Episode 236: Phil Putnam – Unlocking Peak Performance: Navigating Work-Life Balance and Boundaries
Phil Putnam joins us on this episode to discuss the crucial topic of work-life balance and how it can impact your productivity and overall success. Phil shares his strategies for setting boundaries and engaging in open dialogues with employers, which can help optimize productivity and unlock peak performance. We’ll also discuss the importance of creating a supportive work environment that leads to higher employee retention and productivity. Don’t miss out on this valuable opportunity to gain insights and learn practical tips on achieving work-life balance and boundaries to take your sales performance to the next level. Tune in now!
Phil Putnam is a career and life coach who helps people of all levels navigate their relationship with employment. Today, we’re going to talk about how salespeople can fit into that and how salespeople can navigate their relationship with their employer. The only thing that Phil loves more than talking is listening.
Phil Putnam 00:03
People are going to buy when they’re going to buy, and they’re going to buy what they’re going to buy. I think that’s really what it is, is it just you being helpful and you just being patient, I don’t need to convince them of anything. I don’t necessarily need to persuade them that they have this problem. I don’t get to tell them what their problem is. I just get to tell them how I might help them solve it. And then they get to decide if it’s the right time and the right solution for them.
Welcome to the Making Sales Social Podcast featuring the Top Voices in Sales, Marketing, and Business. Join Brynne Tillman and me, Bob Woods, as we each bring you the best tips and strategies our guests are teaching their clients so you can leverage them for your own virtual and social selling. Enjoy the show!
Brynne Tillman 00:54
Welcome back to making sales social podcasts. I mentioned that a few weeks ago, I was in Vegas for the sales 3.0 CRO Summit. That’s Chief Revenue Officer Summit. And it was an amazing event. In the event I got to speak, I got to learn new tools that I’m using. But my favorite thing was really the people the quality of people that I got to meet. And today our guest is one of them.
Phil Putnam is a career and life coach who helps people of all levels navigate their relationship with employment. Today, we’re going to talk about how salespeople can fit into that how salespeople can navigate their relationship with their employer. The only thing that Phil loves more than talking is listening. So, Welcome to Making Sales Social.
Phil Putnam 01:57
Thank you so much. I also love to laugh. So thank you for making me laugh.
Brynne Tillman 02:03
Yes. Even though there is science behind it, people that laugh are happier. Yeah, and it’s not just, they’re happier. So they laugh. Laughing creates a chemical happiness in our bodies. So yeah, what a wonderful way to start this. That’s great. So I will save you from any jokes that I may have. But maybe we’ll have some giggles anyway. Yeah. So we asked all of our guests. The first question, which is what does making sales social mean to you?
Phil Putnam 02:43
I think it’s making it conversational, it’s being patient. It’s just people. People are going to buy when they’re going to buy, and they’re going to buy what they’re going to buy. Right. So I think that’s really what it is, is you just you be helpful, and you just be patient. And I really love to talk about the difference between persuasion and influence in selling. And I live primarily in the world of like, multi solution platform, enterprise technology sale, right. So that’s a long process, Usually.
But no one gets into that process as a buyer, unless they’re certain of the problem they need to solve. And then it’s worth solving. So people are going to buy when they’re going to buy, and they’re going to buy what they’re going to buy, right. So I think that’s really what it is, is it just you being helpful, and you just be patient, I don’t need to convince them of anything, right? I don’t necessarily need to persuade them that they have this problem. I don’t get to tell them what their problem is. I just get to tell them how I might help them solve it. And then they get to decide if it’s the right time and the right solution for them.
Brynne Tillman 03:53
I love that. So what I’ve heard you talk a little bit about is, I guess the alignment between social selling and coaching? Sure. Can you share a little bit about, you know, what you see is important in bringing those two activities together?
Phil Putnam 04:12
Yeah, well, I think the most common bond they have is that they’re both entirely based on going at the pace of the buyer or the consumer. And so with coaching, a great coach is going to facilitate your development. They’re going to facilitate your realizations and your next steps, but they’re going to respect your pace. They’re also not going to set the agenda for you. Sometimes people ask me, “What do I need to look for when I’m looking for a coach?” And I always tell them, the most important thing when you’re looking for a coach is you, nothing matters more than you.
Because again, you’re paying for this service, right? So when I think about how you start finding out if you’ve got the right I fit with the coach and the right chemistry. I think I start with how they are selling to you. And this is why I love talking about social selling and coaching. Because if they’re hard selling, and if they’re trying to set an agenda, they’re indicating to you what they’re going to be like as a coach. And social selling again, is all about prioritizing the consumer experience, and waiting until the time is right for them. And so I think that a coach that social sells to you before you sign up, is indicating to you that I’m going to prioritize your experience. And I’m not going to prioritize my experience.
Brynne Tillman 05:40
So I just had this hashtag popped into my head that I like a coach.
Phil Putnam 05:46
Yeah, yeah. It’s so valuable. And it’s okay, especially, okay, I’m gonna go a little data nerd on you for a second take. And I love data nerds. I’m obsessed with buyer experience in any context. And you know, we know that today’s B2B buyers, thanks to Gartner and Forrester and a bunch of other buyer experience research recently, and by recently, I mean, kind of over the past three ish years, is that more and more people are spending time, you know, doing their own research, self service, digital research, learning and arriving at a certain point of purchase decision, before they’ll even talk to a rep from a supplier.
And, then that’s about 45% of their buying time. And then roughly like 17% is spent talking to a rep, right? So that tells us the buyer is insisting on going at their own pace, and having more control over their experience than they ever had before. And then also, “Oh, no, I lost my train of thought also.” So I’ll just stop there. But the point is that, like, if you, if you can relate to what the buyer wants, then you’re going to be a much more effective guide for them through the buying experience that is coaching, you’re you’re coaching your buyer to a certain outcome, right?
Brynne Tillman 07:09
I love that, you know, it’s funny. One of the things we talked about content is stop telling your prospects what you want them to know, you and start sharing what they want to hear or where they want to do, right. And I feel like that’s a perfect alignment with this. So yeah, I love that style. You know, you’re a coach, but you’re really this partner with folks who are struggling with their relationship and employment. Yeah. So talk a little bit specifically for high performing sales, people sure, that are struggling with either the culture of their environment, the change of the guy, I have a client who was killing it, a new guy comes in, and they changed his whole territory. So his whole pipeline is now for someone else. Right? So what do you do when you help these people navigate this issue? Yeah.
Phil Putnam 08:18
What I really am interested in most, when I’m working with a coaching client, is their level of peace of mind. That, to me, is the most important thing. Because that becomes the arena in which whatever is happening at work, and life can actually get addressed. And my whole approach and my whole heart beat for everybody is that we can get the life we want from the work that we do. I think that’s why we work like I care if my employers are successful, but that’s not what I care about most. I care most about getting the life I want. And that’s why I work and I think that’s true for all humans.
So I want to know, yeah, I want to know the details of what’s happening in your work environment. But most I want to know, how that is actually impacting your life experience, because I think that is really where you start to get into if this person is getting what they want in exchange for the value they’re giving to their employer. And once we can sort of suss that out, we can make some really effective action plans for how do you hold on to the peace of mind that you have and how do you increase that and then how do you take steps to reduce the things that are taking away your peace of mind?
Brynne Tillman 09:42
So I love that, um, you know, when we talk about your relationship with your employment, expand on that, like what does that truly mean to a salesperson or a marketing person or BDR. Beyond that, this is a place I show up, I do my job, I get a paycheck. What is the relationship?
Phil Putnam 10:08
Sure, I think the relationship is that one, there’s two parties in the relationship, there is the employer or employment as a reality in your life. And there’s you, and one of those TPR, one of those two parties is going to be the priority. And if the goal is to get the life you want from the work you do, I think you should make yourself the priority. But almost every message we receive from any employer says, make us the priority. And you need us because you need a paycheck, you need us to survive.
And let me tell you, if you want to really kind of control a human, there’s no better basis to appeal to than our survival instinct like it is, it is hard coded into us. And then, in today’s world, it really is mostly expressed in our relationship with employment, because that’s how we get the resources we need to survive and enjoy our life. So at the heart of it, I think it’s a matter of, are you prioritizing yourself, in your, in your experience of employment and getting the life that you want? Or are you prioritizing your employer and their success? And the reason why I fixate on this, is because I find that unless we become conscious of it, we default to prioritizing the employer.
Brynne Tillman 11:34
How do we find that balance where we can focus on us and not upset the employer and still perform for the employer totally.
Phil Putnam 11:47
So our ability to perform, I think, is really more just a matter of our skills, and then the context in which we can express them, and how much friction is being added by our work environment between our skills and their ability to produce outcomes. Right. So that’s what I think performance is about. And then as far as how do we navigate this? I think the key is boundaries. And this is one of the areas that I coach on. Oh my gosh, if you talk to me for more than five minutes, we’re going to end up talking about boundaries. I love boundaries.
And the reason why I love them is because boundaries are an expression of self respect. And if you’re going to do the work and the effort of establishing boundaries, and aligning on them with your employer, which is scary, but it’s like, Hey, you got to go to your employer and say, “You know what, I’m not a morning person, you’re gonna get the best value out of me between 10am and 7pm.” So, if you force me to be on 8am medians every day, yeah, I can probably do that. You’re not going to be getting value from me. Do you want value from me? Or do you want adherence to a policy, that can be a scary conversation, right.
So if you’re going to do that work of doing that, it’s going to need to be able to, to have a, you’re going to need to believe that it’s worthwhile. And if you believe that you deserve work life balance, and if you believe that you deserve the balance, that is the output of establishing boundaries, then you’re going to be willing to deal with that discomfort and make that happen. So I do really do think it’s rooted in your view of yourself and what you believe your worth, and what you believe. You deserve it.
Brynne Tillman 13:41
Yeah. And I think your worth will also come from the achievements that you do at work, some of that, right. So I love that mindset. Yeah, because I want to achieve the best at work. These are my boundaries in order for me to be my best. Yeah. So you know, it’s interesting. I’m this one I’m hearing and, real time, so I’m babbling a little but what I’m really hearing is work life flexibility doesn’t mean that I’m producing less. It means that I’m optimizing my time to produce more to be better, or to be more successful, and not just put in the hours. Right, like, that’s a major aha moment, not just for the employee. Yeah, in setting boundaries, but for the employer to rethink how they lead this team.
Phil Putnam 14:47
Ah, and you know, it’s funny. I saw a post on LinkedIn from Gary Vaynerchuk, who is one of my favorite thought leaders. I resonate with him so much how human centered He is and this post he wrote up, you know, was basically saying, as a leader, your job is to stop pressure at your level, it’s not to drive it down below you to the people that you lead. And I was like, “Yes, Gary Vaynerchuk.” Yes.
Brynne Tillman 15:16
Right here stops here.
Phil Putnam 15:18
Pressure stops here. And so I think that real effective leadership is actually leading by increasing your people’s peace of mind, not reducing it. And if because what you’re if you can reduce friction between a person and their outcomes, you are benefiting your business. So this whole approach of making it as easy as possible for people to have effective boundaries is so helpful in a hard business outcome arena, as well. And I love calling out the fact that another word for boundaries is alignment. Like when you align with your leader, on what you do, and do not do and what actually is and is not important.
That’s a boundary that’s a form of a boundary. And what natural boundary. Yeah, exactly. And also to light the fact that boundaries are produced by collaboration, right? When you’re suffering from a lack of boundaries, and a lack of balance, it’s kind of isolating. And it’s easy to feel like this is entirely my fault. Like, it’s my fault that I don’t have balance. So it’s my fault, or it’s my responsibility to solve it on my own. But if the issue is work life balance, you can’t solve that on your own. It has to be a collaboration between you, and whoever has purview over how you work at your job. And so I love looking at boundaries as alignment, because it highlights the collaboration element of it.
Brynne Tillman 16:55
So I love and in my eyes, you have me going, Oh my god. So what I’m hearing is, “Don’t say, Okay, I’ve set my boundary, I’m gonna go to my manager, and I’m going to tell them that I’m not coming on 8am calls.” Yeah, what I’m going to do is I’m going to have a conversation with them, and say, you know, I love what I’m doing. I just want to let you know, my prime hours are here, this is where I’m most productive. What do you think we can do? For me to be able to work in these hours? Yeah. And provide the company with my best output, my best production?
Phil Putnam 17:37
Yeah. And because then what you’re saying to them is, I want to give you my best. That’s, that’s what they’re hearing. I mean, they’re Yeah, they’re hearing, I’m asking for something specific to, to meet my needs, but what they’re really hearing is, I want to give you my best, and I’m struggling to do that. You could be getting better for me. So I want to partner with you on how to give you my absolute best for the sake of our business. Now, that’s I mean, I’m a leader, I lead a team, I lead a business function, that’s a message I’m gonna I’m gonna buy into every day all day. Right? I’m freelancing.
Yeah. And so I like talking about this, because I think it can take some of the venom out of the fear around establishing boundaries with an employer. And another classic example is, do I, I can’t stop checking my work email, when it’s the evening when I’m in family time. And I can’t stop myself from responding to those emails.But what I want to ask the listeners is, if you feel that, have you gone to your employer and said, “Hey, does it actually matter? If I respond to an email at 10pm? And if so, why does it matter? What’s the business reasoning for that?”
And have that conversation and you can say to your boss, “Hey, I’m struggling here.” Like, I have this compulsion to do work in non work time. And honestly, my family’s suffering, my peace of mind is suffering. Do you actually need this from me? Or is this just something that I’m kind of volunteering, I’m voluntarily reducing my peace of mind? And you don’t want to, you don’t want to sacrifice on assumption, if you don’t need to.
Brynne Tillman 19:29
Right. So it’s interesting because I do that to my team, because I’m working, but I have told them, they do not need to respond to anything. I’m going to be sending emails, all hours. Yeah, you do not need to respond until you go back to work. But if I have to wait to respond, I’ll forget, like if I you know, so how do you feel about that almost as the culture is like saying, “Hey, rather than saying stop sending me emails, is it okay? If I wait till work hours to respond? And then if there’s anything that is critical, text me and say I just sent an email,” that’s critical, because now it’s more work for them to do. I don’t know, this is what I do with my team. So really I’m asking for personal coaching here.
Phil Putnam 20:30
Totally, it will, I want to commend you, that makes me want to be on your team. Because what that tells me is that the culture that you’re building is one of communication. It’s one of the reasons it’s reasonable, right? And also, what you told me is that you’re taking the initiative as the leader, to tell people, Hey, I don’t expect this with you, right? Because as leaders, it is 100% our responsibility to lead the culture. And, also, it’s an imbalanced, it’s an imbalanced power relationship between leader and direct report.
So the direct report will never feel fully safe to enforce their own boundaries, they will, they will need some prompting, and, and support from their leader. And that’s going to have to be reminded, they’re going to have to be reminded of that, right? So I love that you are actively maintaining a culture that lets people know, hey, the way I work may be different than the way you work. And that’s totally fine. And you don’t need to give in to this compulsion, to please me, right, I’m here to serve you. I love that style of leadership.
Brynne Tillman 21:45
The one thing I do on every once we meet every Monday for our, you know, all deck meeting. And at the end of every meeting, I’ll say, “Is anyone feeling overwhelmed? Does anyone need support in what they’re doing this week?” Oh, my gosh. And sometimes we have deadlines on this. And I’ll say, “Who has some time that they can go help? Who can support this?” Right. And, the team is very cohesive because of that.
Phil Putnam 22:16
So when you said that, it made me feel hugged. Honestly, that’s what it felt like. And just, I think it’s so if you can like what you’re describing, you’re making it safe for people to struggle. You’re making it safe for people to ask for help and get help, and you’re facilitating that process for them. Let me tell you, anyone out there who’s concerned about attrition, and the operational cost that comes along with it, but bringe has said is the solution for that? Or is a major solution for that. Treat your people in a way that makes them want to stay.
Brynne Tillman 22:59
I love that. Yeah.
Phil Putnam 23:03
If you make them want to stay, you won’t have to worry as much about attrition, you’ll always worry about it a little bit. But I do this at every organization I work at or a consultant, I don’t ask people why they chose to work there, ask them why they stay. And that gives you so much valuable insight. Yeah.
Brynne Tillman 23:21
Oh my gosh, I could talk to you all day. But we’re gonna bring this in and wrap it up. If you know, this was so valuable for me, I’m so grateful. I know, it’s gonna bring incredible value to our sales leaders. And our sales producers like this. This is great. Um, both levels. So if a company wants to hire you, how would they get in touch with you?
Phil Putnam 23:52
Sure. Yeah. So philputnam.com is gonna be the best place. I do coaching for individuals. And then I also do corporate engagements. And so there’s a button on there to book a free intro call with me. That’s the best way to just book a call. We’ll talk through things. It’s basically a free coaching session. It’s what you and I just did.
Brynne Tillman 24:13
It was fun.
Phil Putnam 23:52
Yeah. And then if it works for you, then we decide if we want to go further.
Brynne Tillman 24:17
Yeah, that’s great. Well, I cannot thank you enough.
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