Smarter Business Podcast - Business Advice with a Video Bent

Sesha Yalamanchili - On The Mark Consulting - Imparting Knowledge On The Internet - Episode 19

July 15, 2020 Sesha Yalamanchili Season 1 Episode 19
Smarter Business Podcast - Business Advice with a Video Bent
Sesha Yalamanchili - On The Mark Consulting - Imparting Knowledge On The Internet - Episode 19
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

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Sesha Yalamanchili, President of On The Mark Consulting, is the interviewee in the latest episode of the Smarter Business Podcast. In this podcast, Sesha talks about how she does not teach others, but rather imparts knowledge to others on the internet. Sesha also talks about how Covid has impacted her business and how the use of video has helped her instill connections to one another and overcoming that battle. 

Here is On The Mark Consulting's website -

Here is our new vidwheel Creator Network product that also comes up -

If you like what you hear, please subscribe wherever you are taking in this podcast, and please leave a comment - we are always looking for feedback and it can help people find the show.

Our goal with this podcast to deliver high-quality, actionable tips and advice from business leaders. Advice that will help you succeed. Oh yeah and that video bent - we are going beyond the typical business tips, we are going to explore the use of video with these business leaders too, from marketing to sales, to internal communications - how they use it and how it impacts their businesses. Thanks for tuning in. 



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(rhythmic music)

- Welcome to The Smarter Business Podcast.

Where we seek advice from business owners

on how to make your business smarter.

The guest today is Sesha Yalamanchili

of On The Mark Consulting.

Sesha talks a little bit about
how her business has changed

due to COVID and the growth mindset.

If you like what you hear
today, please subscribe

and share this with your friends.

If you're watching the video
version of this podcast,

you may notice it looks
a little bit different

than some of the other
ones that we've done.

I'm gonna chalk that up to human error,

it looks like I must have locked
in on Sesha's podcast feed

before we started the interview.

So enjoy this Sesha only
Smarter Business Podcast.

So welcome to this episode of
the Smarter Business Podcast.

This episode we have Sesha Yalamanchili

of On The Mark Consulting.

Sesha, I got that right?

- You did, absolutely.

- [Neil] Great.

And we're gonna talk a little bit today

about learning on the internet.

So Sesha I'm gonna let you go ahead

and just introduce yourself,

introduce your company,

and then we'll roll on from there.

- Hey, I'm Sesha Yalamanchili,

I've been part of the business
community in western New York

for over 20 years.

I'm in the last stages of my career here

I've started a consultancy.

On The Mark Consultancy

which has really allowed
me to follow my passion

which is how to help people thrive

and be at their authentic and best selves

in their professional lives.

So I have a consultancy

that does one-on-one
professional coaching,

I work inside of organizations
to help their teams

figure out how they can be most inclusive

and work to their very best potential.

So those are a couple
of things that we offer.

- [Neil] That's excellent.


A great rundown and
important work these days

maybe more than ever

because we are recording
this as New York state

is starting to come a
little bit back to life

from the COVID pandemic.

So, can you give me a little description

of what your business looks like now

versus what it looked like
maybe before everything started

to shut down?

- Sure.

So a big portion of my business

was a lot of face-to-face,
one-on-one coaching,

but more importantly a large
share of what I would do

is get on a plane or work right here

in western New York in front of a room,

a physical room with a group
of motivated professionals

that wanted to figure out,
have more self-awareness

but also figure out how they
can be the best team mate,

bring their best selves to an
entire collaborative effort

that a team has to go through every day.

So for me before that

things that I would use was
the energy from the room,

I could be earshot to
conversations that were happening

when I sent a group off
to have a discussion

or an activity.

I had developed a seasoned set of skills

to really in a sense read the room

and draw from the energy in the room

to really create an environment

where people could learn
and have their own insights.

And a big part of that was not

for me to be the sage at
the front of the room,

embarking knowledge on them,

but rather creating these environments

where they could have
exchanges to help each other

have breakthrough insights.

Because the whole point was

to create a collaborative effort

to start that in that room

and have it continue
long after I'd be gone.

So as you can imagine

when the ability to
physically meet together,

it was hugely disruptive to my entire,

not only my business model

but the carefully created,
curated skill sets

that I had developed.

So I had a real hard time

and had to actually really go within self

to some of the very things

that I taught teams and business leaders

on how to adapt to change and disruption.

So I actually pulled out
some of my own content

and had to practice that.

But a big part of that

and also part of the reason
why you and I connected, Neil,

was to really try to understand

what is possible from a
connection point of view

through a lens.

I was very skeptical,

felt that this is not even possible

to create that same kind of connection.

But what can you do

to really humanize the virtual experience?

And so I made it a big part
of my charter during this time

to learn from the best

and really attack it from all angles.

So even just more recently
I was at a conference.

Out on the west coast,

but very much from this same location here

that was about how do you
create intimate connection

and deep learning through
virtual facilitation.

So, things like that with
professional facilitators

who are learning

but also to partner
with folks like yourself

and your network to really understand

how to optimally set up
your video, your sound,

to create the best kind of
experience that you can.

So a long-winded answer,

but I feel much more
on a path of innovation

through the disruption of COVID.

- [Neil] Excellent.

Well, I'll ask a couple
questions along the way

from what you laid out there.


I guess if there's one way

that you have found to be able to still

have some of that connection,

like you were talking about
losing that in-the-room feel.

Is there any single tip
that people can use to

or is it a deep deep well

that you can't pare
down, I guess, you know?


- There's a couple of overarching themes

with a lot of tips and tricks
inside of each of them.

But I think I could maybe share some

of the overarching themes
that I'm coming to understand.

- [Neil] Sure.

- And one of them is when you're
taking a group of learners

through an experience

it's no different than
when you're in the room

that it's really more about the learning

that takes place between the learners

and less so about you.

So you put them in an
exercise, set them up,

but a lot of it is what takes
place in the breakout rooms.

So not just using the breakout
rooms as a feature in Zoom

or WebEx or whatever tool you're using,

Hangouts or Teams.

It's about setting them
up for optimal learning

and sharing and insight.

So you're really setting them
up for peer on peer review,

so that's one.

And then the other one is
to be really intentional

before you even start the session

as to what is it that you,
the transformative learning

that you're setting out for them to do.

So when they enter their
session they are one way,

when they leave,

what is it that you
want them to be changed?

In what way?

So when you think about that

and design from that point of view,

that's another really important thing.

Then it's how do you use the
tips and tricks of technology

such as effectively using the chat

or perhaps using a white board

or looking right into the camera

and creating connection that way.

It all comes together and
it makes you think about

how are you using those things

for the purpose of transforming.

Having them have a
transformative experience.

- [Neil] All right, yeah, well that's...

More than one angle you have to take

to really make that transition for sure.

- For sure.

- [Neil] So let me ask you this

because we do have

we focus a little bit on
video in this podcast,

how has the use,

and in your case it's
gonna be streaming video,

how was video helped

I guess hold it all together, you know?

Like, it's somewhat obvious

that now you don't have
to fly to the west coast

like you mentioned, you can
just hop on the video chat,

but I don't know, does it
go any deeper than that?

Is it anything beyond the
well now I'm there, you know?

I'll let you take it from there

if that question's clear enough, I guess?

- Yeah.

I would say for me

and the work that we've done together

it's actually enabled me to
not have to focus on video.

So in essence, you have
helped me understand

how to be a little bit more autonomous

through what equipment
is the best to invest in

and then how do I optimally set that up.

And I'm realizing that there's
an ongoing learning practice

but what all of that does

is it frees me up from thinking
about how am I showing up.

Because you're helping...

And everything behind
the setup is I'm there.

I can be stable and confident

that my physical presence
is gonna be stable

in how I'm showing up.

So body language, my facial expressions,

those are those connections in the room.

I want to be able to
read those from others

but I don't wanna short change others

from being able to read that from me, so.

I can fully be present and focus on it

and not worry that I'm not being heard

or I'm optimally seen in the way

that I think is gonna foster
the learning environment.

So it's very freeing to have
the right things in place,

know how to set it up

and fully be present with your learners.

- [Neil] Excellent, yeah,

and to give everyone who's
listening or watching

a little bit of context,

Sesha and I originally
met just via Zoom when

you signed up for one of my
free web cam coaching sessions

and we did some stuff with lighting

and with other pieces of the video

and then we progressed beyond that

where now Sesha has one of
these VidWheel Creator Network

home studio kits

with the M50 camera and the Yeti mic

and the Ring light and everything.

And we've worked quite a bit
on getting that setup to work

for what you needed it to work for.

And yeah that's good that
it's now worry free, right?

You know?

- It is.
(Neil laughing)

It's wonderful.

- [Neil] Every once in a while

you gotta figure something out

but that maybe is a good transition

into the Creator Network itself,


you had video challenges
that you've already outlined,

what equipment, how do I do this?

How do I make sure it's gonna work right?

Do you feel like the Creator Network,

either the consulting calls with myself

or the support and I don't know community

built around the group that's involved

has been helpful in
terms of making it easier

for you to transition to this video based

version of your business?

- yeah.

Actually in some really surprising ways.

Right now you hear a lot

about people talking about the need

to be fully inclusive in a network.

So for me, and the idea
that bringing a lot

of diversity of perspective

can really be of benefit.

So I spend a lot of time
in groups that I belong to

that are all coaches.

Or training and facilitators like myself.

But this group, we all come together

with a common purpose of
what is the possibility

of video in all different formats

to propel what we're doing forward?

And at the heart of it
there's human connection,

there's telling an authentic story,

there's educating or teaching or sharing

in a really authentic way.

So hearing that from
people who are doing it

in a hundred different ways than myself

has surprisingly been
really a benefit to me.

In all the ways that people talk about

that having a diverse team would be.

So for example, it's expanding
the possibility of thinking

about how I might be able to do what I do

through some YouTube presence.

That's not something I
ever would have considered

or even really understood
what a channel like that did,

but there's somebody in our group

that that's the main crux
of what they're doing

and it's been so eye-opening to me.

I have the term in my mind of this network

as the possibilities network.

That's what it represents to me.

- [Neil] Excellent.

- So and I love that we're all rooted,

it's all rooted around the camera.

But it goes in so many
different directions

and possibilities.

- [Neil] Yeah yeah,

well there's a lot of
different paths to take

around video right now.

And yeah,

I mean I'm glad to hear
some of those words.

That's what I'm trying to create there

is that a lot of different
ways to look at it.

You learn a little over
here and little over here

and it does open up some different routes

for folks to consider as they go forward.

All right,

so we're gonna move on to the
main event of the podcast,

this is the question
that ties every episode,

no matter who's answering, together.

What is one thing that you
have done to make your business

or client's business smarter?

And you have to pick one,

that's what makes it fun, for me anyway.

- I think...

So this is the connective
tissue question (laughing)

that connects all of them together.

For me the answer is actually
the connective tissue

behind everything that I offer and do.

And it's helping clients
understand the value

of allowing people to
show up as themselves

and not have to really edit who they are

and being authentic in the workplace.

Teaching leaders that
that level of diversity

and self identification is the
most human thing we could do

in the work place

and to show them that by doing that

the results from a business standpoint,

the typical things that we like to measure

are exponentially better.

And that is by creating a human experience

that's individualized for each person.

It's not easy to do

but the value and benefit
to doing that is huge,

so for me,

everything I do I look at
through the lens of that

and that's how I feel I've
helped my clients and businesses.

- [Neil] Excellent, yeah.

I like that we have not
got that response yet,


making people within businesses

be their authentic selves
is the base there right?

And that is

that's probably more
important than ever, right?

Is people are gonna continue
to have more remote workforces,

there's gonna be, I would imagine,

a pretty prolonged
decentralized business structure

compared to what folks have
been used to in the past.

- Yes, yes

and in addition to that

we also have just a really moment in time

where we're looking at equity

and diversity in our workplaces

and really challenging our
status quo in those areas.

So to help leaders really understand

how to do that well and what
the benefit of doing that is

and how they can create cultures

and be very deliberate about it

that allow that to happen.

- [Neil] Excellent, yeah, great answer.

Great answer.

So, we have one last piece,

which is I throw this on every interview

that I conduct

whether it's testimonials or
these podcasts or anything

and it's just an open-ended question.

If you have anything that you
feel like could be valuable

to the audience or something
you just wanna throw in there,

lot of folks have done things
like suggesting a book,

software, some mentality base
related to their business.

If you have anything to add,
the floor is yours Sesha.

- Well I might suggest a model

that has really changed me.

And my people are familiar
with the growth mindset model.

Basically it's challenging yourself

to be more in a growth
mindset at any given time

than a fixed mindset.

And just in a nutshell,

a fixed mindset is that anything

that you're doing or striving for,

you have put this pressure
on yourself to do it

and be good at it out of the gate.

And a fixed mindset is
really about getting better.

So the Video Creator Network
is about constant iteration

to get better,

it's about getting in front of the camera

and making mistakes

and failing your way through improvement.

And being in that mindset

scientifically actually
generates better results.

So if there's anything Carol
Dweck wrote a book on it

and there's a lot of materials out there,

but I feel like it's
applicable to almost anything.

Classrooms are adapting it in schools,

organizations are adapting it.

And for me, it's something
that I look at personally,

'cause I'm a perfectionist

and I used to think that was a good thing.

And that I wouldn't put anything out

until it was absolutely perfect,

but I learned that it
actually can hold you back.

- [Neil] Yeah, that's a growth mindset

is an incredibly important thing.

Especially, once again
to tie everything back

to our current situation, but

being able to let go of some of the norms

that were going on before

and adjust accordingly or
grow in a different direction

if one direction's no
longer viable or available.

Is absolutely applicable

and the growth mindset overall

is something that a lot of businesses

are starting to look for now,

not to tie this back to football,

but that's a big piece behind
the Buffalo Bill's coach

Sean McDermott is always
talking growth mindset

and they pick players based around that.

So it's

it's prevalent and it's important.

A lot of different businesses

obviously you brought up education.

That's a great place to
start instilling that

in folks before they get out there

into the business world,
so I love, growth mindset.

- Yeah.

A good thing that I heard about
growth mindset that I liked

is just imagine a world
where your grades in school

were about comparing not to 100,

and where you are against
a scale from 0 to 100,

but it's where you are
against your past self.

So where you were two weeks ago

versus where you are
now, that's your grade

is looking at improvement.

So that's, and imagine if we
took that into the workplace

in performance reviews

and performance discussions.

Nobody ever really likes either
giving a performance review

or getting one.

But if we change the
dialogue in the conversation

to be able this is about
let's just reflect on

where you were and where you are today

and let's look at,

celebrate some of the growth
that's happened in there.

- [Neil] Yeah I think

that's a better way to look at it, right?

You don't get compared to your neighbor,

get compared to yourself.

And if everybody makes
those incremental changes

then everybody's getting
better all the time, so.

That is

I like that a lot.

And I try to have that mindset.

You try to have that mindset.

A lot of folks in the Creator Network

I think have that mindset going too, so.

I think that has run

through our regular questions here Sesha,

so I'm gonna say thank you.

- Oh thank you.

- [Neil] And what we've
been doing is waving

because we used to have the handshake

at the end of the podcast.

But just a little goodbye

and thank you for coming out

and great insights, Sesha, thanks.

- Thank you so much, it my pleasure.

Thank you for having me.

- Okay, so that does it for this episode.

Please visit On The Mark Consulting

and once again if you like
what you heard, subscribe

and share this episode with your friends.

Thank you.

(upbeat music)


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