C-Suite Network Presents Online Learning Platform for C-Level Business Development

The C-Suite Network, the world’s most powerful network of C-Suite leaders, today presents C-Suite Academy, the premier interactive, online learning platform for C-level executives. From real-time business intelligence and original content, the C-Suite Academy is designed to increase business acumen and cultivate innovation and operational excellence.

The C-Suite Academy brings the very best practices, education and content from a stellar lineup of industry leaders and experts on a multitude of business-related topics. Among them: Blair Singer (personal growth/sales), Bob Urichuck (selling), Dave Anderson (leadership), Dr. Tony Alessandra (sales and selling), Glenn Llopis (leadership/diversity and inclusion), Grant Cardone (customer service/sales/motivation), Jeffrey Gitomer (empowerment/sales best practices), Patricia Fripp (communications), Shep Hyken (customer service), Tom Hopkins (sales skill building), Larry Winget (motivation/personal development), Andy Paul (sales), Dr. Willie Jolley (motivation), Sally Hogshead (leadership), Scott McKain (customer service) and Waldo Waldman (motivation/leadership).

“We are excited to be continuing the C-Suite Academy as we help bring together C-Suite executives and business leaders from across the country,” said Thomas White, CEO and co-founder of C-Suite Network. “Last year, we launched this initiative and saw tremendous interest and growth. As a result, we want to continue the success with an expansion of leaders and experts to share their wealth of knowledge with tomorrow’s business leaders.”

The C-Suite Academy is the educational arm of the C-Suite Network, which provides growth, development and networking opportunities for business executives.

For additional information about the C-Suite Academy, visit: http://www.csuiteacademy.com/

About C-Suite Academy
C-Suite Academy is the premier online learning platform for C-Level executives, their teams and their organizations. C-Suite Academy offers interactive video courses created for people who desire to further their success in leadership and business. All courses are led by world-class instructors who are top experts in their respective fields. C-Suite Academy is part of C-Suite Network, the world’s most powerful network of C-Suite leaders.

Read more at MarketWired

C-Suite Network Launches Enhanced C-Suite Collective

C-Suite Network, the world’s most powerful network of C-Suite leaders, today announced the launch of C-Suite Collective 1.5, the newly enhanced exclusive online community for business leaders to discuss best business practices, industry news and offer support to their peers. New enhancement features include integrations with Zeetings and C-Suite Academy, which provides additional opportunities for members to connect and engage in a collaborative online space.

The C-Suite Collective, powered by Jive Software’s industry-leading JiveX customer community solution, offers business leaders a personalized dashboard that displays network activities, profiles to easily find and connect with other C-Suite colleagues of their caliber and relevant online services and resources. Members of the Collective also have access to pertinent news and information gathered from C-Suite TV, C-Suite Radio, C-Suite Book Club and industry news and content shared by other members.

“The Collective strives to provide a leading community for its members. Our members are true visionaries, and this online platform encourages a place for members to collaborate, learn and share insights,” said Thomas White, CEO and co-founder of C-Suite Network.

The C-Suite Collective will introduce its enhancements at the C-Suite Conference in Boston, March 29-31. Zeetings, the leader in online meetings, will provide the system for polls conducted at the event. The polls will produce stats on C-level leaders to improve information and messaging in the Collective.

“The C-Suite Conference brings together the corporate world’s leading minds, and Zeetings is proud to help make sure those minds are engaged, heard and understood,” said Robert Kawalsky, CEO and co-founder of Zeetings.

Along with the private, online community, members have access to C-Suite Academy, an online learning platform. Content from top thought leaders, such as Dr. Tony Alessandra, Shep Hyken, Dr. Willie Jolley, Sally Hogshead and Scott McKain, is available at no charge for the personal use of C-Suite Collective members.

To find out more information and request your exclusive membership to the C-Suite Collective, visit http://c-suitenetwork.com/join/.

About C-Suite Network
C-Suite Network is the world’s most powerful network of C-Suite leaders, with a focus on providing growth, development and networking opportunities for business executives with titles of vice president and above.

C-Suite Network brings leaders together through C-Suite Collective, a private online community for executives. C-Suite Network also offers invitation-only conferences held three times per year, custom-tailored content on the C-Suite Network blog, C-Suite TV, C-Suite Radio, C-Suite Book Club, and educational programs from C-Suite Academy. Learn more at www.c-suitenetwork.com, or connect on LinkedInTwitter andFacebook.

About Jive Software
Jive (NASDAQ: JIVE) is the leading provider of modern communication and collaboration solutions for business. Recognized as a leader by the industry’s top analyst firms in multiple categories, Jive enables employees, partners and customers to work better together. More information can be found at www.jivesoftware.com.

About Zeetings
Zeetings is revolutionizing how we present. From eBay to EY, thought leaders at leading organizations are embracing Zeetings. Unlike existing presentation software, Zeetings is not about producing slides but rather about creating a genuine connection between a presenter and their audience.

Zeetings boosts audience engagement by making your presentations social, interactive and accessible to audience members via any connected device. Zeetings sparks discussion before, during, and after the presentation by fusing interactive elements such as polls and Q&A with your presentation content in a secure virtual meeting space. Analytics monitor engagement and help you understand what resonates with your audience.

Zeetings is extremely simple to use. To get started, presenters simply upload content (PPT, PDF, Video) and broadcast in real time, or share an access link over email, to their audience. Zeetings is great for team meetings, board meetings, keynote presentations, lectures, and sales calls. Suitable for small teams and large enterprises alike. Visit www.zeetings.com for more information on Zeetings or email Rob Kawalsky atrob@zeetings.com to arrange a personalized demo to see how Zeetings can work for your company.

Read more at MarketWired

5 Things You Can Learn from a Service Failure

by Mark Sanborn


When I find myself getting really bad service, I try to extract lessons I can share with my clients.

There is a national chain of upscale seafood restaurants where I’ve always enjoyed dining. I took my family, my brother and sister-in-law and mother there to celebrate my youngest son’s birthday.

The experience couldn’t have been more goofed up: Slow service, wrong drink and food orders and much more. But that isn’t the point of my story.

A manager on duty did a splendid job of salvaging the situation. She comped our meal and gave me a gift certificate to use when I returned. I was thrilled.

Until, that is, I tried to recognize her. I filled out an extensive and cumbersome online form and got an automatic response that I’d hear from corporate within five business days.

I never did.

I called corporate and explained my frustration at wanting to acknowledge an employee for great service. The woman on the phone noted my frustration and said she’d “pass it on” and started to end the call.

Wouldn’t that require her getting my name and contact information? Oh yes. At my reminder, she took the information.

A few days later I got a call from the manager of the restaurant where we’d dined. He left a message. “Sorry I didn’t call earlier. I’m going out of town for a few days but I’ll call again when I return.”

He didn’t.

And when I tried to use the gift certificate, I was unpleasantly surprised with restrictions.

The irony? I had written a Five Friends blog about my favorite restaurants and included this restaurant chain. The ongoing frustrations made me reconsider, and I replaced it with another restaurant.

What are the lessons?

  1. Make it easy for customers to contact you. Sure, you want as much information as you can reasonably get, but if you ask for too much, it is off-putting.
  2. Keep commitments, period. If you say “within five business days” (not very quick), at least make sure it happens. When you say you’ll call back later, call back later. We’ve heard it forever, but some businesses still don’t get it.
  3. Make sure the cure doesn’t further aggravate the situation. If the gift card has restrictions, tell the patron at the time you present it. If your offer to make something right has limitations, don’t forget to explain them.
  4. Creating happiness is hard, but undoing it is easy. I really wanted to express appreciation for a good manager. It shouldn’t have been difficult to do. I went from happy to unhappy.
  5. Unhappy customers don’t refer you to others. And if they are really unhappy, they send them away. I like to remind clients that word of mouth can hurt you, but word of mouse can hurt you even more. I wanted to include this restaurant in my list of favorites, but after the experience I had, I couldn’t in good conscience.

Will I ever eat there again? Possibly. Will I eat there as frequently? Not likely.

Simple service failures result in lost revenue. It is avoidable. Just learn these lessons.

*This blog originally appeared at MarkSanborn.com

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.

C-Suite Conference Continues Success in Boston

Celebrity Entrepreneur Kevin Jonas and Boston Celtics President Rich Gotham to Open Sessions at the Exclusive Three-Day Business Leadership Conference at the Westin Copley Place, March 29-31.

The C-Suite Network, the world’s most powerful network of C-Suite leaders, will gather executives from across the country to network and share ideas at The Westin Copley Place, in the well-known Victorian neighborhood of Back Bay. The exclusive invitation-only C-Suite Conference takes place March 29-31. As the C-Suite Network continues to build the largest network of thought leaders, executives and business owners, the conference focuses on all aspects of global growth, technology and leadership.

The three-day conference connects attendees with industry experts who share insights and technology innovation from their wealth of experience. Each morning kicks off with in-depth interviews with celebrity entrepreneur, Kevin Jonas and Boston Celtics President, Rich Gotham. With a fast-paced agenda and engaging content, keynotes and panel discussions cover the groundbreaking ideas and pressing business issues executive leaders face each day.

Topics include:

  • Great isn’t Good Enough — New Vision for Success in the C-Suite
  • On-Demand Platforms and the Way They’re Changing Business for the C-Suite
  • Winning Customers by Putting Employees First
  • Emergence of the Chief Collaboration Officer
  • Changing the Landscape of the Social Media World and Why it Matters to Every Business
  • Transforming Your Future with an Attitude of Excellence
  • The Leadership Behind Making Franchises Bloom

Attendees explore opportunities in social media, disruptive innovation, new technology, products and services changing the business. From the knowledge and tools learned in this unique environment, attendees take away a competitive edge and practical approaches to current and future challenges.

For more information about the upcoming C-Suite Conference visit http://conference.c-suitenetwork.com/.

Read more at MarketWired

And I Think to Myself, ‘What a Wonderful World!’

by Steve Rizzo

via Darinka Maja

via Darinka Maja

This morning I was at my favorite table at my local Panera Bread restaurant when an elderly couple walked in. They both had gray hair, and the woman was wearing a soft pink sweater under her coat. I noticed when they got in line, they were holding hands and showing obvious affection to one another. It touched my heart. I watched them for a while, thinking about my own future.

I spoke to the manager and told her that I wanted to secretly pay for the couple’s breakfast. “Just tell them someone anonymous was in a low mood today and watching them being so affectionate with one another lifted my spirits,” I said.

When the manager told them the news, I pretended to be engrossed in my writing. From the corner of my eye, I could see the couple looking around trying to figure out which out of the many patrons was the mysterious person who paid for their meal. In truth, it gave me a warm fuzzy feeling to do it — to honor them for the joy they’d given me.

Giving not only benefits the receiver, but also the giver. It’s an activity that makes us realize that we’re all connected. That connection plays a big part in making the world a wonderful place to be — whichever end you’re on. I know I always feel happy when I’ve done something nice for someone, so I actively look for opportunities to give.

It doesn’t matter what you do for someone else or the economic value of what you give. Just take the initiative and perform an act of kindness for someone (even a stranger) and notice how you feel.

Here’s an example: the next time you’re walking through town and notice a parking ticket on someone’s windshield, go over to the car, yank that sucker off, rip it up and throw it away! Why should that person have to pay for that? See? You feel better already, don’t you?  (OK, not really!)

All joking aside, the best way to give to someone is without expectation that you will get something in return.  The reward for giving or an act of kindness is a simple, but powerful, sense of joy. When I do something nice for someone, I hear the lyrics of the late, great Louis Armstrong stuck in my head: “And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.”

Once I was at a departure gate at an airport in Dallas, waiting to go back home to New York. I was having a conversation with three Marines who had just returned from Iraq when the gate agent informed them she had tried to get them an upgrade to first class, but unfortunately there were no seats available. Flying coach was such a trivial concession that it was an easy decision to make. You should have seen the looks on all three Marines’ faces when two other passengers and I gave up our first class seats as a gesture of appreciation for their service.

It goes without saying that the looks on those soldiers’ faces were well worth giving up a little leg room, but you should have seen the looks on our faces when we deplaned and saw all three Marines standing at attention saluting us!

What you give from your heart comes back to you in one way or another. To have more joy, make the activity of giving a habit. Watch for opportunities to give — they are all around you. Whether you return the shopping cart to the stall for the busy mother, hand a homeless person $10 and a sandwich or honor someone for just being who or how they are (like the dear old couple this morning), the act of giving benefits you just as much as the person to whom you give. Want more abundance, joy and the sense that it’s a wonderful world in your life? Give more.

Steve RizzoSteve Rizzo is more than a Funny Motivational Speaker. Don’t let the laughter fool you! What Steve brings to the table is his captivating ability to engage the attendees with laughter as he challenges them to SHIFT their focus and way of thinking to discover greater enthusiasm, increased productivity and new levels of success. Recognizing difficult situations don’t cause us to fail or be unhappy, but rather our negative thoughts and beliefs about the situations, Steve has been Adjusting Attitudes in organizations throughout the world such as AT&T, Prudential, State Farm, LaQuinta, and even the CIA (yes, he even had them laughing!) since 1994.
Find him on Twitter @RealSteveRizzo, Facebook at Riz’s Biz Steve Rizzo, LinkedIn and Google+.

It’s Time to Evolve | 6 Tips to Prolong the Lifespan of the Endangered C-Suite Species: The CIO

by Bob Dvorak


In our previous piece, we explained that CIOs are facing incredible pressure to perform in today’s digital age. A recent study by McKinsey & Co. only bolstered negative perceptions of IT leadership. The report said business executives don’t see the CIO as a strategic business partner.
In this article, the second in a two-part series, we’ll discuss the recommendations we have for CIOs to help them align and unify their organization’s IT strategy with their company’s business strategy.

Here are six tips for CIOs to better align their IT strategy with business strategy to avoid, what one company called “a Darwinian moment:”

1. Understand That There is a New IT Operating Model

Gone are the times when the CIO’s role was that of a utility company. Simply keeping the lights on is just not enough anymore. We live in a digital age — board members and CEOs expect technology to be at the heart of their digital business transformation.

2. Simplify. Simplify. Simplify.

In its 2014 Application Landscape Report, consulting firm Capgemini suggests that 48 percent of respondents having more applications than they need, a jump from 34 percent reported in Capgemini’s 2011 survey.

In order to reduce the sprawl strategically, companies can benefit from conducting a “buy/hold/sell” analysis, a model CFOs and CEOs are very familiar with, and apply it to the company’s IT application portfolio.

For example:

  • Which of your applications are redundant upon Day One (sell)?
  • Which ones do you need to maintain (hold)?
  • Which applications do you need to make an investment in to innovate or differentiate yourself from your competitors (buy)?

Answer these, and you might just discover untapped value in your IT portfolio — just as personal genetics company 23andMe did when it sold its data to Genentech for $60 million.

This shouldn’t surprise anyone. Gartner’s Peter Sondergaard suggested in 2011, “Information is the oil of the 21st century, and analytics is the combustion engine,” CFOs have a fundamental need to understand those data and digital capabilities.

3. Consider the ROI of Every IT Investment

Think about these questions:

  • If you asked your CEO what the single most important metric he or she uses to evaluate their effectiveness, he or she would probably say “return on shareholder value.”
  • If you asked your CFO, what would he or she say? Likely, “return on invested capital.”
  • But what would your CIO say? (*crickets*)

You can best measure IT’s return on investment by dividing the organization’s business capabilities by its costs. Much like how miles-per-gallon measures a car’s efficiency, dividing business capabilities by department costs (such as software licenses, application maintenance, hardware leases and other costs) gives you your IT’s MPG.

While not all capabilities are created equal — innovative and differentiating capabilities carry more weight than basic business capabilities, such as accounts receivable or accounts payable — understanding this metric will provide better visibility on IT investments, what capabilities those investments provide and what business results will those investments achieve.

4. Manage the Specter of Shadow IT

In Morgan Freeman’s “Through the Wormhole,” he speaks about the specter of a “shadow universe.”

“We live in a universe filled with light…At least that’s what it looks like…But scientists are now certain there is far more matter in this universe than we can see. We know this dark matter must exist, because we can detect the pull of its gravity,” Freeman says.

According to scientists, dark matter is pulling stars off their expected courses, and the ramifications for unsuspecting galaxies and planets can be great.

Similarly, shadow IT cannot only pull the IT organization off-course, but the entire enterprise. Gartner reported in its 2015 CIO Agenda that Shadow IT consumes as much as 20 percent of a company’s IT resources and, for the first time, respondents to the SIM IT Trends Study included Shadow IT among their list of management concerns.

The creep of shadow IT can cause problems for other corporate functions, as well.
For example, according to a 2013 Forrester report, 70 percent of employees using Dropbox use it solely for work. With that, you can’t help but wonder: What policies or controls do you have in place to manage this practice?

Or, what if I told you that 52 percent of IT executives said they don’t have processes in place to manage outside sources, such as Dropbox, according to disaster recovery solutions provider Vision Solutions, in its 2015 State of Resilience Report?

What happens if Dropbox experiences a system outage and your team can’t access important documents?

5. Circle the Wagons on Security 

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller said in 2012, “There are only two types of companies: Those that have been hacked and those that will be.”

What kind of security risks does shadow IT create for your organization? What happens when an employee uses the same password for both personal and enterprise accounts and hackers target that person’s personal account?

Their low-security Google Drive password just created a big headache for your organization.

In 2013, the Identity Theft Resource Center reported more than 600 data breaches. In 2014, it reported a record 783 data breaches, resulting in the release of more than 85 million records.

6. Build (and Leverage) Strategic Relationships Within the Organization 

According to McKinsey, CIOs and IT leaders may need to improve their understanding of the business before they can contribute to overall business strategy.

By learning different roles, fostering partnerships with different executives and business unit heads, and exchanging knowledge across the C-suite, CIOs and IT leaders can cultivate the necessary business and technology know-how, resulting in a more involved CIO.

Here’s the payoff: Companies that have CIOs who are more involved in business strategy report better performance from IT, according to McKinsey.

And with some IT budgets the size of Fortune 500 organizations, it’s time to ensure that business and IT strategy are aligned around the things that matter most  capital, talent and IT performance to ensure that the organization is getting the most from its IT investment.

1079784979Bob Dvorak is Founder and President of KillerIT.  He is responsible for KillerIT’s strategic direction and execution. Under his leadership, KillerIT continues to grow and succeed. During Bob’s 25 years at Forsythe, he has held a number of national management positions and earned numerous distinctions. Most recently, he was senior vice president, general manager, responsible for serving clients in the company’s Central Area. Prior, he was responsible for the establishment and development of the company’s Western Area, which experienced double-digit growth in product sales and professional consulting services under his leadership.

Preventing Rejection at Work

by Judith Glaser


You walk into a meeting late and what do you find? People are already in huddles. Colleagues glance over ever so briefly toward you then return to in-progress conversations. You sit down in a corner and use your smartphone to check your email. Once the group discussion actually starts, you try to offer an opinion but can’t seem to get a word in. Eventually, you give up, take a few notes, check more email and wait for the meeting to end. You stay at your desk the rest of the day but don’t get much done.

Face it: Who can tolerate rejection, especially in the workplace? There, it can disrupt our universe and leave us weeping in a corner, feeling alienated, depressed and powerless at the crucial time when we are building a career and earning a living.

Rejection, or the fear of it, is a powerful social trigger — and, at work, it can be a debilitating one. When people feel left out of or excluded from important circles of influence at the office, they can’t be productive, innovative or collaborative because their brains’ neurochemistry has changed. They feel threatened. Cortisol flows in. Their executive centers shut down. Behavior shifts from trust to distrust. And the effects can last for hours.

I like to say that rejection alters reality: We Reveal less, Expect more, Assume the worst, Look at the situation with caution, Interpret the context through fear, Think others are taking advantage of us and Yearn to be included.

But managers who understand this vicious pattern can break it — in themselves and their employees.
Here are some conversational rituals designed to help the people on your team regroup, and become part of the group — to alter their inner, mental spaces by changing the outer, social environment.

▪   Prime the room for trust.While long, rectangular conference tables promote hierarchy and give those at the head an advantage, round tables do the opposite, fostering inclusion. Meeting leaders can also explicitly point out that all colleagues at the table are equal. This should spur the production of oxytocin in everyone’s brains, ease fear of rejection and put people into a more collaborative state of mind.

▪   Start with a shared reality. Whenever possible, send agenda items out before a meeting and ask people for their input. This signals “I care about what you think,” rather than “I control this.” Another way to encourage a common mindset is to give team members an article to read and ask them to find something inspiring in it; have them share these thoughts at a meeting and encourage the group to listen for common themes. This will trigger everyone’s prefrontal cortex mirror neurons, which enable us to connect with others’ emotions and opinions, enhancing empathy and our understanding of different perspectives.

▪   Encourage candor and caring. Use open, non-judgmental language and listen with respect and appreciation in all conversations. Imagine that the words people use are like suitcases; you need “unpack” them to understand what colleagues are really thinking. Thank people for sharing, and make sure that there are no negative repercussions for doing so. Tell everyone you’re committed to a welcoming, collaborative environment, and that you don’t want anyone to feel rejected.

Remember, we all thrive on being connected to others. Don’t let your office become a place where people feel threatened by rejection. Instead, bring your conversational intelligence to work.

Judith GlaserJudith E. Glaser is the CEO of Benchmark Communications, Inc. and the Chairman of The Creating WE Institute. She is the author of the best selling book, “Conversational Intelligence” (Bibliomotion, 2013), an Organizational Anthropologist and a consultant to Fortune 500 companies.Visit her at creatingwe.com; conversationalintelligence.com or contact her at jeglaser@creatingwe.com. Follow Judith on Twitter @CreatingWE.

7 Steps to Infuse Entrepreneurial Thinking into Company Culture

by Michael Houlihan & Bonnie Harvey


Every company wants to stay relevant and be in the forefront of their industry. This requires an imaginative staff creating new solutions and thinking outside the box.  But first you need to change your company culture. This is easier said than done.

positive company culture is what we relied upon when building the Barefoot Wine brand into a national best seller. Here’s how we did it:

  1. The Money Map. When we hired people they were give an infographic showing the circuitous route the money took to get from the consumers, moving through the retailers and distributors, and eventually into their paychecks, bonuses and benefits. This was not just a great educational tool from an orientation perspective, but it was a great way to set the stage for a company culture of sales!
  2. The Two-Division Company. Unlike the typical pyramid structure with the CEO on the top, followed by the C-Suite, and then the myriad of divisions and departments, our organization had just two divisions: Sales and Sales Support. Everybody who was not in Sales was in Sales Support, including the CEO, receptionist and accounting, marketing, product development, and production. Why? Because without sales there would be no income. If you really believe the customer should be on top, put sales on top and have everyone else support sales.
  3. Pay for Performance. We used our pay structure to develop a creative, supportive team. By making their monthly bonus and part of their 401K directly based on their production and the profits of our company, they became better team players and exerted peer pressure on others to perform. When you paying your people right, the performers can’t afford to quit and the non-performers can’t afford to stay.
  4. Make Mistakes Write. When you make mistakes, don’t just right them, writethem! Establish a culture of permission that says, “You can be creative, experimental, and make mistakes – as long as you identify what went wrong and what documents need to be changed.” It may be a sign on the wall, a label on a package, or a checklist. Or it may be a signoff sheet, a policy, a procedure, or a new clause in a contract. When something we never thought could go wrong went wrong, we would celebrate knowing that, thanks to this mistake, we now had a much better procedure that saved time and reduced misunderstandings.
  5. Acknowledgement. We sent out an acknowledgement memo on every person’s anniversary with the company that said what they did last year to improve everybody’s situation. When you catch someone doing something right, creative, or efficient, tell the world! If you make it a public memo praising the person’s accomplishment, the entire staff will know that this type of behavior gets recognition and they will have more respect for that person as a team player.
  6. Fun. People want to work with and buy from people who are fun. In our company, we all had fun titles. Because we were Barefoot Wine, Michael was CEO and “Head Stomper.”  Bonnie, whose foot was on the label, was “Original Foot.” Our Controller, Doug McCorkle, was “The Cork,” because somebody had to put a stop to it. When work becomes fun, everyone is more creative.
  7. Remove Blockage. When a good idea has to go through “channels,” and “compliance,” people can be discouraged by structure and restraints. At Barefoot, we regularly allowed direct access to top management for idea presentations and rewarded the person who came up with it. Our compliance people would identify parameters inside of which ideas could flow without lengthy compliance approval.

Company culture starts at the top and permeates throughout the entirestructure. It’s time to take a fresh look at company structure and the general attitude of top management towards everything from sales to mistakes, acknowledgement to compensation, and orientation to fun.

*This blog originally appeared at TheBarefootSpirit.com.

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 barefootspirit.com, and find them on Facebook and Twitter @barefoot_spirit.

4 Corporate Video Mistakes to Avoid

by Willis Turner


Not everyone is a film-maker, but everyone has opinions on film-making. Here’s some of the common things we’ve heard come from around the boardroom table when it comes to producing corporate films.

1. “Don’t worry about the length.”
Actually, you should. One of the most common mistakes in corporate video production is making the run-time too long. The ideal length you should shoot for is two to three minutes — that’s the perfect amount of time to build a compelling, focused message for virtually any product or service, without overstaying your welcome.

You might have a complicated and content-rich story to tell, but packing more messages into your video won’t necessarily make it more effective. Audience attention spans are notoriously short in the digital age. Use the discipline of a shorter run-time to hold your audience and help distill your messaging.

2. “Let’s do a viral video.”
No one can predict what special alignment of planets is necessary for a video to go viral. The fact is, they are variables that are out of your control, so don’t make a million hits your business objective, or you will most likely be disappointed. Quality will always trump quantity in the corporate film world.

This isn’t a cute baby or cat video we’re talking about — it’s a business message intended to create action. Set reasonable viewership targets, and allow sufficient time for your film to be properly seen, recommended and linked to. Get your story right, execute it well, and the numbers — and eyeballs — will follow.

3. “It’s just our people talking, so we don’t need a script.”
Regardless if you are producing a video in documentary style, using interviews with real people, you most definitely still need to have a proper script or creative outline to guide your production. Even a short, simple video will require you to make dozens, even hundreds, of creative choices. Where should we shoot the interview? What should our talent wear?  What kind of background music should we use?  Should we have background music at all? A proper script or outline can help you make all these decisions.

Take the time to describe your idea on paper. What is the main message you want people to take away? Do a proper outline of how you see the copy flow and edit working. Prepare a proper shot list. Don’t be lazy or leave things to chance on shoot day.  The more pre-production work you do in advance, the better your shoot and post-production will follow.

4. “Let’s do it ourselves.”
Sure, you can write, direct, shoot and edit a video yourself. You might even get lucky and have a finished result that sounds and looks pretty good. Now all you have to worry about is getting the proper codecs, streaming bit rates, aspect ratios and screen resolutions worked out to make sure your film plays properly online.

But technical production issues aside, the question isn’t whether or not you can produce a corporate film yourself, it’s whether or not you should. Will your brand or company image suffer irreparable harm if you decide to DIY your annual sales video?  Probably not. The issue is the potential opportunity cost you might lose in deciding to save money by keeping the job inside.

The biggest thing a film production company can offer you isn’t just technical competence — it’s helping you create a selling idea that just happens to be delivered in film form. That’s the difference between 3 minutes of pretty pictures and 3 minutes of deliberate, strategic, persuasive storytelling.

One last thing to consider is that video production is very time-intensive. If you do elect to manage the production yourself, it will be a full-time job for several weeks for at least one or two people. In the final analysis, the cost you think you might be saving by doing it yourself may ultimately turn out to be more.

*This post originally appeared at SMEI.org.

Willis Turner Willis Turner, CAE CME CSE, has gained international recognition for spearheading global membership engagement and professional certification growth as the President & CEO of U.S.-based Sales & Marketing Executives International (SMEI). Willis is also founder and CEO of Old Clayburn Marketing & Management Services Inc., a full-service association management firm. As a writer and speaker on professional certification, business ethics and leading edge sales and marketing topics, Willis leverages his worldwide business travel experiences to convey an informative and motivating message to his audiences. Willis serves on the National Advisory Board for DECA Inc. He has taught Sales Management at the University of British Columbia, Sauder School of Business. He resides near Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada with his wife of 30 years. Follow Willis on Twitter: @willisturner.

One On One With Thomas White, Co-Founder Of The C Suite Network

Forbes writer Steve Olenski interviews C-Suite Network CEO Thomas White at the C-Suite Conference in Marina del Rey. White discusses upcoming C-Suite Conferences, programs and what’s in store for the future of the C-Suite Network and its members.

One of the many, many things I love about being a Forbes contributor is it affords me the privilege – and it is without question a privilege, to engage with and form relationships with those who work in the C Suite.

Large company or small company or somewhere in between I have met, interviewed and become friends with some truly amazing, talented and passionate members of the C Suite. One of those folks is Thomas White, who is CEO and a co-founder (alongJeffrey Hayzlett and Karl Post) of C-Suite Network, billed as the home of the world’s most powerful network of C-Suite leaders.

Prior to C-Suite Network, White started 10 companies in the fields of technology, publishing, market research and corporate consulting. He also holds four patents and is co-author of a book on business process technology, executive producer of a syndicated radio program, and professional speaker.

I had a chance to sit down with Thomas not all that long ago to pick his brain, as it were on the origins of the brand, where it’s going in 2015 and so on.

Steve Olenski: Why did you and the co-founders decide to start the C-Suite Network?

Thomas White: There are a lot of organizations for the various roles we have in our companies There are CEO, CMO, CFO, President and other role based groups. They are valuable and yet, they often reinforce the orientation of the role without bringing the diversity of the perspectives of others who are vital to business success.

In the development of Jeffrey Heyzlett’s program on Bloomberg television, The C-Suite with Jeffrey Hayzlettwe saw a need and interest in an organization that supports a cross-functional dialogue and relationships. We decided to start the C-Suite Network to meet that interest.

Read the full article at Forbes