Sales Team Culture with Kirby Steil


Josh:    Today my guest is Kirby Steil the VP of Sales at Insight Global, a mammoth in the IT staffing business. We’re really excited to have him on the show today, we’re going to dig into the nitty-gritty of creating and maintaining and directing and impacting sales culture within your organization especially within sales organizations.

He’s going to share a ton of fun stories around sales management and some of the wars going on in the staffing business.

So good to have you on my man. So I have recently especially have gotten a lot of questions around culture, sales culture, it’s like a hot topic. I sometimes thank Silicon Valley for making it such a popular pop culture thing to make sure you have like this cool sales culture but I get questions all the time and when I thought of the best person to talk to about sales culture, honestly your name came up in my mind first because I remembered way back in the day seven or eight years ago, when you were putting together that first team in Chicago that I was a part of, if you look at that team today like step back and look at all those people you put together in that first culture that you built there in Chicago, there are some people doing some pretty crazy stuff.

You got a good track record of building a good sales culture so I’m really happy to have you on.

Kirby:    Well Josh I got to tell you thank you so much for having me on, I’m excited about what you guys got going on right now and to be a part of the podcast, so honestly thank you and I hope to add some value who knows we’re going to see how the conversation goes.

Josh:    Let’s start over here man. I think a lot of people define culture as you know very different things and I think it makes sense to– I’d like to hear from you, what do you think the most simple definition of a culture within a sales team is?

Kirby:    The answer to that is– and this is my personal definition of it, and I think that a lot of times people look at culture and they think of all these nuances associated with their organization. The fact that they can wear jeans, or that they bring their dog to work, or they have a foosball table or something like that and quite honestly, I think those are nuances and there’s something interesting about your environment that you work in, but that’s not your culture. The culture is really a defined set of expectation. It is acceptable and unacceptable behavior that are written that are out there so everybody understands the rules of engagement and that we live by that.

It always starts from the top down so the leaders of that organization from the CEOs and Founders and everyone else in between has to embody this and that way that role model is set that people understand exactly what’s expected of them every single day and what the production numbers need to look like.

When I think of culture, I really think about accountability. I think about where are you being held accountable to?

Josh:    I love that. So when you mentioned it starts at the top down I think that’s super important and I know you’re a part of an organization at Insight Global that is known for having incredible culture, great leadership, and that Glenn Johnson’s very well known in the business world as an excellent leader, what are some things you can share about what you’ve seen from a leader that helps drive that culture from the top down?

Kirby:    Really when it comes to leadership within an organization and driving culture, it has to do with walking the walk. If I’m talking about a certain level of expectation, if I’m talking about work ethic, and attention to detail, and what kind of response time I want to give to a customer, if an executive doesn’t embody that mentality, if they’re not the ones that live, eat, and breathe this culture, it’s not going to manifest itself in other areas of the organization all right.

So first things first, they have to believe it. It can’t be something that’s trendy that’s cool that we want to talk about- I mean you can get into every book ever written about sales leadership and executive leadership and these big words like synergy, empathy, and all this other stuff and what does any of that mean? It means nothing right. What it means is that you have to live eat and breathe your own culture in order to be able to replicate it and scale off of it. And the thing about Insight Global, and I can use them as an example but there’s other organizations out in the world that are like this, their primary culture is we have perfected the art of follow up right. So when an expectation is set with someone and you’re taught how to hit those expectations, you should also expect to be followed up with right?

And if the leader doesn’t follow up with you then it wasn’t important and a leader that does that often loses their ability to lead because at Insight Global, we expect follow-up. We expect people to set goals, set expectations, and then follow up with me until that is done. And the second thing we’ve done is to kind of perfect true accountability and likeability right. Can I hold somebody accountable a 100% to a certain level of production, and can I do it in a way that’s polite?

At Insight Global, we say, ‘’please,’’ and ‘’thank you.’’ We give shout out, a ton of shout out. We want to make sure that we recognize people for doing great work okay and yeah I might have followed up with that person 10 times before they got it all done, but when they got it done and they did it to the level of expectation that I’d set for them, I want to give them a lot of love for that. I want to say, ‘’thank you for working hard and dedicating yourself, the attention to detail was wonderful,’’ and I want to let everybody know within the entire organization that we value that.

We have this culture of accountability, we’ve mastered the art of follow-up, you kind of go on with this just for a second you know culture is the biggest driving force in America today. It drives not just business but it drives our politic, it drives everything, it’s like when you grow up in a community whereas there are certain behaviours that are acceptable or unacceptable, you live your life that way. When you come on board with a great organization with a great culture, it’s the same thing. You end up embodying those characteristics in all aspects of your life.

Josh:    At your current organization, accountability like you mentioned, follow-up, likeability, so holding people accountable yet also making them feel like they’re appreciated and that they’re rewarded for doing great things. Are there other staples of culture that could exist in a company outside of just those that you shared and those are ones that you know very well, but you know our listeners are a lot of small medium-sized business owners, or start-ups that are starting to figure out or trying to ask the question like what culture do I want to have? Are there other staples you’ve seen that it could be built upon?

Kirby:    Well of course. There’s great organizations all over the world, you can see that over an extended period of time their stock continues to grow at a certain rate and your attrition rates are low that maybe don’t have the same expectations when it comes to follow-up or teamwork or saying ‘’please’’ and ‘’thank you.’’ Actually the one that comes to mind, and this is a phenomenal organization, is Stryker Medical, and it’s actually based out of Kalamazoo Michigan.

It’s a phenomenal medical device manufacturer [inaudible][00:06:45] as all sorts of different things, different instruments and devices. They hire people that don’t necessarily collaborate. They hire people that are going to take undivided responsibility for everything in their world and they are going to get it done themselves before they relinquish control of that project, and there’s a level of accountability there but there’s no follow-up. Not as much.

So when an expectation is set with an engineer or a team of engineers or designers that are going to develop this new product, they go in there and they’re given the specs, they’re given the tools, it’s kind of laid out there, then they’re left alone and there is a delivery time and this delivery time is going to be on this day at this time, this is when the presentation is going to be and they fully expect you to come in there prepared for that, and the people who do really well within that organization have that mentality.

So that’s a part of their culture right, there’s zero excuse making, there’s no ‘’hey hey we divided up this project six different ways and someone didn’t really quite get to this the way we liked it, but we made up for it like this,’’ there’s none of that. Who owns this project? Josh [Mastow?]. Josh is going to be held accountable for that project regardless of circumstance. They do exceptionally well that way.

I can’t speak for them and say are they the most likeable organization in the world, do they have the best follow-up, is there like professional development occurring within the realms of you know Stryker Medical? But I can tell you right now they produce great results and with these badass people that don’t quit so they must love it right? They like it there, they’re being treated well, but it’s also part of who they are and that’s how they hire. Which is another aspect where you’re talking about– like really if you’re talking about a series of acceptable unacceptable behaviours within the culture, you have to hire people that value those same things. If you don’t hire people that value those same things, it’s not going to work.

Josh:     Yes, that was going to be my next question to you is let’s go into that, let’s dive into that. I think it sounds like the first step any company needs to do is define what your culture is from the leader down. Like here are the things that are unwaveringly true to our organization that we live by, how do you avoid the mistakes of hiring people that don’t fit in that culture, and what are the ramifications of not avoiding the mistakes?

Kirby:        And that is like the billion dollar question right.

Josh:        Yes, that’s why I have you on here.

Kirby:    Right, great, geez. Hiring good quality people that already embody the culture of the organization, or having the belief in the same things that we believe in, is pretty hard to actually get out of a job interview. And It’s very difficult for us to be able to say, ‘’oh this person is exactly what we’re looking for, and this person isn’t.’’ And that has to do with lots of things because we might be talking to the perfect person but the influences in their life like college professors, and their parents, and other folks that matter to them, they may have told them never answer a question like that, or if you’re in an interview don’t say this and say this instead because of their experiences even though this is a good match for us, it may not come out in an interview. And the opposite is also true where sometimes we have people we count oh my gosh this is a no-brainer they’re going to be perfect for what we’re looking for, and so we hire them and lo and behold, wow we were so off right?

So hiring is a very, very important aspect. So how do you do it? One is you got to kind of look for– in my personal opinion, I always look for kind of like that poor person that seems to embody work ethic, drive, and tenacity. Do they have grit? And we kind of refer to it as kind like a walk-on mentality. There’s blue chip athletes that are catered to, that are always told how great they are, they got to date the person that they wanted to date, they got to join the team they wanted to join, they got to be– and they were catered to since they were 13 years old. And you can find you some blue chip athletes all over the country where–

Josh:    They were recruited, they didn’t have to recruit themselves. They were recruited.

Kirby:    Correct. And a lot of these folks unfortunately they lack that grit. They’re sitting next to a person that they believe is inferior to them and that person is kicking their ass every day. We’re no longer hitting through [inaudible][00:10:36], we’re picking up the phone and we’re calling customers and we’re building rapport with them and we’re overcoming objections and so what you really want is that walk-on to their mentality, that person that said, ‘’I want to prove to the world that I have the ability to be on this team.’’ And they come with a chip on their shoulder, they come with something to prove and they haven’t been catered to.

This is a person who can fail and not consider themselves a failure. This is a person that’s got grit, tenacity, and a stick-with-it-ness that quite often other people don’t have. So I always look for this type of worker. This type of person that they’ll be damned if they fail. If they fail, they’re going to give everything they’ve got.

Josh:    Are you looking for your culture– the principles of your culture, are you looking for those attributes in the person in the interview? Or are you looking for someone that you can take and mold and teach and train your cultural attributes?

Kirby:    Value systems are ingrained in us really early Josh. Our parents, our grandparents, our friends, our socio-economic neighbourhood that we live in, like all of these things play out to our value system. And so trying to mold someone into our culture that’s difficult in my opinion, like that’s kind of like a beat job, it’s trying to like motivate someone to care about something that they don’t care about. And so when we’re hiring, I mean there’s always going to be new ones. It’s like in a sales based organization, you can have phenomenal sales people, they don’t care about anyone else but themselves. And we have some of those people in every sales based organization, but their core principles of work ethic, accountability, the ability to follow-up with them, set expectations, attention to detail, those cultural aspects are still within that person.

I’m not going to say it’s pass, fail, they have to have everything or they can’t work here, but you know they should have the majority of kind of our culture already ingrained and you know it’s kind of like challenges right? There’s going to be certain people who are great at accepting a challenge. They hit adversity and they drive through it, there was a fight-or-flight response and they fight. And then there’s going to be those people that bail quickly right? I don’t know if you can train someone on that, I don’t know if you can encourage someone enough to be able to go against their primary instincts.

Josh:    Obviously in the sales world I know your business, I was in that business a long time- the staffing business, it’s known for having a fair amount of attrition, so when you’re talking about hiring for the right culture and maybe you got take shots on people, is that– you know the world of attrition, is that a part of a culture? Can that work for a company to accept the fact that you may lose X amount of employees that didn’t turn out?

Kirby:    I think attrition plays out a ton in the culture game when it comes to an organization. I think that any organization in my personal experience that doesn’t care about the amount of people that they lose, is a company that’s doomed in the long run. I think that you have to hire the very best people you can and you have to value them. People don’t quit an organization because of an industry, because of the city that they’re in, or whatever the situation is, they quit their leaders. If I’m not adding value to your life– and Josh we’ve talked about this years ago, I would make you a promise and I say, ‘’Josh, if you embody our principles, if you work your ass off every single day, if you follow our sales process, and you show up every day with a good positive attitude, we’re going to figure out a way for you to be successful.’’ And by successful, I mean you will grow personally, you’ll be a better person because you work here.

You’ll be a better son, a better significant other, you’re going to be a better person because of our desire to make sure that we focus on the quality of your character which includes work ethic. You’re going to grow professionally, we’re going to put you in an environment, we’re going to put you into a territory that you’re not ready for that you probably don’t have enough experience on, multi-million dollar accounts, but you will advance professionally here if you do these things and, I promise you that they by-product of those other two things is that you’re going to grow financially, and you’re going to be able to supply your family with a certain quality of life, and you’re going to be able to accomplish your life goals within the walls there at Insight Global.

And I have to then embody that and I have to work with you every single day towards those goals. If I don’t do that, if I ignore you, if you come to me with questions and I brush you off, if you have concerns or if you open up to me and say man I’m struggling with this and I give you some sort of candy answer like, ‘’keep doing what you’re doing,’’ which is like the worst advice anyone’s ever given anyone that’s not doing well because it’s like keep failing I guess?

So you know like that’s a leadership issue not a culture issue. That’s probably a leader who shouldn’t be in their role. I hope that answered your question because I think attrition is a huge factor and yes we’re going to have that but if you downplay it like it’s not important, I think in the leadership perspective you’re failing.

Josh:    I love that. I completely agree with that and on the opposite side of that do you feel like a company that is so afraid of attrition and wants no attrition is equally in danger in that they’re letting C players stay on the team and that is maybe pushing the A players out because they don’t want to be in the same team as C players?

Kirby:    If you’re at the top echelon of whatever it is that you’re doing, you have to have only A players. The Navy SEALs don’t allow somebody with extreme weakness to be a part of that team right? And in fact since I’ve brought Navy Seals, Jocko- Extreme Leadership it’s a great book, if you haven’t read it you should, he talks about ‘’it’s not what you preach, it’s what you tolerate’’ and if you tolerate– I can tell you hey attention to detail, second to none world-class super service for our customers, I can talk about all of these things but you constantly miss the mark and I tolerate that? We’re going to miss the boat and I can speak in terms of the staffing world there’s like 9,000 technical staffing firms out there.

IT services companies that do technology-based work, and a very large percentage of them are horrible. They’re just bad, they’re just not good at what other great companies in this genre of work do. So what they do is they try to steal a piece of the magic by hiring our worst employees. They want to take somebody that they think you know could help them kind of reinvent what an A player is doing and they don’t have that ability. That to me is a tell-tale sign of a company that I wouldn’t want to be a part of.

If you’re constantly going out and hiring your competitors’ people, I don’t want to be a part of your group.

Josh:        It’s like you want to try to hire someone else’s culture instead of build your own.

Kirby:    Correct and the reason why they have to do that is because those leaders of those companies do not embody that culture. I can’t make you feel like something’s important if it’s not important to you. It’s not about what you wouldn’t create, it’s about what you tolerate and if you tolerate subpar expectation if you set expectations and someone’s constantly coming below there and you accept that or you tolerate that all right, you’re not getting into that person’s world to figure out why they’re not hitting their numbers or why they’re not accomplishing their goals, then you’ll be a mediocre company, you’ll be a mediocre entity.

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And there’s a– I don’t know how many millions of those companies are out there, I’ve seen this– you know years ago I worked for a home improvement company believe it or not and they’re a marketing firm and they sold windows and sliding and things like this and there were a few million dollars in sales, not really big and they had this owner I won’t mention his name or the name of the company, but you know he did you know two or three million dollars a year, very small organization and it never got bigger than that.

And so he hired me to come in and help build a sales team and do all of these type of stuff and we talked a lot about how to hire good quality salespeople, and setting expectations, the amount of numbers that people should hit, and how they have a sales process, so they know kind of what’s expected of them every single day, and he would grow up until about four million, five million, and then he would implode on himself by making it difficult for salespeople to be successful there. He started messing with people’s commissions, he’d start like undoing everything that had been done over the last couple of years and I realized it’s because he does not embody this culture. He does not embody or value what salespeople do, he does not look at them as– well he kind of looks at them as if they’re disposable, expendable resources, and honestly a great salesperson is worth their weight in gold.

Josh:        100%.

Kirby:    I think that if you tolerate mediocre activity, you’re going to get mediocre results and that’s going to be what your companies are going to be known for. If you’re trying to go out and hire other people to steal their culture, to try to get a piece of their magic, the reality is that person would have been successful if they had embodied it unless they had a poor leader that made poor choices for them. And in that case, that [inaudible][00:19:04] organization that person came from failed them.

Josh:    I love that. So let’s switch gears to a little more tactical stuff. So let’s say you’re a sales manager in a large organization and you get transferred to an office that’s failing because you know because it probably isn’t doing well, and this quite happens in your line of business all the time, what’s your best advice for someone in those shoes like what are the first things you’re looking at and then once you’ve kind of figured out what the problems and the culture may be, how do you impact change in a realistic quick manner?

Kirby:    That’s a tough one because you used the word quick, quick manner, how can you turn them around quickly? And I guess that’s going to be defined on what the long term expectations are. And I’ll give you an example of what I mean. If I was going to a sales-based organization that was failing, I understand the culture, I understand what the expectations are in terms of activity and everything like that, and I come in but it’s just not producing. If I go in immediately and start confronting people and being like you got to pick it up, and you’ve got to do this, and we need to set these goals, we got to do this boom boom, I will fail because I’m going to make everybody miserable because they’re not used to this.

So my advice is always the same. 10 deposits for every one withdrawal. So for 30 days, I would simply observe and participate. If something needs to be confronted right a little tweak or whatever then I would do it, but when it comes to major things and it comes to like really just shifting into overdrive, I would hang tight for a second.

It’s going to be funny because there are a lot of people that are going to disagree with this tactic when this is podcast, but honestly I have experienced this in my life that’s the best way. If I came in and I’m talking to you Josh and you’ve never been taught this stuff, you don’t really know and maybe you do a little bit of a chip on your shoulder because you get your ass kicked for last year and you’re kind of annoyed in general, you’re not that happy, you’re coming in every single day, you’re working your ass off and you’re not making any money, you’re not making the money that you want to and here comes this cowboy that comes in and be like I’ll show you how to do it you got to double this, double down on that, do this do that, you’re going to be like, ‘’you’re an ass,’’ like, ‘’I don’t like you.’’

I’m going to sit down with you I’m like ‘’Josh, tell me about your world man, let’s learn.’’ And I would just sit and I’ve talked to you about your territory, your customers and what experience there and you know what you’ve learned, what you love about the company, and I would just try to understand who you are, and we grab beers, we grab dinner, I would grab breakfast, I’d spend as much time with you as I could just so I understood you, and you understood me and my motivation. That you knew that I was there to help you, and that I was not there to like change the world and then be the hero.

No leader ever is the hero. A leader should be the type of person that gives a tremendous amount of accolades and credit to everyone else and they absorb the blame. If you’re going to change the culture of an organization, if you’re going to change a culture of an office, first seek to understand. Know who those people are, know what they’re all about make some deposits with them over the course of two or three weeks, and then at that point in time you can be like, ‘’hey Josh, I couldn’t help but notice over the last couple of couple of weeks I feel like we’re making mistakes, what do you think?’’ Or like, ‘’what if we tried this instead?’’

Well now I kind of like I put a little bit of rapport with you, a little bit of credibility and you’re much more open to my ideas and you’re also not going to turn around and start texting everybody else from the office what kind of an ass I am because you know I came out of nowhere with a confrontation and I don’t know you.

Josh:    Yep that’s awesome and you made two really good points that stuck out to me. One is 10 deposits for every withdrawal, that is golden that is like crazy good stuff, and you gave some tangible examples. Could you give a few more examples? You mentioned grabbing beers, grabbing a lunch, building rapports, what are some other examples of deposits that listeners here can take and say, ‘’shoot, I haven’t done that with my salespeople in a long time.’’ What are some things that they could be doing to make those deposits?

Kirby:    There’s a human factor in this Josh and a lot of times in every sales book and leadership book we don’t really talk about the human factor when it comes to dealing with salespeople. These are human beings with families, and children, and in debt you know or college debt if you’re right out of school, I mean there’s all these things that make an impact on whether or not they’re happy, whether or not they feel secure and safe to be able to ask questions and not be condemned for getting something wrong, like do they even understand that it’s okay to fail? To screw something completely up?

Part of that has to do with just spending quality time with them, but it’s just caring about this person. It’s about if I understand who you are Josh sand we’re trying to accomplish the same goals, I’m going to sit with you to be like Josh what do you want? Like how can I help you man? Like do you want to make $250,000 a year, do you want like a million dollars a year? Like where do you see yourself going and what do you think we could do together in order to get you there?

And then I have to actually do those things. The deposits have to be me illustrating my desire to help you accomplish your personal, professional, and financial goals, but first things first I have to ask the question what do you want? How can I help you? And where do you struggle with? What do you think of your customer here, what do you think of the customer, and what do you feel is the right territory? Because there’s a lot of times people have this idea that their territories are bad and it goes into their brain.

Well if I don’t sit down with them and ask them what do you think of your territory or tell me about this customer, then I’m not taking the time to understand where they’re coming from but by doing that, and I’ll give you an example, we’ve had someone go to a customer and they go on their meetings or whatever there and then I say, ‘’what do you think of this customer?’’ They have a huge facility, I know they have a giant presence in this world, I’m like, ‘’what do you think of them?’’ And they’re like, ‘’oh well they’re on a hiring freeze, they’re doing technical staffing, or they’ve got no IT budget and so they’re completely on the freeze and they’re not going to buy or do anything you know for the next 12 months.’’

And I’m like, ‘’okay, how many people have you met with there?’’ and they’re like, ‘’two,’’ and I’m like, ‘’okay hey man like listen you might be right, I don’t know anything I’m completely in the dark but yes 45 names on this list on your lead sheet or in your call sheet people are people that work there that are in management positions that should in some capacity or not use our services. So why don’t we set a meeting with them?’’ Why don’t we go on 10, 15 more meetings just to make sure that we didn’t meet with the two people that told you that they don’t hire and they’re not going to have any projects, maybe they’re wrong. Maybe there’s other parts of the organization that do have budgets but a lot of times what people do and leaders do, is they just say, ‘’no man you’ve got to go on five new meetings in a week, you got to go on 20 meetings there over the next month, you got to do this you’ve got to do that, you know you’re being lazy.’’ And that immediately throws up that wall, that immediately throws up their guard and they’re not listening to you anymore, but if I’d spent a couple of weeks getting to understand you and getting to know you, and then I said, ‘’hey Matt, I think you should try it this way, or what do you think?’’

Next thing you know– or hell man, let me go on the road with you. Let me go in there and dig up some stuff and if I find out that they made a mistake, if I find out that they completely screwed this up, they’re not asking for the business, they’re not digging in on referrals and whatever it is I would expect them to do, I find out that they’re not doing those things? I don’t ever come down on them for it, I celebrate it. I’m going to be like, ‘’hell yeah man,’’ like, ‘’listen dude, like we just found out that they’ve got a whole different organization that does have these huge projects and we’ve got this capital group, we have this this delivery group that isn’t under the hiring freeze, we want to celebrate that, we want to celebrate failure, we want to celebrate getting our ass kicked and making a mistake because if we’re successful to this degree by making these mistakes, imagine what we could if we didn’t make those mistakes.

Josh:    Yeah and now you just gained the trust of that salesperson. The average sales person doesn’t want their sales manager to roll with them because they think that they’re looking over their shoulder seeing if they’re doing their job right, or now you have your best– a lot of times your most strategic sales minds- the sales managers are actually being an asset to your salespeople on the road.

Kirby:    When I was a young salesperson, I had a real crappy sales manager. He didn’t care about anything other than whether or not I was hitting my numbers above my growth line, things like that and I learned right away that that’s not the kind of person I want to be. And if you look around in any organization at the very best sales leaders, that the [inaudible][00:27:15] of leadership and you know those types of things, those are people that participate and their sales people want them on the road. What a badass asset to have on the road in front of a customer but a vice president or a regional manager or somebody that’s got you know 10, 15 years of experience, maybe more, that knows a ton about what we’re talking about and knows how to ask for the business, what a great teaching moment, what a great opportunity plus that person’s going to get paid for that right?

Like if you’re on the road with me Josh and you crush something, or pull a requirement, or you pull a project and all of a sudden I now have more money in my pocket, I’m able to land that stuff, I want you on the road with me every day right until I get as good or better than you.

Josh:    I love it men. So I want to end on this question, I’m going to start asking this question to everybody on this podcast because I’m on a mission to connect with the greatest sales leaders in the world to figure out the answer to this question. There’s an epidemic in our country and probably worldwide that there are way more really bad sales teams and companies than there are really great ones, and I want to know why?

If you had to diagnose one or two things that you think it could be or that you see, what do you think it is? I have a feeling that’s around some of this culture leadership stuff, but I’d like to hear your answer on that.

Kirby:    I do believe it is. It’s a leadership issue. You have a lot of people that have risen to power and they have organizations and at one point in time, their value system was different than it is today. And a lot of these companies when they started off really went after it. You know their work ethic was second to none, they went in and they got in early, they stayed late, they did whatever they had to do to come through for their customers, they spent time with people outside the office at really building rapport and understanding, and over time what happened is the culture change because that leader changed.

Bob Dylan, I know you’re a big [inaudible][00:28:57] guy, you can appreciate this. Bob Dylan man, this guy back in the day wrote his most magnificent songs that were edited with social justice and injustice and problems in society, he did all these things and he changed the baby boomers like their generation grew up on Bob Dylan and it shaped who they were as a generation. And then one day I saw this interview with Bob Dylan and he said if someone asked him like, ‘’Bob how come you don’t write these songs anymore?’’ And his response was, ‘’I can’t,’’ I no longer have the ability to write these songs about social injustice and the problems in society and all its other stuff because he’s rich.

Josh:        Hmmm, he doesn’t get it anymore.

Kirby:    He doesn’t get it anymore. Well also he had a kid, got married, his priorities changed right and in honesty, great organizations like at Insight Global, at Insight Global, I don’t bias on this but we’ve got something special right and I don’t care if it was technical staffing or any other industry that we’re in, if we decided that we want to buy a bunch of freaking Chipotle franchises, we’d have the best goddamn Chipotle franchises in the world right.

We take that same amount of culture, same amount of accountability, and we focus on it and that is because from the very top of our organization, we embody and we don’t care about what we have that we have to protect it if you will, you know that we have to now sacrifice our work ethic and drive for safety and security of our business. We don’t work that way.

Glenn Johnson, the founder of the company, that guy is tenacious and is as competitive as he ever was and he wants to be known as the very best at what we do, at anything that we do. Bert Bean just took over as the CEO of Insight Global, and he’s on the plane today on his way to meet with a major customer out in California for some great reasons obviously but he’s at the airport 4:00 in the morning like he’s CEO right? It’s like if you go to Insight Global and you see a light on in the building, I guarantee you it’s me, it’s Glenn Johnson, it’s Bert Bean, it’s you know Tim Stutz, Mike [Bravel?] you know Sam Kauffman, like we’re not going to expect something from somebody else and then not do it ourselves.

Josh:        It’s the top-down approach, the name of the podcast perfect.

Kirby:    It’s how it works, it’s interesting because you have a tougher job than anybody Josh like your ability and your candor and your understanding of sales-based organizations and trying to actually help an organization get from point A to point B or really from point B to point D, you have to shift the mentality of the leaders of that organization to get their buy-in. And so often like the story I told you earlier about the guy that you know had this company and he would self-destruct it’s fine and dandy up until the point you tell an executive the reason why you are failing in this area or the reason why you’re not bigger than you are, or not getting to your profit margins the way you want them, is because of you. It’s your fault.

They don’t like that very much and like if you really want to shift a culture, you want to make an organization go from just being okay-at-what-they-do, to be great-at-what-they-do? You have to make sure that you tap into the value system of those leaders and create a system around it so that they can scale off it and they’re consistent and authentic in their message.

Josh:    It’s got to be a culture that they create that’s off of their values not another company’s values or culture that they copy.

Kirby:    You and I we share a brain sometimes right and so we think the same and we have the same kind of value system, so it’d be really easy for us to do something like this, but if I get deep the way you did, if I felt like salespeople are lazy and they really cut corners all the time, and I’ve got to nit-pick them and cut their commissions whenever they make a mistake, and all this other stuff, then we’re not speaking the same language man. You’re not going to [inaudible][00:32:38] off the culture and they’re going to lose sales because I’ll tell you right now anybody messes with my commission, I’m done. I’m done.

I’m not doing that like if I make a mistake I’ll take a 100% accountability for it and I will not earn commissions on that mistake of course and I’m going to own that that failure if you will, but if I don’t, if I didn’t make a mistake and someone’s messing with it, then now we’ve got a character problem. I can no longer trust you as a leader.

Josh:        100%. Kirb, I appreciate your time in this chat.

Kirby:    And guy it’s just been great, it’s been tons of fun, if you need anything from me call me man and I’m all—I’ve got a little more free time on my hands than I used to and I would love to participate again.

Josh:        I love you brother. Thanks so much for this.

Kirby:        Hey and I love you too Josh be cool.

Josh:    So three things to recap from today’s podcast, number one culture is a set of acceptable and unacceptable actions and behaviors. Number two hiring the right people in your sales culture is extremely important, finding those people that have that chip on their shoulder with something to prove, the walk-on mentality those are the ones they’re going to hustle for you. Number three if you’re running into situations where you need to fix sales culture, don’t jump right in trying to correct everything, you got to build rapport with your salespeople first, make 10 deposits for every one withdrawal.

All right thanks for tuning in to today’s podcast make sure to subscribe to us you can hear more about us in the future, share this podcast with your friends anybody that you think might find this beneficial or useful and feel free to visit us at to get any email bonuses and get some weekly tips on some sales management wisdom. If you want to send me any emails directly hit me up at that’s Have a great day!

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