Executive Briefings: What It Means to be an Authentic Company

Thomas White, CEO of the C-Suite Network and host of the nationally-syndicated radio program “Business Matters,” hosts Executive Briefings. This online event brings together top thought leaders to provide you, as a business leader, insights into the most pressing challenges you have in being successful at your work.

 

This week’s guest is Randy Garn, Chief Revenue Officer of Skipio, and founding member of Hero Partners, a partner of the C-Suite Network. Garn has also founded companies such as Prosper, Education Success and several others. As a tremendous philanthropist, it’s not enough to just do business. Garn uses his knowledge to give back and share his insights with others. He’s been awarded Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young, and Top 40 under 40 Entrepreneur among numerous other awards.

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Thomas and Randy discuss the challenges of common sense, how to set yourself apart from the competition and build a solid authentic experience with your customers. Read more here: http://bit.ly/HuffPost-Authentic

 

 


The C-Suite is a vast audience of leaders who all have a little extra insight into their industry and the current business world. I sit down with these leaders to give them the opportunity to share that insight and give a glimpse to their personal stories as a business leader.

 

Executive Briefings: Organizing People Management with Theories & Tools

by Thomas White, CEO of C-Suite Network

 

I meet business leaders from all over the world who have advice, stories and personal tips for the business world. Periodically, I sit down with these leaders and give them the opportunity to provide current business advice and share personal stories as a business leader.

 

Dr. Brian Glibkowski is the founder and CEO of sixQ Software. He’s discovered a way that lets you assess what’s going on with the people in your workforce. They call it a next-generation assessment platform. Dr. Glibkowski brings more than 15 years in the areas of organizational behavior and human resource management, as a professor, author and consultant with large companies by helping them be more effective successful. He specializes in assessment, measurement and evaluation.

 

First we must ask, what are the six Qs? They are the six questions we all know: what, why, how, when, where, and who. We learned them in kindergarten. We don’t really know them often times in a systematic way. I conducted some research on these questions. They’re basically a way to think through your important business models to make sure you ask and answer all the questions.

 

Learn more about Dr. Glibkowski’s assessment on managing people HERE.

 

Executive Briefings: Serving on a Corporate Board – Where to Start

By: Thomas White, CEO of C-Suite Network

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I recently sat down with Sheila Ronning, CEO and Founder of Women in the Boardroom. In 2002, long before women on boards was a hot topic, Sheila believed in women’s ability to serve on corporate boards. She believed strongly enough to found Women in the Boardroom. Today, Sheila excels at connecting women executives and professionals with the people and tools they need to succeed in business and the boardroom.  As one of the nation’s top leadership and board service experts, she has built a strong track record and powerful network, which she uses to help women achieve their goals.

You can read more here: http://bit.ly/CorpBoard

 


The C-Suite is a vast audience of leaders who all have a little extra insight into their industry and the current business world. I sit down with these leaders to give them the opportunity to share that insight and give a glimpse to their personal stories as a business leader.

Executive Briefings: Email Marketing, The Gateway To The Digital World

By Thomas White, Co-Founder and CEO of C-Suite Network, The Worlds Most Trusted Network of C-Suite Leaders.

The C-Suite is a vast audience of leaders who all have a little extra insight into their industry and the current business world. I sit down with these leaders to give them the opportunity to share that insight and give a glimpse to their personal stories as a business leader.

I recently had the opportunity to interview Matt McGowan, President of Adestra. Matt has been one of the leaders in the digital media world for more than 10 years, working with companies like Incisive Media and Google.

 


 

IS EMAIL DEAD?

There is conventional wisdom that email is dead as a marketing tool. Rather, the new marketing avenue is social media. Is that the right assumption, or is this way off-base?

It is way off-base, but it is not a bad off-base. Studies have shown from different organizations asking different questions to different people, “What do consumers rely on for information from commercial entities? Companies?” The overwhelming response is email. Email is the core that really taps the understanding of what the consumer is. Email is the most native kind of product when it comes to mobile devices. The first thing a consumer does when getting a new mobile device is to set up their email account. 50-70% of users are accessing products, company websites, apps etc. via mobile devices these days. It’s literally the easiest way to get in touch with the consumer if you do it right.

 

 

HOW TO PLAN AN EMAIL MARKETING STRATEGY

How do you build an email marketing plan based on today’s technology that deals with the reality of people wanting to restrict how much email actually gets in to their inbox?

It is not about the amount of email that you send, but it’s about the type of conversation that you are having with the consumer. There are a lot of email service providers available to the consumer – Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo etc. All of these providers are stepping in the way of email in a good way, to protect the user and to weed out the stuff that is irrelevant. An email marketing plan needs to find the path using relevant information to power the message. The message needs to be one-to-one vs one-to-many. This is the direction companies are going, marketing to a person vs an audience. Companies need to focus on less email, but more on targeted email.

 

How do you create an email strategy that is one-to-one or relevant to the recipient?

Businesses need to believe in a practice of incremental innovation. To get to that one-on-one conversation, it’s not about the grandiose leap from nothing to something, it is about the incremental steps the marketer can take over time to increase relevancy with the audience. When you are sending one-to-many messaging you are sending stop-shop marketing. Incremental innovation is the idea that every week, know your customer, then try to do something that gets you closer to that one-on-one message. If you look at it over a year, you’ll have enough innovation in your marketing efforts. This will provide movement to make major strides. If you look at it in the short term, it’s going to seem like it’s not enough. It starts with knowing your customer and then making those incremental steps.

 

 

IMPORTANCE OF THE CRM RELATIONSHIP

How important is it to integrate the CRM (customer relationship management) ecosystem to email marketing and sales strategies?

You first want to make sure all of your customer data is located in your CRM. In order to use that data, you will need to secure an automation platform or ESP (email service provider). You will then want to connect your CRM with your ESP. Over time you will start to incrementally innovate and try new things. What you will end up with is an always-on campaign that is working for you even when you are sleeping. With the rules that you’ve built over time, the campaign will work on your behalf and communicate with your customers to get your message in front of them. This way you can continue to develop a successful relationship with your customers. Then you will be able to build much more complex profiles of what is interesting to your customers as well.

 

How important is engagement with the customer prior to attempting one-to-one email marketing, and how do you go about establishing this engaged relationship?

You need to be authentic. You are not going to engage with everybody that is on your mailing list. Some people are going to sign up just to get a discount or more information. You can start a relevant conversation instantly by asking two or three key questions that lead you down the path of relevance. Don’t try to push your business on them. Rather, from the questions you asked, offer them something that is valuable and useful.

 

 


Executive Briefings: Drama in the Workplace

By Thomas White, CEO of C-Suite Network

In my work, I meet business leaders from all over the world who have advice, stories and personal tips to provide. I sit down with these leaders to give them the opportunity to provide current business advice and give a glimpse to their personal stories as a business leader.

I recently interviewed Diedre Koppelman, Founder and CEO of PEAR Core Solutions. Since founding PEAR in 2003, Deidre has worked closely with senior level executives, business owners and organizational teams, providing strategic management counsel and solutions across a variety of industries. Deidre puts her focus into organizational development, leadership development and behavioral analytics for her clients.

Drama has been with us a long time. Drama has been depicted in the arts, movies plots etc. How does a psychiatrist by the name of Steven Karpman illustration depicting drama explain the Drama Triangle?

The Drama Triangle is an inverted triangle with the three corners illustrating the dynamics of drama. Once we can understand what role we play on the triangle, the triangle can provide us with a map on how to get out of the triangle, and basically end the drama. Here is a breakdown of each of the roles:

  • The Victim – The victim’s stance is “Poor me!” The Victim feels victimized, oppressed, helpless, hopeless, powerless, ashamed, and seems unable to make decisions, solve problems, take pleasure in life, or achieve insight. The Victim, if not being persecuted, will seek out a Persecutor and also a Rescuer who will save the day but also perpetuate the Victim’s negative feelings.
  • The Rescuer – The rescuer’s line is “Let me help you.” A classic enabler, the Rescuer feels guilty if he/she doesn’t go to the rescue. Yet his/her rescuing has negative effects. It keeps the Victim dependent and gives the Victim permission to fail.
  • The Persecutor – The persecutor insists, “It’s all your fault!” The Persecutor is controlling, blaming, critical, oppressive, angry, authoritative, rigid and superior.

We often might see ourselves playing these different roles in different situations. Does this mean these roles are interchangeable?

Yes, these roles are interchangeable. Here is an example of how we go through and interchange these roles. You may be a victim of someone or something so you go to a Rescuer and ask “Please help me, I can’t get this done.” If the Rescuer cannot help the Victim, The Victim will move into the Persecutor or Bully role and will start to bully the Rescuer, who now moves down to being the Victim. The movement on the triangle can happen in minutes. As we keep going around and around, the drama escalates.

Drama is all around us, every day, is there anything we can do to eliminate drama?

There is definitely an antidote to drama — the power of TED. TED is the acronym for “The Empowerment Dynamic” which was formulated by David Emerald. The basic concept is that you are going from an anxiety-based and problem-focused situation, which is drama, to a more passion-based and outcome-focused dynamic, which is the empowerment dynamic.

It is important to know, for those who have control in their organizations, that establishing a zero drama tolerance is really important and that you will not accept drama. To remove drama from the workplace it involves removing one role from the drama triangle. By eliminating the victim, the drama is gone. Here is where “The Empowerment Dynamic” can come into play. The victim can become the creator. They become accountable, confident, and they know that they have choices in any situation and can envision different outcomes. This also applies to the rescuer. When a rescuer is approached by a victim, the rescuer will assume the role of coach, they do not see the victim as a victim, but as someone who is capable and resourceful. They empower the victim to make choices, to come up with solutions, to take action. The antidote for the persecutor is to really spark growth and challenge the victim with the intent to help them grow. By changing every single role, you are ultimately empowering the victim into the role of creator.

Is there an assessment you can use to help identify which role you or your employees are playing?

A good place to start is to set up a workshop on the drama triangle. This will allow for everyone to understand the different roles and to help identify, through self-awareness, when they are in one of these roles. Once you can identify if you are in the triangle, you can identify at any time who is in what role.

If someone comes to you, and they are helpless, they feel powerless, they have no control over a situation, they would be identifying someone who is in the victim role. When this happens, you can understand that they are looking for help, you can then jump into a creator, or coach role and ask them “What do you think we should do?” or “Why don’t you think about it, come back, and let’s discuss it.” You always want to empower someone to be resourceful and to look for the answers, to give them control and the power to get over their situation.

How do you be a good, empathetic listener but also try to be encouraging at the same time?

Once you identify when you are switching from a coach to a rescuer, you will want to be empathetic, want to help, want to listen to the victim. This is where you’ll want to set limits to your listening. If it is something that the victim is complaining about over and over again, then you are just enabling them, and that is not what you want to do. But if the victim comes to you and they have an issue, listen and then automatically switch to the coach role. There is always the balance of listening to what challenges someone is having, and being careful that you are not going to solve that person’s problems. You want to enable them and empower them to come up with solutions and support them.

 

Executive Briefings: The Model of R.E.A.L. Leadership

By Thomas White for Huffington Post

In my work, I meet business leaders from all over the world who have advice, stories and personal tips to provide. I sit down with these leaders to give them the opportunity to provide current business advice and give a glimpse to their personal stories as a business leader.

This week I interviewed Joe Hart, President and CEO of Dale Carnegie Training, an organization whose founder pioneered the human performance movement over 100 years ago and has continued to succeed and grow worldwide, through constant research and innovation building on its founding principles. Dale Carnegie Training has more than 3,000 trainers and consultants, operating in 300 offices in over 90 countries impacting organizations, teams and individuals. Dale Carnegie Training’s client list includes more than 400 of the Fortune Global 500, tens of thousands of small to mid-sized organizations and over 8 million individuals across the globe.

Dale Carnegie does a lot of research in regard to leadership. What are the traits that make up a great leader?

Dale Carnegie Training initially conducted research on this subject in 2015 in the United States and Brazil. We were so intrigued with what we had found that we expanded the research to 13 additional countries. Some of the key questions we found included: what are the types of traits that really motivate someone to want to give their best and what are the things that demotivate people. From this research we have characterized these to ‘R.E.A.L.’ or reliable, empathetic, aspirational and learning.


What makes a leader Reliable?

It refers to someone who is internally reliable. Internal reliability is someone being authentic. As people, we have great intuition, and we can tell when somebody is being consistent with who they are. They are internally reliable. But with external reliability people want to sense a level of integrity. Does the leader do things that they say they are going to do or do they say one thing and then do another?

Of the four traits, this one is absolutely foundational for the other three. It doesn’t matter if you’re empathetic, aspirational, or you’re an active leader, if do not have reliability, you do not have the core trust that you are building with people. If you do not have this trust with the people you work with or who you interact with then the other traits just will not matter.

What does it mean to be Empathetic as a leader?

Being empathetic means to really want to reach out and to be others-focused. It means to demonstrate a desire to listen, to care, to recognize the importance that other people have and to really give them the respect of hearing what it is that they have to say. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “In my walks, every man I meet is my superior in some way, and in that I learn from him.” So, an empathetic person is trying to learn, trying to listen and trying to demonstrate caring for the people around them.

There’s been a transformation of how leadership has been viewed over the decades. In the past, one might expect a leader to have all the answers, to show strong leadership qualities. Today, especially when you look at the millennial generation, people want to contribute to find out the answers. They want to have meaning in their work. They want to know the work they’re doing is valuable and that they are valued as a person. Someone who comes in and simply says, “Here’s what we’re going to do and you’re going to do it,” that is an immediate dis-engager for high percentages of people.”

What does a leader need to do to be someone who is Aspirational for the people that they are working with?

Leaders tend to focus on the bottom line. The finances are important and critical to the success of any business. However, to focus on those exclusively without a broader picture is not necessarily enough to connect with a lot of people. If a leader understands that people really want to have meaning in what they do, then simply hitting financial targets may not be enough. A leader not only needs to be focused on the details but also on why we are doing this at all and why what we are doing is important.

The financial parts and having targets are all important, but at the same time, to have something broader and something we can connect to that makes us feel like, “Yes, I’m really a part of something bigger and important, and I can go home and feel really good about that.”

How critical is it for a leader to also be a Learner?
It is very critical. Being a learner connects with empathetic in the sense that the learner says “I don’t have all of the answers”. The learner recognizes that mistakes are going to happen and they learn from that. They don’t necessarily like it but, they will embrace it and they won’t hesitate if they’ve made a mistake, to admit it, to address it and to move on. It’s about taking action. It’s about making mistakes. It’s about experience and judgement.

 

 

Executive Briefings: Intersection of Leadership and Social Media

By Thomas White for Huffington Post

In my work, I meet business leaders from all over the world who have advice, stories and personal tips to provide. I sit down with these leaders to give them the opportunity to provide current business advice and give a glimpse to their personal stories as a business leader.

I recently sat down with Rob Harles, Head of Social Business & Collaboration at Accenture Interactive. Rob joined Accenture from Bloomberg LP in New York where he was Global Head of Social Media responsible for developing and managing Bloomberg’s social media strategy and initiatives worldwide.

As a leader in social media for a long time, both at Bloomberg and now Accenture, what changes do you see in what expectations customers have of companies?

Customers have higher expectations than they’ve ever had. Social has acted as a catalyst for people to express their views, support, lack of support for brands, and what they expect brands to do, to live up to their promise. Only ten to fifteen years ago you wouldn’t have been able to do that. Brands were lucky enough to be able to tell you what they stood for and hope you believed it. Now you have to prove it, and social is acting as that catalyst.

We call it the ultra-transparency situation, and it affects how companies engage with customers. How would you describe this phenomena?

The phenomenon with social is really about people wanting to feel that they matter, and they want to be able to express that. It’s been around since the dawn of time, when we were just a nation of shopkeepers. As we grew and had to come to terms with the challenges of scaling businesses, we got more and more distant from our customers. The result was that we had to do standalone market research at a set point in time just to see where people’s needs or demands were going or how they felt about us. Now that’s changed. It’s 24/7. They’re telling you exactly what they need. They’re telling you exactly how they feel. Sometimes they’re telling you the extremes of that because there is less of a filter.

What do you see in the next five years? How is social media going to change as a medium, and how is it going to change the way we do business?

The advantage of real-time information is that we are addressing people’s issues faster. We are being more responsive. Organizations and brands are using the insights that come out of social to improve themselves, and that’s a good thing. But with that always comes challenges. This is where organizations go off the rails. At Accenture Digital, what we’re seeing is that companies are almost too ready to take data and do something with it and not really think about the implications. Also, it comes with the challenge of where do you draw the demarcation line in terms of privacy? How do you think about protecting the rights of your employees or the rights of your customers? There isn’t a day that goes by when there isn’t a headline about something like this. It’s creating great opportunities on the one hand, but it’s also creating a lot of challenges in terms of sensitivity and the law. Eventually we find our path. Eventually we figure out the right way to do something and sometimes we only do that by making mistakes. Sometimes the consequences of those mistakes are actually quite precious, but it still makes us better.

Let’s shift gears. As a leader, what are the traits that you most admire in other leaders?

Everybody is different. That’s the thing that I’ve recognized, and good leaders recognize that. We’re a little bit more open than we’ve ever been and don’t self-edit as much. Great leaders are ones who have a vision and are willing to be tenacious enough to drive that forward. An example would be if you say you want to have an innovative culture. It’s another thing to actually create an innovate culture. Great leaders are ones who are a little more flexible than they’ve ever been, but have great vision and can really motivate people to bring more than what they’re just asked to do. It’s like a puppy dog scenario. I love it when people come to me and they have an idea, it might not be a perfect idea, but it’s a start. They’re thinking. The worst situation is where you stifle that.

Along your way to becoming the leader that you are today, who has inspired you, and what about them inspired you?

I have to pay homage to some of the great thinkers and entrepreneurs that we’ve had in just the last few decades. Whether it’s Bill Gates, or Steve Jobs, or Steve Wozniak and many more. In so many ways they represent the unique American spirit of trying to do something that no one has done before. It’s high risk. I admire the people who are the unsung heroes who have tried something and it hasn’t worked. Most entrepreneurs, if they’re really honest, will tell you, “So much of our success is built not just on hard work or creativity.” But their little secret is luck and being able to see it and take advantage of it and run with it. Not everyone has that luck, but they have all the other things. Sometimes those unsung heroes drive us forward through the missed opportunities and the failures just as much as those who we venerate. I like to see people, generally, who try things and are okay with failing and picking themselves up, learning from it, and moving to the next thing.

Executive Briefings: Engage and Empower Your People to Ignite Sales, the Barefoot Spirit

Executive Briefings is an online event with a similar kind of context that C-Suite has for physical events. During one of our recent Briefings, Bonnie Harvey and Michael Houlihan of Barefoot Wine joined us to discuss how to engage and empower your employees with a sales centric culture.

Barefoot Wine is currently a top global brand. It’s become known as the Levi Strauss of American wine. But it represents a lot more than just a wine label. It truly represents success. Success of a small start-up team that began in the laundry room and wound up in the board room of one of the world’s largest wine companies. Starting with no money and no knowledge of their industry, Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey bootstrapped a novelty brand into a top global icon. Doesn’t happen very often, and they did it. Relying on an entrepreneurial culture, they overcame formidable challenges in a highly competitive and controlled wine industry. They received the industry’s coveted Trend Setter, Fast Track Growth Brand, and Hot Brand awards for a number of years. They took this experience and created the New York Times Best Seller, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book details the journey into success – from a humble beginning to a nationwide blockbuster brand.

Since selling the company to E&J Gallo, Michael and Bonnie have been actively sharing their expertise. They’re speaking internationally. They’re corporate trainers. They’re contributors to many publications like Forbes, Inc., Investor’s Daily, and others. They’ve delivered keynotes at the World Conference on Entrepreneurship in Dublin, and at our own C-Suite Conference in Marina Del Ray in 2014. They’ve recently released a new book, The Entrepreneurial Culture, 23 Ways to Engage and Empower Your People. They offer several online courses, including “Skyrocket Sales and Engagement,” and “Spend Less-Monetize Faster with the Entrepreneur’s GPS”

First off, I’d like to ask how you both got into a business that you didn’t know anything about?

MH: Well, you know they say follow your passion, but we followed our opportunity passionately. It’s a little bit different. Bonnie had a client who wasn’t getting paid for his grapes. He was a grape-grower in the Sonoma County wine country of California. She said, “Maybe you can help?” I went over to the large winery that owed the grower for his grapes, which is now called Francis Ford Coppola Winery. When I got there, they had just declared bankruptcy. Meaning, they didn’t have to pay their creditors.

As I’m there and looking around, I see a row of tanks and a big bottling machine. I say, “Hey, wait a minute. If you guys can’t pay us in cash, what do you think about giving us wine in bulk and bottling services to pay off the debt?” And they said, “Great!” I went back to Bonnie, and I told her that I thought I had got it settled. However, this was a big debt to pay off. But now all we have is wine and bottling services. And she says:

BH: Well, now we’ve got a different kind of a problem. How do we turn this wine and bottling services into cash so we can pay the bills? That’s how Michael and I got in to this fix to start with. The grower was unable to take over another business. He had a full-time job as a wine-maker, in addition to having about 100 acres of vineyard. Michael and I kind of looked at each other and said, “I guess we’ll do it then!” Ignorance is bliss! We had no idea what we were getting in to.

I’ve backed myself into these kinds of things in the past, and it’s very educational. You’re breaking in to a business that’s highly controlled. It’s got a structure that everybody says, “Well this is just the way things are,” and you guys were able to break out of that, because you didn’t follow the rules. How did you step back and find a new approach that nobody else was doing?

BH: Well, first of all, we didn’t know the rules. That’s a good place to start, as it turned out. We went out and started asking a lot of questions. We asked questions of everyone on the production end. We asked people in the retail end, the buyers. We went out and asked consumers. We kind of put together a plan from really more the consumer outlook rather than production outlook.

Also, you looked at your customer being the person who is consuming the wine, not the person who was distributing the wine. A lot of people look at the distribution side, rather than going all the way to the end and the customer themselves, right?

MH: Right. We realized that we weren’t going to get to that customer unless we understood what the distributor wanted, and of course, everybody in the distribution channel wants a different thing, and none of it has to do with wine. However, the end user has a lot to do with wine, and price, and value, so to create that customer experience at the end user, we had to understand the distribution system. We did what we call “make friends in low places.” We talked to fork-lift operators. We talked to truckers. We talked to people who stock shelves in grocery stores. These are not necessarily the white collar folks that you would think you would go to for information. But what we learned is what was really happening in the real world at the street level. And because we did, we were able to put a package and a product together that got through the distribution system to the general public, and stayed in stock, which is really important.

Well you had some innovations on the distribution side to make it easy to assure the right product was in the right place. What did you do there?

MH: The main thing in retail distribution is that you’re only as good as your stock. If you’re selling a real product and it’s sold in retail, it has to be in stock. The worst customer experience is they love your product, but it’s out of stock. We had a situation in Minnesota where we couldn’t understand why we were consistently getting missed deliveries. We flew there, and we found out that it wasn’t stocked in the store even though it was authorized.

So we went to the distributor and asked why the product wasn’t delivered. We heard replies like, “That’s not our problem. That must be Ed. He’s in the back room. You have to go talk to him.” So we go to the warehouse, and we talk to Ed. He says, “No, you have to talk to Joey. He comes at midnight. He runs the forklift, and he picks the products off of the shelves in the warehouse to ship out to the retailers.”

I waited until midnight to talk to Joey. He says, “Get up on that forklift!” I said, “Okay” and I got up. He says, “What do you see?” I said, “Well, I see a big warehouse.” He says, “What do you think about the lighting?” I said, “It’s terrible. I can’t see anything.” He says, “That’s right. Read the label on that box over there.” I said, “Well, I can’t read it. Do you want us to make the labels larger?” He says, “No. Why don’t you make each box of each type of product that you have a different color. The whole box a different color.”

And so we color coded everything at Barefoot, and it not only reduced our missed deliveries and increased our in-stocks, but it also was a lot of fun. Each retail store would build lots of colorful stacks with our new boxes.

It seems like this might be a place where you saw that everybody who is on the street, from the forklift operator to the person delivering the stuff, is critical in the customer conversation. You created a culture within Barefoot that was very different. Let’s talk about the culture you created out of these experiences you had, and how it was different.

BH: We believed that the pyramid structure that most companies are in, really didn’t work because you’ve got the CEO and the VP on top and everyone else is below them and they take orders from the top. Well, we really wanted to support our customer, and we said, “How can you put the customer on top, when you put sales on the bottom?”

We thought, instead of having this pyramid structure, we would have a two-division company. The two-division company puts the customer on top, followed by sales, and everyone who is not in sales was in the sales-support division. So the accountant, everyone in production, the receptionist, the vice president, and even the president are all in sales-support. That was our main difference. That’s how we really distinguished ourselves as a company, was through the two-division company. The two divisions are sales and sales-support.

In order for that really to work, the sales division had to tell marketing and production the feedback that they were getting from customers. They were in touch with customers on a daily basis, and they knew what was going on at the retail level and the distribution level. Those two are our customers: the retailer and the distributor. They would get that information back to our company, and we would respond in production and marketing. That’s how we put the customer on top.

That’s interesting. How do you have a conversation with an accountant, or a receptionist, or somebody who’s in tech support, and explain to them that they are now sales-support? How do you help them see the picture of how that all works?

MH: We had a real situation where our accountant was giving us a lot of push back and saying, “Hey, I’m an accountant. I crunch numbers. I belong to the accounting association. I go to the accounting events. I’m an accountant. I don’t have anything to do with sales. How can I possibly affect sales?” We said, “You’re going to figure it out because your bonus is going to be based on sales.”

Sure enough, our salesperson gets an appointment with Mr. Big down in Florida for a big chain store. It comes at 5:00 at night for 8:00 the next morning. The guy has no time to prepare. He tells the accountant, “I need these numbers to prove to this buyer tomorrow morning at 8 that we’re selling like crazy in the surrounding states, and we need him to jump on the bandwagon. What can you do for me?” It’s 6:00 in the morning, and our salesperson had all of those numbers on his computer, and he was able to review them, print them out, and put a presentation together. He made the sale at 8:00. That’s an example of how somebody as obscure as an accountant can affect sales. Now, in a normal pyramid structure, the accountant would say, “Hey, did this go through proper channels? I’ve got it in my inbox, and I’ll get to it in a week or two, but I’ve got other priorities.” In other words, he doesn’t take a real interest in sales, per se. He’s more interested in getting his workload done. Our accountant stayed up all night to get those numbers to him.

I see how when you build a culture from the ground up, which is what you did with Barefoot, you’re able to bring this perspective because you’re creating the mindset from the ground up. What about a company that’s a traditional company? It’s got the pyramid structure. How do you help them see why this is valuable, and more importantly, how do you help them transition from the current structure to one of the two-division company structure?

MH: There’s quite a few ways to do it. I think the simple answer is they have to formalize communications between sales and customer service to marketing and production. A lot of pyramid structures like to tell you that sales is part of marketing, but marketing is actually in the corporate building and sales is outside. There’s this physical division in culture between the people you see at lunch and the people that come in once a month. We think that one of the things that you can do besides having these formal connections between these departments within the pyramid silo structure is the money map.

BH: The real idea of the money map is to help new hires understand where the money that goes into their paychecks, their bonuses and all their benefits comes from. So they don’t come to you and say, “Well I’ve been here for two years. I want a raise.” The way you get a raise is you increase the amount of money that goes into the pot that goes to everybody’s salary and benefits. And that’s why we created the money map. So no one thought we had a big pile of money in the back, and we’d just scoop it up and throw it in your trunk every month.

Now, I suppose that most of your audience already understands where the money comes from. The benefit that any company can have by creating their own money map is to let the new hires understand where the money comes from. It comes from the end-user, which is in the community in our case. You have the customer who is going shopping. Picking up her product. Giving her money to the clerk. Part of that money goes to overhead. Part of it goes to the wholesaler. Then the money comes in to our company. We’ve only got about half the money that the customer spent going into our company. Then we pay the suppliers, our overhead. We’ve got maybe a buck or less that goes into the big pot of everybody’s salary. If you want to increase that pot, you increase sales. I say if you want someone to do something, put a buck on it. People respond to money. This, the Money Map, is our way of showing you how you can put more bucks in your pocket, and that’s by getting more customers to buy your products.

MH: This money map is going to look different in every company. However, they say when the cement is wet you can move it with a trowel. When it gets hard you need a jackhammer. So you’ve got wet cement when you’re on-boarding people. The question is, what does the trowel look like? What are you giving people? Are you just saying, “Here’s the coffee. If you hurt yourself there’s forms in the office.” Is that your idea of orientation? Or, are you actually telling people all of the steps that your company’s product or service has to go through to get to the general public. A lot of companies say, “No, I’m B2B. This doesn’t affect me.” Well we were B2B. We sold to a wholesaler. We could have said that’s it. No – We found out if we didn’t sell to the retailer for the wholesaler, the wholesaler didn’t reorder. And if we didn’t sell to the general public for the retailer, then the retailer didn’t reorder. So even though we were B2B, we were actually B2B2C. I think that is the realization that you have to get across to your people when they’re hired. It gives them more appreciation for the steps involved, and then as they’re working in their job, they start to see how their job affects this whole supply chain.

It’s interesting because you talked about that from a marketing perspective. B2B or B2C. Those things are collapsing. It’s really B to whoever is in the customer chain. The whole customer chain from you to the person ultimately using this product is who you need to pay attention to. And you did something really innovative, and something around cause marketing which changed in some ways the game in the wine industry.

BH: When we began, we called it worthy cause marketing, because we started so long ago that there wasn’t really a name for what we were doing. We wanted to get the attention of the end users and make them aware of our products. The way we did this was by supporting worthy causes within their community – through local fundraisers and non-profit organizations that were raising funds. We wouldn’t just donate our product, but we would go there and help them set up. We would help them to bring in more clients by providing the non-profit information to the retailer. We could do that by putting signs on our bottles to alert the community about this non-profit organization or event that was taking place.

We would ask for things from the non-profit that cost the non-profit nothing. We would talk to their supporters about why we were supporting this cause, and where they could buy our product within that area. So that was of great interest to the retailer. The retailer appreciated that we were bringing in new shoppers. We’d go to a retailer and say, “There’s a non-profit event that’s taking place a couple blocks from here, and what we would like to do is put this sign that says where to buy Barefoot on the table so the supporters can pick it up. Would you like to be on this list?” The retailers said, “Yeah, I really do appreciate that non-profit, and I do want to be on that list so people can come in and buy the product.” We said, “Great! Where do you want the stack?” That enabled us to get more retailers to take our product.

You’re the epitome of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs don’t live by the rules. Entrepreneurs say, “I have a problem and I’ll find a solution. I don’t know how the solution is going to happen there, but we’ll find it out.” You guys continually, over and over again, kept running up against things that looked insurmountable, and you just kept working until you had a solution that worked for both parties.

MH: Yes, we kept going until we found a solution! If you go to www.barefootbonus.com, you are going to receive all the guides that we discussed during this presentation. You’re also going to receive six free chapters from our new book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways to Engage and Empower Your People. We actually wrote this book for this C-Suite. It is outtakes from our New York Times Best Seller, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. We said, let’s just synthesize that out, and put a book together that’s about as thick as one airplane ride so that the C-Suiters can read it and actually cut and paste these ideas into their own corporations. We’re offering, for free, six chapters. We think you’ll enjoy them. We talk about how to build this kind of entrepreneurial culture in a corporation. It’s not impossible, but it requires a different view of things. A different outlook.

*Visit www.barefootbonus.com to download the presentation from this Executive Briefings event.