Value Heroics: Swapnil Saurav – A Value Hero Mentor to Many

Throughout the summer, DecisionLink is honoring the Value Heroes of organizations as a part of “Value Heroes: A Summer of Recognition.” We are sharing Value Hero stories on our blog of the leading influencers in value management, which were submitted by the value heroes themselves or by the sales professionals that they have supported. Our celebration of Value Heroes concludes on August 13 with our “Value Heroes Summit,” a town hall, virtual forum where value and sales professionals can connect, share stories and best practices and engage with like-minded professionals. Share your stories and join the conversation!

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Value Hero: Swapnil Saurav, Manager Problem Management, ServiceNow
Nominated by: Josh Lankford

While at JDA (now BlueYonder), Swapnil helped to build, mentor and lead a team of Value Professionals that performed analysis, created tools and supplemented the Value Team to enable them to increase their coverage and effectiveness.

In our time working together, Swapnil’s team became a linchpin for our team’s success. He steered the value engineering organization in JDA’s Center of Excellence and helped to ramp up capacity, leading to 200% revenue growth. He also worked closely with the Sales Account Manager to accomplish consistent results of $5M+ annual sales.

Thank you, Swapnil, for your tireless efforts, ever-present smile and brilliant capabilities!

Value Heroics: Andrew Rustemeyer – A Value Hero who Leans in When Faced with Roadblocks

Throughout the summer, DecisionLink is honoring the Value Heroes of organizations as a part of “Value Heroes: A Summer of Recognition.” We are sharing Value Hero stories on our blog of the leading influencers in value management, which were submitted by the value heroes themselves or by the sales professionals that they have supported. Our celebration of Value Heroes concludes on August 13 with our “Value Heroes Summit,” a town hall, virtual forum where value and sales professionals can connect, share stories and best practices and engage with like-minded professionals. Share your stories and join the conversation!

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Value Hero: Andrew Rustemeyer

The sales cycle was going as smoothly as ever, but we hit a major roadblock when a customer said they could no longer move forward with the project due to the fact that the investment would be raising their Operation & Maintenance expenses. Because of the increase in expenses they were forecasting, they would need government approval to move forward, which would take over a year to even get in front of a review board.

At this point, all hope was lost.

Enter… our Value Hero.

After thorough analysis, we were able to conclude that the benefits from the investment not only covered the investment costs, but actually reduced their O&M expenses significantly. This was a huge win to change the customer’s perspective and give them the quantitative business justification that they needed to move forward. Because of the value analysis, we were able to close the deal a few weeks later.

Understanding the Numbers – A Guest Blog with David Brock

By David Brock

David Brock is the Author of “Sales Manager Survival Guide,” CEO of Partners in EXCELLENCE, and is a ruthless pragmatist. View David’s original post and read more of his work on his blog, Partners in EXCELLENCE, here.

When we talk about business, we quickly get to talking about the numbers–revenue, profit, EBITDA, EPS, growth, market cap, market share, customer retention, customer satisfaction, headcount, productivity, inventory, cash flow, assets, liabilities, and on and on. SaaS companies have invented their own versions of the numbers, including ARR, CLV, LTV, CAC, MRR, Churn, and so forth.

The numbers generally represent goals, or where we are in achieving those goals. The numbers aren’t what companies do, or why we do what we do, or even how we are doing those things, but they are indicators of how well we are doing those things and the progress we are making.

The numbers span financial performance, operational performance, productivity, activity, and other dimensions. Some are more important than others, some are leading indicators, some are trailing indicators, but it’s important to understand how they interrelate and the things that underly them (the what, why, how).

As a result, they are inevitably important parts of the conversations our customers are having.

Each customer and each function within our customers have different numbers that are important to them. And they measure their progress in very different ways. But it’s these numbers that are critical to them and helping them achieve their goals.

If we are to engage our customers in a meaningful way, we have to understand their numbers–those that are important to them, why they are important, what they mean. We have to understand their performance against those numbers.

We have to be comfortable in talking to them about their business–and their numbers. We have to be able to translate what we do to help them with their numbers. We have to be able to discuss how we can drive improvement in their numbers.

Sadly, too few salespeople understand and can do this. They haven’t taken the time to understand what they mean and how they can be influenced. They don’t understand which numbers might be the most important. They don’t understand how to talk to the customers about them and how to change them.

But it’s these numbers that our customers care about. And if we don’t understand them, if we can’t talk about them, if we can’t show how we can help impact them, positively, then we don’t understand our customers and struggle to have impactful conversations with them.

If we don’t understand the numbers, if we don’t understand what they mean to the customer, if we don’t understand what drives them and how we can help the customer influence them, we don’t understand how we create value with the customer.

But now, I come to another set of issues–do we understand our own number? Sadly, too often, salespeople and managers don’t understand their number. Of course, they know quota and quota performance. They may have pipeline metrics and activity metrics.

But understanding the numbers means understanding what they mean and identifying leverage points that drive our performance. But this is another blog post…

Value Heroics: Donna Borden – A Value Hero Who Understands that Value is Just as Important as the Tech

Throughout the summer, DecisionLink is honoring the Value Heroes of organizations as a part of “Value Heroes: A Summer of Recognition.” We are sharing Value Hero stories on our blog of the leading influencers in value management, which were submitted by the value heroes themselves or by the sales professionals that they have supported. Our celebration of Value Heroes concludes on August 13 with our “Value Heroes Summit,” a town hall, virtual forum where value and sales professionals can connect, share stories and best practices, and engage with like-minded professionals.

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Value Hero: Donna Borden, Customer Solutions Director, SAP

I’ve been blessed to support some of the best salespeople in the world.

I’ve built my career in pre-sales, understanding both the technology and the business side of the transaction. Why? Because business value is the single most important consideration for any software purchase.

Customer executives will ask, “How will this impact my bottom line? How will this make things better for my customer? How will it bolster my brand? How will it positively impact my employees? How long will this take to implement and provide value?” As a Pre-Sales Director, I must ensure the customer is as comfortable with these answers, as he/she is with the functionality of the solution.

As an example, a large multi-level marketing beauty provider was forced to reassess their business solution, as their global “social commerce” model exploded. They were unable to source their products, unable to expand globally due to complex financial and regulatory requirements, unable to manage fulfilment across thousands of sellers, unable to manage product development on the scale required of a global company, etc.

I worked alongside the sales and the technical solutions team to develop a concise value proposition that outlined the financial and business benefits that come with adopting an enterprise ERP system. How did we measure this?

We considered and determined the financial impact of several items:

  • Higher productivity with real-time data and the ability to take action immediately
  • Better business insights with real-time financial data
  • Real-time reporting that allowed for dashboarding and drill-downs to see what is happening as low as the transaction level (quickly identifying problems)
  • Fast, accurate and compliant financial close with reporting available to thousands of individual sellers
  • Improved business agility in product development, cutting off days or weeks via collaboration and supply chain management
  • Real-time visibility into inventory and distribution

While this list is not exhaustive, it gives a view into the responsibilities of a Pre-Sales Director to ensure that we always identify and articulate the value of software purchase. I am grateful to always have an interesting customer, with a unique business problem. Providing business solutions that give customers a way to differentiate their business is always the greatest challenge.

Just remember, always tie your discussions back to the bottom line!

Value Heroics: Marvin Heery, Alton Dinsmore & John Poparad – Heroics Happen on Both Sides of a Sale

Throughout the summer, DecisionLink is honoring the Value Heroes of organizations as a part of “Value Heroes: A Summer of Recognition.” We are sharing Value Hero stories on our blog of the leading influencers in value management, which were submitted by the value heroes themselves or by the sales professionals that they have supported. Our celebration of Value Heroes concludes on August 13 with our “Value Heroes Summit,” a town hall, virtual forum where value and sales professionals can connect, share stories and best practices and engage with like-minded professionals.

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Value Heroes: Marvin Heery, Alton Dinsmore & John Poparad
Submitted by their Colleague: Jim Berryhill

How important are business cases to sales cycles?

Buyers have them 100% of the time. Sellers have them when they want the BEST POSSIBLE OUTCOMES FOR THEIR SELLING EFFORTS.

I was fortunate to learn this very early in my career.

In 1983, I was a sales rep for Applied Data Research (ADR) and worked with a team at Arnold Air Force Station in Tullahoma, Tennessee. The project involving our Datacom DBMS and IDEAL, a ground-breaking new 4th gen application development solution. Our products gave IT the ability to develop apps more rapidly, manage their data better, enable end-users to do their own querying and reporting, and more.

Along the way, we put together a justification (now we would call it a ‘business value assessment’ or ‘business case’) based on a half-dozen applications that would be delivered faster, for less cost, etc. We got funding and I closed a $500,000 deal, which represented 50% of my quota and was considered a really big deal back then.

Here’s how important the business case was: A few months later, I went to a reception at AAFS and met the Lieutenant Colonel who was commander of the base. He taught me one of the most important lessons I ever received when he said:

“Son, there were projects we preferred over yours. However, when crunch time came, your business case was well prepared, and we knew it would ‘pass muster’ where others were not. So you got funded.”

The Value Heroes of the story were Marvin Heery and Alton Dinsmore, superstar SEs at ADR who made our solutions fly, and John Poparad, a civilian contractor working for the Air Force. Absolutely critical, the customer is always a part of the “Hero Team”. I lost track of John a long time ago. Alton is now a Senior Solutions Architect at Equalum. Marvin, recently deceased, was affectionately known as “Marvelous Marvin” at ADR and CA. I’ll have another article about Marvin later in the Heroes campaign.

 

To read the full story along with a list of can’t miss lessons learned about value, I posted an article about this sale. You can see my previous post on LinkedIn:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/value-selling-war-stories-2-should-business-case-jim-berryhill/

The Value Digest – June 16th, 2020

At DecisionLink we’re all about value. When we’re not building enterprise-class software solutions for Customer Value Management (CVM) like ValueCloud®, we’re busy exploring what’s going on in the world of value and sales leadership. In ‘The Value Chronicles’, published every second week, we’ll be sharing some of the news and editorial that has caught our eye.

We’re not post pandemic yet, in fact some weeks it feels like there’s a long way to go! And as for the new normal, that keeps changing too. So, it’s important to find some constants in the way we work and the way we sell and market to our customers. For us, that constant is customer value. First as a strategic asset and secondly as a something that can deliver growth and leadership in just about every market space. Judging by what we see in the media related to enterprise value management and the success of companies that have focused on customer value to drive success, we’re not alone.

Here’s a few things we’ve seen this last week or two:  

  • According to IDC, COVID-19 is forcing companies to re-evaluate their technology and processes. In a feature entitled, “COVID-19 Response: SaaS Supports Digital Transformation” you can explore how SaaS and cloud software is supporting digital transformation.
  • CRN Magazine reported “ServiceNow Partner ‘Fired Up’ For Changes Aimed at The C-Suite”. ServiceNow is taking aim at the C-suite with changes to its partner program using a down-the-middle pitch that the company can save customers $5 to $10 for every dollar they spend on the platform. One new offering, Now Value, is a suite of services and tools for partners to showcase the cost savings and efficiencies that customers can find using ServiceNow. It includes an online calculator. Partners can use this tool to determine what companies can expect to save, and in which areas the platform can streamline. “It’s hard to listen to these guys without getting fired up and have your mind racing about the potential of this,” Rob Rishel, executive director of the ServiceNow practice with CAI, Inc., tells CRN.
  • In Forbes, Julie Thomas, President & CEO of ValueSelling Associates, and a speaker, author and consultant, wrote “Three Keys Of Value-Based Selling”. Julie adds, “Value-based selling focuses on your buyer and the value they receive by doing business with you. As a sales leader, your team has an advantage when they can compete on value, rather than price. Although the idea is easy to understand, it takes skill and practice to make value-based selling work for you.”
  • Harvard Business Review suggest the “4 Questions Sales Leaders Should Be Asking Right Now”. Whether a business faces a sales slump or sales bump in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s difficult for sales leaders to predict what comes next. Most have already taken urgent actions, such as moving to virtual selling, redeploying sales effort, and reducing sales force capacity if faced with a badly damaged business.
  • Here are “3 Big Lessons Gainsight Learned Creating Pulse Everywhere 2020 For 22,000 People” and how they turned a 5,000 person tech conference into an epic 22,000 online experience in 45 days. Lesson number one: Value Drives Value!
  • McKinsey and Company offer advice on “Elevating customer experience excellence in the next normal”. Companies that make the right investments now could build an enduring advantage in serving customers. Three priorities will be key.
  • Entrepreneur can tell you “What a Sales Team From Any Industry Can Learn From Innovative SaaS Companies”, adding “The best of these companies have experienced meteoric growth, not just because of their products, but because of the innovative strategies they incorporate into their sales processes.”
  • In Fortune magazine you can hear from, “14 CEOs on how to reopen businesses in the coronavirus economy”. They asked 14 Fortune 500 CEOs in an array of industries to share how they’re thinking about next steps. All of them advocate caution. Many are using the moment to focus on fundamentals. And a few see a glimmer of opportunity at an otherwise dreadful moment for humanity.

In our own news:

  • As buyers undergo major cost-cutting evaluations, businesses need to demonstrate the economic impact of their solutions for every rep and every deal. Download the IDC Perspective, “Value Selling: The Only Way to Close in 2020” to learn why organizations need to be scaling their business value selling across the entire customer lifecycle in order to succeed in this challenging year.
  • Building trust is a process. It doesn’t happen overnight. Face to face meetings have always been the preferred manner to connect, relate and build trust but are becoming increasingly difficult as we adjust to our “new normal” in a world of digital selling. With travel slowing down, our ability to meet face to face with customers and prospects is no longer an easy option. Check out this webinar, “Selling Value and Building Trust in the New Normal” where Jim Berryhill, DecisionLink’s CEO, and Ben Allard, VP Strategic Segment at Apptio, discuss how we overcome this obstacle to build trust and sell value.
  • Jim Berryhill was a panellist on a recent webinar with Vendor Neutral, “What Expectional Sales Playbooks Look Like (And How You Can Build Them Too!)” Check out the recording and learn the characteristics of great playbooks, what reps should do with intent data leads and much more.

 

For more regular updates follow us on: linkedin.com/company/decisionlink, www.twitter.com/decisionlink or Facebook.com/Decisionlink

The Value Digest May 27, 2020

At DecisionLink we’re all about value. When we’re not building enterprise-class software solutions for Customer Value Management (CVM) like ValueCloud®, we’re busy exploring what’s going on in the world of value and sales leadership. In ‘The Value Chronicles’, published every second week, we’ll be sharing some of the news and editorial that has caught our eye.

As we move from reacting to reflecting on COVID-19, the world continues to change at a rapid pace. One common thread throughout is a desire for resilience and agility in all areas of business and most seem to agree that can only come from automation and digital transformation. It is widely accepted that crises rarely create change, but they do accelerate it. This seems to be the case with the Novel Coronavirus COVID-19 and the accelerated impetus to digitally transform business to be fit for a post-pandemic world.

Here’s a few things we’ve seen that support that:  

  • IDC shares their perspective on Value Selling: The Only Way to Close in 2020, in a report that can be downloaded from the DecisionLink website. This IDC Perspective shares why organizations need to be scaling their business value selling across the entire customer lifecycle. Key takeaways include:
    • Greater financial scrutiny for technology purchases requires great value selling competency.
    • Current practices with spreadsheets and bespoke tools do not scale
    • Business value models must become the basis for assessing the success of a relationship for both buyers and sellers
  • McKinsey and Company offer, “A road map for post-COVID-19 growth”. Marketing and sales leaders need to operate simultaneously across three horizons: navigating the crisis now, planning for the recovery, and leading the next normal. This article focuses on the second horizon and how companies can accelerate what they do and how they work to capture revenue quickly for the recovery.
  • Gartner has suggested, “A Framework for Executive Decision Making During COVID-19”. “COVID-19 is forcing many executive leaders to make decisions regarding employee and customer safety, business strategy and other critical issues at a pace and risk level they have never experienced,” says Tina Nunno, Distinguished VP Analyst, Gartner. “These decisions are creating stress for executives, as they make difficult trade-offs where there is often no win-win scenario or clear precedent available.”
  • In the Innovation Issue of their newsletter, ServiceNow shared an interview with CEO Bill McDermott, “Workflow is The Big Idea”. McDermott sat down with Dave Wright, the company’s Chief Innovation Officer, to talk about how business leaders can foster innovation. Following are edited excerpts from their conversation.

In our own news:

  • We Announced Our Partnership with Gainsight Sightline to extend the power of value management and value-based selling to customer success. Gainsight Sightline brings together complementary technology and service solutions on the Gainsight platform. Through this partnership, DecisionLink customers will be able to reduce time to value and accelerate their adoption across customer success technologies.
  • Our whitepaper, Customer Value Management: Why Excel Can’t Cope, explores four key business implications of using Excel and the value that’s being left behind by leveraging spreadsheets instead of enterprise-class software.
  • Check out what one of our customers had to say in this case study entitled “ValueCloud® Enables DocuSign to Deploy and Scale Customer Value Management” Here are a few of the key benefits that DocuSign realized include:
    • 73% uplift in new account close rates
    • Increase in upselling
    • Integration with their tech stack, including Salesforce and Okta
    • Value Management is now delivered autonomously by sales professionals, scaling and automating their existing processes

For more regular updates follow us on: linkedin.com/company/decisionlink, www.twitter.com/decisionlink or Facebook.com/Decisionlink

DecisionLink ValueCloud® is now SOC 2 Type I Compliant

DecisionLink has always been focused on and committed to keeping customers’ data protection and security as our top priority.

Today, we’re happy to announce that DecisionLink has successfully completed a SOC 2 Type I audit. This comes after a very detailed and thorough 3rd party evaluation that assessed whether our security programs and internal controls are designed and implemented to the AICPA Trust Service Principles and Criteria for System and Organization Control.

SOC compliance is essential for technology-based service organizations that store customer data in the cloud. By complying with SOC 2 Type 1, we are assuring our customers that DecisionLink is following strict security policies and procedures to protect their data in regard to security, availability, processing integrity and confidentiality.

 

Security is an Ongoing Priority for DecisionLink

While we have always maintained a strong security posture, security is an ongoing priority for DecisionLink, so it was important for us to prove our commitment to customer data security and privacy. Next, we will be pursuing SOC 2 Type II compliance to demonstrate the strength of our controls over time. This process is already underway, and we look forward to sharing our future security milestones.

John Porter, DecisionLink’s CTO and Co-Founder, adds, “DecisionLink has always strived to live up to the highest standards. We care about security and treat it with high priority and while it has always been a critical activity, the SOC audit was a benchmark that validates our efforts and approach. We understand that security is a journey, so this proves our commitment to keep customer data secure.”

DecisionLink not only empowers value management for the digital age, we are the only value management platform with SOC compliance. Request a custom demo today.

The Value Digest – April 30th

At DecisionLink we’re all about value. When we’re not building enterprise-class software solutions for Customer Value Management (CVM) like ValueCloud®, we’re busy exploring what’s going on in the world of value and sales leadership. In ‘The Value Chronicles’, published every second week, we’ll be sharing some of the news and editorial that has caught our eye.

Novel Coronavirus COVID-19 continues to challenge the whole world, but one common thread is digital transformation and its acceleration now and into the future. This is something close to our heart at DecisionLink, as we see it being key to agility and resilience as well as fundamental to success in an increasingly competitive world.

Here’s a few things we’ve seen as well as our own news and upcoming initiatives:

In our own news:

For more regular updates follow us on: linkedin.com/company/decisionlink, www.twitter.com/decisionlink or Facebook.com/Decisionlink

Value: The Thread that Connects Buyers & Sellers to Transcend Social Distancing

As the whole world is turned upside down by the Coronavirus (Covid-19), and people’s lives, careers and businesses are being profoundly affected, we find ourselves re-engineering and re-thinking social norms, behaviors, tools and information, in terms of how we live and work, and especially how we work together, i.e. collaborate. “Together” is a key part of combatting this crisis, and united, albeit physically apart, is the way we will defeat the global pandemic. Whether it’s working together to protect lives or to protect our livelihood, we seem to be embracing the “new normal” of living and working and adjusting accordingly.

We believe DecisionLink’s role in this New Normal, is to help in that social adjustment, and specifically to enable sellers and buyers to have productive conversations, no matter how flakey their Wi-Fi system is, or how slow the internet is responding, or how many times you get kicked off your video conferencing system. And we firmly believe the magical thread or link that will forge trust and strong working relationships, no matter the distance, is value. Specifically, the ability for sellers to crystalize their value in the exact terms the buyers can comprehend and appreciate. Frankly, anything short of a value-based conversation, in this world of lock-down, is really not a good use of time.

For instance, if you’re a sales professional, you are probably working from home and you’ve lost face-to-face access to your customers and prospects. If you’re in marketing you’ve lost some key channels to market like trade shows, conferences, sales events and user group meetings. With this ‘new normal’ setting in, what can sales and marketing teams do to keep the wheels turning?

And frankly 92% of buyers, according to Miller Heiman/CSO Insights, wanted to see your value proposition early when we were living in the ‘old normal’. Compare that to now, when they’ve been on a million Zoom calls and haven’t had time for a bio break, imagine their desire to hear what sellers have to say, crisply and concisely. Doing it over a pizza and beer, just isn’t going to happen, nor is the “bonding time” that creates. So, it’s really up to the seller’s ability to tell a qualitative and quantitative story quickly and ensure its compelling in order to get to the next step. Marketers are in a similar situation. Attentions spans drop daily; email campaigns better get to the point quickly or you will get thrown into the trash folder, before you can say ‘digital marketing.’

It’s likely that sales quotas aren’t dropping and the pressure is on to deliver results. So, what can you bring to the table, when you can’t come to the table?

Bring Me Value

Whatever question I am asked these days, I always seem to answer with one word, Value. Regardless of the selling motion or methodology, the most important thing to sell, and indeed to deliver, is value. Without it, we’re down in the weeds of function and features, and often on a slippery slope to discounts. Everything must have value to your customers, otherwise, why should they buy from you, or anyone else for that matter? And remember, you’re not only competing with an alternative provider. Now, more than ever, you’re competing with doing nothing or doing something completely different.

But how do you show a customer “value” when we’re working in the virtual world? And how do we scale and automate Value Management quickly?

DecisionLink been leading the Value Management crusade for several years now. For that time, our focus has been on developing enterprise-class solutions that facilitate the scaling and automation of Value Management, while evangelizing the importance of value throughout the entire customer lifecycle. We’ve not been a lone voice in the wilderness. Sales leaders now firmly believe in value selling and our stellar customer list is testament to that fact.

Without knowing what was coming, we’ve been building a solution that works as well remotely as it does in person. We’ve also created a route to automation that can be deployed and scaled remotely and quickly.

The DecisionLink Guarantee

To help alleviate the pressure that companies are facing, DecisionLink is proud to launch The DecisionLink Guarantee. The DecisionLink Guarantee pledges a complete reimbursement of the first year’s subscription fees for new subscribers to ValueCloud®, the company’s proven enterprise-grade Value Management platform, if they do not achieve objective goals. As part of this pledge, the company is also deferring 50% of the initial order payment for 120-days to help companies impacted by COVID-19.

In order to facilitate a successful implementation and onboarding, DecisionLink is further crediting 35% of the first-year subscription fees to the company’s proven Customer Onboarding Program, which delivers results in 30-days and Value Management excellence in 90-days.

Finally, DecisionLink also announced that it will commit 2.5% of its next 120-day revenue to Atlanta-based nonprofits, including Good Samaritan Health Center and Desire Street Ministries to support their work serving the city’s poor and homeless affected by COVID-19. The company’s founders, management, employees, directors, and shareholders have pledged to augment this donation by doubling the company’s total contribution amount.

When it all gets back to normal, don’t expect “normal” to be the same.

The Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is changing the world and once we’re past it, things won’t necessarily go back to the way they were. There’s the economic impact; when money is tight, discretionary spend goes down, which means if you’re not delivering value, you’re probably not delivering. We also shouldn’t expect business travel and events to restart as if nothing happened. Organizations need to plan for selling motions that are less around the table and more around a device for the foreseeable future. Lastly, all our habits have had to adapt, and some new habits will be formed and who knows… maybe they’re good habits.

Everything is very different right now, it’ll be different for a while, and in the end, when this is all over, it’ll still be a little different. But one thing we can say through these changing times is that value is key now, value will be key tomorrow and throughout this crisis, and value will remain the key to sales and business success in the future.

How are you enabling your teams to lead confidently with value in today’s “new normal”?