How Do We Measure And Define Excellence? | Jason Creane, RD at AppDynamics – Sales Confidence

Hi everybody, I don’t do this often so please be kind. I have two key messages, my name is Jason as James said, I have two key messages today the first message is when does it make sense to consider taking a jump in at leadership, and the second message is about how do you set up the right environment to make sure you develop it into a world-class leader.

So I’m going to take step one first of all. So for me personally it was critically important that when I looked in the mirror every day I could say unequivocally I was in the top 1% of people in terms of enterprise. I wanted to test myself against the best at the very best and until I’ve done that I never felt that I was able to take that jump into leadership confidently. So between 2011 and 2014 I worked for Gartner, and despite being sort of ranked number one in the world, 7 years in a row, I knew that was just in a natural salesperson, I was unpredictable, I was inconsistent, I just had creative flair, and I had Gartner on my Linkedin, which meant I could get the meeting in any CIOs office in the country, give or take. I was not an A player. I knew if I needed to develop into one, and develop into a wold class leader, I needed to learn the tangible data points that would allow me to be able to first of all know how to run a personal business myself, but also then in turn teach other people to do that. So that’s a key moment right, so you kind of reflect and go well if I’m not getting that here despite being the number one in the world, I have to seek out a new leadership. So that point I made a decision and I worked with a headhunter to find the best of the best people that I could go, and work with and that led me to a conversation with Jeremy Duggan who is the GM of AppDynamics at the time that still is and when you meet Jeremy. Snd you meet the leadership, the reporting to him, you very quickly realized what excellence truly looks like and what that bar tangibly means; because what is the measure of excellence and how do we define that and there it was very clear. So in their eyes it was based on four very key things. The first one was you need to connect to the process totally and no shortcuts, the second one was being able to follow the leading indicators quarter after quarter year after year consistently with no debate, the third one was being able to do a million dollars every quarter as your bases business, and being able to run a big deal on top, and the fourth thing was being able to do an eight-figure deal they were the four things that you need hit in order to be classified in the top1% in that company so the bar was clear. And I’d arrived at the company that allowed me to understand well that’s the measurement of success and equally although that was important, it was also important to see what hitting that bar did for the people that didn’t, so how I transform their lives, and how it changed their career trajectory, and what that manically committed to it totally and utterly. So that journey for me took about three and a half years to do and that’s a story for another time in terms of what that journey looked like, I’m happy to discuss in more detail it was very painful very difficult. But fast but fast forwarding to the moment there those measurements were complete, I could look in the mirror and go okay you’ve done it was July 2018, and I knew at that point that I was ready for leadership because not only did that have the skill based on the bar of excellence, but I also had the will. So you need both of those things in tandem to be able to take on a leadership role. And that will element for me was do I care about the families of six other people just as much as my own. So am I able to invest in six other people’s success in the same level my own; that takes a lot of you know, we’re sales people that could be selfish, we’re typically in it for ourselves, and I think it takes a journey of discovery where you go I’m ready for that transition, so that came for me at that point. So the first message that I have and the key lesson number one is this, and this is my own personal perspective kids don’t sell yourself short on what excellence really needs to be, and seek out people that can give you the playbook that changes your career, don’t settle to jump into leadership just because it makes sense because somebody said it makes sense, you have an opportunity and an obligation to yourself to go find leaders you can transform your lives. It’s very difficult to go back to that moment once you’d make the jump into leadership. So my advice is don’t sell yourself short so that’s the first lesson. 

So moving into lesson number two in terms of setting yourself up for success in the same way that you seek out leaders to turn you into a brilliant individual contributor you seek out leaders to turn you into a great leader. Those two are necessarily the same thing. Being a brilliant individual contributor is about growing revenue, it’s not about recruitment, it’s not about retention and that’s only one element of the three hours that defines a great go to market strategy. So with the first one revenue it’s about execution if you find the best executors on the planet then you will be a brilliant executor, but when you talk about recruitment it’s a very people oriented thing there are values that you care about, there are cultural things you care about. When you talk about retention it’s building a culture that you care about personally they will allow you to be authentic in an environment. So when you think about those things it might not be that the people that you work for reflects the ability for you to grow as a leader they might reflect your ability to grow as an individual contributor. So the same way that you a thoughtful at the beginning to go I need to find the best people to make me great, you now need to take a moment to do the same thing again and qualify are these the same people that are going to make me into a world-class leader; at that moment then you reflect and go well what is my criteria for being a great leader. So for me the first one was I needed to be able to test myself in an environment that was outside of my comfort zone. I believe in true leadership is being a maverick and sceptic stepping outside your years own and not just being a follower of other leaders because while are a real leader if you simply a follower of other leaders. The second thing is not wanting to be able to give measurable value to another company, so not just improve as a marginal gain in terms of value in an existing business, I wanted to be able to bring a meaningful transformation to a business that really value that commodity. Number three, needing to be culturally aligned with those people for value basis, to have a chance to shape a culture based on my own value system and then being able to recruit as per that. So when you look at those four things you go hmm, that might present an opportunity to find a new home and start a new chapter. So in terms of summarizing that lesson what I say to you is take a moment just because that you’re in a great company with brilliant leadership who are doing very well, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can be an authentic leader in there guys, take a moment to understand what does leadership mean to you and define it and go seek out leaders that will champion your qualities and empower you, and give you a platform to grow. Because finding champions of you as individuals is probably the most meaningful doing a thing you can do in your career, because those people will provide a platform for you to accelerate you prepare your own lives very quickly. If you’re misaligned you’ll always be repressed you’ll always feel resentful I never really feel that you can express yourself in your own as a true leader. 

So that’s the lesson of summary for number two so in terms of concluding this, I think my advice is number one don’t sell yourself short. Seek out excellence and don’t compromise on that, set yourself a real and meaningful high bar because this is the chance you have to do it as individual contributors, why, why not the best of the very best and then when you find those people don’t just accept that they’re the people that take you into leadership – find your tribe that you can go the distance with, because the biggest investment you can make is making a compound interest in a relationship that last a long time, because if you make those investments with people for a short period of time it runs out quickly. Thanks 


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