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7 Questions on Leadership with Doug Vail

Name: Doug Vail

Title: Chief Revenue Officer

Organisation: Industrial Inspection & Analysis

Began Industrial Service Sales career in 2020 after 5 years in production management. Began leading sales and strategy in 2005 while also becoming involved with Private Equity; acquisitions, integrations, and selling various businesses. Every venture since has been growing companies with very different services and capabilities; that's what keeps it fun and challenging.

Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!

I hope Doug's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!


Jonno White

1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?

Maintaining a culture for sales professionals to thrive, grow, be challenged, and fairly compensated for the sacrifices they make being away from family.

2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?

After being in production management for the early part of my career and depending on others as a measure of my success, I was happy to pursue a sales role that My Performance and Results I created were how I was evaluated. Then once I began having success in Sales, I was approached to lead my peers which I wasn't sure I wanted to get back into at first. What I realized I missed most was "coaching" and helping others find success and growing in their professional careers. The reward of seeing people one has helped build successful careers is immeasurable.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

Depends on where I am in the world, but every day begins with reviewing what has transpired overnight; emails that need my immediate attention, report reviews, daily check-in with my team of leaders, exercise, then the work-of-the-day requiring 100 decisions per day, long-range strategic work, find some time for food, chat with my family, plan for next day, hopefully in the bed at a reasonable hour. On the road allows for later working days, so that when I am home, I can be more present for my wife and 2 kids.

4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?

Hire with patience, but terminate underperformers quickly

5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?

Og Mandino's book "The Greatest Salesman in the World" changed my life; professionally and personally. I have given countless copies to my team over the years and most everyone who has taken the time to read it is impacted; not always the same way, but definitely impacted. "To learn and master anything, one has to pay the price in time and concentration, until it becomes part of one's personality and habit in living." - how does that not impact what one does everyday?

6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?

Remember that you were the people you are leading; you cannot expect more from them than you expect of yourself.

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?

I hired a sales professional that had worked for me in the past into a new service company; one neither of us really understood very well. He had some mild success, but not like he or I expected so I was going to let him go as I knew he was frustrated. As I am talking through his separation, he said "I will take a reduction in salary to stay; I have a ton of work that is going to close this year." His confidence and willingness to "bet" on himself at a reduced cost to the business was worth it too me and my company. He did everything he said he would do, he earned a nice bonus and his salary was returned to its original value based on his continued performance and success.

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