C-Suite Network™

Best Practices Growth Human Resources Personal Development

Discriminating Against Older Applicants Is More than Illegal: It’s bad for your bottom line!

You’ve seen it time and time again. Job ads that say “Recent college grad”, “Digital native” or “Looking for a cultural fit”. Most of today’s recent college graduates are under 30, and most “digital natives” were born in 1980 or later. And a “cultural fit” pushes away the older folks. Do these terms discourage older applicants? Absolutely. Is it illegal? Perhaps. AARP has a fantastic article on this very subject.

Michael was recently interviewed on FOX Radio as a Workplace Cultural Expert. But he took a much different route than dwelling on enforcement issues and legalities surrounding this subject. Whether this can be deemed illegal or not, whether liability is strong enough or not, the fact of the matter is simple–it’s plain bad business! Here are a handful of reasons why.


 Younger staff members tend to be more temporary. Recently, we hired and trained a college grad. She said, after 18 months, “Well, I’m off to my next opportunity!” She up-and-left! So much for all of that training and the great relationships she fostered with our service providers, vendors, and customers. When we asked why, she said, “This was just my first job and I need to see if there’s anything better for me. I need to build my experience.” Older employees, on the other hand, are less likely to leave, and more likely to appreciate the job and be more stable in their social and home lives. That stability is key to earning a better ROI in terms of relationship-building and training. To put it simply – older folks are more likely to stay. Remember: Employee turnover is the number one cost of doing business.

Technical Knowledge

 When we hired recent graduates, the tech they were familiar with was already obsolete. Many programs we used every day were foreign to them. We were shocked! For example, WordPress, PowerPoint, and maximization of LinkedIn and Facebook were a mystery to these hires, in addition to various other editing platforms. And for good reason – Everything is changing so fast that it’s necessary for people to be in a constant state of learning in order to maximize the use of each of these programs. So, young or old, people need to “start fresh” every few years in order to keep up. So much for the advantage of hiring a recent graduate! They need just as much training as older employees.

Soft Skills

 Many older employees already have soft skills–they were raised with them. They didn’t grow up surrounded by technology, thinking that human relations were obsolete and unnecessary. Ironically, when we went to a commencement ceremony for a young friend who graduated with a master’s in engineering from Stanford, the commencement address surprised us. The Dean warned, “We, your teachers, have given you the best technical education possible. But we are concerned about you because the number one reason for tech startup failure is a lack of soft skills.” He described how these skills are essential to get the best prices, get the best credit, engage others, cooperate effectively, and make sales happen. He encouraged his students to learn them.


The best hire we ever made? A 70-year-old employee! He knew our industry’s key buyers, and he knew exactly how to get noticed at retail. He had four decades of experience! An absolute Godsend for a startup with limited knowledge of the industry. Not only did he know how to navigate on his own, but he was also experienced in teaching others. Our younger employees loved him because he was interested in their successes and endeavors. He was everyone’s go-to guy! Suddenly, our young staff gained respect with other businesses we depended on because he followed their procedures and policies. We think all of today’s older applicants should sell themselves on this: It isn’t about what they don’t know–it’s about what they do know! Businesses in the startup and buildup phases should be looking for this exact type of experience.


 After a tiring day of interviewing potential candidates for a receptionist position, an older applicant arrived who was in her late 60s at the time. She said, “I guess you’re wondering why you’re going to hire an older person like me to sit out front and represent your business.” She then described her 25 years of military experience working for a General. She was hired. Two years later, a middle-aged gentleman started looking at our pictures and licenses hanging up in the lobby. He didn’t say a word. He was dressed in a Hawaiian shirt and Bermuda shorts, and had a camera draped over his shoulder. Was he on vacation? Was he lost? Our office wasn’t open to the public. Was he there for an appointment? Our receptionist asked politely, “Are you a supermarket buyer?” He responded, “Does it show?” She had already told our much-younger national chain manager to “Get out here right now!” This led us to get in to 26 Arizona stores, all because of her social abilities, sensitivity, and understanding our challenges. Someone with less social experience might have told our visitor that our office was closed to the public, and brought him to the door!


 Older employees are typically more stable and have more soft skills than younger folks. Never mind the level of experience! They are more likely to be engaged, appreciative, and will work with your business at heart. Don’t let this fantastic opportunity pass you by. It will add a level of knowledge and experience to all aspects of your business. Balance the youth’s inexperience and enthusiasm with the experience and stability that only age can bring. Your bottom line will see the benefits!

For more, read on: http://c-suitenetworkadvisors.com/advisor/michael-houlihan-and-bonnie-harvey/


Entrepreneurship Leadership Marketing Sales Skills

This Is the No-Ego Zone

Onto today’s topic du jour… EGO.

As speakers, consultants, and experts, we MUST take ourselves out of our marketing messages.

Nobody cares about YOU.

The only thing they MIGHT care about is you IN TERMS of THEM.

What problems can you help them solve that others can’t, won’t, or don’t know how to?

How are you different, better, faster, smarter, cooler?

Not in terms of YOU but in terms of what matters to THEM and THEIR company,

THEIR team,

THEIR career,

THEIR association,

THEIR members,

THEIR franchisees,

THEIR leaders,

THEIR salespeople, etc.

Mike Thomson came into our mentoring program as a terrific speaker and coach – but he was all about “I, me, my” messaging and he couldn’t even see it at first.

Listen to his story here.

The moment he flipped his marketing, messaging, and sales conversations from “I, me, my” to “You, you, and you” – everything started to click.

Fees went up.

Repeat and referral business took off.

Sponsorship deals started to close.

Everything that mattered to him – fees, respect, relationship, and freedom and scale in his business – came about when he flipped the switch away from “me” marketing and toward “client-centric” marketing.

THAT was what landed him at the top of the heap for high-fee speaking, training, consulting, and sponsorship deals like never before.

Even though he thought he had it all figured out and had been fairly successful for 30+ years.

If a rock star like Mike can make a switch like that, what could YOU do with your business with some expert guidance, direction, and revenue acceleration?

Here’s where to find out more: https://www.expertprofitformula.com/

Best Practices Growth Personal Development

Turning Your Manuscript into a Book

It’s done. You’ve finished the last edit, and your book is now ready for publication.

Except that it isn’t. Whether for ebook or print publication, your manuscript needs to go through some significant computerized transformation.

A number of methods are available to engineer this transformation, too many for this blog post. I will cover five methods, two of which are best for those who intend one or possibly a few books, and two for the person who feels they have loads of books waiting to be written (or who have interest in doing a side business in book design).

The final method is an in-between one.

The One-shot Deal

You can hire a professional book designer who will do both your print edition and ebook layouts. Some designers charge thousands of dollars, and that price is based on a highly complex layout that may have charts, illustrations, and a quantity of other design elements.

If your book has a simpler design, you can go to Fivrr, Upwork, or a similar business, and see the available price ranges.

No matter who you hire, do vet the interior designer. You can judge a book by its interior.

Another approach is to upload a Word document to Kindle Direct Publishing or the appropriately named “Meatgrinder” at Smashwords. Then pray.

I’ve had success at Smashwords, but they have a rulebook for manuscript preparation that will terrify some people. You have been warned.

The Long Haul

Just the word, “Calibre,” will frighten some people almost as much as the Meatgrinder does. It’s a very powerful ebook software program, but many people feel that it’s meant for programmers, not authors. I managed with Meatgrinder, but Calibre mystified me.

Another method is to learn, and I do mean learn, to lay out your book in Adobe InDesign. This desktop publishing app will give you fine-tuned control over your book design. However, you have to invest lots of time and a monthly subscription in a product you might not often use. This is why it’s a long-term investment.

InDesign has a steep learning curve. I found it difficult to use because It Is not Intuitive. A function called one thing In a Microsoft product is called something entirely different in an Adobe product. I do not recommend attempting to learn it unless its use will be a regular part of your job or business.


With Vellum, you can format both a print and an ebook version of your manuscript. The cost for this is $249.99. An ebook-only version is $199.99.

That may sound like a lot, but you’re unlikely to pay less to have a book designer format your book. If you have two or three books on your to-do list, you will save. If time to you is money, you’ll save that way, too.

Full disclosure: I have not used Vellum, but I’ve consulted with those who have, and they say that the program is easy to learn and use and that it turns out a nice product.

Caveat: Vellum is for Macs, and the developers of the program have no plans for a PC version. However, a workaround exists. You can buy time on a virtual Mac at a rate of $30 for 30 hours. Even if you add that amount to the purchase price of Vellum, you’re still saving money over hiring a professional.

This link goes further into the use of Vellum by PC owners. https://paulteague.com/how-to-use-vellum-on-a-pc/

Some other pluses of Vellum include the ability to assemble boxed sets of a series, produce advance copies for early feedback, format ebooks for Kindle, Kobo, Apple Books, and other retail platforms, and a lot more, including a wide choice of book styles.

I consider it worth visiting the Vellum site to read more about its feature. Go to https://vellum.pub.

C Suite executives hire Pat Iyer to help them turn out professionally written and edited books. Contact her through her website at PatIyer.com

Best Practices Growth Personal Development

How Good is Grammarly

You’ve probably heard of the editing tool, Grammarly. If you go to its web site, grammarly.com, you will read claims that the app ensures that what you write is easy to read, effective, and mistake-free. It presumably detects grammar, spelling, punctuation, word choice, and style mistakes in your writing.

The free version checks spelling and grammar, and from my experience, it does a pretty good job. However, I must note that I did decide to double-check its accuracy by running a document through Word spellcheck, which found a spelling error that Grammarly hadn’t caught.

The paid version checks for readability, compelling language, tone detection, confidence, and other subtle elements. When I use the paid version, Grammarly chides me for too much passive writing. If Grammarly criticizes you, don’t take it personally.

Overblown Claims

Where I part company with Grammarly is in its claims that “anyone can be a great writer” and that “brilliant writing awaits.” These are not comments buried in text; they’re headlines. Folks, I would consider dialing it back.

Some people will never be great writers, and that’s fine. I believe that people who use Grammarly can get a useful education in the technical elements of writing and get to see repeated errors they make. They can then become good or at least competent writers.

Case Histories

In researching this article, I asked two writers their opinions of Grammarly.

The author with whom I spoke trusted the paid version of Grammarly to take care of the grammar part of her writing. She uses it for her blog posts for the sake of finding better words, incorrect tense usage, and passive voice. She then gives the manuscript to her content editor, who will look for flow and related issues. She made it clear that Grammarly does not replace the need for a good editor.

I asked a second author whether he felt that with Word spellchecker and Grammarly he didn’t need an editor.

He said, “Not even close because they’ll help you with some of the overall ideas. And, yes, Grammarly, I love the product. It checks a lot deeper, but you still have to pull out the nitty-gritty meaning and the true intent of your words. Unless you have somebody asking you, ‘Hey, what do you mean by this?’, you’re never going to have crafted your message as well as you could.”

In response, I said, “And I think Grammarly may correct the sentences it sees, but it doesn’t say, “Hey, wait a minute. This doesn’t make sense,” or “You said the same thing on page 32 in Chapter Five, and now you’re saying it again in Chapter Eight.” It won’t pick up that kind of repetition or nonsensical sentences that are correct grammatically.”

He agreed. “It’s the limitations of the tool, and they’re great for ’Okay, I’m writing a quick essay or blog post or something.’ Yeah, I just want to make sure that’s correct, but if I truly want to build something that is going to impact people, keep people involved in it, I need an editor.”

Grammarly is Worth a Try

I would recommend that you play with the free version. If you find that it’s benefitting you, you may or may not want to move on to the paid version. You can try it for a month. If you decide you really like it, you can move on to an annual subscription, which will save money.

Overall, though, my unscientific survey seemed to indicate that for blog posts and similarly short documents, Grammarly is useful. If, however, you have anything longer, you need the human touch.

Visit grammarly.com for more information.

Pat Iyer serves as the safety net for authors by providing professional human editing. Reach her through her website at patiyer.com.

Best Practices Growth Personal Development

Free yourself from distractions when you write

You want to write, and you have a plan in mind. Experts have assured you that you need to practice discipline and block out areas of time during which you will only write.

You look at your weekly schedule, determine that you’re a morning person, and decide that you’ll get up extra-early and write for two hours. You assure yourself that this is dedicated time.

However, once you’re sitting in front of your computer, you think it would probably make sense to clear your mind by checking your emails. You’ll only scan the headers and only answer one if it’s essential. Otherwise, you’re not going to get involved in responses.

Or maybe a news site calls you. You’re a responsible citizen who needs to know what’s going on in the world.

Or you’ve been writing for a full half-hour. Don’t you deserve a reward? Why don’t you see what your Facebook friends are up to?

Whichever Internet outlet you choose, the odds are good that the simple checkup will evolve into an extended visit. Time passes in a blur, and you don’t meet your writing goals. In fact, even if you make a brief detour from writing to visit social media, it can take you an average of 23 minutes to refocus on what you were writing.

You might need Freedom.

What is Freedom?

Freedom is a software program with over one million users that allows you to block internet usage selectively.

You can, for example, use it to block Facebook and Twitter from 5 to 7 AM if those are the hours you’ve designated for writing. Freedom is designed so that you can set up any kind of schedule that suits you.

Why Isn’t Will Power Enough?

It is enough for some people, but we’re seeing more and more evidence that social media has effects on our brains that are similar to those of highly addictive drugs. It’s designed to be addictive, and most people aren’t immune to it.

The people who designed Freedom recognize that even setting up a block may not be enough. They have an additional feature that lets you lock yourself out from removing a block. This means that if you’ve set it up to prevent you from accessing Facebook, for example, during your designated times, you’ll be blocked.

You Can Still Go on the Internet

In the past, I’ve tried programs that initiated a total lockout from the Internet. It sounded good in principle, but I found that it prevented me from doing needed research. If you write any kind of nonfiction—and this issue can also come up with fiction—you often need to fact check or look up the meaning of a word to make sure you’re using it correctly.

Freedom allows you to do this. For your part, don’t try to convince yourself that you’ll find the facts you need on Facebook or Twitter.


A year’s subscription to Freedom costs $2.50 a month.

On a monthly basis, you pay $7 a month.

The best deal is lifetime access for $130. Obviously, don’t do this until you’ve had a significant test run of the product.

Visit Freedom at https://freedom.to/?rfsn=410732.cca35 for more information.

One of the original 100 C Suite Network Contributors, Pat Iyer is an editor and ghostwriter and the host of Writing to Get Business Podcast. She is working on reducing her time on Facebook and news sites. Connect with Pat at Patiyer.com


Best Practices Growth Personal Development

Scrivener: The Program Designed for Writers

Check out Scrivener, a versatile and multifaceted program, for these reasons:

  • It’s low-risk, with a 30-day free trial program.
  • You can buy it for $49 in either Windows or Macintosh version.
  • If you need a form of tutorial assistance in learning it, you can find courses at Udemy and other sites.

Full disclosure: I don’t own Scrivener, but I have writer friends who rave about it. Between their acclaim and what I learned in my research for this post, I’m giving it serious consideration.

Below are highlights of what Scrivener offers.

Goal Checking and Focus

You can set goals for both individual project sessions and for the whole project and periodically check on how you’re doing. You can also avoid distractions by using a full-screen mode that only lets you see your writing screen.

Writing Styles

You can choose between MLA (Modern Language Association), APA (American Psychological Association), and Chicago styles of writing. Scrivener also has tools for including scientific or mathematical data.

In addition, you can use it for script writing.

Organizational Features

Use Scrivener to import, notes, links, images, and other information in connection with research.

Scrivener’s storyboarding feature creates virtual index cards that you can use to organize sections of a chapter or chapters of a book. A tool called the Corkboard lets you look at them all together.

The Outliner Feature can help you organize your text with folders for sections, chapters, and divisions within chapters.

Help with Self-Publishing

Scrivener is especially useful when it comes to handling the final manuscript. If you choose to self-publish on Kindle and/or elsewhere, you can avoid more expensive formatting routes. Instead, you have the option to export your document to MOBI (Amazon), EPUB (Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and other platforms), or PDF, TXT, RTF, and DOC.

You can also import from Scrivener to Vellum, which provides the opportunity to create an attractive type design for your book.


Overall, Scrivener does have a learning curve, and some users describe it as steep. It can take two hours to learn the basics, depending on your general technological agility. On the other hand, many writers feel that you don’t need to learn more than the basics. In addition, even those who complain about the learning curve also rave about the program.

Free Help is Available


 Emily Fox, author of Scrivener for Dummies, gives a detailed account of her own challenges in learning this program and provides an invaluable list of free resources to help you with your own learning curve.

It’s also, of course, free to check out what the Scrivener program looks like. Go to https://www.literatureandlatte.com/scrivener/overview to see screenshots of the various features. You can also browse through the features section, testimonials, and the FAQ.

Paid Help is Also Available

 Udemy offers low-cost courses to learn Scrivener in both Windows and Mac formats.

Joseph Michael, a Scrivener expert, offers classes ranging from $127 to $297. He also, from time to time, gives free and useful seminars. If you don’t want to commit at this time, you might want to sign up for his mailing list so you’ll know when a course is available. Go to https://www.learnscrivenerfast.com/?r_done=1#_tcil2ra05

Is Scrivener the best thing invented since moveable type? I don’t know, but in summary, it’s clearly affordable, worth the trouble to learn, and has fervent fans.

It also means you can say good-bye to index cards.

Pat Iyer is a C Suite Network contributor who serves authors as an editor. Reach her though her website at patiyer.com.






Growth Management Personal Development

Can I be Mindful and Use My Technology?

This is among the top five questions I get asked as a mindful leadership authority.  The answer is well… in the definition of mindfulness itself.  Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment without judgment. So, if that is what we are practicing then I cannot judge if you can or can’t be mindful with your technology.  If you have ways to be fully present with your technology and be productive then you are practicing mindfulness.

So, with that said the answer for me is an unavoidable yes, and.  Yes, in today’s world where we are connected to technology 24/7/365 I sense for humans to practice mindfulness it may in fact start with a piece of technology.

Top 3 Mindful Technology Apps:

Insight Timer:  Knowing as the #1 Free Meditation app for sleep, relaxation, and more we are proud to have our podcast, www.EverydayMindfulnessShow.com included on this app.  Here you will find more than 7,000 mindful teachers with courses, meditations, and playlists to help you focus on the now, reduce anxiety, and re-connect with yourself.

CALM:  Looking to quiet your mind?  Millions use CALM, named an Apple Best Of App their mission is to make the world happier and healthier.  On this app, there are meditations, stories, and more.  CALM also has a business app to build a resilient workforce for mental fitness.

10% Happier: Do you get fidgety just thinking about meditation? This is the app for you.  This app hosts expert teachers to walk you thru the basics one breath at a time. Based on the book and work of Dan Harris former ABC News anchor where he shares his journey from skeptic to the daily meditator.

While these apps each have different features and benefits they all are an invitation to mindfulness or meditative practice.

As C-Suite network readers, I know you want to be at the top of your professional performance, so I’d add these two tools to consider.  These tools offer ways to turn down your other technology to become more fully present with yourself.  We use website blockers to block our ability to access social media sites that may be distracting. We love the tool Freedom.to that has several lockdown features.  We also use the chrome web store extension StayFocusd helps you do just that, stay focused. StayFocusd increases your productivity by limiting the amount of time that you can spend on time-wasting websites.

Questions to check your mindfulness with technology:

  • Is this technology, phone, app, webpage tool supporting me?
  • Is this technology supporting my ability to be present with others?
  • Does this technology tool make me mind less?  Or bring me back to the moment?
  • How many hours am I on technology?

The use of technology is a necessary part of life in 2020 as such to be a mindful leader with technology you need to become aware of it if it is a support to the life you want to have or a distraction from it.  There is no right or wrong answer, it’s the right or wrong answer for you.  You know in your heart if you are on your devices too much.

And, it’s good and healthy for your eyes, hands, back, and body to take mindful breaks through the day and even a technology vacation once in a while.

Holly Duckworth, CAE, CMP, LSP, is a nationally recognized speaker, author, and coach for mindful leadership.  Her company Leadership Solutions International work with stressed-out leaders to create profits, peace, and presence.  Look for her podcast www.EverydayMindfulnessShow.com on C-Suite Radio and library of award-winning mindful leadership and sales books at C-Suite Book Club.




Growth Human Resources Personal Development

Hunting for Self Worth: Less is More


The Fifth Step of the Faremouth Method is “Be a Hunter.”  Lately, I’ve really been trying to hunt for meaning and purpose during these challenging times with COVID-19 among us. Not only for myself but to impart understanding and meaning for my many clients and candidates who are trying to cope with reductions in staff, job losses, and changing identities.  This step really leads me back to the First Step of the Faremouth Method which is “Do A Self Inventory.”  In searching deep inside of myself, it led me to the words of wisdom my grandmother always imparted, which was:


“Less is More.”


The origin of the phrase “Less is More” is a 19th-century proverbial phrase credited to Robert Browning’s poem which later was made famous by the architect Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe in reference to his simplicity of style, and the beauty of it.


Not having so much going on in the design of structures allows one to see the creation of the building and its beauty.  When we are able to strip away the excess and what is not necessary, then we are able to see the value of what we have.  As we simplify our lives and surroundings, we have a much better gauge of our value.


Maybe we can all translate that into how when we change our thinking on this matter, we are able to see a different kind of beauty within ourselves that is not so much tied to STUFF, possessions, titles, and material things. That is not to say that trying to become our best self and seeking to improve and grow and contribute to the world isn’t a good thing.  It is, for sure.  In my 30+ year career as a career consultant, I have been dedicated to helping people find the best jobs that compensate then well, have the potential for growth, and allow them to contribute their talents to the world in a meaningful way.


Maybe in these tough times, we are able to come to an appreciation of a new way of looking at things and, in so doing, we are able to craft a new way of being that allows us to grow in a different direction.   A new direction that even if our previous identities have changed, i.e., loss of a prestigious job tile, not able to afford to go out to eat at our favorite restaurant because money is tight and the fear of being in a crowded place is too risky these days, etc.  When we are changing our thinking on this matter, we free ourselves to pursue a life worthy of esteem and respect and are not restricted to a life we used to know.  We can improve our self-worth regardless of our net-worth.  We don’t make judgments about our own life value by the possessions that we own, and the wages we earn.  The wages we have earned in the past have provided for our lives, but they do not define our lives.


There is newfound importance on our self-worth where we shift our focus on our true intrinsic value. While high paying jobs can provide extras, we really have to evaluate what’s really important in our lives and what becomes a filler.  Those fillers do not provide happiness, self-worth, and healthy self-esteem.


Consider the following steps to improve your self-worth regardless of your net-worth.


1. Live a life of strong integrity. There is no greater feeling than to look at yourself in the mirror and be proud of the reflection you see looking back at you.  Make sure your dealings with others are always filled with strong integrity.  Always give more than you take.


2. Cultivate worthwhile endeavors. There is no limit to the amount of love and consideration you can show to others, the amount of hope you can spread, or the number of encouraging words and advice you can speak.  Cultivate these things in plentiful supply as they will be well-received and remembered.


3. Take Calculated Risks to Expand Your Sense of Self. If there is a job description that isn’t a direct match but would utilize your transferable skills, make sure the keywords in your resume highlight why you might take the risk and be a possible candidate for the job.


4. Don’t be afraid to take a step down now to take a step up later. Don’t get hung up on what was, but be realistic about what is.  If you have to take a job that you consider beneath you in tough times to pay the bills and provide food and benefits for your family at a reduced salary, do it.  When things turn around and a prospective employer sees that you did what you had to do to survive, they will applaud you.  It’s the people with big gaps on their resumes during these tough times who will have a harder time explaining their reasons than those that hustled.


5. Live courageously. Find the mental strength to accept new challenges without regard to the fear that may lie beneath.  If the prospective new job might involve new challenges, do what you have to do to be able to take them on.  The strong always are the ones to survive.


6. Be humble and kind. Call that old boss who gave you that great promotion and tell them how much you learned working for him.  Show gratitude every chance you get.  Call your Mother and check on her, and don’t forget that persnickety Uncle Bill who always makes you crazy.  He might need some help in these tough times, too.


Hunt for what you can do now to prepare for your future. Your true self-worth is up to you.  Don’t allow your life’s purpose to be only caught up in the acquisition of material things, etc.,   Its in the doing of those things that might be considered “less” that might end up being “more.”

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