Jeffrey Hayzlett Talks C-Suite Network and C-Suite Conferences on ‘American Weekend’

Valerie Smaldone, co-host of American Weekend syndicated on the Envision Talk Network, spoke with Jeffrey Hayzlett about the focus of the C-Suite Network, his new podcast on C-Suite Radio and the upcoming 2015 C-Suite Conferences. 

Listen to the interview:

7 Ways to Spot Entrepreneurial DNA

by Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey


Today there is a loud buzz about the entrepreneurial spirit, the entrepreneurial culture and even the entrepreneurial DNA. Corporations realize that in order to stay relevant, engage and empower their people, and create a positive and innovative culture, they must learn to spot entrepreneurial DNA in their job candidates.

We have a friend who runs the school of entrepreneurship at a major university. She says that, surprisingly, large corporations are now very interested her grads. Why? The answer is because entrepreneurial grads are more self-reliant and creative compared to grads who do not possess these business acuities. Most importantly, they have their eyes on the money, and they understand that the money comes from the customer. You have to remember that entrepreneurship students are not pursuing a degree in entrepreneurship to show it to an employer. In fact they often have no intention of taking a job, but they sincerely want to learn what they need to know to be successful in their own enterprise. They are, by their choice of study, self-reliant.

But if you want to hire someone with entrepreneurial DNA, what do you look for?

Here’s the short list:

  1. Performance Pay. Ask them if they want to get paid on attendance (salary), or are they willing to bet a portion their compensation on their own performance. Entrepreneurs don’t have any income unless they are constantly satisfying their customers. Seek out someone who knows they can add significant value to your bottom line. Look for self-confidence and self-reliance. Entrepreneurs are always looking for ways to increase income, profits and growth. They bet their income on themselves because they know their performance will mitigate the risks they are taking and abundantly reward them. So, make sure your company has some kind of profit sharing plan if you want to entice someone with entrepreneurial DNA to work for you.
  2. Body Language. Watch how they move. Ask them to get a file from the next office. Do they lumber out aimlessly, take too long, shuffle back slowly, flop down in their chair and lean on their elbows? Is their posture like a question mark? Or do they move with hustle, determination and purpose? When people sit erect and lean slightly forward, that indicates their engagement and interest. Entrepreneurs exude confidence and it shows in their posture and their body language. They have prepared themselves by learning about your company, and display confidence when they are interviewed and scrutinized by strangers like you. These “tells” are important to recognize because they are physical evidence of your candidate’s attitude and self-esteem.
  3. Mistakes. Ask them to describe the biggest mistake they ever made professionally, and more importantly, what they did about it. Listen for whether they fixed it fast and quickly went on with their project, or ultimately blamed others and were “victimized.” Note if they took responsibility. Successful entrepreneurs know that blame is disempowering, while doing what can be done to prevent reoccurrence is staying in control. Learn if they analyzed what happened and modified signs, labels, contracts, job descriptions, policies, or procedures to prevent it from happening again.
    Entrepreneurs can’t afford to make the same mistake twice. They build their successes on the backs of their mistakes.
  4. Resourcefulness. Ask them how they solved a professional problem when they lacked the time, support or funds they needed. Listen for how they used their imagination, asked for help, and thought outside the box. Listen for how they identified, re-purposed and used unlikely resources to achieve their goals in spite of the obstacles. Take note of how they rephrased the problem, saw the bigger picture and enlisted the help of strategic allies who would also benefit from the solution. See if their solution solved more than one problem. Those with entrepreneurial DNA will demonstrate their resourcefulness.
  5. Preparedness. Does the candidate expect you to ask all the questions? Do they just react to your initiatives? Do they wait for you to tell them about your company, its goals, successes and challenges? Or do they ask you questions? Candidates with the entrepreneurial DNA will treat you like a prospect for their services. They think of everyone as a customer for them, their service or their product. They know that the best sales pitch is, “I can help you sell your product,” and they can’t do that unless they thoroughly understand their prospect and how they can help. They have carefully researched your company in preparation for the interview. They know your products, your challenges, and your history. They come to the interview with a pen and notepad, and a list of questions.
  6. Teamwork. Contrary to popular opinion, entrepreneurs are not loners. Realistically, they know that they must build, depend on, and be an essential part of a team. This requires respect for how each player is key to the overall success of the company. They are keen on understanding all the jobs, procedures, outsourced services and suppliers that keep the customer loyal. Listen for candidates who show an interest in this process. Ask them how their last job fit in to their company’s big picture. Ask them how they worked with their teammates and improved communication both inside and outside their previous company.
  7. Organization. During the final interview, you do all the talking. Tell the candidate more about what the job entails, who they will be working with and why, how their job supports the customer experience, how your company is organized, and what the expectations are of their performance. Be sure to include how the funds get from the ultimate consumer to the company to cover their paycheck. Then ask them to write a one page summary of your company, the money trail from the end-user consumer, how they will be working with their teammates and why they qualify for the job. Then, tell them it’s due by 5PM tomorrow. This summary will tell you volumes about their comprehension, organization, communication, and ability to hit a deadline. These are all attributes of the entrepreneurial DNA.

There are other key “tells” that can help you spot the entrepreneurial DNA, such as assertiveness, dependability, sociability, humility, practicality, tenacity, empathy and humor. Asking the right questions will bring these attributes to light.

Also remember, it’s not enough to say you are looking for the entrepreneurial DNA in your candidates. You and your company have to walk the talk. You must build a culture of permission, enthusiasm, inclusiveness, recognition, and acknowledgement, and have a performance-based compensation plan to provide the environment the candidate with entrepreneurial DNA needs to flourish and remain with your company. If you want your employees to be more entrepreneurial, create the fertile ground in which they will bloom!

Michael-Bonnie-ProfessionalMichael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey are the founders of Barefoot Wine, the largest bottled wine brand in the world, and authors of the New York  Times Bestselling Business book The Barefoot Spirit. From the start, with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative strategies to overcome obstacles, create new markets and foster key alliances. Michael and Bonnie now share their experience and entrepreneurial approach to business as consultants, authors, speakers, and workshop leaders. Michael and Bonnie launched at the C-Suite Network Conference their new companion book to The Barefoot Spirit entitled, The Entrepreneurial Culture, 23 Ways to Engage and Empower Your People. Learn more at, and find them on Facebook and Twitter @barefoot_spirit.

Is The Golden Rule Outdated?

by Tony Alessandra


Is the Golden Rule outdated? Absolutely not! The Golden Rule has as much “glitter” as ever. I believe and practice it 110 percent, especially when it comes to values, ethics, honesty and consideration. However, when it comes to interpersonal communication, it can very well backfire. The Golden Rule states: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Basically translated, that says to treat others the way you would like to be treated, which, of course, isn’t always the case.

An addition to the Golden Rule is The Platinum Rule: “Treat others the way they want to be treated.” The focus of relationships shifts from “this is what I want, so I’ll give everyone the same thing” to “let me first understand what they want and then I’ll give it to them.”

The goal of The Platinum Rule is personal chemistry and productive relationships. You don’t have to change your personality; you simply have to understand what drives people and recognize your options for dealing with them.

The Platinum Rule divides behavioral preferences into four personality styles: Director, Socializer, Relater and Thinker. Everyone possesses the qualities of each style to various degrees, and everyone has a dominant style. The key to using The Platinum Rule is understanding what a person’s dominant personality style is and treating him or her appropriately.

Directors are driven by two governing needs: to control and achieve. They are goal-oriented go-getters who are most comfortable when they are in charge of people and situations.

Socializers are friendly and enthusiastic, and they like to be where the action is. They thrive on admiration, acknowledgment and compliments. They are idea-people who excel at getting others excited about their vision.

Thinkers are analytical, persistent, systematic people who enjoy problem solving. They are detail-oriented, which makes them more concerned with content than style. Thinkers are task-oriented people who enjoy perfecting processes and working toward tangible results.

Relaters are warm and nurturing individuals. They are the most people-oriented of the four styles. Relaters are excellent listeners, devoted friends and loyal employees. They are good planners, persistent workers and good with follow-through.The Platinum Rule provides powerful life-skills that will serve you well in all your relationships: business, friends, family, spouse and children.

*This blog originally appeared on Assessment Business Center.

Tony_Alessandra-559410-editedTony Alessandra is the CEO of Assessment Business Center, a company that offers online 360º assessments, and a founding partner in the Platinum Rule Group, a company which has successfully combined cutting-edge technology and proven psychology to give salespeople the ability to build and maintain positive relationships with hundreds of clients and prospects. Tony is also prolific author with 27 books translated into more than 50 foreign language editions. Dr. Alessandra was inducted into the NSA Speakers Hall of Fame in 1985. Follow him on Twitter @TonyAlessandra.

7 Reasons Why Executive Speakers FLOP | Part 1

by Mark Sanborn

via Julie Kertesz

via Julie Kertesz

Few things create a more vivid perception of an executive than his or her speaking ability. The higher execs rise in an organization, the more frequently they are called
upon to address others. Ironically, little or no training is given hapless executives to develop this skill. If they become good at public speaking, it is either a gift of genetics, luck or a combination of both.

Increasingly leaders are realizing their need for skills development that falls outside of what is typically offered by their organizations. That is one reason why executive coaching has become so popular. Often one of the primary areas coaches focus on is communication — both interpersonal and public.

As a professional who makes his living giving speeches and seminars, I’ve sat through hundreds, if not thousands, of executive presentations. More often than not, the speeches I’ve heard businesspeople make were less than memorable. And, far too often, the presentations were painful, not only for the speaker to give, but for the audience to feign interest through.

The majority of executive presenters, even those who flopped dramatically, were well-intentioned. Nobody sets out to destroy his or her credibility with a bad presentation. So why do people fail in spite of noble intentions?

Intention requires technique to be successfully communicated. It doesn’t matter how well you want to hit the golf ball. Only good form and practiced skill allow you to consistently do so. Public speaking is no different.

I am puzzled why so many seem to think that speaking well in front of an audience is a natural skill. Public speaking, like all skills, is developed. The more often one speaks, the better one becomes if — and this is a big if — he or she focuses on eliminating undesirable behaviors and developing needed ones.

The fastest gain that can be made in improving your ability to speak well is to eliminate those things that cause disaster. While I’ve observed great creativity in flopping, there are seven common reasons why executive speakers fail. I’ll explain those reasons and what to do about them.

A disregard for time

History has no record of anyone who gave a speech that was too short, but we’ve all been in audiences when the speaker stopped speaking on what seemed like a different day than he had begun.

This problem — speaking too long or taking more time than allotted — seems to be epidemic among high-level business leaders. Most meeting planners value their job too much to be candid with an executive and tell him that he completely destroyed the agenda by speaking for an hour when he was scheduled to speak for 15 minutes. And no employee is going to complain to the executive’s face about talking way too long.

Being self-employed allows me the luxury of being totally honest: Speaking longer than planned is rude. It suggests to the audience that the speaker and his or her presentation are more important than anyone or anything else on the program. The length of a presentation shouldn’t be a function of title or power, but a function of how long the exec agreed to talk. If you say you need 10 minutes, quit after 10 minutes. If you need more time, negotiate for it in advance. But don’t take the next three speakers’ time because you either don’t pay attention to your watch or you are too arrogant to realize that the high point of the meeting just might not be listening to you speak twice as long as expected.

Start on time and stop on time. Not only will your audience respect you for it, but it will prove that you respect your audience.

Unclear purpose

Here’s the million dollar question of any presentation: What’s the point? Executives who don’t have clear objectives for their presentation usually achieve little. Heaven help you if your objective is “to inform.” Duh? Every speech informs, whether by design or by default. Attempting only to inform is aiming too low.

Why not use the opportunity to motivate, inspire or encourage? Why not take advantage of your chance to share a vision or create camaraderie?

Design your speech the way the pros do. Begin by asking, “At the end of this presentation, what do I want listeners to think, feel and do?” Good presenters speak to the head, the heart and the hands. Challenging people with lots of information of limited practical application is more frustrating than inspiring.

If you can’t clearly identify a worthwhile purpose for the presentation, you probably shouldn’t be making it.

And it doesn’t hurt to begin with an overt statement of purpose: “The reason I’m speaking to you today is…” It may not be clever, but it will significantly increase the odds that you’ll fulfill your purpose if you enlist the audience early on.

What about speeches that someone else writes for you? It is critically important that a speech writer have access to you and your ideas. Even the best speech writer isn’t clairvoyant. Your speech will only be written as well as the input you provide. This is not the time for “hands-off” delegation.

Inadequate preparation

There is no excuse for “winging it.” The best speakers are always — and I mean it literally — prepared for what they say, even if their demeanor suggests otherwise.
That brilliant toe-in-the-sand presenter you heard who came up with the wonderful analogy and spectacular quotes “on the spot” really didn’t. She planned carefully not only what she was going to say, but how she would appear “off the cuff.”

Here’s how to tell if a speaker hasn’t prepared: He doesn’t say anything important. To make best use of your time and the audience’s time, think through and practice what you’ll say.

If you saw a Broadway show where none of the actors had practiced in advance, you would demand your money back.

Too bad audiences don’t get the same privilege.

And please don’t ever begin by saying, “I really haven’t thought about what I’m going to say…” There are no bragging rights to that. If you ever find yourself tempted to make that statement, at least be honest and say, “I’m a goober, and I’m going to waste your time.”

Henri Nouwen, the Catholic mystic of the late 20th century, was once frustrated as he prepared for an important speech. His insight? Live prepared, rather than simply trying to prepare. Maybe this is what Tom Peters was alluding to when he instructed managers to have a “stump speech” with the same three or four most important messages ready to give and give again at every opportunity.

*This article originally appeared on

Mark SanbornMark Sanborn, CSP, CPAE, is president of Sanborn & Associates, Inc., an idea studio dedicated to developing leaders in business and in life. Sanborn is an international bestselling author and noted authority on leadership, team building, customer service and change. Follow Mark on Twitter @Mark_Sanborn.

How Marketing Can Contribute to Revenue

by Sherry Lamoreaux


In a recent Act-On Conversation, Charles Besondy and Leo Merle chatted about the steps a company can take to make marketing more accountable and a more forceful contributor to the success of the sales team.

  • Charles Besondy is the president of Besondy Consulting and Interim Management, and also a certified Funnel Coach for MathMarketing, an international consultancy. He works with company owners and CEOs to resolve two burning questions. Why isn’t the marketing function contributing more to the company’s growth? And: What changes can you make to see that happen?
  • Leo Merle is the marketing programs manager for Act-On.

LEO: Charles, marketing has started to shift from a soft creative discipline to a data-driven and scientific discipline. What impact does this have on the creation of a company’s marketing strategy?

CHARLES: Technically speaking, a company’s marketing strategy really isn’t affected by this trend. But what has changed is the role that marketing can and should
play in producing revenue opportunities for the company. Permit me to explain that. Now I’m a simple guy, and I take a simple view of what a go-to-market strategy should be. The purpose of a go-to-market strategy is:

  • to describe the customer problem we’re electing to solve,
  • describe the solution to that problem we’re going to sell,
  • identify to whom we sell it,
  • explain through whom we will sell it,
  • and against whom we will sell it.

The answers to these questions comprise our go-to-market strategy, no matter what role the marketing department is going to play. In other words, we could have a marketing strategy and not even have a marketing department.

So let’s get back to your question. Yes, there is much more focus today on the metrics and the data side of marketing. This certainly doesn’t mean that creativity doesn’t have value anymore — It’s as important as ever. It simply means that we want to measure what is done so we can do more of what works and less of what doesn’t, which is hardly radical thinking.

Because of the advances in technology today, we’re able to track and measure the impact of marketing tactics like never before. If we can test and measure something, we can improve it. And that’s what we try to do every day as modern marketers.

Now, I’ll make a final point about data-driven marketing, if I may. Technology has made it much easier for marketers to identify promising market segments and target those segments with highly relevant content at the right time. We still need to be creative with our content development. But the nuts-and-bolts of delivering the content is much easier today. And in short, the technology has enabled even small companies to adopt pretty sophisticated strategies and marketing tactics, and be successful with it — if it’s in the right hands of skilled marketing strategists, tacticians and technologists.

LEO: What are some key areas that presidents and CEOs should focus on with their marketing teams? In particular, what about how marketing can contribute to revenue?

CHARLES: There are five things that I think are really, really important for a company owner or a CEO to have in mind.

First, when they’re talking with their marketing team, there needs to be a very clear understanding of the role that marketing must play in the business in order for the business to achieve its goals. The conversation can’t stop at “Just give me leads and I’ll be happy.” It’s much more complex than that.

This can be a very difficult conversation for a company manager or a CEO to have because many CEOs don’t have marketing experience. They’re more likely to come from operations or something like that. So, they don’t necessarily know what marketing should do. If there is not a senior level marketer on staff that the CEO can go to, then it helps to have someone from the outside come in and say, “Based on where you want to go with the business, here’s a roadmap for what marketing can do for you.” And then that consultant puts the pieces together.

Once the CEO has decided the role that marketing is going to play in the business, then you have to ask whether marketing has the requisite skills. Do they have the right technology and the resources to play that role? And hopefully it’s a big role.

The third thing is, does the revenue generation in the company consist of a single integrated process? Now, some of your listeners may be saying, wait a minute, I thought we’re talking about marketing. Why are we talking about revenue generation all of a sudden? Well, it’s really important that marketing and sales share a common process, a common funnel model, a common view of the customer. In other words, sales and marketing need to be aligned. And this doesn’t mean is marketing aligned to sales. It doesn’t mean is sales aligned to marketing. It means are sales and marketing both aligned to the buyer’s journey. Are both departments equally focused on the customer, or on some internal procedures?

Let me share something with you: In well-aligned companies, marketing generated leads have a67 percent higher probability of closing, 108 percent fewer leaks from the funnel, and 209 percent stronger contribution to revenue.

These are pretty eye-opening numbers. They come from a recent survey of 500 businesses around the world, conducted by my friends and colleagues at MathMarketing.

Now, the other conversation that the president and the marketing folks want to have is, “Is marketing contributing to revenue opportunities?” Or, at least, are there goals in place for making that happen? Because frankly, in many companies that aren’t very sophisticated with marketing yet, they don’t see marketing as contributing to revenue, but they want to make that happen.

It won’t happen overnight, but you can at least put the goals in place and start to put things in order so that marketing can be generating revenue opportunities on an ongoing basis. Now, averages can be dangerous, but I’m getting reports and surveys that show that in high-performance companies, well north of 20 percent of the revenue is generated by marketing-generated leads.

The last point I want to make is that the CEO should be looking at the marketing plans and how the budget is allocated to that plan, and asking whether the marketing resources are correctly allocated to tactics that influence the top of the funnel, the middle of the funnel and the bottom of the funnel.

In other words, how is marketing assisting with the progression of buyers through that funnel — right to the point, and maybe even after the point, that they hand off that lead to sales? Though sales is in charge of the lead at some point, they need materials and resources to help them close the deal. So, are the budget and the resources of marketing being adequately allocated to the right places throughout the funnel, not all at the top, not all at the bottom, but throughout?


Sherry Lamoreaux s the editor of Act-On’s Marketing Action blog. She also writes and edits eBooks, white papers, case studies, and miscellanea. She is an award-winning creative writer. Find her on Google+