Focus discussion of the week:
Join Chelsey Keenan and special guest, Jessi Kelly. Jessi is Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Stylecraft, a homebuilder in Texas. Enjoy these key takeaways on everything from mindset, to delegating, to leadership in the housing industry.
Chelsey: [00:00:00] Hi, and welcome to Building Perspective with Group Two, we are here to bring value to you and your team by exploring all things, new home sales and marketing all from different perspectives.
Hi everyone. And welcome back to Building Perspective. I’m your host today, Chelsey Keenan, and I have Jessi Kelly with me. Jessi, we’re so, so excited to have you here. It’s a really special week in, I don’t know when everybody’s gonna be listening to this, but hopefully before National Management Training Week. And I know we talked before that this is one of your passions, and so just to kick it off, tell us Jessi, a little bit about yourself, what your background is, and why you’re so passionate about leadership.
Jessi: Absolutely. And thank you so much for having [00:01:00] me. I know we started talking about this, it seems like months ago. And then we found the perfect opportunity to get together and talk because this is, you know, definitely what I’m passionate about and what I’m more interested in. So, I’m Jessi Kelly, I’m the Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Style Craft.
I started as a Sales Assistant with Stylecraft in 2013, and just kind of worked my way up. And I’ve been VP for a little over five years now. So we’re a Texas based builder. I don’t know that everyone is aware of that. We’re kind of all over Texas, but I am from a very small town in Texas about. I think it’s population like 800.
Chelsey: Oh my gosh.
Jessi: Yeah. So I love to compete with people when they say they’re from a small town. I’m like, how small? Right. And I, I usually win. So I grew up kind of West of Houston. And I live in Waco now because I met my husband in college about 19, I don’t wanna age myself, but 19 years ago and his family business is in Waco. So I live in Waco, but I drive all over Texas because we build, [00:02:00] pretty much….
Chelsey: All over Texas.
Jessi: Yes. Yes.
Chelsey: That’s so great. I always thought I grew up in a really small town, but I just grew up in a small high school. My high school was a little less than 800 people. But, woo, an entire town. I could not imagine that. We can dive into this a little bit more. This is a little off script, but I would like to know if you think that growing up in a small town at all shaped your leadership styles at all. Keep that in the back of your mind. I love kind of listening about people’s backgrounds and what led them to their interest and what they love today.
Jessi: Yeah. Well, I kind of wanna jump on that.
Chelsey: Go for it.
Jessi:I don’t think anybody’s ever asked me that question before, and it did. It absolutely did. And I think I might just be realizing this right now.
Chelsey: All right. Welcome to Building Perspective: Therapy Edition.
Jessi: Yeah, it absolutely did because I grew up in a small [00:03:00] country town and there was zero entitlement, you know, there was none of the, you know, the spoiled kid syndrome happening where I grew up. My parents definitely taught me the value of working hard and that’s something that I’ve carried through. And so there are definitely times where my team will say, “Hey, take it easy. Hey, we can take a break. Hey, we can let our foot off the gas.” I’m always saying there’s no task too humbling. You know just, if it needs to be done, let’s do it all hands on deck. So I love that you asked that question because nobody’s ever asked me that and it absolutely is true.
Chelsey: Well, I think small towns and growing up in small environments, again, I’m from a very small town. We had one elementary school, one middle school, one high school. And I was always, always used to being a big fish in a small pond.
Chelsey: And when I meet other people, sometimes there’s that same drive, and [00:04:00] I always feel that the people that grew up in small, small towns that were used to going a bit above and beyond just to do an everyday task because you didn’t have all the resources that you might have in a large city, you normally have that gut and that grit when you grow up in your career. So yeah, I do think it’s really interesting and I see that a lot with you and your drive and your passion for what you do. And the housing industry is really large, but I see you kind of fighting your way to forge a path to be a larger fish in an even larger pond.
Jessi Right. You will know our name. Everybody hear it. Stylecraft. Yeah, definitely.
Chelsey: Yeah. And a lot of times that drive drives from somewhere, it can’t just pop up overnight. So yeah, it’s really cool. Let’s do a whole podcast on your background and growing up. [00:05:00] Going into, like, I was talking before a little bit of this National Management Training Week, and I just wanna know a little bit about what importance does training hold to you and what importance does being a leader in this industry hold to you?
Jessi: Yeah. How much time do we have?
Jessi: Yeah. Well, and the reason why I could talk forever on that is I have firsthand experience of benefiting from, you know, some of the best coaches in our industry. We’ve had access to coaches and training and Stylecraft, I’m very, very lucky to work for a company with an owner that believes wholeheartedly and, you know, find somebody who does it a little bit better than you and learn from them. You know, early on, everybody knows Myers Barnes, everybody knows the name…
Chelsey: Shoutout Myers.
Jessi: Yes. They joke on the Myers queen. He took me from Sales Assistant all the way to VP and was my [00:06:00] coach for, you know, selling and for leadership and for marketing, you know, he kind of did it all during that period of time. And so I benefited a ton from him. And then if you switch it around now, I’m responsible for my team’s training. Right. And so, because, you know, I was afforded that opportunity early on. I understand the value and the importance of it because I would not be in this role, no way, if I didn’t have help from, you know, not just Myers, but also from other people in our industry. I see you, you know, around at conferences and you probably understand too. Go find people, that you know, it’s, it’s cool to find people that are like you, that’s nice because nobody else really understands what we do than the people in our industry. But find somebody that does things a little bit better than you, a little bit different than you, and, you know, pick their brains and then turn around and provide value to them and help each other out and always make time for anybody that asks for that. So I encourage my team of leadership to do that as well. But it’s also about [00:07:00] not doing the same thing forever.
Jessi: Right. So, you know, we do switch it up with our coaches and we do switch it up a little bit with our material and things like that. But I think it’s just really, really important to provide them the opportunity to not only have industry experts, but you have to adopt that and you have to be constantly growing yourself and set that example. And then you can’t train everybody the same. One size does not fit all. And we know that. So just really leaning into understanding that everybody learns differently. And also, probably should have started with this with training the teams…
Something that I learned early on was, you know, I came in as a new manager, sort of guns blazing. Right. I had this team that was, we did some rebuilding, I’ll say that. And so a lot of processes had to be established and things like that. So I came in hot and I’ve learned to chill since then, but it was necessary at the time. And what I became frustrated with a little bit early on was get this, get this [00:08:00] fast, and here it is for everyone in a nice pretty package, and everybody just eat this up and let’s go do the things. This is what works for me. It will work for you, right?
Jessi: And Nope, no.
Chelsey: Not always the way it works.
Jessi: No. And especially in sales, the reason why salespeople are very good at what they do, the ones who are truly professionals is because they are unique and they do it their way. So of course you have to have the fundamentals and, you know, the base knowledge and all of that, but it has to be stylistically their own because otherwise you’re a robot speaking a script and it’s just not. And so I learned that early on is everybody is going to do it differently. Just help them figure out how to do it the best way that they can do it.
Chelsey: So how did you find your style? Because obviously if anyone’s ever talked to Myers, you know, he’s got a style, you could hear one sentence and know that’s Myers, that came from Myers mouth, which is fantastic because you build a brand and you build recognition. So how did you [00:09:00] discover what you wanted your leadership style to be? Obviously it’s different, you have to adapt to the people you’re training, but how did you kind of come about, “I want to brand myself as this type of leader.”
Jessi: God, I don’t even know that I ever said, this is what I want to be. I think that it just sort of organically evolved because I am no resemblance today of what I was back then. I mean, it’s been seven years since I started in management here. And you learn and you get better. Right. But I know, like I said, I came in guns blazing, right. Very hands on, very, you know, really in there. And I also, speaking of, you know, growing up small town, I have that some people criticize, I have that, “I’m not gonna ask you to do it if I can’t do it” kind of thing.
Chelsey: Oh yeah.
Jessi: And so, but what you have to be careful with that is, you know, first of all, you don’t wanna micromanage. Everybody hates that. Second is if you’re talking about the relationship that I have with my leadership team, something, the biggest thing that I [00:10:00] learned over time from getting, you know, started with Myers and then fine tuning over the years is that when you don’t relinquish that control and you don’t let them grow, you’re stifling them.
Jessi: So if you’re hoarding all of those things that you just think you’re so good at, and nobody can do this as good as I can. You’re stifling your team. And you have to relinquish some of that control to them. And so my leadership style now is far different where, you know, and of course we’ve built up trust in our team. It’s not like, you know, we’re a new team and I’m just like, good luck. It’s not that, we’ve been together for years. And so we have that trust built up. But I think that you just have to realize at some point that you hire amazing people, you train them, you provide them the tools, you provide them coaching, you hold them accountable, but let them do their thing. That’s why you hired them in the first place.
Chelsey: Delegating is extremely hard. It’s extremely difficult. And being able to give up your baby [00:11:00] and the things you’ve worked so hard to create is so difficult. So what tips do you have other than what you just said too, about letting people grow, it’s better for them. What tips do you have for people that are holding on to a lot of those responsibilities? What’s the easiest way to shed that? Some tangible delegating processes that people can work on to shed some of that quickly?
Jessi: So Chad Sanschagrin, another name that everybody knows, right?
Jessi: He has really been helping our team a lot with this specifically because it trickles all the way down.
Jessi: Right, it really does. And so I think the biggest thing for getting comfortable with delegating, for somebody who is a bit of a control freak sometimes, is check your ego. Because guess what? You believed in these people on your team so much that you’re entrusting them. Right. It’s a big deal. And so why do you think you’re better at this thing? Because it’s not true, right. You’re [00:12:00] just feeding your ego. Not for everything, right. There’s some things that obviously you need to, you know, continue to manage, but just the mindset side of it and reminding myself that I’m delegating not to create capacity for myself, I’m delegating to allow them to grow.
Jessi: Because guess what, if for some reason I’m not here tomorrow, are they prepared? And that’s your job is to create the future leaders. It’s not to be the genius with a million followers, right?
Jessi: That’s not what we’re here to do. Not that I’m, by any means that, that’s just a term that I’ve heard before, but that’s not what you want. It’s not the environment that you wanna create. Right.
Chelsey: Wow. This is really, this is cathartic for me. I’m learning so much just listening to you. And I’m sorry everyone, I sent Jessi a ton of questions ahead of time, and I have not asked like any of those questions. I’ve just come up with questions as she’s talking that I want to know about. So thanks for improving here, Jessi.
Jessi: Yeah. That’s a hot topic right now for sure. And I bet a [00:13:00] lot of other people listening can relate to this. What I noticed is, pre-pandemic, we had done a pretty good job of delegating, you know, responsibilities and decision making and things like that. And then the pandemic happened. And just because of what was going on because of the situation, we had to pull some of that back and say, okay, well now we can’t make decisions the way that we had before with the parameters that you had in place. Now, everything is crazy. We’re in the upside down, we don’t know what’s happening. And so we pulled a lot of that back. And I actually was guilty of just relinquishing it again, you know, to try to get it back to the pre. And so that’s something that we’ve been working on, you know, more recently.
Chelsey: Well, I also think that doesn’t necessarily just have to do with our industry. I think we went through a time where nobody knew what was gonna happen in our personal lives and our professional lives. And to have control of something, the easiest thing you could have control over, [00:14:00] was your work and what you were doing from a day to day basis. And so from a control issue standpoint, you took that all back, and I’m guilty of doing that too during the pandemic. I was great at delegating and then it just became a lot harder during the pandemic. And then now getting back now that things are normalizing a bit in the outside world, you’re like, all right, I can get back being a bit more normal with my workload as well.
Jessi: And there’s no shame in admitting that, right?
Jessi: I think it’s really good to have, I enjoy a coach that will gimme a swift kick. I enjoy that. I’m like, hit me between the eyes, which is case in point. Love Myers, love Chad. Right. Those are coaches that will really be direct with you. But I think it’s important if you surround yourself with people that can be objective and say, like Chad saying, “Hey, why are you doing these things? You don’t need to be doing these things. Your team is well capable of doing that.” And you’re not wrong. So thank you.
Chelsey: It is. It’s nice to kind of be put in [00:15:00] check sometimes.
Jessi: Yes, everybody needs that.
Chelsey: This leads me a bit into my next question of mindset. We talked a lot about your mindset as a leader, your mindset as a team. So can you go into a little bit of how having a positive mindset specifically affects everything and really changes how you lead and how other people perceive you as a leader too?
Jessi: Yeah, and that’s one of those things that, you know, if you’re a new leader or you’ve been doing it for a while, you know that there’s some things that you can fake it until you make it. That’s not one of them. Your mindset is not something that you can hide. It comes out in ways that can really be damaging for the people around you, and to yourself, what you’re telling yourself, you know, just your self talk. That’s also important. And it’s also something that’s kind of intangible, right? A lot of people have trouble coaching that because it’s going to be an uncomfortable conversation, right? [00:16:00] Ew run away. We don’t want to do that. Feelings. I’m the worst at that.
Chelsey: Yeah, ew. Feelings. Gross.
Jessi: Yeah. Gross. But they’re there. So let’s deal with them. And if you don’t, then you’re not gonna be able to perform in whatever role it is that you’re in. So for a salesperson, that’s easy. What happens? It conveys to your buyer. And nobody wants to buy a house from a miserable person, right.
Chelsey: You’re right.
Jessi: Nobody wants to do that. I’ll use a Myers quote that he told me, I don’t know how long ago, but “You relinquish the right to be negative when you step through those model home doors.” And that’s so true, but I’d like to take it further. And why don’t we just try to be positive most of the time, right? But that’s a good one to remember. But it’s true, it conveys straight to the buyer and then you get, you know, head trash going on and you get into a sales slump and, you know, it’s terrible for a salesperson and for a leader, for a manager, what are you modeling for them? Are you complaining? You know, and that’s one of the Cardinal sins is don’t complain to your team, right? It’s hard not to do, we all do it from time to time, but try to check yourself. [00:17:00]
And then the other thing that we’ve really been working on since we’ve been, everybody’s transitioning out of the pandemic, you know, we’re trying to get away from that period of time and try to get to some semblance of normalcy. But what we sort of were guilty of during that time, when it was so difficult and we were just, like you said it was so crazy and uncertain and so busy all the time, just appointment after appointment, and it was on fire is, you know, we may have swung too far into just listening because there wasn’t much that could be done during that time. Just you do what you can, but I can’t fix that thing for you. We’re just gonna have to get through this. So when you listen all the time and you get into that practice, well, guess what? Now you really have to, if somebody is in the ditch, say one of your people is just in the ditch, can’t get out. terrible mindset, everything stinks. Well, it’s our job to lean into that conversation and get to the root of it. Because if you do the easy thing, which is, “Ugh, you seem not happy. So I’m just gonna do the least amount that I can. I’m gonna get outta here, cause I don’t wanna have this uncomfortable conversation.” [00:18:00] That’s the opposite of what you should be doing. And it’s for a few reasons. Number one, they’re not gonna get outta that ditch themselves. How could they? You shouldn’t expect for them to, and just fix this yourself with no tools, just go do this. That’s not gonna happen. So that’s the first thing there. It’s just gonna continue, which is gonna affect everything. And then the second thing is you’ve just missed a massive opportunity to get to the root of the issue, lean into the conversation, find out what’s going on with that person, build the trust, rebuild the trust, whatever it is. So you earn the right to coach them out of it. Because if you just come in, like I said earlier, new manager me, do this, it’s great, believe me, it doesn’t work. You have to build that relationship in order for them to even want to listen to you because all that knowledge that you have, it’s worthless if they don’t care.
Chelsey: I think we took so much time and you talked about just getting used to listening and listening and not taking a proactive approach to anything because everyone was coming to us that we stopped asking [00:19:00] questions.
Chelsey: We stopped asking questions to sales people. I mean, everyone was doing great with sales, and so even in marketing, you didn’t have to ask questions all the time because you just listened and what we need next, what we need next, that we all kind of got away from remembering to ask questions and remembering to be curious, and to dig a little bit deeper to, like you said, find the root of the problem. And I think that stems from the work that you’re doing on a day to day basis and filters it in and trickles in to management. And your interior work, too.
Jessi: Yeah. And everybody knows this, when sales are up, all the work is more, right. All the work is increased when the sales are increased, and that actually hides the problem because you can’t see them. All you can see are, you know, all those numbers coming in and then what all those sold homes mean for everyone else in the organization.
Chelsey: We’re getting real deep here. I hope everyone’s taking [00:20:00] notes.
So this is a little bit of a different question, but I always like to know the answer to this, because of course I talk to sales people and talk to marketers every day, but this is not what I do from a day to day. So I always hear that sales can be a very siloed type of role. Maybe there’s one person in the model at a time, or you are just at an appointment with yourself. And then I hear about these sales meetings, and I wanna know from your perspective, how do you keep your entire team, team-focused and team-oriented and have a team mindset when sales can be such a siloed role?
Jessi: Yup. So by nature it actually makes sense that they would feel more individual, and more apart from than a part of because like you said, they’re out in a model home by themselves. Guess what? They only make money when they [00:21:00] perform and sell that home. You know, some people have team based incentives. Some people do that, sell as a team. But for the most part, it’s you, it’s up to you to get it done. Right. So, because those things are already sort of natural and inherent to that position, just don’t do anything else to add to that. That’s enough alone, right? So, you can do things to try to mitigate that. Right. I love team based incentives. I love, you know, let’s all achieve this area goal or this quarterly goal. And then we can, you know, do this or that. And that’s something that we’re getting back to again, post pandemic, cause we can all, you know, gather and be together and celebrate and things, but also just visibility. So we do smaller teams, we have four different regions and each team is less than, it’s like ten or less.
Chelsey: Oh, okay.
Jessi: On the sales team. And so we do, you know, kind of smaller teams and they each have their own Regional Sales Manager. And so they meet in their smaller groups each week. We don’t have some big, massive meeting where you’re on a call and, you know, you hear from four people, that’s, that’s not what they do.[00:22:00] So it does help to be in smaller groups, just with them being heard. So that helps a lot, but then giving them visibility, you know, not just into how the company is doing or how they’re contributing to that. That’s all really good stuff too. But other departments. Because I know, oldest story in the book, right? Well, I guess there’s a couple of them within our industry is, construction and sales, just butting heads. Right. You know, sales will say they didn’t get it done fast enough or, you know, they didn’t meet expectations. And then construction will say, well, you set improper expectations and I can’t ever make good on some, you know, so it’s just, that’s natural too. But if you can just give visibility into each department and do some cross training and get ’em together and just have more understanding, that helps a lot because you’re not just on the sales team, we’re all on the same team.
Jessi: And if we’re not all doing our part, then we’re not here. Right. So that’s part of it. And I wanna touch back on the being heard thing.
Jessi: Because that’s another one of those, can be uncomfortable type things, but it’s far [00:23:00] worse not to know. The conversations that are had that you’re not present for is just, that’s never good. And so creating a safe, you know, I’m saying a lot of kind of hippy dippy words today, but creating…
Chelsey: No, it’s great.
Jessi: A safe, you know, space where they feel like I can say this and I know I’m not gonna be reprimanded for it because it’s okay for me to express feedback always professionally and kindly. Right. Those are my two favorite words with feedback. But just giving, you don’t even have to give ’em a voice. They have their own voice. Just give ’em a forum, give ’em a platform. And don’t stifle that because yes, some of it is just complaining. We do that sometimes, but a lot of the time they’re the ones on the front lines. They see what’s happening. They’re hearing more from competitors and from buyers. So even with design, they’re, our sales people are really great people to tap into because they’re the ones that catch all of those little comments when they’re walking somebody through a home about, we like this, we don’t like this, I wish this was that, this color is, you know, whatever, all that stuff. So just listen, just listening to them. And then [00:24:00] obviously if one of their ideas gets picked up, you know, and we do a process based off of it, or we do a floor plan, but that, that helps them feel more a part of it.
Chelsey: I think what you said there about being heard and especially tapping into that, your team, they’re the ones doing the day to day. They’re the ones that are the ground. You said it, hearing everything, seeing everything from a day to day perspective. And this goes all the way back to the delegating and thinking that you know better than they do. They’re doing the day to day work. And so they know a lot of things, a bit more than kind of managers that have been pulled out of the day to day.
Chelsey: And so it’s important, like you said, to listen to their feedback and to listen to what they have to say, because a lot of times, as you go up and up and up the hierarchy in a company, you don’t necessarily ever see that day to day anymore. [00:25:00]
Jessi: No. You get disconnected just naturally, because you’re not doing, that’s not your job to do that anymore. And isn’t it easy for managers and leadership to, you know, sit somewhere in an office and we’re gonna do this process and we’re gonna do this strategy. You’re not gonna do it. Somebody else is gonna do that.
Jessi: Right. And so…
Chelsey: You just design it.
Jessi: Yes. The least you can do is listen to the people who stand in front of that home buyer.
Jessi: And explain these things to them and have those tough conversations with the home buyers. The least you can do is listen, and then take that information and do something with it. We talked, you know, at the beginning of this call about coaching. You know, and I went on this whole thing about, I wish because I am the poster child for, I will take all the help I can get, give it to me. You know, I don’t ever want to get to a point where I feel like, ah, I just know it all, you know, hush, I don’t need you to tell me. I wish we all had that mindset. And I wish I even had it a little bit more because like you said, those sales people, they’re the ones doing it and they [00:26:00] know, and it’s okay if they offer you some information that is helpful. We should all be doing that. Just don’t just have that humility.
Chelsey: And I think when you give people the opportunity to say what they’ve seen, be heard, and then, like you said, if something that they say creates a domino effect, a positive domino effect and creates change, you have, and you show that person the change that they created by bringing up the topic that they saw needed a change, a lot of times the change is so much more heartfelt then and so much more meaningful than sometimes when a manager makes a change and you make changes every day, all day. So it’s just another cog in the wheel that’s getting switched out. But when someone who does not necessarily think they can make a day to day difference in the larger organization of [00:27:00] things and the way things run when they have the opportunity to do so, it pays back tenfold.
Jessi: Yeah, and we all have a responsibility to each other to give the feedback. As the leader, it’s your job to listen to the feedback and then you filter through, and that’s your job to identify what does need to be acted upon, right? It’s not their job to do that. It’s their job to give it to you. Right. You go figure out what to do with that, right.
Chelsey: Here’s my last question that I’ll ask you. I always ask this question. My friends make fun of me a lot. Peaks and pits.
Chelsey: What are some, you can give me one pit. I only, I, I like to do a lot of peaks. One pit. What are your biggest peaks and deepest pits that you’ve experienced while in leadership and training? And we all learn from our pits, right? You have your pit and you make peaks out of it. So what are your peaks and pits?
Jessi: Yeah, this is the worst question for me [00:28:00] because I’m that person that’s like, let’s move on quickly and just make some new memories. And, you know, I don’t like to reflect a whole lot.
Chelsey: We’ve touched a lot of uncomfortable topics.
Jessi: I know, that’s the name of the game now, right? If you can get comfortable with being uncomfortable, you can do a lot more, but. So just some things that, I think, hard lessons, were probably peak. It could be a peak and a pit, right. Break down to breakthrough kind of thing. But have you ever heard of the one thing exercise?
Jessi: This exercise is where, let’s say you sat down with your team of direct reports, and you would each go around and you would say one thing that you wish that person would just keep doing. We love it. We really appreciate this about you. And then you have to say one thing that you wish that person would start doing or stop doing, or you have to give one of each, right? And so we do this exercise, you know, a couple times a year. And I do it with the executive team, so I get to hear what they think. And then I get to do it with my team as well. And one of the things that [00:29:00] hit me a little bit kind of outta left field was not everyone knows what you know. I still struggle with it. I may always struggle with it. I’m working on it. But I have this thing where, you know, somebody will ask a question or, you know, we are working through an issue or something and I’ll get this face. Not everybody else can see this face, but you can see it. And it’s that “Why don’t you already know this?” Because I just assume that everybody knows, or I’ve already had this internal conversation that they weren’t a part of, and I’m not realizing that I’m going over here and they’re still way over here.
Jessi: Right. Because it’s my fault that I haven’t included them. But just remembering, because that is a big source of frustration is expectation. Right. Just don’t expect that other people know what you know, or have the same visibility as you, or, you know, any of that. So that was really good feedback to get at something that I remind myself of a lot, changing.
Jessi: So I know we’ve already talked a little bit about this, you know, in 2015 or whatever it was when I first got promoted to manager. Like you said, I didn’t [00:30:00] know what kind of a leader I wanted to be. I hadn’t really considered that. I’m just me, you know, I’m just gonna lead as me. But it is important, and that has changed as I’ve grown through the years. And I hope it continues to, I think that it will, but you have more experiences and you learn more and you learn a lot more about yourself. And you have to change, you just cannot do the same thing that you’ve always done. And just, the fact that your team witnesses you growing constantly, walk the talk. Right. You know, if you expect them to continue to do that, you have to also. And then the other thing I was, I was gonna say for the team changes, right? So we talked a little bit about, you know, the state of the team during the pandemic or this or that, but I’ve had teams where we were in building phase, there was no team and you have to build a team, right. Or you’re rebuilding because you have a team and some of them not need to be on the team, need to not be on the team. Right. Or, you know, you have a team, we have this right now where our turnover rate [00:31:00] is basically non-existent on our sales team. It’s awesome.
Chelsey: That’s great.
Jessi: Yeah. I looked at a picture in a model home the other day from 2016 from our central Texas region, which is where I started managing, and of the 13 people in that picture, nine of us are still here.
Chelsey: Wow. That’s incredible.
Jessi: That’s huge for a sales team, right.
Chelsey: Especially within the past, I mean, 2016 is way pre pandemic, so that’s amazing.
Jessi: Yes, yes. And so we have this…
Chelsey: Kudos to all of you.
Jessi: To, to them, like we’re, we’re sticking with it, you know, but it’s such a luxury to have this group of people that are, they know, you know, they just know what they’re doing and they’re so good at it and they know the drill. bBut they crave, you know, continuing to grow too. Nobody wants to get stale. And so you just have to look at your team and what they need at the time, because they’re always evolving too. And so you just can’t apply the same strategy to every, you know, it’s just, the team today looks different than it did last year. Even if it’s the same people, [00:32:00] we’re in a different circumstance.
Chelsey: And they go through life events too that change their needs and their thought processes and their values. And you have to mold around that, you have to flex around that.
Jessi: Yeah. And I’m trying to think of any big, major pits. I’ve told this story before. I don’t know if you’ve heard it, but about two months into being a manager. Cause I went from selling to being a manager and it was, it was a challenge. Two months in, I went to my boss, Doug French, and said, “I don’t think…. I don’t know about this. I’m pretty good at selling. I think I’m gonna… Im gonna go do that.” And he was awesome. He’s, we’re not, we’re not gonna do that. Because, you know, he knew I was just having a day and he believed in me and, you know, he patted me on the back and gave me what I needed and sent me back out there. And it was the best thing he could have ever done for me. But even in hindsight, that’s just funny.
Jessi: It’s just funny now. I’m sure at the time I felt extremely overwhelmed, but I learned something from there and I think it’s probably what’s helped me kind of stay out of those pits. [00:33:00] And it’s just to keep going. And that happens, it’s happened a lot in the past few years.
Chelsey: That’s a hard pit to get out of.
Jessi: Yeah. And I had a baby in 2020, so, you know, it was a lot, but, just to keep going, because whatever the thing is, right. If it’s a difficult day or a difficult change in maybe company decisions or anything, or a difficult market. Let’s use that one.
Chelsey: Great example.
Jessi: Yeah. That one’s timely. Just keep going.
Jessi: Because I think I’ve found, you know, learning from stepping into his office and just to keep going is whatever that thing is, you get on the other side of it. And always for me, I can’t speak for everyone else, but it’s oh, okay. Well, I did that and I’m fine now. So the next time something like that happens, I know I can do that.
Jessi: And then just do that over and over and over again. And then…
Chelsey: It doesn’t seem so bad anymore.
Jessi: We’re nine years later and yeah.
Chelsey: All of a sudden, your pit’s just a puddle.
Jessi: Yes. Oh, [00:34:00] that’s so good. Write that down.
Chelsey: I’ll go back and re-listen to this and be like, Chelsey, shut up.
This is great. I’ve learned so much. And I, I know we had an initial discussion before this, about what we were gonna talk about, but thank you so much for coming on here and sharing all of your knowledge.
As a leader at Group Two, it’s really inspiring to listen to leaders in other companies. Sometimes you get so caught up with your own leadership team and the people that you work with on a day to day basis, that this is just a reminder to listen to other leaders and get to talk to other people. And we got to do this a lot at PCBC with the 40 Under 40, and that was really refreshing to just hear other leaders’ perspective, but to remember, to continue that conversation and…
Chelsey: And know that it’s not just a one stop shop to listen to other people and then go back to what you were [00:35:00] doing. It’s been great.
Jessi: Yes. And it’s fun right? Because it’s never done.
Chelsey: Yeah. Never done learning, never done growing.
Are there any last pieces, little golden nuggets of advice you wanna give our listeners about leadership and management before we sign off?
Jessi: I would say just, yes, it is a serious responsibility, but don’t take yourself so seriously that you don’t have a little fun, because it is a ton of fun and it’s extremely rewarding. You know, I think that people who are just crazy passionate about what we do, I’ll issue a challenge to everyone else. Please share.
Chelsey: Yeah. There’s your homework. Jess, I always try and give homework at the end of my podcast.
Jessi: So you share, share with me, I’ll take, like I said, I’ll take all the help I can get.
And then just do things like this because these conversations are the ones that I enjoy the most, because it’s real experience. It’s relatable and you can draw from it. So if I can do it and I’m the salesperson who’s an introvert, If I can get on here and do it, so can everyone else. [00:36:00]
Chelsey: If you have any other questions for Jessi, we’ll put her email in the show notes so you can reach out to her and ask her any questions. Again, thank you so much for coming on here. To all of our leaders and managers out there in the industry, you’re doing a fantastic job.
Jessi: Thank you. And thanks for having me.
Chelsey: Thanks guys, bye.