When We're at Our Best
A part of Joaquin Phoenix’s Oscar speech last Sunday that really resonated with me. I drink my coffee black, so it wasn’t the part about putting milk in our coffee or cereal. It was the end when he says, “I think that’s when we are at our best: when we support each other. Not when we cancel each other out for past mistakes, but when we help each other grow. When we educate each other; when we guide each other to redemption.”
People truly are at their best when we are supporting one another.
Over the course of my career, I’ve been fortunate to have been supported by a lot of amazing people. The support I’ve received has helped me enjoy many individual (for the most part) accomplishments - the quarterly acrylic plaques highlighting quota achievement, closing a hard earned deal, closing your largest hard earned deal, promotions, peer recognition and President’s Club trips. The difference, and arguably the true key to success is the support you receive from managers, executives, mentors, mentees, friends, family, etc. I believe it is important to recognize this so you can be intentional about ‘giving it back,’ wherever and whenever possible.
In my opinion, support is at the core of what true leadership means and something we all have the opportunity to demonstrate regardless of where you are in the org chart. During my first three years at BetterWorks, my role was best described as a ‘player-coach.’ Most of my responsibility was to uncovering, managing and closing strategic enterprise deals for the company.
As I transitioned into full-time sales management, one of the hires I made for our SMB sales team was an intelligent woman, early in her sales career who was determined to be a successful enterprise account executive. She felt, and I would agree, that women are under represented in enterprise software sales, especially those in the LGBT Community. Her mission was more than just earning a promotion and it became my mission to ensure she had the support to fulfill hers.
Embracing the OKR framework we were helping companies implement and the spirit of continuous performance management, we co-developed a plan to be promoted from the SMB to enterprise sales team. Once we had the plan, we were checking in regularly, strategizing on opportunities, running different sales plays, leading meetings with prospects, and closing deals. Five months into the plan, I knew she was ready to take on larger accounts and made the case to my management team to move up the timeline and promote her to the enterprise segment.
At the start of Q3 that year and in our first 1:1 of the quarter, I had the privilege of letting her know that we were promoting her into the enterprise segment. It wasn’t the outcome of a great meeting with a prospect, closing a deal or getting recognized for exceeding quota in front of my peers, but it was being able to support someone on their mission to achieve something personal that has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my career.
Dear Matt Hart,
Thank you so much for your support, wisdom, insight, comedy & kindness over the last six months.
With everything on your plate you showed up over & over again with vulnerability & intention. Thank you for making space for me & my weirdness & my uniqueness. It’s made a huge difference in my life & I will never forget it!
I am really really excited about this promotion. I’m excited to learn, cry & laugh a lot & make us both a lot of money. I appreciate you so much.