Exercising Effective Leadership By Understanding Challenges And Discovering Opportunities With Josh Young

The pandemic has caused a lot of uncertainty but we should know how to recognize opportunities and bounce back. Understanding challenges and discovering opportunities are among the key characteristics of effective sales leaders, as today’s guest shows. Josh Young is currently the VP of Sales and Service with F1 Miami Grand Prix. In his conversation with Lance, Josh touches on his biggest sales challenge during the pandemic and shares serious advice when looking at career opportunities, as well as the secret to sales hiding in plain sight. This episode will provide you with some real gems for leading your sales team to the other side of the current public health crisis and into profitability. Tune in!

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Against the Sales Odds and Josh Young Discuss Ways to Exercise Effective Leadership

I am excited about this episode of the show. This is someone who I’ve gotten close to over the years when we started to work with the Browns. I didn’t even know him before that. I’d like to welcome Josh Young, the Vice President of Ticket Sales and Service for the Miami Dolphins. Josh, welcome to the program. Why don’t you tell everybody a little bit about yourself and what you do with the Dolphins?

It’s great to be here. I appreciate the invite. I’m a long-time audience, first-time contributor. I’m super happy to be here. I oversee ticket sales with the Dolphins. What that entails in a year like this is quite a bit more than probably what you would have anticipated, but that’s the case for everybody. It is overseeing all of the sales and service aspects behind ticket sales for the club. Everything from all of our suites and luxury products down to our general seating.

We’re structured interesting. We work in collaboration with a robust ops team in the business analytics group, marketing or IT. You name it. It’s a well-integrated organization. It encompasses all of the communication that goes behind the ticket sales effort and membership program. It’s enough to keep you busy.

Sometimes, people don’t realize the vastness of the organization. One of the things you might not know about Josh is he runs a workshop for selling POWER Magazine. We do a lot of things with them. Josh is a person you want to talk about it because of the way he’s tackled the pandemic and how out in the front that brand has been. He’s the guy you want to talk to. Talk about the organization that reports up to you. The Dolphins is a very sophisticated organization from an org chart standpoint. Talk about your org chart.

We’ve got a pretty big staff. For an NFL sales staff, it’s probably the biggest in the NFL as it stands. I’ve got a team of nine managers that reports up. Overall, we’re budgeted for 85 salespeople, but throughout the pandemic, we find out a little bit through natural attrition. We’re right around 57 as we sit here. It’s still a very large group, but with a lot of uncertainty, we had some people who found some other opportunities for themselves.

In a lot of businesses, people are being asked to work two different things. I talked to my VP of business development about person and staff, what we’re asking somebody to do as opposed to what they did before things shut down. A lot of organizations started to realize some people didn’t sign up for that and were not willing to do those things. There is a lot of natural attrition happening across the board. Usually, 5 or 6 is tough to manage. How do you go about nine directs?

I came in at an interesting time with the Dolphins where they’ve had experienced a lot of transition. We have an incredible leadership group across the board. It’s first-class all the way. We’ve got many people in leadership positions either for the first time or for less than two years that are on our staff. For the time being, I must be spending as much time with each of them as I can because it’s critical. Each one of them is overseeing a very important piece of the business.

Take our BD group, for example. You have Brandon Plinto, who’s overseeing a group that is going to be critical to us as we try to chase some pretty aggressive goals moving into 2021. I want to make sure that I’m spending enough time with him and pouring into him as much as we can so that we’re operating as effectively as we can in that area. The same goes with our inside sales group. I want to be working directly with our inside sales managers because they’re recruiting the people that are going to come in and contribute to the organization for the long-term. We want to be the best that we can be, so I want to pour into that group to work with them.

It’s quite a bit of direct reports and it takes up quite a bit of meeting time during the week, but I do view it as critical. As we continue to evolve, we’re going to have to evolve into a little bit more of a streamlined structure, but that’s not the case that we’re in, especially as we go through an interesting year.

The ownership group asked me and then an incoming senior-level sales exact with top sales organizations that I know are more particular in sports entertainment. The Dolphins came on the list and they asked why. Philosophically speaking, the sales leadership is strongest because they put the most time into that. When you think about it, how do you drill for oil? Top-down.

Time management is a challenge. You need to know how to prioritize and accomplish things from your list.

It’s not at the sales level. It’s at the sales leadership level because that’s what moves the needle. Your career is interesting because you’ve taken a bit of a non-traditional route with some things instead of some of the other senior folks I’ve talked about. What’s the greatest daily management challenge you have and then the greatest daily sales challenge in the pandemic that your people have?

It’s time management. You want to be extremely busy because you want to show productivity during this time. If you get done with the end of the day and done been nothing but on Zoom and team calls, you realize, “I didn’t accomplish or check anything off my list for the day.” That’s been a big challenge that I constantly have to remind myself about.

From a sales perspective, my biggest challenge is accountability. It’s the difference of when somebody wakes up in the morning, 8:30 hits and you’re by yourself in a dark room. It’s not quite as easy to do all the things that you would do in a more accountable environment, like when you’re around your coworkers, peers or even a manager who’s nearby. It’s a different environment. We and the majority of our industry have adjusted well but what is happening is it’s widening the gap. From your strong performers to your mid-tier performers, that gap’s gotten bigger and that’s a concern.

That’s part of the attrition you talked about for everybody. You’re looking at the huge gap. You look at personal time management, self-motivation and things like that. A lot of people struggle with that and it’s that herd mentality. If you don’t have a locker to clean it up, then you’re having to self-lead. Let’s go backward. You have a prominent role with a major brand and league out of all the pro sports leagues like the NFL. Talk about salesforce. Where’d you start? Where did this all begin? How did you get into this?

My first ticket sales job was selling minor league hockey in Houston NHL. I had good advice before I went there because I was working in restaurants before that. If you’ve ever worked in one, you know how miserable that can be, but it’s where you learn a lot. I had Rob Cornilles’ Game Face Academy. They were great about working with me on, “Here are these six teams that are going to offer you.” It was all minor league teams. I hate to say it, but they would almost take anybody at that point if they were going to take me. I was like, “What would you do? Where would you go and why?”

They gave me great advice. They said, “You’re going to go to Houston and here’s why. It’s a hard product to sell, so you’re going to learn how to sell. If you can sell there, you’d probably sell anywhere.” They’re also adamant about the leadership team. We’ve worked with this leadership team for a long time. They’re owned by the Minnesota Wild and got good resources. They were right. I didn’t have a lot of intuition, but I at least had enough to trust them. It shook out to be the right thing because it was a hard job. This is back when people were monitoring hours and nothing has lived in that office.

It was great because you did learn how to sell and work your tail off. I also got to be exposed to so much of what happens in that business. They trusted me with a lot of responsibility from the beginning and kept adding on responsibility as they thought I was ready for it. You learned an incredible amount about how to operate a small business like that.

Go back to that. How long did you work there from a time-space?

I was there for almost six full years. It was a long time.

Josh, as a salesperson, your manager would say, “Josh is,” that’s fill in the blank.

ASO 25 | Discovering Opportunities
Discovering Opportunities: Inside sales managers are recruiting the people that are going to come in and contribute to the organization for the long-term.

The hardest working person I’ve ever hired in general. It was a perpetual machine. I’m always there and going to be the one to do home calls. By no means, the best seller on the floor but the one that wasn’t going to stop.

With that said, since you brought it up, what did you suck in sales then? What were you feeling awful at?

I was too nice. What I mean by too nice is I would let other people dictate the conversation, especially early on. There’s one of my best friends named Clint and, ultimately, one of the best top three salespeople I’ve ever worked with. You could hear him in his office and I would hear him battle people, take control of the conversation and challenge people. The one conversation that I’ll never forget was I was listening to him battle a seasoned ticket holder and the guy said something about the economy or something like, “Have you seen what’s going on in the economy?” This was in the recession.

You work for the oil for Exxon and they have a paper article about record profits. They’re like, “Why aren’t you buying receipts?” My eyes were like, “My gosh.” I requested our VP at the time. I was like, “Can you move my desk to right outside Clint’s office? I want to be outside and hear Clint on how he does things.” I’m not ashamed to say that I stole everything that he did. Any tactic he used, if it worked, I stole it and started to apply it. That took time because I would let people push me around in the conversation on the front end.

In that six years, you go from ticket guy to getting responsibilities. Where did you land in six years? It’s ironic that about 35% of the people that I’ve talked to, sales leaders came out of some smaller business minor league. It came out of that grind. John Clark with Fenway came out of that grind. Kerry Bubolz, who’s the President of Vegas Golden Knights. He started in minor league baseball in Oklahoma. I’m not saying that’s the right path. Whatever path you’re on is a path. You would land it where?

It’s a different one, but I am grateful for it. Eventually, I was running the ticket sales staff. I’d taken on more responsibility as time went on. I was fortunate that some people had put me in some roles to learn a lot there. I also got good at selling along the way too. Clint was always the best and I would always consider him one of the best that I’ve worked around, but I got pretty damn good by osmosis and continuing that repetition. The more reps that you did, the better you got at it. That’s certainly the case. I was Senior Director of Ticket Sales by the time they decided they were going to move the franchise to Iowa. That was how the introduction to Siv came with the Browns.

You went from Houston and tied them with the Browns from there. You leaped to a major league team. How’d you make that connection? It’s not who you know. It’s who wants to know you. That’s what it comes down to. Everybody says they have a network, but who wants to know you? How do you make the quantum leap? It’s a major market but a minor league team.

It was all through relationships and it was a series of relationships that led to that. You’re familiar with Charlie Chislaghi. We had brought Charlie in to train art staff. The Wild decided that they were going to move the franchise. They were going to move it closer to Minnesota when they found they did a deal in Des Moines to move it up there. It was a series of two things that happened. I had a good relationship with Charlie that I had maintained up to that point and with our de facto team president at the time.

What was his name?

Tom Garrity, he’s the Commissioner for the USHL. He sat me down and goes, “You’re going to be offered a job and a chance to go to Iowa. I’m going to strongly recommend that you don’t take it. You’ve done this. You’re going to do the same thing there. This is your life allowing you to do something different and take a new direction. I’m going to suggest and I’ll help you make an introduction that I can.” Fast forward, Charlie, when he found out about the Arrows moving, he became a great cheerleader for me. I’m grateful to him. It had nothing to do with me.

Give your best. Your employer could have hired anybody to do your job so you have to figure out a way to do it better than anybody else.

He made the introduction to Siv. It was one of those weird situations where I had a quick three-minute call with Siv. I hung up and thought two things. A, I don’t think that guy thought much of the conversation because it only lasted three minutes, but B, it sounded like I was talking to myself on the other end of the phone. We saw things from a very similar perspective and then a week later, I’m in Cleveland interviewing with them. Another week later, I’m flying up there to train a staff that I’m inheriting.

You’re in there with Alec Scheiner, who is with RedBird, Brent Stehlik, who’s with OneTeam, John Davis, who’s with Kentucky Derby, Matt Goodman is NYCFC, who has been with NBA. Everybody’s trying to move and pop up, including yourself. You get on a pretty strong staff there. You’re in a run in their inside team, going to build and already inherited the team.

A lot of the group had already been hired because that was right at the transition period where Brent and Alec had just gotten there.

Joe Banner was running the organization at that point.

Yes. The way I’ve always described it is somehow, I slipped through the cracks because you’ve got that incredible group of people there. You ask yourself, “What am I doing here? Why am I at this table?” It was wild.

You inherit that group. What is your leadership philosophy going into this from the Arrows? Your sales leadership philosophy is with this organization, the cross-section of Cowboys, San Diego Padres, Cavs, the Reds, and all these leadership philosophies and people. What is sales leadership philosophy and does it turn towards?

First, it was a very simple role. It was inside sales. You have to recruit, hire, train and develop our entry-level sales staff. For me, the overriding philosophy is “I have to find the best people who could be the best salespeople and train them better than anybody else could. That’s why they hired me. They could have hired anybody to do this, so I’ve got to figure out a way to do that better than anybody else.”

For me, you got to remember it was coming from you running a minor league sales team, but you had a lot of responsibility that went around with that. For me, this was a breath of fresh air. It’s a narrow focus. Hire, train and develop salespeople. Don’t worry about anything else. That was the whole mindset going into it.

You’re saying that was refreshing because that KPI was so specific?

It was very simple, straightforward and linear. You don’t have to worry about this product pricing that you’re going to do over here or how this is going to look from a marketing perspective or anything. It is straightforward to hire and train salespeople.

ASO 25 | Discovering Opportunities
Discovering Opportunities: As we continue to evolve, we’re going to have to evolve into a little bit more of a streamlined structure, but that’s not the case that we’re in, especially as we go through an interesting year.

You find it refreshing. It’s a very laser-focused thing you’re doing. You start turning in from what to what, though. How do you start to evolve as a leader? For everyone reading, Josh had moved up to the Browns, took two big markets, Major Sales Executive job in LA and then moved to Miami essentially with the biggest brands in the world. In years, your philosophy had to evolve or did it stay the same? I’m not trying to put words in your mouth. Was it more and better of the same or did it start to come around?

The philosophy itself has remained fairly constant, but the actual execution of it has had to evolve because your philosophy always has to be, number one, “I’ve got to find a way to be the best at what I’m doing. What are my critical responsibilities? How do I become the best at it?” Number two, right next to it is, “How am I going to learn from all these incredible people that are around me?” That was what was awesome about that role at that period because I could focus on recruiting, hiring and training.

That’s all I had to do there, but I was around this incredible group of people that I got to learn from. It was like, “Be a sponge because you are the worst and dumbest person in the room around this incredible group of people. Take it all in and learn as much as you can.” Slowly over time, I was able to start contributing to some of that. For some of my ideas, I was like, “This might work in this situation.”

You’re no pushover either because I can remember where we were in the first debate. You and I locked horns. When I say locked horns, I don’t mean in a way. It was never ugly. I can remember the day, “I don’t think that works. This is what works.” We debated it. I saw from your point of view, you saw it from mine and then we started to evolve. Since then, we’ve done business with each other because we realized that neither of us was the smartest person in the room.

I’m not ashamed to admit you won the debate because I changed my philosophy on that particular topic.

I don’t know if it ever went into a debate. Most people that rise to the top realize that evolution’s revolution. When you evolve, evolve with that. Let’s take that because that’s always interesting. This is not the blowing smoke. One of your philosophies is that you’re always more apt to seek and understand than give your opinion first. I’ve always known that about you. You’re like, “Let me understand what you’re trying to say.” You’re always going from that standpoint. It’s one thing to be the smartest person in the world or room and it’s another thing to act like you’re the smartest person in the room.

There are two different philosophies there. I know a lot of people that are smart and don’t act that way. The bottom line on that is you’ve always been that person. You started to evolve. What do you think got you to a point where you got more responsibility? Was it that hard work? Did you ask for more responsibility? Did people notice you execute?

One of the things I’ve been poor with throughout my career, especially as I’ve continued to advance, is asking for responsibility. I have been fortunate up to this point to have that responsibility put on me along the way when people that I’m working with realize that I can take that on. I’ve been fortunate from that perspective. You’re very accurate.

When I’m in a situation like that, what I walked into in Cleveland, typically my lean is I’m going to be a little bit quieter voice in the room until I’m confident enough to speak up or I have something to contribute that’s going to be valuable. I would imagine it probably took about a year there where I was focused on doing that job and how I do the job to the best of my ability. Until you’re sitting in, you realize, “Based on what I’ve learned about this, this seems like it would be the right way to go. How does everybody feel about it?”

The more that I got that affirmation, that’s like, “Let’s do that. That works.” If you’re contributing to this, the more confident that I started to get because I felt like I was learning what I should be learning from this incredible group of people. It was a little bit of evolution, but in a lot of ways, I still operate like that. I’m still going to ask a lot of questions. Some people on my team would probably tell you the opposite.  I do have this inherent need of mine that I need to understand it so I can explain it to somebody else. I might have a different opinion on how we’re going about it.

Doing something you absolutely love doing every single day is very crucial to your well-being.

Inside the Browns, to give readers your trajectory, you get promoted once or twice? What’s that look like?

At one point, it was inside sales and groups. I took on the group sales team and then at some point along the way, it became a little bit more of an overriding director of ticket sales position. I tell people this all the time. I learned so much in that window of time there. The title may have changed, but at a certain point, the responsibility didn’t. It was because they had given me and trusted me with a lot of responsibility that my title and/or position didn’t dictate.

It was a lot of responsibility that had been put on me at one point. I learned a lot from that and I tried to operate that way as well. Regardless of your title, I want to give you a project or put you in a situation where you’re going to learn something and you can help contribute to the overall goal. By the time that the director job came, I technically had already been doing that job for a little while and loved everything about it.

I’m always worried about the people who are so worried about their title and if the title doesn’t match what they’re doing. I get that you should worry about that, but I also think high-level leaders realize like, “This person is trying to negotiate with me.” They’re taking responsibility because they want to get better and they’re part of that.

Sometimes, that’s the extra mile you have to go. Anybody that I talk about success is not a title chaser. Sometimes in some industries, sports, in particular, there are title chasers. All they care about is what’s on that business card because it’s such a self-esteem for them. Me observing you, you’ve never been that guy at all.

There was a particular circumstance that stands out to me with a mutual friend of ours. We were inside sales managers together at the same time for different organizations. I was explaining a project that I was working on. He stopped me and said, “Something like that would never come across my desk.” I didn’t think much of it at the time, but it did hit me. I was like, “That is a role. For an inside sales manager, why was I working on this? Why was that something I was taking on?”

It helped me realize at that moment and from that time forward. I wasn’t the title chaser before, but I was never going to be after that because I realized they’re exposing me to a lot more here than what I would get somewhere else. You could call me the director of sweeping the floor at the end of the night and I’ll be perfectly happy as long as I get to continue to contribute to this.

I tell my sons all the time, “Be more worried about what you do when nobody’s looking because that’s usually what gets observed.” When you think nobody’s looking, that’s the true mark of your character. People notice that stuff. That is selling your stuff. Everybody’s so busy trying to get theirs, claim and stake their flag. They miss everything else. It’s that sleepy kind of like, “I’ll work hard, take some responsibility here and that’s what gets done.” You’re there for how many years in Cleveland and then you get another big break, which is an interesting break.

For all of you out there, the only sport that Josh cares about is Indy racing. He and I talk more about Indy car stuff. He got me in the car stuff. The first thing I noticed about him was something from the Indy 500. You’re in for a little bit more than a decade and then LASC has built a new stadium that was a Legends project. You get noticed to go take over that process as a senior executive and inherit this brand new stadium with an almost brand-new brand. There are a lot of interesting owners in that. You get the role of being one.

That was a Vice President of Ticket Sales and Service. It’s the same title and an incredible opportunity. I can’t even help but smile when I think about the time I spent in LA for many reasons. That’s another great example of the relationship piece and how relationships stick with you and continue to reap benefits. It was the close relationships I had with individuals at the Browns and the relationships that they’ve had for many years from their prior stops. That was how the connection was made.

ASO 25 | Discovering Opportunities
Discovering Opportunities: It’s not quite as easy to do all the things that you would do in a more accountable environment when you’re around your coworkers, peers or even a manager who’s nearby. It’s a different environment.

The way that I looked at it was it was not a title play for me. I could have cared less about putting a V in front of that role. That did not matter at all. That one strictly came down to a different type of challenge than the one that we faced in Cleveland. I remember wrestling with this because I was so happy in Cleveland. I worked with people that I cared about, that are some of my best friends. We’d had incredible results along the way, given some of the challenges that we faced in that environment at that time. I was so proud of that and it was such a comfort level.

I had an interesting conversation with a close friend of mine. I told her, “I’m on the fence with this one. I don’t know if I’m going to take this job.” She goes, “Why?” I said, “It’s because we’ve gotten to a place where we’re comfortable here and things are moving well in Cleveland.” She stops me and goes, “Josh, being comfortable in a role is no reason to turn down your next opportunity.” That one clicked and hit. She had a great point and it was going to be a new type of challenge. It made sense.

Talk about that challenge real quick. What was the challenge that was so different?

I explain to people that you are going from an established Fortune 500 corporation to a startup. I left the Brown’s trading facility and hard knocks were coming in with all their cameras. We had breakfast and lunch every day. It’s a ridiculous setup. I walked into a warehouse that was repositioned under a freeway in Downtown LA by Staples Center into an office that was probably cockroach-infested. Your world was completely upside down, but it was awesome.

They had done some incredible things in LA before I got there. I take zero credit for what they had accomplished in building that brand and how they did it with the limited resources they had. It’s one of the greatest stories in all of the sports and it’s a blueprint on how to build a franchise from the ground up. When I got there, there were very clear improvements and adjustments that we could make to maximize and get the most out of that engine. That was fun.

It was a different type of challenge back to that limited resources mentality that you have from the minor league program. It was this cool combination. My time there was much shorter than I probably would’ve projected or preferred, but I still can’t help but smile. It’s an incredible group of people and environment. We accomplished some cool things in the time that I was there.

You’re there less time than you thought you’d be, but you get another opportunity back to a major league brand. Some people were worried about the first opportunity to not realize it and you have three. I want everybody to know a little bit of who you are that I want everybody to know is you don’t have a scarcity mentality. You’ve always had an abundance mentality.

If you’re looking at your career path or how to grow things, that’s the thought here because, like you said, “I could’ve stayed in Cleveland, but there’s something else out there.” It’s an abundance mentality toward things, sales and opportunities that way. Your network’s pretty strong and people believe you can get the job done. You get this opportunity. What drew you to Miami?

This is what makes things so unique and you go back to the point of that whole relationship. When we were in Cleveland, you got to remember Brent Stehlik, Jeremy Walls and Tom Garfinkel all working together in San Diego. As a result, we were always close with the Dolphins. Some of my best friends in this industry were running ticket sales for the Dolphins at one point or another in some capacity. When it came to Miami, I was very familiar with the program, people, business overall and how they operated. They’ve been the best in the industry, in the top five at any given point in the conversation, just as far as operating a business in pro sports.

That’s a lot of people who read that are non-pro sportspeople. Don’t ever confuse how well a team does on the field or the court with how good the organization is. They’re two very different things. The Cleveland Browns and Miami Dolphins, in terms of operating and sales and marketing, always have been top tier and I’m talking top five in all leagues. What’s Josh saying is accurate. I have a lot of customers. That’s important to you to understand. You understood the offense.

From a sales perspective, the biggest challenge is definitely accountability.

I understood the offense. It was to a point where I would laugh. I use the term unfair advantage. I knew how they operated in Miami. I specifically remember having a conversation with Jeremy in which I told him, “You don’t have to sell me on the people. I was sold on the people years ago.” That is not something to sell me on whatsoever. For me, you look at two things in any new opportunity, I learned this from Stehlik and it proves out to be true. It was people and opportunity.

It’s the right people who you’re going to learn a lot from and if you do well for them, they’ve got the connections to help you get to whatever your next step should be and the opportunity one where there is an impact to be made. If you make that impact, is anybody going to care? Is it going to matter? If you simplify a decision down to those when it comes to career opportunities, Miami checked all those boxes and I was not looking.

In my LA stint, I was so happy in Los Angeles and Southern California with incredible brands. We had our dinner place and it was within walking distance from my office, but this was on such a big scale. It’s the biggest league. It’s the one that everybody has eyes on and this is a big brand. The opportunity to take on that challenge was one you couldn’t pass and the people box was checked before I even got there.

Let’s go back to what we started with because we’re landing that piece. If it’s a salesperson reading this and you’ve developed a ton of careers, what is the thing that pisses you off the most and frustrates you about salespeople? We talked about how this crosses a value-line for us as a sales leader. What is it?

You and I debated this on occasion. We look at the same way, but we don’t always look at the same angle. For me, it’s the hard work piece. Hard work can be defined in one million different ways. Probably why it crosses my value system the most is because that’s how I made it. I didn’t make it based on skillset by any means. There are a lot of skillset things that I wouldn’t have to work on, but it was perpetual. I could outwork you to the point where coworkers of mine at the Arrows would be like, “I’m not even going to try. He’s going to beat me in calls, so why bother?” I live for that.

The reason that is a critical piece for me is if you’re great and effective, you close 1 out of 5 five calls you make. Why wouldn’t you make another 10 or 20? Why wouldn’t you send an extra text or reach out to somebody through a direct message? If your skillset isn’t where you close a lot, the simple rule in sales is the more connections you make, the more conversations you engage in, the more sales you’re going to make. It hasn’t changed. It’s been that way since sales became a profession. It’s never going to go away.

How many times has somebody said, “Josh, in your mind, define hard work?” How many people ever asked that question? People end up defining hard work based on their own experience. What’s that look like? Has anybody asked that question?

I’ve never had that question asked to me.

It’s an interesting question if you think about it.

It is because the answer would be a surprise. If a salesperson on our team would ask me, my answer would surprise them because they would expect me to turn around and say, “Make more phone calls.” I’m not a phone call advocate. I’m saying to engage in as many activities as you can to make connections with people that lead to conversations because those conversations lead to sales. That’s what I advocate.

ASO 25 | Discovering Opportunities
Discovering Opportunities: It’s narrow focus, hiring, training and developing salespeople. Don’t worry about anything else. That was the whole mindset going into it.

In a nutshell, if you had to summarize your leadership philosophy at this point and I want you to think about the first question I asked you, which was the hardest part of your job in leadership, what is your leadership philosophy at this point in your life?

Mine’s always been simple. I don’t know if it’ll change. The execution of it will, but the philosophy has always been a coach. What I mean by that is a coach doesn’t mean I got to sit there and teach somebody how to make a sales call or coach them through the sales process. In my position, the coach means, “I’ve got to put the right players on the field. I’ve got to put the right coordinators in place to call the right place so that we can execute in any environment.”

It’s not necessarily me teaching you how to block and tackle. It’s me calling the game as I see it and making sure that I’m putting all of our players in the right position so that we’re in a position to win. That has evolved because that philosophy used to be blocking and tackling. It was, “Coach, how to play the game?” Now, it’s a little bit more, “Coach, how to strategize to win the game?”

Here are the last couple of questions to bring this bird down for a landing. Niece or nephew, 8 or 9 years old, said, “Uncle Josh, how do you define success?” What do you say?

Do something you love doing every single day. This was the case of minor league hockey for me. There wasn’t a day that I showed up to that office without a crap-eating grin on my face to ask myself, “How did this Midwest kid end up in Houston, Texas in the sunshine, in the heat showing up to this awesome office and getting to work in professional sports? What are you doing here?” If you love what you’re doing every single day, you’re already halfway there.

When you were in sales, what was the song you played in your head?

I’m going to go with the generic and then I’m going to tell you what was actually in my head. Money from Pink Floyd because I’m a huge Pink Floyd fan and it’s the ultimate sales song. In reality, in my head, Hank Williams Jr.’s A Country Boy Can Survive. There’s something about that mentality like, “I’m going to figure it out. Throw whatever at me.”

Besides my book, what would you gift the most or give to them?

The funny thing is I’ve gifted it, but I make people give it back to me when they’re done reading it because I can’t find it anywhere. It’s called the Sales Manager’s Playbook. It was a cheap $5 book I bought in an airport on a layover years ago. It is by far the single book that I have applied most to my sales leadership career than any other. It’s not an earth-shattering novel or anything, but it is the most applicable and so much of that that I’ve applied throughout my career.

I had one of those, an older book called How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling by a guy named Frank Bettger. It was back from the 1920s. It ruined minor league baseball players and sold insurance. It’s classic advice. I can never find it, but I gifted it so many times. Josh, what a great interview. I can’t wait to get this out. I’m looking forward to what 2021 ends up for both of us. I appreciate it.

Have fun. Thanks.

Thanks so much.

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About Josh Young


ASO 25 | Discovering OpportunitiesVice President, Ticket Sales & Service at F1 Miami Grand Prix