Book Club: Jeffrey Hatchell on Reinvigorating a Sense of Purpose in Your Career

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Olivia Fuller: Hi and welcome to Book Club, a Sales Enablement PRO podcast. I’m Olivia Fuller. Sales enablement is a constantly evolving space and we’re here to help professionals stay up to date on the latest trends and best practices so they can be more effective in their jobs.

What is it exactly that causes some people to feel stagnated in their careers while others flourish and quickly ascend the corporate ladder? Well, it may not all come down to the difference in skills, but instead the expectations that we have of ourselves and our sense of purpose. In his book, “The Inspired Career“, Jeff Hatchell talks about how you can become empowered and engaged to breathe new life into your career and achieve success. I’m so excited to have Jeff here to talk to us a little bit more about his book today, so with that Jeff, I’d love it if you could take a second to just introduce yourself to our audience and tell us a little bit about your background and your book.

Jeffrey Hatchell: Sure, thank you so much, Olivia. It is my pleasure to be here and I’ll share a little bit about my background. I have primarily a background working in sales and sales leadership rules and transitioned into the sales enablement space a few years ago. I get to lead a team over sales enablement leadership development and it’s a lot of fun. I am also the author of The Inspired Career, as you mentioned. In addition to that, I’m an executive coach certified through the International Coaching Federation, ICF, and I am a PCC-certified coach. That’s just a little bit about me and I’m excited to be here.

OF: Fantastic. Well, I’m so excited to have you on the podcast today. I’d like to start by really diving into what is it about today’s business environment that is really presenting some unique challenges in the corporate world and particularly for sales enablement leaders. What are some of those challenges that they might be facing that caused them to feel stagnated in their careers?

JH: So when I think about just in terms of the environment today and what’s happening and just about last year and it seems to be continuing the great resignation, you know, it’s something that was hot and heavy. There are a lot of organizations trying to recruit other people away and it’s causing some organizations to have challenges as it relates to staff and having enough resources and enough people. Sometimes in that situation for those who have been in a role for any extended period of time, they may feel like, okay, should I start looking outside, should I start looking at external opportunities, and sometimes when you’re in a position for a little while longer when you’re seeing people constantly move and shuffle, it could prove to create that feeling of stagnation.

One of the things that can help is to take a fresh perspective of your role because in many cases there are things that we could do to continue to maximize, and I say maximize our role because there are so many different things when we are more innovative and think creatively and start to think about what else is missing, what else can I do, what else does the business need and where is there a demand for it, what could I be more innovate around in terms of creating? So one example I’ll just share in that regard, I’ll say one thing that’s happening in many organizations is change. Change is inevitable. Companies are constantly looking at doing things differently. They’re reorging, managing things from a different perspective, and I like to say it’s a good idea to be proactive as it relates to change. So not just looking and waiting for change to happen to you, but be proactive and think about what other ways can I organize my team myself, how can I see what I’m doing from a different perspective that can help provide and drive more results for our business partners that we serve the sales organization to satisfy their customers.

OF: That is fantastic. You touched on a few really important and timely things there, you mentioned the great resignation and all of this change that’s been happening. One of the things that really stood out to me in your book is you share a lot of stories about overcoming obstacles in order to achieve success and you really dive into your own journey. I’d love to hear about what are some of those challenges that you faced in your career, and how did you personally go about overcoming them.

JH: Sure, and one of the things I’d like to say is that challenge is something that’s inevitable. It’s part of the process. For me, I’ve had some unique challenges. They were unique to me, but to me, I’d imagine a lot of people can relate to them, but I’ve had periods of time throughout my career where I’ve been in roles, where I’ve been there for a while, where I felt stagnated to that last question and in some cases, it started making me think about things from a negative perspective and start going down a negative path and thinking about the business that I was in at the time, not being so great and nowhere is this really going anyway. It started to show up in my work and I remember one of my leaders at the time who I had a great relationship with, we had to have a hard conversation and he started to challenge me around my thinking and my attitude, and the way I was showing up for work and it had me think about my career and it was like, you know what, either I’m all in or I’m not in at all. I’d rather not be lukewarm and I decided at that particular moment given what was happening to leave that particular organization when everything was great, but I decided to leave and I went to another organization because I wanted to learn more about the training industry and I went to this, what I call a much smaller boutique firm versus the traditional fortune 500 company and this petite small organization had a major or change brought in. They were actually acquired by another company and the leader came in and they took a look at, you know what they normally do the business, and one particular day I remember they came in and basically said things were changing and they were gonna have to let me go. I like to use the phrase, I was fired.

So talking about having a career challenge, it’s like you’re pursuing something, you leave a great job, you don’t have to leave to go for something that is a dream job and you get fired. So for me, it was something that I had to really think about because at first, it was just unbelievable. Like I can’t believe I actually got fired. Just thinking about my background, it never happened before and it could really hurt mentally and emotionally, but the way to help overcome is to remember who you are, is to go back to the foundations and some of the things that helped to inspire me was to really remember who I was and to start to look forward versus backward, and to start to recognize what are all the great things that I was able to learn and achieve and what else do I want and really do have the paradigm shift about my situation to find the good and to start to take on the mentality that you know what this is working well for me, this is gonna work out for my benefit, to have that mindset that no matter what I go through that this is temporary, and that’s something that I think it’s important for us all to remember is that things are seasonal, temporary and I think what gets many people in trouble is sometimes they make permanent decisions based on a temporary situation. Having that mindset that this is short-term, “I’m going to get through it”, “things are gonna work out”, and literally, things did work out. Of course, hindsight is 20/20 and when I look back on it, if I didn’t go through that situation, I wouldn’t even have this opportunity of talking to you about overcoming obstacles.

OF: Absolutely, and I love that perspective about looking forward rather than looking back and I think that’s a big theme throughout the whole book as well, you talk a lot about hope and one thing that I really loved also at the beginning of the book is you define hope as confident expectation and I loved that phrasing that just really stood out to me. I’d love to hear a little bit more about how confidence really does play a role in the ability to achieve your career goals.

JH: Yes, I’m loving your questions, Olivia, by the way. In terms of confidence and you had mentioned hope and I’ll even share, that I like to define hope by using it as an acronym. H, have a big dream. O, overcome obstacles, P, perceive the best in every situation. E, expect to receive. Confidence comes more from the more that we move forward and the more that we are, and I’ll use the word to have integrity with ourselves. Keeping promises to ourselves helps to build confidence in ourselves. So it’s not necessarily achieving the big hairy, audacious goals, but it’s the small daily things that we’re doing that’s leading to the ultimate goals that start to build confidence. In other words, if my big goal as an example is I’ll even say working in the enablement space and even getting there and knowing that hey, there’s a path to get there and there’s a path to thrive there and what am I going to do on a daily basis, and part of that is development and learning of myself and taking advantage of what’s available, what’s out there and organizations and platforms, such as Sales Enablement PRO and thinking about, you know, what else can I learn and grow and reading and doing things to really help.

It’s the daily things that you do and that I have done that helped to build the momentum from saying I’m gonna get up and I’m gonna work out and to actually do it. All of a sudden it builds that confidence. It’s like this morning I went to Orange Theory at five AM Class and it’s nothing like that to be able to say I got it in and it’s those little things that help you to stand that much taller because its promises that I’ve been keeping to myself and then it allows me to carry that on from an exercise work out to the work now all of a sudden because I did that and I know it was something I said I was going to do, I did it. Now when I’m in the meeting, I’m sitting back because I had my certain ounces of water that I said I was going to drink. Again these promises to myself just help to reinforce and build confidence and self-assurance within me so when I’m in the room in the tough decisions and tough conversations and hard meetings, because of all the smaller things that I do that helped me to really believe in myself, it really makes a difference of building confidence. So keeping promises to ourselves on the little things that lead to the bigger things.

OF: That is fantastic advice and I love that you touched on there really being true to yourself and you talk a lot about authentic leadership in the book as well and when you’re talking about developing your authentic leadership style, one of the things that you advise is for people to adapt rather than to adopt. I’d love to hear from you first of all, what are some of the ways that people can really identify what their authentic leadership style is, and then how can they begin to actually put that into practice within the context of their role and their organization?

JH: Sure. Now I’ll begin as relates to authenticity and it’s important and I know we love to use the phrase I’m keeping it real and I’m being real to myself and that person they’re so authentic and we love using those phrases and what it really does mean being who we really are. I like to say one of the ways that help us to align with that is aligning to our values. It’s going back to the foundation of what matters most to me and why. Thinking about that, helps us to remain authentic to who we are. The other thing you mentioned, I share the story of adapting, not adopting. What I mean by that is in an organization within a team because sometimes I think we can go way to the extreme with saying, hey, I’m just being authentic by being disrespectful and telling someone thinks I was just, you know, being honest and telling them. There’s always a way of doing things and handling things versus trying to just say, oh, I’m just being authentic.

When I say adapt, not adopt, what I mean is when I’m in a work environment, when I’m in a group organization, it’s important that I am able to flex and adapt my style, adapt my authenticity to fit in the flow within the team versus trying to force my way on others and the example that I love to use is the dancing example with your at a wedding and they’re doing a line dance and everyone is dancing to the same song, same beat, we’re doing the same thing, but if you narrow in on one person, they may be dealing with a little extra flair. So, it’s like I’m flowing with everyone else yet I’m being authentic to my own style and that’s the idea of the high authenticity and the workgroup is yes, be true to yourself, make sure that you’re in harmony with the overall team and the culture of your organization, but doing it in a way that fits who you naturally are.

OF: Yeah, that is a fantastic way to kind of reframe authenticity outside of the way that people might often relate to it, so that’s fantastic. As you know, a business function that’s relatively new and maturing in a lot of organizations, sales enablement leaders are often really focused on trying to elevate the visibility of sales enablement and really establish the credibility of the function across the organization. I’d love to hear some of your advice on how authentic leadership can really help sales enablement leaders carve out their place within the organization and establish a really meaningful path to success.

JH: When I think of the overall function of sales enablement, it is a pivotal role within organizations. I know there are various names for it, from revenue enablement to field enablement and sales enablement, but it’s all around the empowerment of our sales colleagues, and thinking from that perspective, it’s a critical role. In some cases, I know in different organizations the thought is, oh, I want to demonstrate and prove the value that we bring to the table which is important, and in many cases, we can do things on analytics and running numbers and I know one of the things that I did in my role as a test and control group for those who attended trainings that we put on versus those who didn’t and we looked at their sales results and there was a correlation that demonstrated those who attend the training tend to have better results and they’re the sales ranking reports are better. It’s doing things like that.

When it comes to being authentic and helping with the enablement function and knowing that yes, it is new, it’s always existed just in a different format and a different name and it wasn’t necessarily enablement, but all organizations understand the importance of training and development for sales and sales is the part of the organization that’s bringing and the revenue is bringing in the money and they say nothing happens until something is sold. So you can have the best products, best solutions, best engineering, and best technology, but if people aren’t selling, then what good is it doing? So because we are enabling empowering and helping them to be able to drive more results, this is a critical role and it helps to stand more confident knowing like, hey we have a seat at this table because of the role that we play without the development, without the learning, without the growing, without new hires coming on board and having a plan of action without the tenured sales, people being able to be developed without the leaders being able to have the right coaching skills to bring out the best and to reinforce all the training, then it can go in one ear and out the other or we can kind of get lax and start doing things our own way.

One of the other things that’s very important today in the sales environment is best sales practices and compliance and doing it the right way and the enablement function plays a role with that as well and really helps to stay within the lanes that need to be stayed in in this environment today to be able to drive results the right way by being empowered through the enablement organization.

OF: I love that advice and I love what you emphasize around really empowering the sales organization. That is fantastic advice. Jeff, I love this conversation. I just have one final question for you. For enablement practitioners that might just be starting out on their journey or maybe who are looking to refocus their careers, how can they begin to actually identify and set the right goals to reignite that sense of purpose in their careers?

JH: I appreciate the question, especially around igniting that sense of purpose and there’s a quote that says, I can help enough people do what they want, the problem is most people don’t know what they want. I use that as an example of understanding the importance of having a goal and having a focus and making a decision on what it is that you want. When I think about those new to enablement, thinking about getting into enablement and the impact and really stirring up, I’ll even say the fire on the inside to get excited about being in this type of a role, is remembering the foundation of what it does. When we talk about the word, empower the word, I like to view it from the perspective of helping people to develop what’s already there. It’s helping to enhance, to take to another level. There’s a quote that says, if you’ve already done it, that’s not potential. Potential is what you have yet to do, enablement is a function that helps people to maximize their potential to discover what’s still there that has yet to be maximized, that has yet to be fulfilled, and understand that.

When you’re thinking about a career like this, understand that this is a career that makes a difference, it’s a career that makes an impact. So the part to get excited about is looking at the end result of what it’s doing. When you see the revenues and you hear about, companies’ sales and results know that behind the scenes, somebody helped to enable that to make that happen and understand that the enablement function is a critical role that really drives results for the organization and just like the sales organization can take credit and say, hey look at what we did. We within the enablement space can sit back and say yes, but without us, it would not have happened and with us, it did happen. So enablement is a great place to be with great opportunities and future prospects.

OF: I love that, Jeff, thank you so much for sharing all of this insight with our audience. I certainly learned a ton from you, so I know our audience will too, thank you again.

JH: My pleasure, thank you so much Olivia.

OF: To our audience, we definitely recommend picking up a copy of Jeff’s book, The Inspired Career will share a link to that for you all. Thanks, and to our audience we absolutely recommend picking up a copy of Jeff’s book, The Inspired Career, and will include a link to that in the transcript. Thanks for listening for more insights, tips, and expertise from sales enablement leaders visit salesenablement.pro and if there’s something you’d like to share or a topic that you’d like to learn more about, please let us know. We’d love to hear from you.

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