Episode OneHundredOne

The Right Way to Fail Forward

Guest: Rachael Rohn, President and Founder at Compass

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About This Episode

Tests are scary.

I don’t know anybody who would jump at the chance to relive an 11th-grade chemistry exam. That’s just downright stressful.

Although tests aren’t enjoyable for most people, there is one critical quiz you should conduct in interviews.

A humility test.

Regional President of Compass in Chicago, Rachael Rohn, fills us in on why humility in the workplace should be at the top of your list when you’re hiring. Three specific reasons surface:

  1. You want a team of accountability and ownership.
  2. Failing forward is a strength.
  3. You need consistency throughout interactions.

Let’s break it down.

1. Accountability and ownership prevail

Through her experiences, Rachael has found that a culture of humility is imperative to success. The two main elements of humility?

Accountability and ownership.

When conducting an interview, Rachael always makes sure to ask one question:

Tell me about a time you found yourself frustrated in your current role. Why?

The answer Rachael is searching for is not one of self-deprecation, but one of some degree of ownership. If a candidate recognizes that he or she could’ve handled something differently, it’s likely that the individual values humility.

Owning part of the blame shows that the candidate is ready to help find a solution. It also demonstrates the candidate’s ability to keep others in the organization accountable. Lastly, it shows the individual’s willingness to learn from past experiences.

2. Failing forward results in growth

Rachael admits that her team fails forward nearly every day.

Simply put, failing forward is learning from your mistakes. The only way this works for Rachael’s team is if all members value humility. It requires ownership and accountability to identify a fault and move forward.

If humility was not a priority, it would be challenging to identify where a problem originated from. Setting humility as a necessary characteristic allows for quick problem identification and minor repercussions if any. Humility helps the entire team resolve issues faster and propel ahead, ultimately affecting the bottom line.

3. Consistency throughout client interactions

The third reason why humility should be a characteristic of top candidates is that communication between team members and clients will be consistent. Hopefully, consistently excellent.

This aspect is especially important for remote teams. Rachael knows that her team treats customer interactions as significant from home as they do from the office. Communication milestones are always taken care of in a timely and friendly matter.

Moreover, customers know that their interactions with Compass will always be positive and professional.

The difference humility makes

Rachael stresses the importance of a culture free of pettiness and drama. When your team values humility, there will undoubtedly be a better work ethic and more helpful feedback.

Additionally, a humble team will increase productivity. When ownership and accountability are priorities, constructive criticism will be just that: constructive. This leads to honest internal communication and boosted progress.

What if a current employee isn’t valuing humility?

If a team member has demonstrated a lack of ownership and accountability, Rachael suggests keeping an eye out for…

… poor work ethic.

… blaming others.

… counter-productive feedback.

Once these actions turn into patterns, it’s a red flag.

Do you find yourself on the other side of the interview desk? Remember that outstanding employers like Rachael are concerned about humility. If you also value this characteristic, be on the lookout for like-minded organizations.

Prioritizing humility

Tests aren’t always fun but they’re necessary.

Testing candidates on humility is essential to the success of your team and brand. Keep in mind that…

… accountability and ownership are necessary for growth.

… the ability to fail forward is a strength.

… humility results in consistency through customer interactions.

Plus, valuing humility results in happier and healthier work culture. Don’t overlook the power of humility in business.

This post is based on a podcast interview with Rachael Rohn from Compass. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to The Sales Engagement Podcast.

If you don’t use iTunes, you can listen to every episode here.

About The Podcast

The Sales Engagement podcast is the #1 podcast focused on engaging your customers and prospects in the modern sales era. This show features real-life stories and best practices from revenue leaders doing the job day in and day out, in a casual, radio-like talk show.

Each episode features modern tactics, strategies, hacks, and tips to get the most out of your sales engagement strategy and help you navigate the next generation of sales. You’ll find energetic talks that will provide you with real actionable value around building meaningful connections and creating a better selling experience through authentic conversations that you can measure.

The Sales Engagement podcast is here to help B2B sales leaders, customer success leaders, and marketing leaders innovate and usher in the next era of modern sales by building pipeline, up-selling customers, and ultimately generating more revenue with more efficiency.

Hosted by Joe Vignolo, Senior Content Managing Editor at Outreach, and Mark Kosoglow, Vice President of Sales at Outreach.

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