C-Suite Network™

Leadership Lessons from Battle-Tested Executives


Since launching my fourth book, “The Hero Factor: How Great Leaders Transform Organizations and Create Winning Cultures,” I’ve been examining how leaders lead and how they execute in order to scale for growth faster and more effectively. I find it fascinating to see how others operate their businesses and what best practices they put in place in other to make their businesses thrive.


As someone who has been in business for a long time and has bought and sold over 250 business, I love hearing some insights from C-Suite Network members and everyone in my circle about what leadership means to them and what principles guide them in order to become better, more effective leaders.


Some time has passed since our C-Suite Network Conference in New York City, but the lessons learned there will have a lingering effect in how we operate our businesses and collaborate with one another. Here are few of my favorite quotes from the conference:


“The bigger your vision, the more you will sacrifice to achieve it.” – Chris Rabalais, Political Director, The Sports Vote & Managing Director, The New Sports Economy Institute


“Brands have moved from words and pictures to experiences.” – Margaret Molloy, Global Chief Marketing Officer, Siegel+Gale


“You can’t give birth to an adult.” – Brian Smith, Founder of UGG (talking about birthing a brand)


“Figure out what you can do better than anybody else and then do it.” – Brian Smith (when talking about how does one become successful)


Engage micro influencers, even if adversaries, learn from them, show them what you do.” – Mitzi Perdue, Founder & President, Win This Fight! Stop Human Trafficking


Advertise the feeling and emotion you want your customers to feel and get from the product not the benefits itself.” – Brian Smith, Founder of UGG


Be sure everyone in the organization knows what you’re doing.” – Shenan Smith, President, pGSK- PublicisMedia


Success isn’t a future event. Success is w whole series of events that you do successfully.” – Brian Smith, Founder of UGG


People are moved by honesty and being genuine.” – Bob Guccione, Jr., Founder, SPIN magazine and Founder & CEO, WONDERLUST


Entrepreneurs see over the horizon.” – Bob Guccione, Jr.


Get customers to love your brand.” – Helena Verellen, SVP Global Strategic Partnerships & Business Development, Audible



Business is fast-paced and can be cutthroat. The way we work has changed dramatically and anyone not keeping up better find another line of work because they won’t be in business for long. One adage that I constantly fall back on is “adapt, change, or die.” It couldn’t be more apt for these times of break-neck speed and constant evolution and innovation.


In that same vein, the way we lead is also changing. Leadership is not just one person at the top making decisions for everyone. Leadership has become decentralized and this has allowed other employees to feel empowered to make decision to propel the business forward.


Ask yourself, what is the definition of leadership? What makes for an effective leader? There’s no right or wrong answer because we all run different operations. While we can agree there are certain traits that make for good leadership, there’s no silver bullet to being a great leader.


A great leader motivates, communicates, engages, educates, and evangelizes. For me, a great leader has a charismatic personality, can persuade an audience full of different backgrounds and ideologies, gives credit when credit is due and aligns people and profits.


What makes a great leader for you?


What were your favorite quotes from the conference?

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