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The Chemistry of Winning & Be Brilliant at the Basics [Episode 668]

Kevin Freiberg, co-author with his wife, Jackie Freiberg, of Bochy Ball! The Chemistry of Winning and Losing in Baseball, Business, and Life and Bridget Gleason, VP of Sales for Logz.io and my regular partner, join me on this episode.


First guest: Kevin Freiberg

  • Kevin and Jackie were introduced to Bruce Bochy by a mutual friend 21 years ago. Bruce wanted their help with communicating with the media. After working with Bruce for over a year, they saw a potential book in his story.
  • Bruce is one of the most successful managers the San Diego Padres have ever had, in terms of getting more out of less. He did a better job of coaching players to a higher potential with little payroll than any other manager.
  • The coach does have a large influence on the team. Bill Belichick has a well-defined system that makes the most of the Patriots team he has, with no superstars besides Tom Brady.
  • Having a process doesn’t mean everyone has to be a star. Belichick does an incredible job of expressing people’s responsibilities and the expectations on them. Removing ambiguity frees people up to perform at the top level.
  • Bruce Bochy begins Spring Training going back to the fundamentals and role responsibility and accountability. When you know your role and how to execute it, there’s a freedom and creativity to act as the game unfolds.
  • Lombardi believed in freedom within structure. Andy sees the loss of freedom to salespeople through managing them to the metrics instead of coaching them to the fundamentals. The fundamentals have to be internalized.
  • Bruce has always stressed, with the Giants and the Padres, that one size doesn’t fit all. Bruce manages the players within the system very differently. You have to read your people.
  • What made the Giants pick Bochy for the job? Brian Sabean said when Bochy came to San Francisco, they needed each other. The Giants were in the rebuilding mode. They saw ‘the fire in the belly’ in each other.
  • Key takeaways for business — hire for experience that shows there’s even greater potential than what has been demonstrated. Hire for attitude and passion.
  • Herb Kelleher of Southwest Airlines says he would rather have a company bound by love than bound by fear. Why is talking about love taboo in business? Senior managers don’t know how to talk about it. What metrics do you use?
  • Kevin sees having a point of view as being cause-driven. You have to be conscious of your numbers, but if you are too conscious of the numbers, you play tight, not loose. Play for a cause bigger than your numbers.
  • 2017 was a painful year for the Giants. What do you do when things are down? Bruce Bochy put people in different roles to shake things up and remind them of the fun and camaraderie of the game. Change your view.


Second Guest: Bridget Gleason

  • Bridget’s new glasses take it up a notch and make her look more serious. A CEO once called her a martinet; she wears it as a badge of honor. Don’t cross her. Andy bought glasses in Paris once but hated them back home.
  • Today’s discussion: Do we make sales too complicated? We talk about everything but the customer. The longer Andy spends in sales, the more he finds that simple and direct methods drive up the odds of success.
  • Anthony Bourdain’s talent was being able to find the story in another person. That is the salesperson’s job, to find out and learn the story of the customer and understand them and what they are trying to achieve.
  • Bridget reminds us to be brilliant at the basics. If you don’t know the basics, then methodologies and tools won’t do the job. Don’t over-script the process. Know what the customer is doing and how you can help them.
  • “An honest curiosity about what the locals think is the best food is going to be welcome. When you eat their food and you seem happy, people sitting around the table open up and interesting things happen.” — A. Bourdain
  • Show up and be authentically interested in the other person and they open up.
  • Andy suggests you go BALD. Be human. Ask great questions. Listen slowly. Deliver value. That’s the operating system for any relationship.
  • We misunderstand the purposes of training. We really need to educate our sales reps to think in the moment while listening carefully.
  • Your objective as a salesperson is to not be like any other salesperson … but to be the best version of you possible.  — paraphrased from Og Mandino
  • Be in the habit of learning. Read all the time. Listen to podcasts. Companies need to take a bigger role in the education of reps. Some companies earn employee loyalty by setting aside time to read and learn as a group.
  • Read half-an-hour a day in your field to become one of the top 1% of earners in your field, according to Brian Tracy. Bridget recalls going to the library every week for seven books. Now she rents library Kindle books.
  • They are still building public libraries. Training doesn’t make you smarter. Having a mentor and educating yourself both increase knowledge and ability.