PODCAST 120: From SpecOps to RevOps: What Soldiering Can Teach Us About Selling with Steven Broudy

This week on the Sales Hacker podcast, we speak with Steven Broudy, Vice President and Head of Sales at Bevy, which helps companies build virtual communities.

Steven is a long time SaaS sales executive, having worked at MuleSoft before coming to Bevy. He’s also an armed forces veteran, and has served the country and has a lot to say about many different things.

If you missed episode 119, check it out here: Show Gratitude & Build Relationships With Small Gestures with Brendan Kamm.

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Show Agenda and Timestamps

  1. Show Introduction [00:09]
  2. Who is Steven Broudy and what is Bevy [2:00]
  3. How to thrive when exposed to difficult situations [16:22]
  4. The biggest mistakes people make when hiring and how to fix them [24:16]
  5. How to conduct a structured interview [25:39]
  6. What great leadership looks like [31:37]
  7. Sam’s Corner [40:58]

Show Introduction (~300 words) [00:10]

Sam Jacobs: Hey everybody. It’s Sam Jacobs. Welcome to the Sales Hacker Podcast. We’ve got a great show today, an interview with a good friend of mine but also just a really incredible person with a distinctive approach to life, a really distinguished background. He served the United States in the armed forces, and just has a really interesting perspective on all of his life experiences. His name is Steven Broudy, and he runs sales at a great company called Bevy. It’s a great conversation. Really, I would encourage you to listen because he talks about some of the special operations work that he did in both Afghanistan and Iraq, and then moving into the sales world. It’s a very honest conversation.

Before we get there, we want to thank our sponsors. We’ve got two sponsors. The first is Conga. Businesses run on documents. Conga is changing the way the world works by modernizing, streamlining and automating your documents, contracts, and processes to make it easier to do business. See why Conga is the number one paid app on the Salesforce app exchange with a free trial, or demo today, go to www.conga.com.

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Now, without further ado, let’s listen to this interview with Steven Broudy.

Who is Steven Broudy and what is Bevy [2:00]

Sam Jacobs: Hey, everybody. It’s Sam Jacobs. Welcome to the Sales Hacker Podcast. Today on the show, we are excited, honored, thrilled to have Steven Broudy. He is a friend of mine, but more importantly, he’s also an incredible sales leader. He came to my attention when he was at MuleSoft, and now he’s at Bevy, where he’s vice president and head of sales. He’s a long time SaaS sales executive, and he’s also an Armed Forces veteran, and has served the country and has a lot to say about a lot of different things, and we’re super excited to have him on the show. Steven, welcome to the show.

Steven Broudy: Thank you. I’m honored, and it’s a privilege, and I’ve already gotten so much value out of your podcast and the community you’ve built, so I’m really excited to be here.

Sam Jacobs: We like to start with the baseball card. We’d like to know who you are. I said vice president, head of sales, tell us — what is Bevy?

Steven Broudy: We power the virtual communities and customer marketing programs for companies like Salesforce, Slack, Atlassian, Asana. If you are an enterprise grade, sort of best-in-breed community, we’re probably powering it. I could share a little more, but I don’t want to turn this into a Bevy advertisement.

Sam Jacobs: It can be whatever you want. This is your 30 to 35 minutes, Steven. We can talk about whatever you like. Okay. How big is Bevy? How big is your team? Tell us about your role. Who do you manage?

Steven Broudy: We just completed our Series B led by Accel with Ryan Sweeney, who was the guy who invested in Qualtrics, the guy who invested in Atlassian, so we were really excited about that. The company has rapidly grown. I think we’re at like 50 people now. My team is, as of the end of the month, it’ll be 13. There’ll be six AEs, three SDRs. I have a head of revenue ops and effectiveness. We can talk about that later. I probably wouldn’t have that person if not for you, Sam, so thank you.

I have a sort of sales ops generalist, and we are hiring a sales strategy intern, so if you’re a great, quantitatively minded person who’s passionate about sales, come find me.

Sam Jacobs: Tell us the story really quickly about what did I have to do with hiring your head of revenue ops?

Steven Broudy: One of my biggest takeaways going from a very mature organization, like MuleSoft, where we had just been acquired by Salesforce. I was running global business operations. Prior to that, we had an IPO, and prior to that, we had really been in hyper growth mode the entire time I had been there. Going from that organization to running a Series A sales team where I showed up and it was one person. Was two AEs, one of my non-starters was, unless we were willing to get rid of one of them, I wasn’t going to come on board because I just felt like they weren’t going to thrive in the type of environment we were trying to build. But one of the biggest takeaways for me was, I really tried to like build the plane and fly it myself for entirely too long.

In Army Special Operations, you have an officer who’s in charge of emission, but you always have a senior noncommissioned officer who’s really in charge of just ensuring shit happens, for lack of a better word. I think all SaaS sales leaders should always ask themselves, like, if you’re a VP of sales, who’s your NCO in charge, and who is that sort of left-hand woman or right hand, man, whatever you want to call them? For me, I found I was getting an inch deep and a mile wide on entirely too many things. Frankly, it was driving me insane. I was inventing the wheel. You couldn’t just come in and stamp in a post acquisition sales playbook on a Series A organization. It just doesn’t work. The biggest anxiety I think I had was I knew what good looked like, and I also didn’t necessarily have the patience to get there, and getting to good is an ever evolving multi-year long process.

Getting from point A, literally where we were at when I showed up, to what we aspired to do, was next to impossible without that sort of NCO type Lieutenant there with me. So, I was actually at a revenue collective dinner. I was complaining about not feeling like I was making the kind of progress I wanted to make, and you’re like, “Well, just pushed that head count ahead. Go build the business case to push that head count ahead.” Honestly, it’s my advice for any Series A sales leader. On the one hand, I wouldn’t wish Series A sales on anyone. I don’t know why people do it. I’m glad I did, but if you’re going to do it, ensure you’re bringing that sort of head of sales ops or RevOps along with you so you can actually stamp stuff out and get your vision delivered.

Sam Jacobs: Most people wait way too long to hire their head of RevOps. Kudos to you for making that determination. Now, before we dive too deep into what you’re doing right now, I want to talk about your background, which you alluded to. Tell us your background. First of all, where are you from, and where’d you grow up? But also, tell us your experience in college and how that led to the Army and how that led to MuleSoft and Bevy.

Steven Broudy: I grew up in the City of San Francisco. I’m promised I’m not one of those jaded people who complains about the fact that tech is now ubiquitous here. I was the product of a single mom who had three kids that she was raising on her own. She actually worked in IT at Kaiser, interestingly. I was sort of the lost child. Like, I had an older brother with Down’s Syndrome and a sister who was older than me who was a terror. I say that lovingly now.

Sam Jacobs: Let’s hope she doesn’t listen to this.

Steven Broudy: No, she knows. Here’s the thing. Because of that, I was sort of just interested to go and find my own way. I think, when I got to college, which I sort of haphazardly stumbled into because I realized junior year of high school that I guess I should start applying to colleges, I showed up, I had been this tardy like 165 pound, 6’3 kid, and I realized that if I ate food and worked out, that women would talk to me more. So, I started getting really into physical fitness, and sophomore year, I thought I was taking a 5:00 AM workout class, turns out there’s no 5:00 AM workout classes at UC Santa Barbara. It was actually an Army ROTC class.

Sam Jacobs: Are you serious that you didn’t know you were going to an ROTC class?

Steven Broudy: No clue.

Sam Jacobs: So you were doing other things besides working out at UC Santa Barbara.

Steven Broudy: Plenty. It was much easier to get into at the time, as shown by me getting in. Anyhow, I show up, and here’s the thing about ROTC at Santa Barbara, I’ll be totally honest. It’s like 50% of the kids are not super impressive, 25% of them were really top tier, A player types. What was interesting to me was … this was 2003, we were in the midst of the war in Afghanistan. I think the war in Iraq had kicked off as well. All of these kids, literally kids, knew what they were going to be doing for the next six years of their lives, and they knew they were going to be going to war. It just struck me that if I joined this program, I would have the opportunity to do the hardest thing possible.

I had no direction and I had no input, and I just stuck it out. What ended up happening is the way a program like that works is, based on how well you do in the program, you get to like pick the branch of the Army you go into. So like, I want to be an aviator and fly helicopters, or I want to be a military police officer because I’m a sadist.

Sam Jacobs: I take it you chose not to be an MP.

Steven Broudy: Yes. I actually branched infantry, which is what I wanted, and then they came back and said, “Hey, we’ve over slotted all the infantry slots this year. You’re actually going to be a supply officer.” I was like, “Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, back up the tape. I just busted my ass for four years and did everything you said I needed to do in order to get the branch of choice, and now you’re going to make me a supply officer.”

The two sort of NCOs, non-commissioned officers, who were cadre in the program pulled me aside, and they’re like, “Look, dude. You could go do that and it’s going to be a great sort of prestigious little career or whatever, or you could do what you actually want to do and enlist, and there’s a way to enlist and you can get a contract to try out for Ranger Regiment, which is a special operations unit that does direct action raids.”

“And you go through their selection, which is called the ranger indoctrination program or RIP, and if you get through that, you make it into the unit and then you go and deploy. If you don’t fuck up, you can stay on board and then you go and finish the pipeline.” When I told a Lieutenant Colonel who had been in the Army for 30 years that I didn’t care about being an officer and was going to decline my commission, it didn’t land well by any means. But I ended up doing it. They told me I had seven days to enlist and had to pay back $21,000 in college, like scholarship money that they had given me. Luckily, my enlistment bonus was like 40 grand.

After taxes, it basically netted out to zero. I ended up deploying five times, twice to Iraq, three times to Afghanistan. Last role I was in was a sniper team leader in the second ranger battalion, and it was, honestly, the best job I ever had, but I didn’t like being poor, and I didn’t like not being able to create any sort of life outside of it. So, I had done the dial for dollars call center thing in college. It’s actually how I used to practice talking to women. I was really bad, man. I would only call women. I’m married now so it sort of worked.

Sam Jacobs: A nontraditional approach to life.

Steven Broudy: Totally. So I got out. I basically asked a few people I knew who were like, I’d call them family friends, but really, like my wife now had been babysitting for their family for years. One of the guys had started this service for Salesforce, and he’s like, “Yeah, apply to be an SDR. You did sales in college.” So I applied to be an SDR and they told me I wasn’t qualified at Salesforce. Luckily, I found this team, two people that staked me at the first company I went to, and I’m forever sort of grateful for them. And they’re like, “Look, if you can figure out how to create demand, you can run this team.” We were acquired within a year by Cornerstone OnDemand. At which point, I had two options.

One, go to Salesforce, which is now willing to hire me to run a team of 20 people, or go to MuleSoft and really stand up America’s SDR org, which later grew from like seven to 67 people. I’m really glad I did the latter. I only did it. I knew nothing about MuleSoft. I just knew that everyone I met was clearly top tier people who were intimidatingly intelligent, articulate, and capable, and just had a track record of success. I guess, the roundabout way of answering… how did I end up at Bevy? I was running the global BizOps org, and part of that is doing these demand gen readouts, and I kept seeing that these community events that we were driving were far and away our most revenue efficient lead source, which was interesting to me because I had been running the America’s inside sales org, and I had no interaction with community teams.

There’s this like flywheel lead generation machine, and when Salesforce acquired us, we had to do a systems reconciliation exercise, and we really only shared like three core systems. Salesforce, CRM, Google Enterprise and Bevy. That was like my aha moment, and I’m really glad I came here, but it’s a roundabout sort of story, and I probably took entirely too much time.

Sam Jacobs: You took as much time as was required to take. You should be less self conscious. You’re a great guest, and we love having you here.

How to thrive when exposed to difficult situations [16:22]

Sam Jacobs: Before we head into your work at Bevy and a lot of your business theories, you mentioned that multiple deployments to some very dangerous places, where I’m sure you saw some very bad things. I’m just interested in your psychological evolution vecause you sound happy. You sound cheerful, and I know there are people that have come back from those situations that aren’t in that place mentally. How have you thrived after being exposed to really difficult situations?

Steven Broudy: I think that’s a totally fair question. I really respect when people are just willing to ask me straight up. The truth is, it always sounds like I’m in denial when I say this, but I sleep great at night, and we did the things that you think you do in war, and we did it every night. I think that’s important to call out, because what really fucked with my head when I got back was that I felt like I was being told that I should be really pained and anguished by the stuff I’d seen and done. I felt like I was fucked up because I wasn’t. The fact that I slept great at night made me somehow like a psychopathic murderer. I had society telling me I was supposed to be a wounded deer. I think veterans who do what I did tend to get bucketed in one of those two buckets, the wounded deer or the psychopathic murderer, and the truth is probably closer to the psychopathic murderer side kid, but there is no convenient bucket.

What’s important to understand is there’s a selection bias, right? I started with 360 people, and 16 made it through. That naturally dictates that you’re going to have a certain psychological fortitude that most people don’t have, and then on top of that, you layer on the fact that you’re regularly assessed by a psychologist. The fact that I went to the sniper section was actually a function of being voluntold that I had the perfect sort of personality traits and attributes to be successful in that specialty platoon. That’s interesting because a lot of people really want to do that. I had never even looked down the scope of a sniper rifle, even three years into Ranger Regiment because I just didn’t care and it wasn’t interesting to me.

I think what I’ve sort of struggled with unbundling for people is the fact that you can go do this, you can be okay, and there’s a lot of stuff you have to leave behind. You have to sort of relearn how to communicate effectively because you don’t have the shared trust that you have with people who follow you into a room, in someone’s house in the middle of the night. I’m really grateful, and I feel like those were some of the most positive experiences in my life, and in a lot of ways, very spiritual. I’m not a religious person, but very in touch with life and death, and the immediacy of that. We’re so far removed from that. COVID has been people seeing that there’s this deep dark pit, whereas I spent five years rappelling down into it every night.

Sam Jacobs: That’s an image. Wow. Yeah, thank you for sharing that. I haven’t been in that situation, but I can imagine. I know it’s not the same thing, but what comes to mind is, did you see Free Solo? He feels more intensely alive in that moment climbing up El Capitan, or any place where he doesn’t have any ropes, because he knows that any false step is death, and so it’s like the purest form of life in some way. I was struck by that as you were describing that situation, and then you’re doing it with other people who, implicitly, to your point, like they’re your brothers and sisters and you have to trust them and everything’s on the line.

Steven Broudy: There’s this intense calm about it. People always wonder or ask like, “Hey, was it scary?” I think you’re just so focused that fear gets pushed out. I can literally remember ground skipping up at my feet as we had walked into this terrible ambush. The guy next to me had basically his traps blown out. I thought he was dead. I remember thinking like, man, I’m going to die. Then I was like, huh, I’m going to get shot in the dick. I literally put my rifle between my legs because I could still aim with the laser that I had on it. But I was like, that was where my head actually went. Then it was like, well, fuck this guy. You’re trying to kill me? No. It was like that level of calm, and I think there is an analog in sales.

I know that’s a stretch, but when you just become so regimented with how you’re training your team, your reps in those moments of like, this deal feels like it’s on the verge of blowing up, can process that, and for a split second, recognize, acknowledge it and then immediately move on and just let your training take over.

Sam Jacobs: I do really appreciate you sharing all of that. It’s intense. It’s just a different way of existing. I want to talk about something that you’re super passionate about, which is hiring, and some of your ideas there get total transition from in a life and death situation, in the middle of some hotspot somewhere in the world, but nevertheless, we persist and we have to endure when we’re talking about sales.

Steven Broudy: I think it’s actually a really easy sort of connection to make, because if you think about building any amazing team, your assessment and selection process is so critical to ensuring you have the best people on board. The truth is like, if you’re systematic about it, you can identify the best talent possible. The reason Ranger Regiment is Ranger Regiment, the reason the Seal teams are the Seal teams, the reason Special Forces are Special Forces is because their assessment and selection process goes … it’s very systematic in identifying the right people, and it’s constantly calibrated and refined to ensure that those are the only people who make it through the process. So, to your point, I think hiring in SaaS sales, if you have some big audacious number to hit, if you have some massive TAM to go and capture, you need to ensure you’re bringing on board the best people possible, and that lesson was completely front and center at MuleSoft.

RELATED: Use This Interview Scorecard Template to Win the Top Sales Talent

The biggest mistakes people make when hiring and how to fix them [24:16]

Sam Jacobs: What do you think the biggest mistakes people make are when hiring, and what do you think it is about your process that fixes those mistakes?

Steven Broudy: The biggest mistake is, most companies over-rotate on general interviewing versus structured interviewing. Most companies totally over-rotate on candidate provided references versus back channels, and most companies do a terrible job of actually testing whether or not someone could do the correct job, or the actual job rather. They test for presentation skills in a sales hire. I don’t believe that your success as a salesperson is a function of how well you can present. I think your success is a lot more heavily weighted on something like, are you actually coachable? Because let’s take presentation skills. If you suck at presenting, but you’re highly coachable, you can be coached to be great at presentations and you could be a great public speaker over time.

Now, I’m not saying you want to hire someone who sucks at presenting, but the whole point is, are you testing for coachability? Are you stopping, pausing, giving feedback, forcing someone in an interview process to come back internalize and execute on that feedback? Or are you testing for their ability to present some bullshit account plan to you?

How to conduct a structured interview [25:39]

Sam Jacobs: I hear what you’re saying. First of all, that was super helpful. So structured interviews. Give me a great example of your favorite type of structured interview, how it goes, what questions you ask and what responses you’re looking for.

Steven Broudy: First, a structured interview means you have to be consistent, you have to calibrate sets of questions that are unique to each interview. Those questions have to suss out the specific traits and attributes of someone that has been proven to be successful in this role. The first step is to go and collect the data on what makes someone successful in a role. The second is to figure out like, what are the questions that actually get to the bottom of sussing out, whether or not they have those specific traits and attributes? And the third step is actually dividing those questions up across a sort of cohort of interviewees, or interviewers rather, and ensuring that you have calibrated those questions. I need to know what good looks like in a question. I’ll give an example. One of my favorite interview questions is trying to suss out whether or not someone is sort of gritty, growth-oriented, has some degree of self awareness.

I’ll ask something to the effect of, tell me a time you were set up for failure. What’s interesting is almost without fail, a great individual I see who tends to take responsibility versus externalized blame will say something to the effect of, “Well, it’s hard because I can’t think of a time I was set up for failure, but one time I failed was, and here’s what I did about it and here’s the impact.” That’s what you’re looking for, but you need to make sure that’s documented and it’s understood and you’ve actually trained people on how to interview. It’s shocking how few people actually know how to interview well. We did interrogation courses because I learned Pashto in Ranger Regiment, and they’re super interesting, like a tactical interview.

Sam Jacobs: What’s Pashto?

Steven Broudy: It’s what they speak in western Pakistan.

Sam Jacobs: Oh, you’re talking about a dialect. I wasn’t sure if it was like an acronym for something. Sorry to interrupt.

Steven Broudy: No, it’s fine. I think you don’t want an interview to sound like an interrogation, so framing why you’re asking something is critically important, but sometimes you want to leave that framing out. If I’m asking you to tell me about a time you were set up for failure, I don’t want to say, hey look, I’m trying to figure out if you externalize blame or internalize responsibility. There’s a time to lead and there’s a time to not. The other piece is like, your interview process should be so calibrated. I know exactly what I say at the start of every single interview.

Sam Jacobs: What is it?

Steven Broudy: First and foremost, thanks for taking the time to connect. I really appreciate it. I know one thing that’s critically important is that you’re not treating this like an interview where you’re trying to win. This is as much about you interviewing us as it is about us interviewing you. I think it’s really helpful for us to share like, in any role, we’re really looking for three things. Are you an A player? Do you embody our core values? Are you the right fit for this role? I’ll go into those three things. But I say the same thing every time, because it creates a consistent calibrated dataset that I can use to figure out like, what does good look like, and where does someone actually stand relative to all the other people I’ve ever interviewed?

So, it’s a leveling the playing field, and I think when you think about all the things that’s happening in this world, where there’s just systemic sort of challenges with raising the sort of collective water level for everyone, leveling the playing field is critically important.

Sam Jacobs: I agree with you. I’ve always been bad at something I could fix, I just haven’t had the willpower to do it, which is to implement a structured interviewing process wherever I worked. I have some mental block that I will get over. You’ve inspired me.

Steven Broudy: I’m happy to help. Here’s the one thing I’ll say, the one time I didn’t do a structured interview with a candidate because I knew them and they had sold to me and I sort of took for granted that they would thrive in our current system, but they bombed, and that was all my fault. Because I failed to give them the data based on our interview process, based on the exercises that they would actually even want to do this job, let alone thrive in it.

Sam Jacobs: When you’re testing for coachability, Mark Roberge has this thing, where he always interrupts the person in the middle of a roleplay to give them feedback, and then he sees how they can incorporate it. Do you have a similar coachability test? Besides intellectual curiosity, that’s the other thing, is can you change in response to new information and feedback? And if you can, then you’re pretty versatile anywhere in an organization. How do you test for it?

Steven Broudy: It depends. If you’re doing an SDR cold call exercise, you interrupt in the middle of it, say, all right, stop, pause, restart. But if you’re interviewing an AE, for me, I typically am not going to base their ability to be successful in the role on one hour long presentation of something. I’m actually going to give them a ton of feedback at the end of it and we’re going to reconvene as soon as humanly possible. By the way, it’s on them to set that up because that’s their job. Establishing next steps to actually go and do that. Then I’m going to see how well they actually internalized the specific feedback I gave. Actually, a lot of the notes I’m taking aren’tcrushing this exercise, so good or not so good. Here’s what I told them, and here’s how well they did at internalizing on that feedback and executing on it.

What great leadership looks like [31:37]

Sam Jacobs: What do you think great leadership looks like, Steven?

Steven Broudy: It’s been so interesting because I was watching that Michael Jordan series, and there was a lot of controversy around him being sort of a jerk. I was watching the Lance Armstrong 30 for 30, and personally, I feel like there’s a lot of misunderstanding about the world in which Lance was cheating. I think he was the best cyclist of all time, and he was doping just like everyone else. It’s neither here nor there.

What do Michael Jordan, Elon Musk, Larry Ellison, Steve Jobs, Lance Armstrong and my first squad leader in Ranger Regiment all have in common? They were all insufferable pricks.

Sam Jacobs: You have such lovely turns of phrase.

Steven Broudy: Total insufferable pricks, and some of the best leaders in the history of their specific domains, or wherever they sort of thrived. Here’s the thing. My first squad leader, as an example, was the biggest asshole I’ve ever met. I literally wanted to kill the guy. I kind of considered it when we first deployed. Hearing Michael Jordan described as this guy who would punch people in practice, like he’s that kind of guy. You took a wrong turn in a shoot house and you were getting thrown against the wall. To give you an idea of just how sadistic this guy was, he was an ultra marathoner. I didn’t know he was mad at me the first time he was mad at me until we went on an unannounced 20 mile run. Have you ever run 20 miles?

Sam Jacobs: I need water for that.

Steven Broudy: By the way, his mile pace for 20 miles is sub seven minutes, like incredibly fast, and I was 235 pounds, and my legs were rubbing together at that point in my career. When we got to the halfway point, he’s like, “We’re here.” I was on the verge of dying, and I thought we had arrived, and basically we literally just did like an immediate U-turn and turned back, and I’ve never felt my heart so deep in the pit of my stomach. Here’s the thing about that guy. The first firefight I ever got in, the only thought going through my head is shit, [Larry 00:34:21] is going to smoke my ass because I’m three feet further to the right than I need to be.

I had no fear of death, I had no sense of the fact that we were in a terrible situation. All I knew was I was not executing perfectly. Here’s the thing. We were the best squad in the entire Ranger Regiment by any sort of objective measure that you could have had for a unit like that. We were the most effective, and I hated the guy. Now, I compare him to my next platoon Sergeant who I’m still in touch with. He’s now like the highest ranked NCO you can be in the Army. Literally, if my first squad leader was the daddy you couldn’t please, this platoon Sergeant was the dad you want to please, because he’s just so fair and reasonable, and if he’s ever truly like part on you, you absolutely and unequivocally deserved it.

I don’t want to be the kind of leader that Michael Jordan or my first squad leader was. Ranger Regiment was this amazing experience in that it exposed me to every flavor of leadership, and let me sort of craft what I felt like my personal style was going to be, but I don’t believe a great leader is necessarily a great human.

Sam Jacobs: Would you rather be a less effective leader, but a great human, or a great leader, but an insufferable prick, to use your own words?

Steven Broudy: I think the answer is neither, but I want people to believe I’m firm, but fair. I think if you look at Radical Candor is this quadrant where you have a Y axis of how directly someone gives you feedback, or maybe I’m inverting it, Y or X, whatever, and then the other access is how much you demonstrate you care. Radical Candor is being as direct as humanly possible while demonstrating you care as best you possibly can. If you are direct, but not demonstrating care, it’s considered ruinous empathy. If you are direct, but not showing you care, it’s obnoxious aggression. I am very direct with you. I’m not like really layering into this feedback that this is coming from a place of caring. On the flip side, ruinous empathy is not being direct with someone, but really over rotating on showing you care.

Now, Kim Scott who wrote the book, Radical Candor, says obnoxious aggression is preferable than ruinous empathy, and obnoxious aggression is better for a business than ruinous empathy is.

Sam Jacobs: I agree with that.

Steven Broudy: I’d rather be obnoxiously aggressive than ruinously empathetic.

Sam Jacobs: But there is a third way.

Steven Broudy: But there is a third way. For me, I will never need to over-rotate on being more direct. So I always need to ensure that I am fighting my tendency to not explicitly convey my level of care. That’s like my life’s work as a leader.

Sam Jacobs: Stephen, we’re at the end of our time together, and this is the part where we pay it forward. We ask you to give us books, people, ideas that have heavily influenced you, that we should pursue because you think they’re important. When I frame it that way, which is pretty open ended, what comes to mind and who should we know about in your opinion?

Steven Broudy: The best leadership book was written by the guy who was once the battalion commander of 2nd Ranger Battalion, and then went on to run the entire Joint Special Operations Command, Stanley McChrystal. What’s really powerful about his sort of experience was he took all these disparate organizations like the CIA, Air Force Special Operations, Naval Special Operations, Army Special Operations, and really created like a team of teams where they operate cohesively as a joint unit. He did that through this notion of really sharing as much information as humanly possible, but empowering leaders to make and execute decisions on their own. So, it’s this idea of shared consciousness and empowered execution.

I feel like he really set the stage for the special operations community to be able to run an entire sort of war on their own and allowed us, in some ways, to roll back the big army from even needing to meddle or be involved. So I recommend it to everyone. It’s not just a book I like because the guy’s a ranger. I think it’s really changed how I think about leadership fundamentally.

Sam’s Corner [41:49]

Sam Jacobs: Hey everybody, it’s Sam Jacobs. What a fantastic interview with Steven Broudy. Just a really interesting person, a really interesting leader. I enjoyed our conversation talking about his experience in the Armed Services. I enjoyed our conversation, especially when it comes to sales. There’s a mental block when it comes to interviewing consistently according to a set process, defining the attributes, all of the things that you need to do in order to systematically build a great sales team. That’s something that I’ve just not done very well in my career. Even after this podcast, I had Steven send me his whole process over email because I’m going to be using it at Revenue Collective.

I really enjoyed that conversation, and also the idea of like, what is leadership? What does great leadership look like, and how do you ensure that you’re always the right person for the job? Bevy is a really cool company. He’s doing great work. I enjoyed that conversation. I hope you did too.

Don’t miss episode #121

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