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62. Get into a career in corporate sales: insights from Jake Mannino, Global Sales Director at Microsoft

podcast episodes prepare for a job search succeed at work May 06, 2024
Blog/podcast cover with title: 62. Get into a career in corporate sales: insights from Jake Mannino, Global Sales Director at Microsoft



Wonder what it takes to get into corporate sales? 

Join us as we delve into the journey of a Global Sales Director at Microsoft, Jake Mannino, as he explores key qualities of effective sales leadership, navigating career transitions, and embracing change for personal growth and success. 

Jake, shares his journey and insights on high-performance sales leadership. He also delves into the five domains of change, offering valuable advice on embracing uncertainty and growth. Through personal anecdotes and practical tips, he emphasizes the importance of soft skills, metrics, and adaptability in navigating career transitions. 

We'll talk about:

  • The power of embracing change for career growth

  • The balance between soft skills and technical skill in sales careers

  • High performing team dynamics

About Jake:

Jake Mannino has a wealth of business and executive leadership experience in developing high-performing teams and achieving off the chart results. He has worked as an IT Executive, Cybersecurity Specialist, Small Business Owner, Real Estate Investor, Regional Manager, and Global Sales Director. Jake has generated billions in sales revenue and negotiated massive deals with the world’s largest Fortune 500 companies.

Jake currently has a Double Major in Social Sciences, an Executive MBA, certifications in both Executive and Career coaching, ICF Level I, and a Professional Coaching Certification from Microsoft where he now directs and leads strategic Global Sales teams. He has received numerous Executive Leadership and Sales Champion awards and has coached hundreds of high-performing elite professionals who have skyrocketed their careers and income to life-changing levels.

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62. Get into a career in corporate sales: insights from Jake Mannino, Global Sales Director at Microsoft

PATRICIA: Jake, it is so good to have you here. How are you doing today?

JAKE: Well, here we are. Here we are. Yes. Thank you for having me. Really excited. And second day of spring, although I was wishing everybody today, happy spring, and I didn't realize it's leap year. So I missed it. That was yesterday.

PATRICIA: So there you go. But we're here. Right. We're here officially. Mac in the middle of spring now. So tell us a little bit about your journey, who you are and why this is going to be such an exciting conversation.

JAKE: Yeah, thanks, Patricia. I really appreciate it. So yeah, a little bit about me. Currently, I'm a global sales director at Microsoft. And I lead large global sales teams in our strategics. These are our largest global customers that we have around the planet. So we really help them transform in their digital journey and moving to the cloud and Really a lot of stuff that we do is really important to our customers. So I run a large sales team and it's really exciting. So every day it's a new challenge, but I get to travel a lot and meet a lot of customers. and interact with a lot of great people, super talented people. And I'm just very thankful and grateful to be here today. And what led me up to that really was a lot of things. I mean, I just don't even know how to or where to start. Sales and leadership has been kind of in my DNA since the beginning, since probably as a young child, even started in sales. had a family business that I was involved in where we owned and managed three or four small stores here in Michigan. in retail stores. So at a young age, I learned how to work with customers. I learned the importance of selling. I learned the importance of cash flow and profit and loss and advertising and theft and marketing and how to ring a register and just a lot of really cool, exciting stuff that I was always drawn to in the world of sales. And then throughout my career, got into technology right after college and just kind of fell into it. no rhyme or reason just did and because i don't know i guess maybe sometimes that's how the universe works you just meet people and you do things and if you have a vision and idea of who you are and what you want to do then it kind of comes together so i kind of went through the journey of being an application developer on the mainframe back in Y2K, saving the world from a two-digit catastrophe. Thank you for that. Yeah, it was great. But a lot of experience, a lot of fun, but had to get back into sales. So right after that, went right back into software sales and IT, and there was just a lot going on during that time in the early 2000s. A large transformation, a large shift, and which I think if you fast forward to today, 2024, we're seeing it again. We're seeing an explosion. I think this will be even more impactful perhaps than even the internet or what even the iPhone or mobile devices brought to us. And it's the word everybody's talking about. It's AI. I mean, that's the thing. And there's a lot of fear and uncertainty and doubt around that as well. So we can dive into it. But really, my journey through technology, through sales, and then into leadership after getting an executive MBA in 2020, then led me directly into being a director in leading teams, which I have a passion for. That's really what I love to do. to lead sales teams and help people achieve results and improve their performance and drive their productivity and achieve their goals. So that's that's kind of a little bit of a backdrop.

PATRICIA: Yeah, no, that's wonderful. As you're speaking, I have so many questions about, well, what happened here and what happened here? Right. So can you share maybe one or two of those really pivotal career moments that got you to where you are now?

JAKE: Yeah, well, as I mentioned, just having a motivation and a drive for sales, the excitement of sales, the energy behind it, the joy of just solving problems and helping customers. And I'm a natural extrovert, so I've always just kind of loved being around people and in social settings. And I love to travel and just you know, do new things and meet people. But I mean, there were a couple times where, I guess it was in college, where I was, oddly enough, I was a double major in anthropology and social and sociology. So I love to study culture and society and social norms and why people think and do the things they do. And I was probably destined at that time to become a professor. And that's what I was going after. And I got involved in some projects on the campus at Oakland University and I started to learn some of the software for statistical packages for social sciences and started doing some work for professors and I got into technology at that point in time. And this was right when things were starting to take off. And I was just drawn to it. I thought it was amazing. And I felt that if I learned enough about technology that I could then apply my sales skills and I could have a future there and maybe one day I would still go back to the academic arena and become a professor that would be awesome. I love it and I love to teach and that may be part of the reason even today I'm going after my ICF level one to be an executive coach and a career coach to to help teach and help others. So that was one pivotal moment. It was probably in college where I just transitioned into technology and then adapted into what the market wanted and applied the sales skills that I had. There were probably a lot of other things along the way that I've done and disrupted myself. I was formerly at Cisco Systems for 15 years, and I was hired there as a security specialist in 2007 as an individual contributor. And then I transitioned out of that role into leadership. And I kind of one day decided I needed to do something else, so I resigned. And it was a very scary moment when I did that. But nonetheless, it was something that I felt I had to do. So that was a transitional period as well, where I just felt stuck. And I love Cisco, don't get me wrong. Cisco is a great company, and I'm still a shareholder. And I still have a lot of friends and family there. But I just felt at a point in time in my life, I need to do something different. So I got deep into cybersecurity at that time, and that was about four years ago. And then from there, it led to more opportunities, more growth. and more networking to where now it, you know, arrived to where I'm at here with Microsoft. And that was just due to relationships and people that I knew.

PATRICIA: So, and I asked you, you know, you mentioned that big career shift, and it was a scary moment, a pivotal moment. Yeah, we were to go back there. What were the thoughts that were going through your head in that moment where you realized I've got to make a change?

JAKE: Yeah, I think in the one where I left Cisco after being there for 15 years, I just felt that I needed to take charge of who I was and what I wanted to do and what my purpose was. And I got closer to, again, coaching and not, you know, knowing what the difference is between a mentor and a consultant and a coach. And I really was drawn to coaching and executive coaching and helping people discover their true purpose. And I was also drawn to leadership and that's just like taking you know teams and making them okay to from good to great to awesome to high performing and just investing in the people and coaching the people in the team to achieve success that to me was was so exciting. When I left Cisco, I knew it was going to be a financial challenge. I knew it was going to be scary. I knew that I just had to trust my instinct. And oftentimes we get kind of analysis paralysis, right? Because you want to talk to a bunch of people, what should I do? And you ask for her advice. And sometimes you just got to look inside yourself and say, look, this is something I need to do. And at that time, I was really passionate about cloud security and cybersecurity and the transformation that was occurring in that. in that field. So I was deeply excited to go into that and to work for a company, a software company, where I could just be a seller and really help companies, you know, again, with their digital transformation and securely move to the cloud. And so security, cybersecurity has always been a kind of a passion of mine as well. So it just felt like the right thing to do at the right time. And I just had to I had to overcome all the naysayers and everybody that told me that, you know, what are you doing? You're crazy, right? And so maybe you have to be crazy a little bit, you know, little bit once in a while to take a chance.

PATRICIA: Absolutely. You know, it's part of shaking up the norm, right? If you, if you're in a situation, you've been there for 10 years, it's comfort and from comfort, it's going to be an unpopular opinion, but sometimes from comfort comes complacency. And so being able to shake things up, get out of your comfort zone is really refreshing. And I really liked the way you mentioned something that I thought, Oh, this is really brilliant. You said, um, You said that we all look for that validation of, am I making the right move? And the reality is that no one can really tell you what the right move is for you, but the best that we can do is to help guide you to that answer of your own, something that comes out of you. That's such a great kind of trajectory that you have. So you're now a sales leader and you're very successful. So talk to us in your experience. What would you say are the key qualities that make an effective sales leader like today with all this AI coming through and all these different processes and technology coming up?

JAKE: Yeah, it's definitely has changed. There's some foundational things that I don't think will ever change when it comes to leadership. And there's some some qualities and characteristics that I think all the great leaders have. They have certain ability to invest in they're people and also in themselves, there's a certain level of humility. And I believe when you're able to set your ego aside, and really, if your purpose is to help others grow and to lead teams, then you have to admit when you make mistakes, you have to be vulnerable, you have to set aside your confirmation biases, right? Because we all have those, and we all struggle with those. We have to then find deeper purpose in investing in people and teams for a common goal and a common vision. And there's really three steps. There's a few. I work a lot in frameworks and TLAs, three-letter acronyms, because I think humans have a great capacity to learn at least and remember three things. I heard a goldfish can do four, but we're slightly under goldfish. We're limited a little bit. Yeah. So the three things I think is important in leadership, first of all, is to have a strategy and have a strategy that is this vision that everybody is on board with. So everybody is really excited about the vision. This is what you are going to do. And when you think about climbing a mountain or any large task that requires a team, it has to be the team. in any instance to be successful, right? The team has to work together and everybody has to have this vision and the strategy. So establishing what you're going to do. The second piece is the execution. How are you going to do it? Like, what are the steps? What are the daily habits? What are the things that the team's going to do? How are you going to divide and conquer? Like, what are you going to do? How are you going to do it? And then I think it's the most important. I think we've all read the Challenger books and everything else. I'm here to tell you, relationship selling is not dead. Right. It's still very important. So the third piece of that is relationship building. And that's the who. Who are you going to influence to help you as a team to get towards that goal? So those are like the three main leadership domains that I use with my team. That's from strategy, execution and relationship building. And then when we dive more into that, I try to inspire the team to develop what I call a no like trust model, right? You have to know your customer, the customer has to know you, they have to like you, right? If they don't like you, then it's great that they know you, but they kind of need to like you too. And then trust is important because as humans, that's how we operate. We operate on some level of trust and trust is generally earned A lot of times it's broken and sometimes it needs to be repaired. So you kind of operate on this no like trust model, but that's to execute on sales. When it comes to leadership, for me, it's about investing in the people. It's always about the people and what their goals are, what their needs are. And it's about honesty and communication and being transparent and vulnerable. So all those things, Above all, and what I've learned even through coaching, it's about active listening. Right. And we've learned something very important. It's called WAIT. W-A-I-T. And it stands for why am I talking? Right. So, and I know I'm talking a lot because I'm being interviewed, but- It's allowed. It's allowed. Yeah. Thank you. In the world of of working with people, it's about active inquiry, active listening, and not just listening to the words they're saying, but the emotion, the meaning, it's about developing strong EQ, or IQ, or whatever they're calling that emotional intelligence is so much more important than IQ, right. And so it's that connection. And we use words like in, you know, how do you feel after the meeting? Right. If I have a one-on-one meeting with my direct reports, at least once or twice a week, and then I generally talk to everybody, probably too much. But a lot of times, it's how do you feel when you're done with the meeting? Do you feel inspired, energized, empowered? Do you feel accomplished? And if you don't, then I haven't done a good job as a leader to help motivate you and get you closer to what it is you want to achieve. So those are all, there's a lot of dynamics in leadership. And I think the most I've learned is from four leaders, right? Leaders that I see that are either have large egos or superiority complexes, or they lack in good communication or listening skills. or empathy of just being a human being. And so those are all pieces of the leadership puzzle, right? And there's no one perfect piece. And the good news is that I learn every day, and I make mistakes quite a bit. My team would tell you, but I'm honest about it, and I learn from them. And I'm very thankful to be at least where I am today with the teams that I run.

PATRICIA: Very good. So I, I definitely want to dig more into that piece because I think that's so important. But before we take that turn, I'm curious, right? There's so much conversation about emotional intelligence and humility and, and all of these you know, some people call them soft skills and we call them power skills, all different names for them, right? But when you're looking at someone, let's say, you know, folks listening are thinking, okay, I want to get into sales. I've got all these soft skills because I come from a space where maybe it's education. Maybe it's counseling where these soft skills are cornerstone, right? In the same way that they are in sales.

JAKE: Yeah.

PATRICIA: if you were to kind of give us an idea of like the weight, right, there's someone who hasn't been in sales for large organizations, or you get where I'm going here, like how does someone get selected? And is that more important than sometimes even the technical side?

JAKE: Yeah, that's a great, great question. I get approached by a lot of people. who is coming to say, Jake, look, I really want to get into sales, right? I have an engineering background or maybe a project management background or I'm a technical software developer, whatever the background is. And I'm here to tell you, anybody can get it. Like every day we are selling, whether we want to believe that or not. And I think there's this negative kind of image of a used car salesman or somebody selling snake oil or whatever that is, that's not really what it's about. And a lot of people will come to me and say, hey, how do I get into sales? And I say, that's awesome. That's great. Why? And that question is, I can determine right then, a lot of times the question is because I want to make a lot of money. And I say, hey, that's awesome. But you may not be successful there. So tell me why you really want to get into sales. And if money is the driver and don't get me wrong, money is important. Right. A lot of people talk about abundance. They want abundance. And money might be a part of that, but it's not everything. And what we talk about is self-power, what your self-power is and how motivated you are. True abundance comes from gratitude, always. And it doesn't matter how much money you have in the world or the things that you have or People are like, hey, I want to get into sales because I want to buy a big house or I want to go buy a Rolex or go get that new car or whatever it is. Those are all drivers, but those are not going to stand the test of time. And if you do land the big deal and you do get a big paycheck, that'll wear off. And then you're going to be back to, Oh, what do I do? And you're going to feel terrible because you might have a bad year where you didn't make what you made last year. So first of all, if you want to get in sales. You better like roller coasters, right? And, and there's a lot of excitement and there's a lot of ups and downs. So you have to have the right energy to be able to manage the ups and downs. And they're really. Four things I look at in candidates. One, what are your attributes? Attributes meaning what are your principles, your behaviors? What are you? What's your North Star? What makes you you? Why are you unique? What differentiates you? You got to have something to be really good in sales, something that you're really good at. You have a niche. You're really unique. Secondly, what achievements do you have? I always ask, it doesn't have to be in sales, maybe it's academic, maybe it's a degree, maybe you volunteer, maybe you won some awards. Are you a high performer? Do you have any type of achievements that would qualify you to be a high performer? Whatever that is. And then the third one, you know, skills. And we talked about whether they're EQ skills, IQ skills. EQ is one of those things a lot of people throw around, but how do you measure it, right? How good are you at connecting at people? I mean, do we go out and give a survey to people and say, well, do you really like Jake? Or do you really like Patricia? Or like, how do we know? We think we know, but we have a lot of limiting beliefs and assumptions. So how well do you really impact people? And so what are your skills there? And the final one, that's three. The fourth one, and this one is probably the most important, is motivation. How motivated are you? And I get a lot of people that, like I mentioned, they reach out, I want to get into sales. And I'm, okay, well, first you got to sell me, right? Number one. So if you're not following up, if you don't follow the protocol, if you don't do a good job at, there's this rule called the 7-11 rule, right? In seven seconds, humans will make 11 impressions about you. So in seven seconds, you got to sell somebody on you. What makes you, you. And, uh, but the opportunity is there. Sure. There's, there's a great opportunity to make money. There's also a great opportunity to grow and to learn and it's exciting. It's a lot of fun. It drives me every day. But you have to be able, you got to have kind of thick skin because there's going to be a lot of ups and downs. And it's not how you deal with the success. It's how you deal with failure. Right. We often say we don't even start selling until a customer says no. That's when we start selling. And so you have to know how to do that. And you have to have a vision and you have to have positive attitude. So all those qualities kind of put them into a blender. And if you have the right skill set and you have some prior achievements and the right attributes and you're really motivated, I look for two things. Number one, are you coachable? And number two, how motivated are you? Those are the most important.

PATRICIA: So you've laid out some really good nuggets here, but the piece that I'm so curious about is, let's say there's someone who is really motivated, who's like, yes, I want to grow. I'm into personal development. I love that leveraging failure as a setup for a comeback, right? But they have no experience working with software. Is it something that, you know, organizations are going to say, you know, we're going to go ahead and take you on because of these soft skills and we can train you on the other stuff? Because I keep hearing, right, everyone keeps saying soft skills is something that isn't as trainable as technical skills or as knowledge of a product where just like really honing in on that skill set of do I know the product? Have I had experience with the product? What does that look like going in? Do we need to have those specific skills?

JAKE: Yeah. I mean, again, I think it's important because you're going to establish credibility with your customer. And remember, sales is not just about selling. It's about solving. So how good of a problem solver are you and how good are you at your craft? and how good are you at understanding what your solution is and what your product is and what the competitive landscape is, right? We run this thing called a Porter's Five Forces analysis, right? It's MBA technical stuff, but we look at partners and complements and substitutes and rivalries and entry barriers to market entry and understanding your product is really important. Now, there are some companies that will bring you in and train you and that's a great opportunity. There's a lot out there that will if they detect that you have the right attitude, the right motivation, the right drive, that you present very well. I think presentation is so important. A lot of times people get very nervous, right? They're up in front of a whole bunch of people or You know, what would you do if you were in the room with the chief executive officer of Ford Motor Company? Or what would you say if you're with executives in a boardroom setting? So the only way to have that experience is to have that experience. But to get into the boardroom, you got to really develop this trusted advisor status. That means you got to have some chops. Right. It's like saying, hey, you've never played drums before, but I'm going to put you in a national act band and go on tour with them. Right. So you got to you got to practice. You got to tune in. We start with the three what's and this is foundational. We do this a lot in executive coaching. My three what's are what are you? Right. And you can say what or who, but what are you? What do you want? And what are you grateful for? Right. And I always bring gratitude back into it, because that's the key to unlocking the abundance, which most, most of us want in some way. So dialing in what are you? is so important because that will tie into what you want. I want to go into sales. Okay, well, what do you want to sell? Where do you want to start? You should start somewhere, right? Oftentimes, even with my kids and a lot of younger people, I'm like, hey, if you really want to learn how to sell, go work in a restaurant, right? become a bartender or a waiter or waitress, because you are going to hustle and you are going to learn how to sell and you're going to deal with irate customers. And you're going to, you know, it's just that is like crazy foundational right there. And so somebody to break into it, I'm not going to say it's easy. I'm going to say it requires a lot of Focus and dedication to learning the craft and learning being a specific expert or a novice expert at a minimum on something. Pick a niche, get into something that you're passionate about, that really drives you, and then go sell it.

PATRICIA: Oh, that's great. That's great. So what it sounds like, what we're learning is there are all of these soft skills that are important that oftentimes we minimize, but those are really the core, the power behind your ability to be a sales leader. But in addition to that, don't forget about the craft of selling, which includes, like you said, the barriers to entry, the positioning, your competitors, right? And so if you're interested in going into sales, it sounds like you just mentioned niche in, right? Figure out exactly, are you consumer electronics? Are you software? Are you, you know, what is your specific niche and know it so well inside and out that when you go into an interview or you go and you're trying to crack into the field, they know that you know the landscape that you're going to be going into and how to sell in that landscape. I really think that's, you've just covered every base. Thank you so much for that. That was great.

JAKE: Yeah. I, well, it's, it, you have to be a master of your craft or at least a student. And there's an example where I had somebody that was a project manager and I met him within seconds after meeting him, I'm like… What do you wanna do? I could just tell he had the charisma, he had the energy. I mean, there are certain qualities I look at for my account reps. They have to have just a vision and charisma and they gotta be somebody that you would probably vote as the captain of your team, right? They walk into a room, they get everybody excited. They're just really, really energetic people, highly motivated. and when i met this individual you know he was a project manager which was awesome he had the technology skill set and i just like I, you should get into sails. He's like, well, I've never been into sails. I'm like, well, okay, I will teach you. How about that? I will teach you. I'll bring you onto the team. And he actually had a military background as well. He was, he was a captain in the Marines. So he had a very strong discipline. You have to have tenacity. I guess that's a, that's a good word to use. And so we got him onto the team, got him mentored, got him going, everything. His energy was amazing. His drive. He was just like incredible with the customers and he was so, the no like trust model. I mean, he was like, that was it and became wildly successful. And this was three, four years ago. I still talk to him, right?

PATRICIA: He's still- You saw it in him.

JAKE: And it's intrinsically gratifying to help people get from X to Y and then watch them grow, right? So it's possible you have to have, you have to, look at the people that you think are amazing salespeople, figure out what they do, and model it, go after it, and then differentiate. How can you do it different? How can you do it better? What makes you unique? I think that's important. But again, it's that relationship building. If I wouldn't have met this person, maybe that's just how the universe works. I still believe things just happen. And for whatever reason, right, there it was. And It was a good success story.

PATRICIA: So it sounds like some people just have it, there's like an X factor, right? And some of us, it may not be as apparent or we may not see it, right? You called something out in him and he was like, oh, I've never really been in there, right? But you saw it in him. And again, most of us don't see it within ourselves. So if we're not this naturally charismatic person, right? One of the things that we've talked earlier, one of the things that you do is you help people go from good to great to like really improve, right? Where do we begin in that process?

JAKE: Yeah. Yeah. Um, well, it comes down to what do you want the three wants, we start there because you have to identify what you want. And, and what are you because this is a question that throughout the course of life changes and evolves. And so we use something else that I learned, I was actually In a coaching session just the other week ago, this gentleman, he was a Green Beret, amazing guy. And he said in the army, they use a thing called WIN, W-I-N. It stands for what's important now. And that's it. That's the moment, right? living in the moment, being aware of yourself, and getting more tuned into your self-purpose, that means releasing all the limiting beliefs and the biases and everything that society has told you, whether through institutions, friends, family, or upbringing, whatever it is, you have to release that, relinquish that, and find a way to get back into your self-power, that is true, that is constant. And once you get to that purpose, then pure creativity, that's where it is, right? Anything you want, it doesn't matter, you can create. And we have the power to do this as humans, right? And if everybody can get closer to their purpose, I believe it just creates a better person. And with 8 billion of us on the planet, if everybody can do it just a little bit, then we have a better planet, right? Yeah. Um, so that's a little metaphysical in my, in my theory, but I believe it's, what do you want? And it's okay if you change six months from now, it's like somebody that goes into college and they're like, Hey, I want to be a psychologist. And they study psychology and they're like, eh, this isn't for me. I want to do something else. I want to go into biology or I want to go into computer science. It's fine. Change your, change your major, like whatever, you know, but you're learning along the way and you have to go on a tangent. You have to have that ambition. you have to make a decision. I coach a lot of people that don't know what they want. So that's where we have to start. And we have to do a lot of self discovery there. And we have to unpack a lot of the the things that that they believe in within themselves. And again, it's releasing a lot of these false assumptions to get closer to what they want.

PATRICIA: Yeah, from what you're speaking, it's very much you first have to come into an awareness of yourself, which that starts with very muddy waters. And at first, what comes out is just it's surface level, but you got to keep digging and keep digging till you get to that core. Once you find that, then it's like, okay, let's have that. You mentioned tenacity, right? To move through the challenges, to essentially evolve as a person. What do you see as some of the biggest barriers as you're helping people to become? Well, first let's start here. Sure. Describe high performing. What is the quote unquote checklist, right? If you were to decide that someone is high performing versus not.

JAKE: Yeah. Great question. And from metrics, a metric perspective, it's numbers, right? I mean, sales is about numbers and that's the business we're in, you know, so we have to drive revenue, we have to, we get rated on improving customer satisfaction, displacing competition, driving revenue, hitting your sales targets, winning contests, you know, whatever those metrics are, we all get these sales goals. So that's another piece of being in sales, be willing to carry a number, right? You have to carry a number. So high performance is around meeting or exceeding those numbers, number one. And then number two, impact. What impact are you making? How are you helping others? How are you delivering results back to the company or back to yourself? How are you growing? How are you investing in your growth? We all talk about career and career today is like a jungle gym, right? So, I mean, most people, they don't, they're not like my grandparents or even my parents where they get a job somewhere and they're there for 50, 60 years and they retire with a pension and they you know, go off into the sunset. Right. And so now we we're restless. And in companies, they you know, we get it right. We can go from company to company and learn and grow and meet people. So success or high performance, number one, making your number, number two, giving back to the community, through the company, to the team. inspiring others and growing is the most important, right? So for me, it's about how much can you grow as an individual, as a person and set goals and achieve the goal. So a lot of it's weighted on achievement and as a team, how well, there's just something about high performing teams and it's very difficult to put a put a definition around it there's a certain energy there's a glow there's just a just an amazing teamwork and it's always a point in time as we know in life nothing really lasts forever and if you think in a in a world of even a sports team right a sports team high performing team they win a super bowl or they win the world series or whatever that is they work together as a team and they lift up the people on the team who need the most help. And even as a musician, I think about this in the setting of playing with other musicians. Not everybody is equal, but it's about how to equalize everybody and bring everybody and then elevate. So how do you elevate yourself? So there's a lot of things. There's the metric characteristics of it. There's the growth characteristics of it. And then there's just this energy around it. And a lot of it, even in the world of building high performing teams, we look at bringing together people from different backgrounds that are diverse, right? And we find that we get higher performance out of people who come from different, not just ethnicity, gender, race, whatever, but different ways of thinking, different just how they approach problems, introverts, extroverts, doesn't matter, just like different types of people when we put them together, and we align them towards a common goal and we give them all the tools and the resources necessary and we energize them, they achieve great results. So high performing teams, there's so many books on them, right? I think we've read all the books, like what is it? It's just an energy. It's a certain energy. And it's obviously financials. You can't say somebody on this team who was 80% of their number was a high performing team. So kind of got to make your number exceed the plan. That's, you know, important, but how well do you grow and help others to

PATRICIA: So I really like that piece. I think so often, you know, we maybe didn't place emphasis on the soft skills. And I think at some point, we kind of went so far in the other direction, that there's like the real world. And then what we say out loud, and what we say out loud is so focused on the soft skills that we forget about, like you said, the metrics, like, you know, when you work at a company, like the bottom line has to come from somewhere, right? So I appreciate that balance of the soft skills and who you are as a person. And then also being able to connect the dots to the power of the soft skills is in that they help you meet the metrics. And so that that was really important. One thing you mentioned, it was very, very brief, but I thought, oh, this is so interesting. You said a team only is only a high performing team for so long before you've got to change something up and change is something that I think we all, especially people who are a little bit older in their careers, maybe the second half of their career. it sounds scary, but it is one of the most important pieces to a stay relevant and be accelerate your career progress. What are your thoughts on that?

JAKE: Yeah, change is an interesting one. And you make a great point. Because earlier in my career, I didn't really, I didn't like change that much, right? Like, I didn't like, you know, if it wasn't going to benefit me in some way, you know, and, okay, wait, what was the biggest change that you had to, like, really face in your career? Oh, geez. Oh, my gosh. You know, I think like I had a team, I was on a team years ago, I was with Compuwear here in Detroit, early 2000s. And we had just an amazing team. And it was just like, there was trust in this team. And there was humility. And I think that's another piece of it. And we all use the same language. We all just like, did everything together. And our families knew each other. That's another, you know, integration of the team and just you feel like a family. And Then somebody got fired, right? And then somebody left and then somebody quit and went somewhere else. So the team just kind of, you know, exploded. And I was like, oh, so sad that it was the first time it happened. I'm like, oh, my gosh, like, how is this going to like what? I don't belong anymore. What am I going to do? And this is change and this isn't good. And I didn't have the experience to think, you know what, this happened for a reason. And if I take a step back, And I realized there's a bigger picture playing out here and this is a learning experience and this is going to make me stronger and better and when I see this pattern happen again, I might be able to recognize it and. and pivot in a certain way. So I think that was it. When that team disintegrated, for whatever reason, I felt like I was alone on an island. And it took a while for me to get the courage to go out and to change myself again and do something else and then get on another team, right? So you kind of do this team hopping thing over time. And I don't know what the good shelf life is a team, but that team was a few years and I was on one recently. Well, this was, around 2015 to and that lasted five years till 2020. And that was a solid high performing team. And senior people on the team, everybody loved each other got along trust. Everybody had each other's back. It was there was a lot of humor, right? And that's something that you got to have if you can't joke around have a good time. Then then it's you know, then it's all serious, which

PATRICIA: And that's no fun. That's that's no fun.

JAKE: But that was that was probably early in my career, how I just was like, Oh, my gosh, like, what am I going to do? My favorite people aren't here anymore. That's part of this team. And that's when I realized the evolution that teams change. And if you can, and this just happened to me this past year, where I have a team that I'm managing and there were some changes on that team and people who've been on that team for a long time went on to advance to other directions with their career and other people change. So many people told me, they're like, oh, what are you going to do? That's terrible. You're never going to be able to rebuild the team and it's going to be so hard. And that's what I'm saying to naysayers. I just laugh. And so but but fast forward, we rebuilt the team and we actually closed one of the biggest deals we've ever closed just two months ago. So there's that's a high performing team and we rebuilt it and did it in record time.

PATRICIA: And you've got these stories. right? And I'm sure this is not the only story of change, right? Change is everywhere. And you've been successful, which tells me you've changed and evolved multiple times. If you were to summarize as we're starting to, I heard someone say, land the plane, right? If you were to summarize, what would you share with someone who is feeling like a change is going to come? Like, what's your advice for them?

JAKE: Yeah. Yeah. You know, it's interesting. I was out having dinner with one of my customers. He's an executive here at a Fortune 50 company, and we had this great discussion over dinner. A lot of the times I find myself just being friends with people and not really as a sales leader or anything. We're just friends. In fact, I got to do my March Madness bracket here. I just got reminded of that by him. He's a great guy. I think there are like five domains that we go through in life around change. Domain is number one is around family, right? So we experience throughout our life change in family. Number two is our friends. And, you know, I still have a lot of great dear friends that are probably my soulmates, you know, whatever that I'm still very close with, but a lot of friends have changed. So there's a few that have stuck around, don't know why. And so then you have career, right? Your career is changed too. And that's another domain. And that's something to consider. The fourth one is health. And health is important because I've had some serious changes in health, not now, but a long time ago. And we've seen this with relatives and parents and children, everything. So there's always going to be change in that area. And then the fifth one, not to be religious, but some type of spirituality. I think that everybody whether you're religious or not, or whatever your beliefs are, there's still this mystery, right? A little mystery. And I call it, you know, like the spirit is the true currency of our existence. It's our consciousness. So call it whatever you will. So those are like the five domains of change. So what type of change, first of all, are we talking about? And in this course, we're probably talking about career to some extent, right? So you have to then dial into, and by the way, those five categories change as well, because the importance, like when I was younger and had younger children, you know, children that took precedence, that was a important factor. And then as they've grown up a little bit more, now career is more important. And now I have more of a social life, my family, we're traveling. So all these changes are occurring. And even with my parents, my parents have both passed, but that was change, right? So everything's changed. So when it comes to change in a career and somebody wants to go from X to Y, realize it's gonna be scary, realize it's not gonna be easy. And I would, there are all these pro tips that I give people that I coach. Journaling is so important. Trying to be healthy is so important that, you know, getting enough sleep, doing some form of exercise, you know, if you meditate, yoga, whatever you do, get out in nature. If you're not a nature person, you know, do something that you enjoy so there's a mindfulness. And that'll help you get through moments of change and uncertainty. Be aware, though, that when you are in moments of uncertainty, that's where something's going to happen. And embrace that. Because that means change is growth. And if you want to grow, the question is, how do you want to grow? And why is it important to you? And if you're willing to embrace that and you have the courage to do that, then go for it. Right. Don't hold back. Go for it. And yes, you might have regrets down the road. You might not, doesn't matter, but move forward. Right. And so you can calculate the change up to a certain point, but don't get bogged down by analysis paralysis. We talked about it in the beginning. Don't get too bogged down by your friends and family and all the naysayers that are going to be like, Oh, what are you doing? You're crazy. You can't do that. You know, forget that. Believe in yourself. And I would say, do a little homework. That's fine. Listen to your heart. Your heart tells you a lot of times what's right. And if you believe in yourself and you trust in yourself, the changes is to be embraced. It's good and it'll propel you forward. Right. We talk about the gold coin. We may not have time. You're going to run out of it. But time is important. Manage your energy versus time. And if you want better self-worth, invest in the gold coin, which is you. You're the gold coin, and that's two-sided network and net worth, your network of the people you know and your skill set. And as long as your change is investing in some of those areas, it'll propel you forward.

PATRICIA: Go for it. Gosh, thank you for sharing that. Now I don't want to, I know we are wrapping up on time. This went by so quickly, but I definitely want to point something out that I've been seeing on YouTube. I've seen your videos on YouTube. Tell us what's going on there. Send us to your website, all the things.

JAKE: Well, you know, and again, it's, it's, it's one of those things over the holiday break, I had some time, and I have a lot of people that, that, you know, want pro tips, they want, you know, getting into sales, like the discussions of what we're talking about, or what I've been studying or learning or life experiences, or whatever it is. And so I kind of watched a lot of stuff on YouTube, like most people, probably too much. And I'm like, you know, there's nothing really exciting. I mean, there's some things, but they're generally these 20 minute videos, boring about how to close a deal, how to make millions of dollars or how to, you know, and all that, just like, you know, so I thought, you know what, if I can deliver a message in 60 seconds or less, and it brings value, then I'm just going to do it. So I just did a whole bunch of them and then, you know, just releasing them every day. And if people like them, that's great. If they don't, then I guess that's OK, too. I mean, not everybody's going to love everything and that's OK. And so I just decided to do that and I thought it was fun. And a lot of I'm seeing a lot of these themes that are coming up. as I am coaching people, especially people in early and career people and people who are coming out of college and into the job market and even people that are changing careers or facing some type of a layoff or even people have been work from home, people that are going back in, whatever that is, if they want to drive productivity, improve performance, improve their sales, coach better, be a better person. then it's all free. It's right there. It's just content. I try to do some humor into it because I think humor is so important. Everybody's missing. Everybody's so serious about it. Have a little fun. I just did it. My bandwidth right now is so consumed between my role at Microsoft and my family that I just don't have time to do anything else. people want to schedule coaching sessions with me and things like that. And I just, I don't have the time for it. So I thought, well, if I, if they can get 60 second tips on YouTube, and they're benefiting from it, and it's a value, then I'm giving back to some, you know, to somebody helping somebody somehow some way. So that's, that's why I'm doing it.

PATRICIA: We appreciate it. I've seen some of the videos. They're good content and it's going to be helpful for so many people who are trying to get into sales or to improve their skillset, whether or not in sales. So definitely appreciate the work that you're doing there. Tell us about your website. Where can we find all things, Jake?

JAKE: Yeah, it's And on that website, again, it's all free content. I write weekly blogs on there around sales tips, how to improve your performance, experiences that I've had. I make mistakes all the time, so if I share that with everybody and they can avoid those mistakes, we often say fail fast, fail forward. I say win fast and win forward. That's what I think we should be talking about. And maybe it's just things that I come up with. I meet with a lot of executives. I meet with a lot of sales leaders, entrepreneurs. I meet with a lot of very high wealth success people and they share tips with me. And so I figured, well, if I can just write those down and share them in a blog, I also provide recommendations of all the books I read. tons of books, everybody wants to recommend a book, I love it. And there's only so much time in the day, but I make recommendations on books. And, and that's about it. So it's the YouTube contents, my blogs, recommendations on books, and maybe some some tips and things that come up. And it's just there for people to check out if they if they're interested. And if it's again, if the goal here, the driver is just to help people. That's all it is. There's nothing to buy off of this thing. And that was another thing that I found when I was doing a lot of just research and stuff on the internet. Everywhere you go, it's like, oh, this is great. And you click on it. And it's like, for $19.95 a month, you can subscribe and all this other stuff. And I'm like, who wants to do that? Nobody wants that, right? So, you know, it's, it's all just there. And it's updated. And I try to, to give back to everybody who's interested in just improving themselves a little bit.

PATRICIA: Very cool. Well, thank you so much for just coming on and sharing your insights. And, you know, it's, it's always so helpful to hear from someone who has honed in on their craft to share that right with folks who maybe are considering that road and being able to look so much farther ahead. It's going to be really, really helpful. So again, thank you so much. I really appreciate the time that you've taken with us. It was a lot of fun.

JAKE: Yeah. Yeah. Thank you, Patricia. And I'll, you know, look, you're doing a great thing too. And in the next session, maybe we'll have, I'll talk to you about when you talked about honing your craft. I hung out with Lawrence Fishburne once, and I will tell you another story. It's a cliffhanger. I spent a few hours with Mr. Fishburne in a bar in Toronto. And if everybody knows Lawrence Fishburne, right, famous guy, actor, he was in The Matrix and a whole bunch of movies. And we talked a lot about craft and what is your craft. And I'll share that next time.

PATRICIA: Oh, that sounds great. Cliffhanger. Great. We're already going to be scheduling that. So thanks again for coming on. And for everyone listening, thank you so much for sticking around with us. We hope you have a wonderful day. We'll see you on the next one.

JAKE: Thank you. Bye.



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