but it also might give you a bunch of good ideas ofsynthesizing the content in ways that you hadn't thought of, or itmight actually bring up something that you would have missed. Soit's making you more effective at your job, but you are still incomplete control because you can use it or not use it, right? Soit's just helping your productivity. Thank you, thank you. Well,we're...


This is the time that I want my guests to have anopportunity to provide some contact information on how to reachyou. It will also be in the show notes. Would you like to sharesome contact details? Absolutely. There are two of the best placesto reach me. The first is on LinkedIn. Please go find me, KellyBreslin-Wright on LinkedIn. Connect to me. Reach out. Send me amessage. And would love to be connected there.


The second is on my website, which is cult Just thethree words, cult There's tons of content there. There's a lot oftips and tricks and podcasts and speaking bits of what we havetalked about there. There's also a contact form on that website. Ifyou would like more information, if you would like to do one of myworkshops for your company, if you have any kind of questions,


or would like to engage in a different way, please govisit the website and I look forward to hearing from you. Thankyou, Kelly. So I'm bringing it back to the Founder Sandbox now inthe second season. I do ask each of my guests to share what themeaning is of certain areas of work that I work with founders on,which is resilience.


purpose-driven enterprise and sustainable growth. Sonot one guest has the same definition which makes it so rich. Whatdoes resilience mean to you? We kind of started the interviewaround the grit and resilience you had selling educational books. Ithink resilience, if we go back full circle to where we started,resilience comes back to one, being able to bounce back, being ableto


control what you can control because there's a lot ofuncontrollables. But resilience also means embracing failure andgrowth with the growth mindset because we learn a lot more from ourfailures and where things go wrong and our challenges, often thanwe do from what goes right. And resilience is being able


to be elastic in that way of not everything is goingto be perfect and be able to continue to grow and develop. So thatwould be my answer on resiliency. And what about purpose drivenenterprise? What does that mean to you? Well, purpose drivenenterprise. I mean, this is a very easy one for me. I teach classon culture driven sales. Much of that is helping companies toreally think about


What is their mission? What are their core values? Sothat they can understand and operate in accordance to theircompany's why, be able to communicate that. And so much of thismeans is, if you look at what is engaging employees the most now,yes, employees want to be employed at a company where they canidentify with the mission and the purpose.


where they can see how the work they're doing, they'renot just a cog in the wheel, but they're actually contributing tohave an impact on a larger purpose. So this is important for theemployees. The thing though, when it comes to purpose-drivenenterprise, it's important for all of those different communitiesas well because it's not only the employees, it's the prospects,it's the customers, it's the investors.


it's the communities in which we serve, people want tounderstand who is it these companies that they're dealing with? Anddo they believe in the purpose of what that company is? So it'simportant for not only the culture side, but these purpose-drivenenterprises, they're the ones that are getting much better, proven,factual results. The data shows.


The person driven enterprises are actually the onesthat are doing better, getting better performance. Amazing.Sustainable growth, not to be confused with sustainability, butsustainable, scalable growth. What's that mean to you? Yeah. Well,with this for sustainable growth, it's interesting because there'salways a balance between doing what's important right now for theshort term.


And also making sure that you're looking far enoughout into the future. And the things of this is if you think aboutcompanies, companies are building day by day. So one of the tidbitsthat I often will give companies is don't get too ahead. Don't gotoo far over your skis because companies are built day by day. Andoftentimes there might be a smaller company. I deal with a lotof


startups or hyper growth companies and they'll say,hey, I want to be a public multi-billion dollar company and theymight be at a hundred million now. Well, you're not going to getthere overnight and you have to remember that companies are builtone day at a time. So make sure you don't go too far at the sametime though. You need to balance and say, okay, sometimes peopleget so looked at what is sitting right in front of them.


They forget to see the forest between the trees andthey're only focused on, well, I'm gonna do this today, I'm gonnado this this week, I'm gonna do this next month. And they end upadding a whole bunch of operational processes and systems that thenin six months or a year or two years from now, they're gonna haveto rip out and redo. And so we need to be thinking, well, as weadd, is this something that is going to help create


like the baseline of where we're going to go. So it'salways a balance of make sure you're not getting too far inadvance, but make sure you're not getting too stuck in the weedstoday. And I think that if you can balance out those two, then youcan really have sustainable growth. Yeah, so thank you so much.This is truly from the voice of an operator. I appreciate that.Last question, did you have fun in the sandbox today?


I did have fun in the sandbox and Brenda, it's alwaysgood seeing you. I appreciate the conversation and looking forwardto continuing to connect with people that are going to go play inyour sandbox. Thank you. So to my listeners, if you liked thisepisode with Kelly Breslin, right? Sign up for the monthly release.We're founders, business owners, corporate directors andprofessional service providers.


help to share their lessons on how to build withstrong governance, a resilient, scalable, and purpose-drivencompany to make profits for good. Thank you, signing off for thismonth. Have a great day.

The Founders Sandbox: Purposeful Culture Driven Sales (2024)
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