The Level Up Leader
Episode - 3

Keeping Things Interesting – Bill Cook and Michael King

To be a good leader, you have to be interesting. You have to keep things interesting. Leaders often start losing traction because they have become boring and need to engage their team.

To be a good leader, you have to be interesting.  You have to keep things interesting.  Leaders often start losing traction because they have become boring and need to engage their team.

According to Forbes, being boring happens to most good leaders. And we often confuse being INTERESTING with CHARISMA…and that’s simply not the case.  Curiosity seems to be the secret sauce to keeping leadership interesting.  

On today’s podcast, I am joined by Bill Cook. Bill is an Executive Vice President of Development for BIO PLUS. Bill has decades of experience keeping things interesting for his teams.  Please welcome Bill to the podcast. 


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Michael King 0:00
To be a good leader, you have to be interesting. You have to keep things interesting leaders often start losing traction because they have become boring or they fail to engage their team. Now, according to Forbes, being boring happens to most good leaders. And we often confuse being interesting with being charismatic. And that’s simply not the case. Curiosity seems to be the secret sauce to keeping everything. Interesting. Welcome to the level of leader podcast. I’m your host, Michael King. I’m an executive coach and founder of teams that coach, I work with sea level leaders to clarify and expand the vision, elevate performance and level up leadership. On today’s podcast, I’m joined by Bill Cook, Bill is the Executive Vice President of Development for bio plus, Bill has decades of experience keeping things interesting for his teams, please welcome Bill to the podcast.

There’s a whole lot about Bill I want you to know about today. So Bill, I just wanted to thank you so much for taking time to join us on the level of leader podcast. Thank you my goal, I’m glad to be here. Now, as we kind of get going on here, I’m going to ask you a couple different questions that we that we ask all the guests in specifically, because we really want to get down to some leadership superpowers that you feel like are in play within the organizations that you lead and what’s working really well today. But you’ve leveled up yourself, you’ve actually gone on a journey, as well just it looks like with all I mean, with all the years that you’ve been within the industry that you’ve been in, tell us what makes you tick, what are some of the things that you really enjoy? And tell us something about you?

Bill Cook 1:55
Well, I appreciate that, Michael, good question. I’m, I’m very much about getting people excited, and getting them on board with our mission. And so what we what we’ve done at bio plus is we’ve created a culture that people want to be a part of. And so you know, helping others is a great thing. But when you’re in healthcare, you get to enrich the lives, right? You get to you get to take people with a very scary diagnosis, like cancer and get them life saving medication quickly. And if you can’t get excited about that, and you can’t really get excited about anything, right? So Right. So we have the beauty in our industry of being able to really do something special. And, and that gets me excited. And so what I like to do is to get other people around us who share that vision and who want to enrich lives like we do. And, and in our industry, you know, that starts with something as simple as what we call healing the wallet, when you get a terrible diagnosis. The first thing you’re thinking, unfortunately, usually in our country is how am I going to afford this, right, this is going to this is going to cost a fortune. And you can’t really think clearly about getting better until you figure out how you’re going to pay for it. And so we get financial counselors around to reach out to patients and make sure they get funding, whether it’s for co pays or foundation assistance, whatever it might be grants that are available. And we find a way to get them a method to afford the medication. And when we do that, then the patient can start learning and addressing treatment options and working on getting better.

Michael King 3:40
I love that. I love that. Now your official title at bio plus is that you’re the executive vice president of business development. What does that what does that mean?

Bill Cook 3:49
So I’m responsible for all top line revenue at the company, whether it’s getting new pharma contracts, so the trade team reports up to me. And they work with farm every day to get access to other medications, new medications that are out. payer so our channel for payers, all the managed care companies that pay for the medications. So all the big match healthcare plans out there that we need to contract with sales department, I came up through sales so we I manage all the inside and outside sellers and how they work together. And so all these departments kind of roll up to me but the overriding idea is growing recurring profitable revenue. And I don’t know if that’s a term we coined, but but in our minds, we don’t want our sellers chasing just any business, right? We want the profitable business and so we focus on that.

Michael King 4:47
Fantastic. So diving into these these three specific questions for you. When it comes to leading your teams and being up being a leader within the industries that you’ve been in And what do you feel like is some one leadership superpower or one leadership trick that you can say this is something that’s very unique to me that I have in play, and it works really well?

Bill Cook 5:09
Well, for me, when I’m working with our sellers, I was a seller. So I carried a bag for eight years and in three different industries, so I know what they’re going through. And so I’m upfront at the national sales meeting on stage. And I’m helping lead our teams to motivate and energize our sellers. One thing that I have is I sat on the other end of that, that table where they are now, and I know what they’re thinking, because I was there for many years. And I know what, what worked for me. And and I know what will probably work for them? Because I’ve been there. Does that make sense?

Michael King 5:50
Yeah, absolutely. So you’ve walked that path before. So you, you kind of know, the psychology and you know, some of the emotional pressure, even that they’re probably experiencing being in sales in that seat. So that helps that relatability factor doesn’t that knowing that you’ve walked there before, and you have that experience?

Bill Cook 6:08
It does. And even, you know, even when I coach our managers, our sales managers, you know, I had good managers and bad managers through the years, and I always incorporated the good stuff and tried to leave the bad stuff out. And so I learned, for example, how to coach salespeople in a way that doesn’t harm their their egos, right? Because we all have egos, and sales. And and, and so if you, if you coach them appropriately, you’ll get more out of them. And they’ll have a better experience. And they’ll actually learn and do better because they know that you’re, you’re not trying to knock them over the head with five things they did wrong. But rather you’re you’re building them up with five things they did well, and oh, by the way, here’s one thing that maybe let’s work on next time.

Michael King 6:56
That’s yeah, absolutely. So you feel like your methodology, when it comes to coaching your sales team, is to make sure that you’re noticing the wins as much as you possibly can. So you’re, you’re recognizing that they’re moving the ball?

Bill Cook 7:10
Yeah, I think they need that I did. I never responded well, to a lot of criticism or micromanage. But if I had, you know, someone who was building me up along the way and giving me good ideas, I did better. And I think the company did better as well.

Michael King 7:27
Yeah, do you have any specific stories that are attached to some of that experience or methodologies

Bill Cook 7:32
on the positive or the negative?

Michael King 7:35
Either one, go for it. I,

Bill Cook 7:37
I remember, I had a great manager that hired me into a biotech company. And he was fantastic. And he did exactly what I was just describing building, you build it, build me up. And he would let me know that you’re doing great. But here, here’s the here’s, here’s an item that you can work on. And then I’ll try it out. And then we’ll get more feedback as the day went on. So it was very helpful, is very engaging. And then he he was promoted, because he was so good. And the new manager that I received came in, was the exact opposite, very critical, very micromanaging. had an idea about how to do things their way. And I wanted to make sure that I did things the way they did things. And if I didn’t, then we weren’t going to get I mean, that’s probably an example that I can come up with, and just, you know, one manager to the next and the same company, great experience. The worst experience right after, you know,

Michael King 8:39
Oh, absolutely. It probably happens all the time, right. Oh, exactly.

Bill Cook 8:42
I mean, this is, this is very common. If you’ve been around long enough, like I have.

Michael King 8:48
So yeah, absolutely. What do you feel like is something that is the one of the biggest struggles that you’re currently having in in the business place today?

Bill Cook 8:57
One thing we’re struggling with is getting people back to the office. Again, we have a very large inside sales team, and they do a great job. I mean, we’re setting records every quarter. And you know, we went private equity a couple of years ago, and we haven’t missed a quarter. But coming through COVID was challenging enough. The real challenge now is trying to get people to come back to the office and work like they did prior to COVID. There’s a water cooler effect, right? When people are in the same area, there’s a buzz, especially on a sales floor. There is a energy that you can feel when you’re going through people making calls, you know, high fiving whatever it may be when but that all goes away when everyone’s working from home. So I miss that I think I think our team misses it. But we’ve got a lot of guys and gals that don’t want to come back to the office to kind of get used to working from home you know gases It’s expensive. They’re thinking they’re saving money by staying home. But we think from a cultural standpoint, it would be more optimal if we can have them back on the floor, feeling that energy feeding off each other and learning from each other, and that sort of thing. So, you know, that’s the real challenge right now.

Michael King 10:21
Yeah, I would say that that is probably one of the main speaking topics that that I’ve been asked to address. What I’m working with, with major, bigger corporate teams and enterprises is just, even in some of the communication methodologies that are happening within organizations is that have actually discouraging promoting work from home? You know, so the, the, it’s not? It’s, I think, I think organizations are starting to feel a cultural drift. And it doesn’t take long for you to get off center of your mission when your culture starts to deteriorate. And so I feel that, and I, and I think that it’s just going to be a period of time before, before people, they’re going to have to come back to being within proximity with one another for us to be able to have culture together. Yeah, I don’t think work from home has disappeared. And I don’t think it ever will. But I think that there are specific segments within organizations to where it’s just, you have to have proximity to have culture.

Bill Cook 11:20
I totally agree. And I, again, going back to my original statement, we think culture is everything. And the biggest part of our success is having created a culture where people buy into the idea that we’re going to enrich someone’s life at the end of what we do every day, and so we’re really afraid to lose that if if we’re all remote. Right? So I think we’ll get there, like you said, maybe over time, that people will get more comfortable. But certainly I’ve seen other companies try to mandate coming back to work, and that hasn’t been effective, either.

Michael King 11:57
It’s it’s, it’s, it seems like it’s good for getting bad press. That’s what it’s good for. So well, I’ve gotten, I’ve gotten a cup, you know, some really good gold nuggets on this, I loved that when you talking about mentoring and coaching your sales team on how you, you you really advocated for leading with recognizing wins. One of my one of my methodologies I work with when I’m working with with teams is we being the president of teams that coach, we work with executives and their teams. And so we wrote a model called the W i s o model. So the Wieso model, to where it’s every leader on a daily basis is, are asking these things of their team, identify the wins, identify the issues, identify the solutions that you came up with, to solve your issues. And then tell me about opportunities that are either things that we can address now. Or maybe they’re in our dream bucket for the future. What we’re finding is that is that, especially leaders, when they’re leading organizations, that they, it’s easy for us to be able to spot things when there things are going wrong. But even the smallest wins need to be recognized along the way, especially when you’re coming out of a pandemic and out of COVID and things like that. So and this is one of the things that where we find that it’s it gets a lot of traction, and also to when you ask your team members, and you ask your salespeople like, hey, not only do I want you to tell me about your wins, I want you to tell me about the issues that you’ve actually come up with solutions to because if you’re coming up with solutions, you’ve created an engine for leadership for us. So that’s, that’s important to us.

Bill Cook 13:34
Yeah. And it shows that you’re really listening, right? You’re not just faking it or saying, you know, baa rah, rah, you’re actually saying, yeah, great job. But hey, you know, what’s better? Or what are we struggling with? You know, and we have those issues, too. And it takes it takes a lot of sincerity, I think and a lot of desire to really make sure your folks are feeling that they’re in a environment where they can do that, because you’re right, you have to draw that out of folks. They don’t naturally want to come and say, here’s an issue. And, you know, I think they like to complain sometimes. Right? But if we coach like we tried to do where you’re okay, you have an issue fine. What’s the solution? You know, don’t come to me with just a complaint. Try to come with a complaint tied to here’s what we can do to fix it. And we try to foster that here to that house.

Michael King 14:35
I love it. I love it. Well, Bill, you’ve been brilliant. And you’ve been really, really kind by offering up your time with us today. So thank you so much for joining us for this. If people wanted to reach out and get in touch with you, how can they do that?

Bill Cook 14:50
Probably the best way is through LinkedIn. I don’t know my my handle off the top of my head. Maybe you can provide that. Michael but Um, yeah, we will. Okay, I’m available on LinkedIn. I’m on Twitter. And you know, those are probably the best ways to get in touch with me.

Michael King 15:10
All right, fantastic. Well, we’ll put your handles in with the show notes, as well. So thank you again for joining me today for this conversation. I love the takeaways that we talked about with when it comes to, you know, celebrating wins with your team. I love what we talked about with even talking about work from home and how culture is really everything. So you’re great, thank you so much for joining me today.

Bill Cook 15:31
Michael, thank you for having me on. I enjoyed it very much.

Michael King 15:34
So thank you for joining us today on the level of leader podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, consider reviewing us on Apple, Spotify, YouTube, or wherever you get your podcasts, it helps to get the word out and make sure to like, subscribe and follow so you get all of our content. Now Bill was transparent in talking about the issue of bringing people back to the office after COVID Many organizations have to embrace work from home strategies to keep retention a priority. Now, in today’s market, it’s very hard to attract high level talent unless you have something interesting to offer. This is a great topic for our Facebook group. So if you have some time, please post some thoughts on what you are doing to stay competitive and to stay interesting. A special thank you to our featured artists names without numbers for allowing us to use their music. We decided we wanted to feature only music that I’ve actually produced in the studio. So thank you so much, guys, I love that we need to do this together. To find out more about everything that we’re up to check us out at www dot teams dot coach and don’t forget to like our Facebook group, teams out coach slash level up leaders