SALES with ASLAN Ep. 125 – Rising to the Top of One of the Largest Sales Organization in the World

Welcome to SALES with ASLAN, a weekly podcast hosted by ASLAN Co-founders Tom Stanfill and Tab Norris, geared at helping sales professionals and sales leaders eliminate the hard sell. At the end of the day, we believe that selling is serving. ASLAN helps sellers make the shift from a ‘typical’ sales approach, to one that makes us more influential because we embrace the truth that the customer’s receptivity is more important than your value prop or message.

The goal of these interviews is to spotlight various experts in the world of sales and sales leadership – sharing informational stories, techniques, and expert interviews on the sales topics you care about.

 

The following are notes from Ep. 125 – Rising to the Top of One of the Largest Sales Organization in the World

In this episode, Tom Stanfill and Tab Norris interview Austin Peterson. As a senior consultant at Aflac, hear what Austin has to say about what the top 10% of leaders do to consistently hit their number.

 

Listen to the conversation here:

 

Or check out the summary and full transcript below.

Summary:

The role of a sales leader is complex and nuanced. Sales leadership is really about having the ability to motivate your people to accomplish set goals by empowering each individual. It requires you to focus on their professional growth, as well as their personal growth. Being an effective leader is about seeing the big picture, without overlooking important details. Great leaders drive results by motivating their team to want to do their job.

So what are the best practices to accomplish this? What does effective sales leadership look like? 

We sat ​​down with Austin Peterson, senior consultant at Aflac, to talk about sales leadership – not just in theory, but in practice.  Read on for his take on what the top 10% of leaders do to consistently motivate their teams and hit their number.

Austin brings a unique perspective, having worked with thousands of salespeople and leaders alike, to give us insight on what he thinks are the commonalities among top performing sales leaders. 

Especially in the virtual selling space, who are those folks that are still finding a way to win, no matter what environment they’re selling and leading in? What traits are they exhibiting?

Here are some specifics that he outlined among those top performers.

 

4 Disciplines of High Performing Sales Leaders:

1 – They are Other-Centered leaders.

2 – They are consistent.

3 – They coach and develop their people. 

4 – They know when to lead. 

 

Resources:

  • Check out the full blog post here
  • If you’re interested, and want to dive more deeply into the nuances between leading, managing, and coaching, check out our blog on the differences between each “role” and how much time sales leaders should spend on each one. 

 

Transcript:

00:13

Tom Stanfill

Welcome to another episode of sales with ASLAN. I’m your host, Tom Stanfield. I’m here with my cohost, the best co-host in the business Tab Norris.

 

00:25

Tab Norris

Fantastic. You are too kind. My friends.

 

00:28

Tom Stanfill

Yeah. Well, everybody knows how much I love you Tab.

 

00:32

Tab Norris

We’ve met a lot of years together. Still love each other. I mean, 20, 28 years of doing life together, my friends,

 

00:39

Tom Stanfill

I know,  I love doing the podcast with you. I’m glad we’re doing it. I am super, one more super, excited about having Austin Peterson with us today. We’ve been working with Austin for about five years at Aflac, and he has a unique role that I think all our listeners are really going to benefit from. He is a senior consultant working with the national training organization and he has a lens and a viewpoint of what the top associates are doing out in the field. He also specifically works with the frontline sales managers. Apple-like has about, I don’t know, close to 2000 sales managers, so he knows what’s happening in the field. I’m so excited to have him on the phone, on the show and share his insights. So Austin, welcome to the show.

 

01:28

Austin Peterson

Well, thank you so much, Tom and Tab. It’s great to be here and I’m glad that you are super, times two, excited to have me.

 

I’m a big, I’m a big fan of you all and it has helped me a lot. I’m excited to dive into a conversation.

 

01:45

Tom Stanfill

Yeah, I really do appreciate you taking the time away from all the important things that you do. So, obviously I, I probably didn’t describe your role very well. So, tell us your primary focus and what you do. We’ll dive into what we can learn from your viewpoint.

 

02:02

Austin Peterson

Yeah. As a senior consultant, it’s a position, it’s a servant leadership position. It’s designed to serve the field and, really specifically working on sales strategy, sales training, really diagnosing what’s happening in the field. From a national perspective, we do develop and launch sales, strategy, sales, training, things of that nature. As a consultant, it’s really more working hand in hand with the individual markets and really diagnosing what are they dealing with, where they’re at? What are their goals? What are their challenges? Where do they want to go? Helping them really craft, what’s the best solution, what’s the best strategy for you to get the best results? It truly is a partnership with our salesforce, which, I came from the salesforce. I love that having been in those shoes and being able to consult with them, it’s really fulfilling.

 

02:58

Tab Norris

That’s excellent. That’s great. It was perfect. A perfect role to that. We can kind of glean a lot of insight from, so I would love to know just more about your experience working with sales leaders like specifically.

 

03:15

Austin Peterson

Yeah, I mean, so it’s day to day. I have a very aggressive cadence of accountability, I’ll say with, as far as coaching calls. So I serve, really the main customers. I serve the market directors and I serve the market trainers. Those individuals that are leading individual markets primarily throughout the Southwest territory. I mean, I’m on calls with them every single week and really identifying what are the strengths? What are the weaknesses? How can we help? And, and coming up with plans, based on where they’re at.

 

03:51

Tab Norris

Yeah. That’s awesome. I am sure you have seen lots of good, lots of bad, lots of everything in between. What are some of the common characteristics or traits that you see from people that are really high performing sales leaders? Like what have you would, if you pulled?

 

04:07

Tom Stanfill

I think this is such a great question to have, because we’re all in our own little world, like, like I’ve got my team or I’ve got, I’m a rep, I’m a seller. And I do what I do. I maybe just see, you see thousands of people, you see what this large is, what I love talking about large organization. You have such a view of what the top people are doing. I’d love, I would love to hear more about that.

 

04:34

Austin Peterson

Yeah. So I would say a couple things. First of all, I I’ve, in the last couple of years, we’ve done a lot virtually and a big part of that was really doing a lot of interviewing who are the top performers, who are still finding a way to win, especially in this environment that we’ve been in the last couple of years. There are a couple of things that, that really have become consistent things that I’m seeing. Number one, just to use some ass on language. I, they are very other centered leaders at their core. They truly are servant leaders. And, they’ve identified that if that, if I can help the people in my direct command, achieve their goals, hit their targets. The organization as a by-product is going to be fine. I’d say first and foremost, our top performers are very much other centered in the way that they lead teams.

 

05:25

Austin Peterson

Another thing I think that’s consistent with our high performers is they are consistent in their leadership. Meaning a lot of these high performers, they really do get into an execution, cadence and execution rhythm, if you will. They don’t compromise that from anything and meaning their week to week looks very similar in how they execute the business. So, so that consistency, and I think in our world, you we’re dealing with 10 99 sales agents and they come to us and there is a lot of flexibility. I think our top leaders are the ones that provide that strong foundation, that strong, consistent structure for which their people can grow upon or within that flexibility can be scary if you don’t know how to manage it. That consistency is critically important when it comes to execution, especially in the 10 99 world.

 

06:24

Tom Stanfill

Oh, I’d love to talk more about that. 10 99. Cause I want to come back to that cause basically I know you guys call them the volunteer army. In other words, they, you, they’re not employees. You have really no control over what they do, which I love that because we really, none of us have control anyway, but we think we do, but I want to go back to the consistency thing. What are you, what cause this really something that I I’d love to learn more about is what do they do consistently? What is it the thing that, cause I I’ve in my years, I guess, I don’t know, now, 30 plus years of either being in a sales management leadership role or working with others, I’m fascinated by what the top people do. Like what are they always do. What, so what do you see some of those non-negotiables.

 

07:14

Austin Peterson

Yeah. For an example, I think the weekly cadence, and a lot of this goes back to creating this culture. I think that’s one of the things that these leaders that I’ve observed, they’re, they’re fantastic at fostering a positive culture. Part of that means having a place for their sales reps to start the week on a Monday, ? I think a best practice would be them getting their people together right away, Monday morning, talking about successes from the previous week, making sure that every sales rep has a plan going in that week, moving forward. Not only that, but that’s really an opportunity to, to train them up, to work on skill development, et cetera. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, typically very prime time. We call it green time. Right. That’s when you’re, client-facing, that’s when you’re scheduling the appointments, you’re running the appointments you’re selling. Then, I think another thing high performers do is, they book end it on Fridays, Friday afternoon, maybe that is, they bring their people back in.

 

08:19

Austin Peterson

Maybe that’s where they break off do one-on-one coaching sessions. How did you do this week? How do where’d we come in? What did I observe when I was with you making sales calls on, doing consultations and, and I think the power behind the book-ending of starting the week and a positive ending the week with that, cool, we call it kind of a Friday cool down and you get their head right. Going into the weekend. We’re we’re big on controlling the dinner conversation. What I mean by that is my wife will ask me at dinner Friday night, how was work this week? What were the highs were the lows and controlling that mindset of a salesperson as they go home for the weekend, controlling dinner, that dinner conversation. I want it to be positive because I want them to come back Monday morning.

 

09:09

Tab Norris

Yeah. And they’re volunteers. Yeah, no, you, what I think is amazing about that, Austin is I think it’s heavy accountability creating a place, but what I think is you said that I think is so critical is having that other centered approach to it. It’s not just, we’re going to put rails on you. We’re going to make you do this. We’re going to make you do that. It’s like, I’m here to serve you. I’m here to set up spots throughout the week where I can invest in you to hit your goals, to help you accomplish what you need to accomplish.

 

09:44

Austin Peterson

Well, and absolutely in tab to your point, it’s on Monday, it’s, this is a great opportunity when you do that. It’s, that’s my opportunity as a sales leader to connect with, why you’re here in the first place, let’s make a plan this week so that you’re making progress, not just professionally, but parallel progress tracking, tracking down that happily ever after, whatever that looks like for you. And, and I think you have to be other centered it’s about, I want everybody in the organization to have a plan this week, because that plan is going to get you closer to satisfying the goals that you have.

 

10:18

Tom Stanfill

Yeah. Right. Yeah. I love, I remember I had a breakthrough early in my sales management career. Leadership careers that no one is motivated by my goals. On Monday. They’re like, what do you want me to accomplish for you? And I’m like, great question, guys. Let’s get our act together because I want to buy a bigger house. My wife wants a car and yeah, nobody. The other thing I remember learning is that, which is kind of a line with the same concept or ideas that motivation, isn’t a discipline problem. It’s a wanting problem. It’s like, and I know that’s not correct grammar, but it’s not about like, if, and this is why the other centered leaders I think are so successful is because they realize no one’s motivated by my goals. They’re motivated by their goals. For me, to, for me to motivate them, I’m not going to leverage my position as your manager and, put heat on you or try to hold you accountable to my goals.

 

11:27

Tom Stanfill

I find out what you want. I connect the week to getting what you want. They go home on Friday, which I love that. They, share how the week went. So, and people need accountability to achieve their goals. It’s not about achieving your goal, but people need accountability to do the things they want to do, but struggle to do. Like, I need accountability. We all need accountability. It’s not about getting them line, which I love you can’t do that anyway, because they’re all volunteers. I mean, they’re all independent contractors, but that’s how you motivate them. So, so the top leaders know how to motivate, right? They know how to have a consistent cadence to the week. What, how much do they coach? And, and what I mean by coach is not just a conversation, about, Hey, here’s a tip or here’s, what do or watch me, which is a lot of people coached that way.

 

12:23

Tom Stanfill

Watch me, but like have a real development to, working with their team. They develop their team.

 

12:31

Tab Norris

Like they watch them, they love them in a sales environment. And then they give feedback. That kind of thing.

 

12:38

Austin Peterson

Yeah, I would say. And, and the high performers, when I talk about that Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, prime time, green time, the high-performers are right there, side by side, hip to hip with their people. As a result of that, those high-performance are able to have a really constructive coaching conversation. At the end of the week, I think one of the challenges maybe that we run into is a lot of folks that have management conversations. Tom, you said you were going to do a hundred calls. You only did 60, you were 40 short where I coached there. I coached you and that’s not coaching. You know? A lot of times I think we run into that, but I do believe that the high performers, because they’re observing behaviors because they’re being able to hear things, see things the really able to dive in and identify what is that developmental activity that we really need to focus on because they were they’re hip to hip with them.

 

13:37

Austin Peterson

So, the high-performance to my point earlier that Friday, that’s when they sit down and they have that one-on-one, as we know that change happens. One-to-one and that’s where they dive in. Week after week, I mean, it’s a grind, but you’re making progress. And you’re right. As soon as we tweak this, we make a small calibration change here. We tweak this, let’s work on it next week and you’re making progress. When we fix those things that need to be fixed, or when we improve those things, those sales reps are becoming more profitable.

 

14:10

Tom Stanfill

Yeah.

 

14:11

Tab Norris

Well, you said something that I think is really important too. It’s not just about managing a bunch of activity. It’s, it’s really focusing on productivity. Like what’s gonna drive you to success and just, it’s easy just to go, oh, here, how did you make it? You were 40 calls, short and whatever, but that’s not driving the change that we really want. Right.

 

14:31

Austin Peterson

One of your colleagues, mark, I remember when the first time I, I went through and Azlan training, he had said something to the fact that if a computer can take the place, if a computer can communicate your message in a coaching, it’s probably not a coaching conversation. I know I just butchered however, he says, but he was so true because I can send you a report that shows your metrics, but that’s not coaching that’s that may be managing some activity, but it’s not coaching.

 

15:03

Tom Stanfill

Th this probably is a good time. I’d love to hear about how you see the top performers dividing up their time, because we’ve talked about manage, which is really about, when we need to do that, like, what’s your scorecard, how am I doing? What are the things that I need to do to be successful? What are those metrics? Those are important because, those are the easiest things we can control as, as a seller or as a leader, we can say, this is the things you do to be successful on, from a week to week or month to month, what, however, whatever, obviously that relates more to what you sell. There’s the, the lead, I play the role of a leader where it’s all about motivating you’re struggling, or you’re not, you don’t have the desire to do the job, or you’re struggling with motivation. You’re not inspired.

 

15:51

Tom Stanfill

So I gotta motivate you. I gotta what we call lead. There’s the coach piece, which is how do I help you develop those skills to be successful? Right? Those are the three hats I lead, create desire. I manage to hold you accountable to your goals, not my goals, your goals. And then lastly, I’m coaching. How do you see the top performers dividing up their time in those three buckets?

 

16:16

Austin Peterson

Yeah, I think the really good ones that I’ve worked with and had the privilege of working alongside, or, as a direct report, I think the really good ones they get lead, right? Like they come to me and maybe I’m a little biased because of the line of work that I’m in. But. It’s, if you can’t connect it. Cause when I say the first one, when I say lead, because I think there’s a component of vision casting there, that’s really important as well, because it’s tab. I need to understand what’s important to you. I need to understand, what do you want? Probably the most sophisticated question I could ask, right? What do you want? Let’s figure out a way to get you there, but it starts there, so I can manage that. We have systems, we have processes, we have great tools and we have all of these things of what to do and how to do it.

 

17:09

Austin Peterson

But, but if I can’t really connect on your level with what is important to you and to make sure that you have the desire to do those things, that’s going to be really tough. I think it all starts, I mean, my opinion is it starts at the high performance. Really understand that I’ve got to get this lead piece, right? Because it’s all about identifying. What’s important to my people. What do they want? Now we can reverse engineer a plan to get them there. That’s really good. You know? It starts there, but like you said, Tom, they’re all necessary.

 

17:42

Tom Stanfill

Like.

 

17:43

Austin Peterson

I can’t just say, my family is the most important thing to me and then not have a plan and not go to work. I, I still, there’s still the.dot dot, and then I have a plan and I go execute the plan, the scoreboard, I need a game film that shows me, am I winning or losing? Am I getting better? Or am I getting worse? If I’m deficient in an area, I need help. I need to say, Hey, what? I’m struggling with this consultation with decision-makers. I need somebody to come watch, see what I’m doing. Cause I need to fix that. When I fixed that, I become more profitable. When I fix that, I’m able to satisfy some of those goals that I have for my family. It’s all connected and they’re all important, but I think it all starts. You got to get that lead piece, right?

 

18:29

Austin Peterson

Yeah.

 

18:30

Tom Stanfill

Yeah. I, I love that. If you, if you think about the coaching or just whatever you want to do with the rep, if you can’t start with this is going to help you get something. I know you obviously have talked about that, but then everything else is just a waste of time. I mean, you really, it’s got to start there or again, the coaching’s not going to work. The, the numbers don’t matter. It all starts with. The two you’re saying the top performers really dial into, they start at this. If, if what, how do we build this around something you want? How do we build this around getting, meeting your goals? What’s important to you,

 

19:12

Austin Peterson

Right? And, and I mean, I use a simple, I guess you could call it a word, picture analogy, but I call it the Aflac vehicle. We’re all, we’re all driving this Aflac vehicle. Your destination tab may look different than mine, but we’re all driving the same vehicle, but I have to identify what does that end zone look like for me? That’s why I want to get in the car every day. That’s why I want to put the, put the gas down because I can see, I have a clear line of sight of how this sales opportunity can get me from where I’m at, to where I want to go. It’s unique to each person and we really have to identify what is that?

 

19:49

Tab Norris

Yeah. What I think I hear you saying too, is that it’s important to set it up in the beginning, but you’re constantly monitoring it, especially 10 99 is the volunteer army to your point. Are they struggling? All of a sudden they’re losing a little motivation. Well, I got to get connected to that. I don’t just let that fly. I’m always connected to that lead piece.

 

20:08

Austin Peterson

Yeah, absolutely. That’s really.

 

20:10

Tab Norris

Good.

 

20:12

Tom Stanfill

Let’s look at the opposite and it may be obvious. We can skip it, you could say, well, they don’t do that, but what do you see the poor performers focus on? I mean, what is their, where do they gravitate? If you say the top, the high performers gravitate to lead and how do I create the desire to change and make sure that’s in place and then break everything down and build my plan and build the week around that and coaching, et cetera. What do the low, the poor performers do? What do you see them? What do they gravitate to?

 

20:44

Austin Peterson

I think, I mean, maybe it goes back to your example about having a house. Maybe it’s a little more self-serving.

 

20:51

Tab Norris

Do you understand what we’re trying to do? But at the.

 

20:54

Austin Peterson

Same time,

 

20:55

Tom Stanfill

Why don’t you get it?

 

20:57

Austin Peterson

I think at the same time, one of the things I said was you have to consistently do this, right? I think unfortunately, sometimes when somebody’s struggling, they’re waking up on Monday saying, what am I going to do this week flying by the seat of their pants? There’s there really is no rhythm. There is no cadence. So I think that’s a factor. At the same time, I think the coaching sessions turn into more of accountability, not in the form of a positive. I believe accountability is positive. It’s something we do for people, not to people. I think sometimes those that struggle with accountability, it’s more of the you’re being called to the principal’s office form of accountability, meaning right tab. You said you were going to do this. You didn’t do this. Well, I guess you just, I want it more for you than you want it for yourself, ?

 

21:43

Tab Norris

Yeah. I’m really motivated Austin. Thanks. I’m ready to go. Go. Let’s go.

 

21:47

Austin Peterson

Or it’s a, when you come in for a coaching session, I’ve got a checklist of 15 things that I need to make sure I cover with you because we only do this. Maybe once a couple of, a couple of times a year. There’s no, there isn’t really, there isn’t that connection. When you do come in, it comes into more of a checklist or more of a problem solving session or a brow beating session. It’s all right now, get back out there.

 

22:09

Tab Norris

Yeah, it’s manage. They’re there, they’re basically wrapping things up into a manage hat too much. They’re spending too much time managing versus enough on lead and coach.

 

22:18

Austin Peterson

Sales. I would agree. And that’s tough.

 

22:21

Tom Stanfill

Yeah. Let’s I love that. Yeah. I that’s consistent with what I’ve seen. It’s and that’s the easiest thing to talk about, you, you said you’re going to do this, did you do it? No. Great. Then do it not. Okay. Can you, can you leave now? We’re done. Just do more and do it better. Yeah. That doesn’t show, but it is easy. Well, let’s talk, let’s dive into coaching specifically. What do you see the top performers? How do they coach anything that you’ve learned over the years that you’ve been at Aflac now, what you say eight years in this role or not? I guess not in this role, but you’ve been in Aflac like eight years. Huh?

 

23:04

Austin Peterson

Almost 18 years.

 

23:07

Tom Stanfill

You’ve been in this role eight years.

 

23:08

Austin Peterson

No, this role going on four years as a consultant. Yeah.

 

23:13

Tom Stanfill

Oh, okay. Okay. Four years, sorry I got that wrong. What have you seen in this role as a, as a senior consultant about what are the top or how do they coach anything? Any best practices you’ve gleaned from them?

 

23:28

Austin Peterson

Yeah. I mean, I think the main, the easy button is when you come in for a session, Tom is, let me just tell you what you need to work on. Let me just tell you, just get better at this area. The easy button is for me to tell you think, I think, and this is something that I’ve been working on in my progression too, is how do you be more curious in a coaching conversation? How do you ask better questions? And, and really, it goes back to, it’s one thing for me to tell you where you need to get better. It’s another thing for me to ask you questions to so that you can discover that, and you can land on that because now, when you come up with the answer, now we can talk about what’s the what’s, what are we going to do about it?

 

24:15

Austin Peterson

And now I have more buy in. And I think they’re really good. Coaches are really good at discovering doing a discovery and coaching sessions and getting that direct report or that sales rep to say, what? I think this is an area I need to get better at. As the coach being able to say, I think you’re onto something there. How can we get better at that? What are some ideas you have to get better at that and say, well, we could try this or we could try this. When they finally land on, really where you want to go, what direction you want to go, let’s do that. So can we agree upon that? It’s really, I think having an actual coaching model following, there’s some psychology behind good coaching it, meaning I I’ve got to start with you. I’ve got to make sure receptivity is there.

 

24:59

Tom Stanfill

You,

 

25:00

Austin Peterson

So that’s where we start with them. Self-assessing, that’s where we start with the positive. I mean, that’s, that’s where they’re receptive and open to the conversation because we give them that opportunity. Now, as we start to expose that the, whatever the problem is, now they’re more receptive and they’re going to be more bought into what’s the developmental activity. What do I need to work on? I think the really good ones follow, they have a process of how they coach and they believe in the psychology behind it.

 

25:30

Tom Stanfill

It was great.

 

25:31

Tab Norris

In line with what I’ve seen at Tom, you probably the same way. I mean, it really is. People don’t disagree with their own data, right. When it’s, but it’s their idea. Brilliant. You know? So when it’s my idea, it’s okay.

 

25:46

Austin Peterson

So that’s,

 

25:47

Tom Stanfill

You know, that it’s so easy. It’s so easy to know that it is actually hard. It takes preparation. Oh yeah. You go into a coaching session, you say, okay, I want them to land on this. I want them to realize that this approach isn’t working, how do I ask questions in a way that they have this , self discovery and land in the same place? It’s, it’s an easy thing to talk about, but it actually takes some preparation, which I think you mentioned Austin, you said, they have a process, there’s a, there’s a plan. It’s not haphazard. It’s, they’re intentional about it. I think that’s part of being an intentional is I know we want to make it collaborative and the way I always think about it and talk about it. If I’m working with coaches, it’s their session, not yours, right? If this is your session, if this is your coaching session, as a leader, you’re wasting your time.

 

26:42

Tom Stanfill

Because I love to use the analogy of sports because it’s so relevant to selling. You could use music as well, but anything there’s a highly spiritual can I use pottery, probably use pottery. Great. That’s a great example. We’ll let you kind of unpack pottery, but it’s like, you gotta go to practice range, right? You got to, if you’re play golf, you got to go the practice of pottery tab. You, you gotta, a lot of berries. I’m going to go to pottery from now on. Yeah, you got, and so you can’t make somebody get better at pottery our golf. I mean, you just can’t and that’s where coaching comes in is you’re saying, well, we’re going to develop the skills, manage, manage and lead is about, we’re going to talk about, what’s important to you manage, like, we’re going to disseminate information. You need to know this.

 

27:35

Tom Stanfill

Coaching is, I mean, I got to help you develop skills. That’s the hard part. I mean, yes, you’re going to teach them some things. The idea of getting them to experience the need to change the questioning is, is so important. I love that. You also talked about receptivity is that they, because change is hard, and also because of the role of I’m the leader and your, the, just because of the position in their mind, they see you as they think, you think you’re superior to me. Now you’re going to tell me, it feels like you’re my parent. It feels like you’re my principal. It feels like you’re my coach. It feels like you’re my boss. Really in reality, they’re not, we’re actually here to support them. Right. I mean, that’s what you mean by when you’re talking about the other centered thing.

 

28:25

Austin Peterson

And, and taking it, taking more of a consultative approach when it comes to coaching as versus, I think, and I talk about this. I mean, some of the changes I’m seeing in our organization out of necessity, we need to become more consultative versus transactional. A lot of our coaching was very transactional, meaning this is your problem. This is a solution move on next person, come in and sit down. We have to be when you’re more consultated with the coaching aspect or questions. I think the key there is that bridging technique to this is what we’ve identified that we want to work on. And it’s that connecting the dots. It’s that vision casting. Do you understand that, I need you to be crystal clear that why you want to fix this part in your process or whatever it is, because now you see that payoff and being, I think really good leaders are able to connect.

 

29:16

Austin Peterson

The baths are able to vision cast with that person. They’re able to say, I want to go get better at this because I can see it. I can see it, and I can see how this is going to help me achieve my goals by getting better at this particular area. So.

 

29:29

Tom Stanfill

That’s great. I, Ted, did you have something? No, no, go ahead. I wanted to ask one more question and then we can kind of move to just kind of maybe talk a little personally you Austin, and some of your path, your passions about other centered and in your purpose. I want to ask just one question about the difference between high performers and low performers. What, what do the high performers, what’s their philosophy about tolerating poor performance? I don’t mean that they’re punitive, but I mean, like they I’ve learned over the years that it seems to be based on some research I’ve read and just my experience worker’s organization. It seems like the high performers are real passionate about having a team that wants to Excel and that draws other high performers. Right. There’s other people who tolerate poor performance. I know, again, these are all, again, they’re all independents volunteers, right.

 

30:28

Tom Stanfill

But, but I’m wondering in your kind of organization, is there any best practices related to your passion for running an excellent team versus an a guide to sorta works and he doesn’t work and that’s okay. This guy, or this woman works really hard and she’s kills it and that’s great. And it all works out. Or is there some insights you’ve gleaned about that?

 

30:51

Austin Peterson

Yeah, I think the, the high performers and especially the high performing teams, the ones that have a really strong culture, there’s a funny way of some of the low performers or the people that maybe don’t have that drive, or they don’t want to run that fast. It’s interesting because a lot of times they’ll take themselves out of the equation, they’ll say, and, but I think the good, what happens in a high performing team is when you have those individuals that maybe they decide that this isn’t a good fit, they come forward and they say, you tab, you’ve done everything for me. You’ve provided support. I just came to the conclusion that this may, this probably just isn’t the best fit for me. They leave on a positive note, but that’s a consistency with high performance. Because a lot of times in those teams, you have that culture.

 

31:43

Austin Peterson

I mean, it’s high energy. People are winning. There’s evidence of success. People want to run fast. A lot of times people have that, that, that revelation themselves say, man, this is a great team and the support’s there everything’s there, but now I just don’t think this is a fit for me. And, and I think that’s best case scenario. I mean, sometimes, I, I think that’s the thing about high performers. Just, they still put people in a position to win. If that person is going to put forth that desire and have that desire, they’re still going to do everything they can. I, I, I think a lot of times those people, they kind of sort themselves out.

 

32:25

Tom Stanfill

That’s great. That’s brilliant. That’s I just learned something there.

 

32:29

Tab Norris

Yeah. Cause it’s, I love it too, because you’re with, it’s like they don’t, they feel awkward. You don’t want to be here. I don’t fit versus everybody’s lazy. You know, we gotta do our thing. I it’s like, well, we’ll just get you, Hey, if you don’t, Hey, the train is going this way, really fast jump in or don’t,

 

32:48

Austin Peterson

But those high performers also, they take the trip if tabs struggling, those high performers will we’ll sit down and say, what’s going on? Is there a personal thing going on? Is there anything we can help? Like, and, and you never know, and you never want to assume. I think that’s one thing with great leaders is, they are empathetic and they all, they do take the time to take the trip and do that discovery and say, what’s going on? You seem a little, I just want to make sure that everything’s okay. And, and, and a lot of times, like I said, that’ll take care of itself, or you’ll find out that something is going on. And there’s a reason maybe.

 

33:28

Tom Stanfill

Yeah. The, the, the Aflac vehicle, right, is still moving in the direction. The team is still is moving at this direction of high speed. There’s still that contrast, but I’m still going to come back and say, Hey, what’s going on here and respect them as an individual and be other centered and dive into their world and figure out, is there a barrier that we can move, or it may not be a fit. We’re going to kind of create a fork in the road. This, is this in your best interest to be on this path moving team? If so, let me help you get there. Oh, it’s not, let me help you. Let me help you find a better role for you. They have that conversation and it’s, they’re receptive to that conversation because of the way they approach it, because it’s about them. It’s about the associate.

 

34:11

Tom Stanfill

That’s awesome. The bottom line is if you’re making pottery and you’ve got four or five people that are really making some good pottery, that one person, the bowl just kind of looks. I love that.

 

34:32

Austin Peterson

I I’d be interested to see what are the developmental activities that you assign?

 

34:37

Tab Norris

Oh, gosh, I could teach you so much, but I don’t have time. I’m going to put that off to another podcast. That’s going to be dishes with Azlan. That’s a whole different podcast.

 

34:53

Tom Stanfill

Ceramic now tab.

 

34:57

Tab Norris

All right. Well, listen, I think this is probably a cue. I always like to kind of wrap up with kind of, if you’re ready for this time, if you have some melts, you have anything else.

 

35:06

Tom Stanfill

I want to, I want to ask one question. It could be part of your wrap-up question. No, actually this isn’t probably a party I want to ask the one question about, and I’ve always wanted to ask you this. Austin is why are you so passionate about being other centered? Because I know that’s something you shared with me personally, that it’s important to you here. When you talk to your team, you obviously brought it up on this podcast. So where’s that come from?

 

35:33

Austin Peterson

Yeah, it’s a real, well, it comes from actually really out of necessity, Tom, but no, I mean, so I, I kinda, I was going through kind of a tough spot. It was, it was actually not too long after I’d been introduced to the catalyst program. The other centered first time I really learned about being a, other centered leadership, but I was kind of going through a tough spot. I was, I was struggling with some personal things, some anxiety and some depression and some bad habits and in my health, wasn’t good. I, I think I was about 35 at the time. I went to a doctor and at this time I was, so I was over 300 pounds and wow. My blood pressure, cholesterol, everything was just off the charts. I was my, I was having some challenges with some of my internal organs. It was just, it was, it was a, it was a dark spot.

 

36:24

Austin Peterson

And, and so I decided I was kind of chaotic to use your language. I kind of came to that fork in the road. I said, if any, and I remember he said to me, he said, if you stay on, if you keep doing what you’re doing, you may not see 40, wow. That’s dumb call. I had a wife I’m married, I have two kids now, but at the time I was married, I had my wife and I had a little boy. I remember every time I’d look at them, I say, I just get really, it would just get worse. I’d say I got to do something about this. And so I made some changes. One of those changes was really, changing some of my lifestyle and, taking some things out of my life and making some changes with some habits and, kinda got back on track from it from a physical perspective.

 

37:08

Austin Peterson

The main thing was for me was really more of a, it was more of a mint. It was more of an emotional, it’s more of a spiritual thing. I, I needed to start getting out of self more. I needed to stop being so selfish. Self-centered, and so I kinda just took on this new way of living, which was really more about, putting, really my spiritual, my spiritual place first, then others. Me, and it made all the difference. At the same time, when I really decided to make this significant change in my life, that’s really when I actually was hired on as this consultant. They said, one of the things we really need to get better at is coaching. I’m, we’re going to need you to travel around. I basically, I was traveling around consulting, but with a focus in mind of leading with this catalyst.

 

38:02

Austin Peterson

Not only was it something I was working on in my personal life, trying to become a better husband, trying to become a better father, but I was really my top priority as a consultant was to go and help people become better other cinder leaders and better coaches. I don’t know that’s a coincidence, the stars like a God moment. Yeah. I didn’t know how much I could talk about that on this, but, but it was the more I was, I was so, getting up in the morning, focusing on gratitude, focusing on, how can I help serve others today? How can I put others first? How can I keep the spiritual side healthy? On a professional note all day, Monday through Friday, you traveling around teaching people, what does it mean to be a better other centered leader? What does it mean to care more about people learn more about people do more?

 

38:54

Austin Peterson

What does it mean to serve more? And, and that was in it. It was because of catalyst and some of the things I was doing in my personal life. Now I, I fast forward and I’m like, I’ve become, and I’m still making progress. I’ve become a better husband. I’m becoming a better father, become a better professional in my role, in, in my servant leadership role as a result of that. I believe in it, people always ask you, why are you so passionate about this stuff? I said, because I believe in it because I have to live this way, this is the only way to live for me. It’s to put others first and that’s not easy, that internal compass defaults back to self every night when I go to bed. Every morning I’d wake up, I got to decide. And, and, but it’s been, it’s been very helpful.

 

39:44

Austin Peterson

I’m very grateful for, for, for how it’s helped me in my experience. And, and quite frankly, I mean, I don’t think I’d be where I’m at professionally today and with the opportunities that are ahead, if it wasn’t for, learning about this being more other centered. So it’s been very powerful for me. And I’m grateful.

 

40:03

Tom Stanfill

For that. That was worth the podcast, right? Oh.

 

40:05

Tab Norris

Yeah. That just skipped to this part, right?

 

40:07

Tom Stanfill

Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Well, I was just going to say, I just, I love that we say this all the time that were more fulfilled and successful when we serve. And I think we all land there. Some it’s either land there early, or you land there late, but it’s somewhere along the line you’re serving myself. Although seems it’s, it’s instinctive, it doesn’t work. And I love that. Your story just validates that. Thank you for sharing that. Yeah.

 

40:38

Austin Peterson

Well, good news. I just turned 42, November 29th. So, I passed it and I had it. Yeah. Yeah. So things are good. And, and you look.

 

40:49

Tab Norris

Healthy. I mean,

 

40:51

Austin Peterson

You’re.

 

40:52

Tab Norris

Doing really.

 

40:52

Austin Peterson

Well. Everything’s in check and it’s all family’s doing great. And yeah, life is good.

 

40:58

Tom Stanfill

For those of you’re not seeing Austin. He’s very thin.

 

41:02

Tab Norris

Yes. I don’t race right now, Tom. I put, I put my money on.

 

41:09

Tom Stanfill

Yeah, I don’t. Yeah. You lost how much weight.

 

41:14

Austin Peterson

I’m down over 30, probably 35 pounds from that doctor visit and I’m still, still plugging away at it.

 

41:23

Tom Stanfill

Wow.

 

41:23

Tab Norris

That’s awesome though. That’s great. That’s really good. All right. Well, that’s hard. That’s hard to follow John. Yeah.

 

41:30

Tom Stanfill

We may have to wrap up on that. Yeah know, I.

 

41:33

Tab Norris

Usually, I think that’s, cause I think you answered my question was that one last bit of advice that you’d like to get out there. I think you just gave it to us. I mean, if not, if you have one more little morsel, but boy, that was good.

 

41:46

Austin Peterson

I would say, I mean, yeah, just, it’s not, it’s not about us. It’s and, and, and I think there’s always something to be grateful for. I think really, get to know your teams, what do they want? And, and really, I think it really comes down to use your language. It is more about, caring more about them serving more, and then you’ll find opportunities to do more. No, I, I think it’s important to, especially with the environment that we’ve been in to, I try to wake up every day, just count my blessings. There’s a lot to be grateful for. Start your day in a positive way, and appreciate, appreciate the things that you have to in my experience, the more you express gratitude, the more things will present themselves to be grateful for. That typically happens those days where I’m putting others first and, I’m getting out of self.

 

42:43

Austin Peterson

Those are typically the days that better, that work out pretty good. Now those days that it’s all about Austin, those are usually the tough ones. So, just, I don’t know, I’d say, seek out opportunities to get to know your teams and your clients, because they, where are they at? What do they need, what do they want to go and just be other centered the other center to be grateful for those relationships. I think that’s what I would end for and I love it.

 

43:09

Tom Stanfill

Well, thank you, my friend for giving us this time today and sharing your wisdom that you’ve gleaned for 18 years at Aflac and for years working with the field and studying and supporting the DFCS and associates and so grateful for the wisdom that you shared. So thanks for joining us. If you guys like the podcast and you find it helpful to like the podcast and to share it with your friends and we’ll keep doing it that thanks for joining us, my friend.

 

43:38

Tab Norris

Thank you, Austin. As always.

 

43:40

Austin Peterson

Appreciate it.

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The best way to get to know us is to know what we value. If we teach it we live it, because what we do speaks far more eloquently than what we say. We’ll always choose people over profits, and we’re most fulfilled and effective when we serve. It drives our culture, frames our training programs and transforms the lives of the clients we partner with.