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C-Suite Network Chairman & Founder, Jeffrey Hayzlett, Appoints Tricia Benn as Chief Executive Officer New CEO to Drive Disruption with ‘Executive Community Ecosystem’

MIAMI, FL – March 3, 2023 – Jeffrey Hayzlett, chairman and founder of C-Suite Network, former Fortune 100 Global CMO, appoints Tricia Benn as Chief Executive Officer. Benn replaces Jeffrey Hayzlett as the company’s CEO and will continue serving as Chairman, ushering in the “Executive Community Ecosystem” of the C-Suite Network, disrupting the current model of executive networking and delivering a digital platform that accelerates business success.

There are significant changes taking place in today’s business environment, that require all businesses to embrace new technologies, displacing old models and ushering businesses into the digital and hybrid era. This platform brings together all key components — community, content, counsel, and commerce – necessary for any business to succeed in a fully digitized and hybrid business world.

The implementation of the “Executive Community Ecosystem” of C-Suite Network ensures that purpose-driven business leaders around the globe gain access to the financial, social, technical, and operational tools necessary to deliver profitable and scalable growth and drive real and meaningful impact to their communities.

As CEO, Tricia Benn will be responsible for leading the development and implementation of the C-Suite Network’s new “Executive Community Ecosystem” platform and working closely with Hayzlett to see that success through the thousands of C-Suite Network leaders, to millions of executives that encompass their monthly reach.

Hayzlett appointed Benn to continue to lead on hyper-scaling the network, to continue disrupting traditional approaches to executive networking, and measurable monetization for its members.

“Old school, hand-to-hand business card swap isn’t enough to deliver business success in today’s fast-paced digital world,” said Hayzlett. He continued, “Our model, which we believe will become an indispensable requirement for sustainable and profitable growth among all purpose-driven business leaders. We are committed to building the C-Suite Network platform to create efficiencies that deliver growth in the digital and virtual era.”

Before her appointment as Chief Executive Officer, Benn served as the Chief Community Officer of C-Suite Network, and has been transitioning into the new role and responsibilities over the course of the past two years.

With her extensive experience in building and scaling businesses, Benn is uniquely positioned to drive disruption in the traditional approaches to executive networking and ensure measurable monetization for the network’s members. Under her leadership, the C-Suite Network is poised to continue delivering on its promise of accelerated success, profitable growth, and meaningful positive impact for purpose-driven business leaders around the world.

“Having worked with some of the most successful leaders in every industry and sector over the course of my career, and with chairman and founder Jeffrey Hayzlett for the past decade, I am honored to assume the role of CEO. I am committed to continuing to build on the C-Suite Network brand promise of accelerated success for great business leaders through our platform of community, content, counsel, and commerce. We are upleveling our commitment to inspiring, educating, and providing the tools needed to succeed for mission-driven business leaders in North America and around the world. Business success now through is about delivering against efficiencies of scale,” said Benn.

Benn offers a 25-year track record of industry disruption, building and scaling businesses, and consulting to thousands of top-level executives, business owners, influencers, government, and not-for-profit organizations.  In addition to sitting on multiple business, associations and not-for-profit boards, she served as a senior executive for three enterprise-level organizations in market research, telecommunications, media, marketing, and advertising. As a Global Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer and U.S. Managing Director within a $3 billion global holding company, Benn’s leadership in these roles drove double digit growth year-over-year and new contracts with some of the most important impact players in the world.

The C-Suite Network is comprised of executives, owners, investors, and influencers and backed by technology with a strong foundation in values-based leadership and an abundance approach that delivers accelerated success.

 

For additional information about the C-Suite Network, https://c-suitenetwork.com/.

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About Jeffrey Hayzlett

 

Jeffrey Hayzlett is one of the most compelling figures in business today and Hall of Fame keynote speaker. Former Fortune 100 CMO, Primetime TV and Radio Host, Jeffrey Hayzlett brings lessons from the highest levels of the C-Suite to stages, podcasts, and screens sharing the biggest strategies, advice, and stories from influential business leaders. Jeffrey is a leading business expert, cited in Forbes, SUCCESS, Mashable, Marketing Week and Chief Executive, among many others. He shares his executive insight and commentary on television networks like Bloomberg, MSNBC, Fox Business, and C-Suite TV. Hayzlett is a former Bloomberg contributing editor and primetime host and appeared as a guest celebrity judge on NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice with Donald Trump for three seasons. He is a turnaround architect of the highest order, a maverick marketer and C-Suite executive who delivers scalable campaigns, embraces traditional modes of customer engagement, and possesses a remarkable cachet of mentorship, corporate governance, and brand building.

 

About C-Suite Network

 

C-Suite Network is the world’s most trusted 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, owners, investors and influencers with what they need to achieve professional success.

C-Suite Network offers invitation-only events as well as custom-tailored content through all its entities: C-Suite TV, C-Suite Radio, C-Suite Book Club, and C-Suite Network Advisors™. Learn more at www.c-suitenetwork.com, or connect on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

 

Media Contact:

Keira Rodriguez

Director of Content

C-Suite Network

Keira.rodriguez@c-suitenetwork.com

914.830.3241

Categories
Growth Human Resources Personal Development

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.

 

Categories
Growth Leadership Personal Development

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.

Categories
Growth Human Resources Personal Development

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.

Categories
Body Language Human Resources Management Negotiations Sales Skills Women In Business

“Never Again Be Vulnerable To Hidden Body Language Aggression“ – Negotiation Insight

“Reading body language accurately has many advantages. Detecting hidden aggression is one of them.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert.

 

“Never Again Be Vulnerable To Hidden Body Language Aggression“

 

One member of a negotiation team said to the other, that meeting became ruckus quickly. At first, I couldn’t tell if the other side’s leader was being passive-aggressive, or if he perceived our proposals to be inappropriate or repulsive. But then, I knew he was upset by the body language gestures he emitted. They pointed towards outright aggression. That’s when I knew things were about to get ugly. What body language signs did you observe that indicated he was about to become aggressive, was the question asked by the man’s associate.

When someone’s about to become aggressive, do you know what signs to note? It’s essential to be able to understand the nonverbal and body language signals that indicate imminent hostilities. Doing so will allow you the time to deflect or redirect such efforts. Continue, and you’ll discover five body language signals that foretell pending aggression.

Blustering:

“I’m going to put my foot so far up your rear that it’ll come out of your mouth.” “Yeah! And what do you think I’ll be doing while you’re trying to put your foot up my rear?” Blustering occurs in many forms. When it’s verbal, it’s easy to see and understand. Because words are used to convey one’s sentiments, which decreases the misperception of one’s intent. But blustering also occurs through one’s body language. A person portrays it by puffing out their chest, extending the outreach of their arms on both sides, and even in the stance that slightly projects one foot slightly ahead of the other. In each instance, that person is positioning himself for the pending aggression that’s he’s considering. And, depending on how heated the environment, he may not be consciously aware of the behaviors he’s committing. And that’s why you should take note. By doing so, you’ll have the opportunity to temper his behavior before it reaches the point of uncontrollability.

Eyes:

Darting – When someone is agitated, and they begin quickly scanning the environment with their eyes, they’re in assessment mode. This gesture alone does not indicate pending aggression on this person’s behalf. But coupled with other signs such as flaring nostrils, protruding chin, and fist/hand flexing, darting eyes lends more credence to the probability that pending aggression is increasingly heightening.

Narrowing – When someone’s eye focus becomes narrow, they’re lending more emphasis on the subject of their attention. That means they’re blocking out other distractions to assess what they might do next to thwart the unpleasantness they’re experiencing. When you see someone narrowing their eyes on you, raise your awareness of their pending intent. They may be in the process of becoming aggressive.

Pupil Dilation – Pupil dilation is another silent display that someone exhibits when they get excited. Dilation can occur from the natural excitement one experiences from being in a pleasant environment too. But you can instinctively tell by someone’s demeanor if they’re happy or agitated. That’s also the insight to seek to determine if they’re becoming annoyed by an adverse action they perceive stemming from you.

 

Flaring Nostrils:

Nostril flaring is one of the most telling signs indicating pending aggression. A person flares their nostrils as a way to get more oxygen into their bloodstream. And in adverse situations, that can be the preparation leading to aggression. The more the person engages in that act, the more they’re preparing to become aggressive.

 

Chin/Jaw:

An outward thrust chin is a silent signal stating that the owner of the action is displaying his desire to take a portion of your space. Conversely, when people tuck their chin, they’re demonstrating the need to protect themselves. Thus, you should perceive the outward thrust of someone’s jaw as saying, I’m not afraid of you. If they take a step(s) towards you while displaying that gesture, they’re becoming more defiant and more aggressive. You can stand your ground or back up. If you hold your position, you’ll be stating with your action that you’re not afraid of them either  – now what? In either case, be aware of where tension resides and adopt the measure that’s best suited to combat it.

 

Hand/Fist:

Flexing – If you observe someone flexing their hand in a negative environment, it may be an indication that they’re attempting to loosen up to get more blood flowing to that part of their body.

Tightening – When someone becomes excessively exasperated, they stiffen their hands, which can turn into fists. Thus, while observing the beginning of someone’s hands flexing, note the moment when their hands turn into fists. A heightening in potential aggression has occurred at that moment. And the person may be a moment or so from lashing out at you.

 

Reflection:

Like a snake, you can observe the lynchpin behavior of someone that’s in the process of striking out at you. In the snake’s case, it emits signals through its rattle, warning you of pending danger. Then, if you don’t vacate the surroundings, he strikes you. The same is true of a human. Initially, he gives warning through his body language to get you to back off. And, if you’re persistent at making him feel uneasy, he’ll strike at you.

To avoid harm’s way, note the mentioned signs that lead to aggression. As soon as you sense a verbal or physical attack is imminent, become more observant about the pace of its escalation. And remove yourself from the environment if possible. If that’s not possible, adopt a posture that’s more or less threatening than what’s confronting you. And be aware of the effect this has on your nemesis. In some cases, it will cause him to increase his efforts. In other situations, it may be the form of de-escalation needed to subdue an explosive situation that’s in the making. Know the difference to determine the best action to adopt. Because the optimum word is control – and everything will be right with the world.

 

Remember, you’re always negotiating!

 

Listen to Greg’s podcast at https://anchor.fm/themasternegotiator

 

After reading this article, what are you thinking? I’d like to know. Reach me at Greg@TheMasterNegotiator.com

 

To receive Greg’s free “Negotiation Tip of the Week” and the “Sunday Negotiation Insight” click here http://www.themasternegotiator.com/greg-williams/

 

 

#BodyLanguage #Aggression #vulnerable #Negotiate #Business #SmallBusiness #Negotiation #Negotiator #NegotiatingWithABully #Power #Perception #emotionalcontrol #relationships #BodyLanguageExpert #HowToNegotiateBetter #CSuite #TheMasterNegotiator #ControlEmotions #GregWilliams #success #negotiationexamples #Negotiationstrategies #negotiationprocess #negotiationskillstraining #negotiationtypes #negotiationpsychology #Howtowinmore #self-improvement #howtodealwithdifficultpeople #Self-development #TheMasterNegotiator #Howtocontrolanegotiation #howtobesuccessful #HowToImproveyourself

 

 

Categories
Growth Personal Development

Barry Swanson Discusses ‘Still Points’ with Michael Beas in an Exclusive Interview

 

An Exclusive Interview with Author, Barry Swanson:

Barry Swanson’s book Still Points has been a hit with readers recently hitting the bestseller list, capturing the imaginations of readers and reviewers alike. Swanson has a gift for creating a compelling story, intriguing characters and keeping readers enthralled from beginning to end.  

In ‘Still Points’  Philip Zumwalt, a fantastic protagonist, is an accomplished musician, poet, and idealist—a dreamer. Fresh out of college in 1940, he takes a job as a music teacher in a small, rural Illinois town. His plan is to teach for a few years hoping to save enough money to finance his dreams: go to Chicago to become a professional musician and get his pilot’s license. These dreams dominate his thoughts until one summer night when he meets Elinor Robinson.

Philip and Elinor’s forbidden romance—and the specter of war hanging over the country—put Philip’s dreams on hold. When he enlists in the Army Air Force, the gifted artist goes on an unpredictable journey of lost innocence. Life and death hang in the balance as he overcomes his fears and spiritual doubts in a desperate effort to survive aerial combat in the maelstrom of the Southwest Pacific Theater. 

If you want to see what happens, and you know you do, pick up this epic read which is destined to be the book to read for seasons to come. Recently I had the chance to chat with Swanson to learn more about him, his work and what’s next. 

‘Still Points’ is based upon the World War II diaries of the real Philip Zumwalt, what was it about his story that you found so intriguing?  What was it like for you to bring this epic story to life?

As the Prelude of the novel states, my father-in-law, Homer Zumwalt gave me Philip’s (Homer’s eldest brother) diaries on a Christmas morning many years ago. After I opened the gift and realized what it was, he said, “Thought maybe you could do something with these things of Philip’s.” 

Thus, began the journey to tell Philip’s story. The inspiration came from Philip’s own words and the family legend that surrounded him. I found the history of the aerial war in the Southwest Pacific Theater particularly intriguing, as there was not much written about it. Without the support of the Army Air Force, it would have been nearly impossible to establish control of the islands that led to Japan’s eventual surrender.

 

Writing a novel is exhausting, physically and emotionally. The revisions are the most demanding. My original manuscript was over 600 pages. The novel ended up being 387 pages. It “takes a village” to complete such a project. My wife, editorial staff and publisher were all an integral part of the process.

Countless hours were spent reading historical books recounting WWII and researching the Army Air Force’s role in that war. I wanted to get a sense of what it was like serving in the Southwest Pacific Theater during the war, the intricacies of flying a B-17, and the perfection of the skip-bombing technique.

I also researched what being a teacher in a small, midwestern rural village during the school year 1940-41 entailed. I visited the town where Philip taught and spoke to some of the residents of that village. I was most fortunate to find a Payson-Seymour yearbook from 1941 that Homer had saved. I also interviewed a number of WWII veterans and family members. All of my research was essential in making the novel as true to the actual events as possible.

Like any research it was somewhat painstaking but also fascinating. To immerse one’s self in another era is almost like hopping aboard a time machine and being transported back into another place and time. Certainly, this era is one that had a profound influence on the world I grew up in. It gave me a renewed appreciation of what my parents and all the members of the Greatest Generation endured. 

How long did it take for you to write ‘Still Points’? What were one of the challenges you faced while writing it, and conversely one of your biggest successes?

Ten years of actual writing, plus a few more including the extensive research demanded to present the story as accurately as possible.

I list, for the most part, the challenges above. The success is finally holding the book in your hands and then hearing from readers that the book is one they will never forget and that it had a lasting impact on their lives.

While writing ‘Still Points’ did you learn anything new about yourself?

That I could overcome my propensity to procrastinate, and when highly motivated was able “land” a project of this magnitude. It was comparable to writing and completing my doctoral dissertation, but even more demanding.

 

A good story is all about the setting, the descriptiveness, and the raw energy that captivates, all coming together to have the reader turning the pages effortlessly. Your book includes all of them, what are one of the keys that you find is critical when getting into the writing zone.

You have to completely immerse yourself in the characters. There were times I felt I was Philip. Reading his diaries, I was able to climb inside his persona and think the way I believe he thought.  Many of the characters were actual people in my life or representations of those individuals. My wife and I traveled to many of the locations where the story took place. I wanted to walk, eat and sleep where Philip had done the same so many years ago. We traveled to all locations including Australia, but our tour service advised that New Guinea was too dangerous a destination to explore.

 

Since ‘Still Points’ has been so popular with readers, we are wondering if you have another book in the works you can tell us about?

I am attempting to write a coming-of-age novel based upon the true story of my senior year in high school, playing on an integrated boys’ basketball team in pursuit of the 1965-66 Illinois boys’ basketball state championship, and falling in love with an All-American cheerleader, the girl of my dreams! I must admit re-living those “glory days” and moments of innocence has been quite amusing.  I hope to complete the novel by late summer or early fall. Stay tuned. Working title is In Winter’s Midst.

What is your favorite drink to celebrate with when you finish writing?

An Old-Fashioned. Homer’s drink of choice.

 

Download ‘Still Points’ Today! 

Categories
Best Practices Management Marketing Personal Development Sales

Five Reasons Your Salespeople Aren’t Good In the C-Suite

If your well-trained salespeople are having trouble getting into the C-suite, you aren’t alone.  It’s pretty common. There are a couple main reasons, some of which are easier to correct than others.

I’ve been in the sales training game for almost a decade, and have engaged with a a lot of sales forces in a lot of industries. Through my past experience as an executive, bolstered by my work selling to them, I’ve observed a couple of major problems.

Problem 1: The “Salesperson Doesn’t Add Value” Loop

This is a problem wider than just C-suite selling.  The sales profession has hurt themselves.  CSO Insights published a research note which describes what they call the apathy loop(contact me if you’d like a copy). The basic idea is this:

  • When sellers act unremarkably, customers no longer consult them (currently B2B buyers prefer company salespeople 9thout of 10 information resources…ouch!).
  • Sellers self-inform using one or more of the 8 better information sources and self-diagnose their solution.
  • They then distribute a requirements document and ask sellers for proposals/bids/etc.
  • The request traps most sales teams into a response every bit as standardized and unremarkable as the customer expected in the first place.

Sellers need to add value–go beyond customer expectation– to break out of the apathy loop. Challenger salespeople shake up a customer’s thought process by challenging (hence the name) assumptions and thought processes – generally by “telling”.  Insight sellers might ask questions or tell stories.  Perspective sellers build credibility, then offer business insights. These insights might take the form of:

  1. Enlarging – or shifting– the customer’s conception of their situation and/or problem.
  2. Altering – ideally expanding — outcomes that a client envisions and desires.
  3. Helping a group improve the quality or efficiency of decision-making. This kind of perspective is useful, but doesn’t move an executive’s needle – today’s topic.

A lot of training programs “yada yada” business acumen:  they tell sales people to “just use yours” to provide perspective. Has everyone in one of your selling roles really mastered the business acumen to provide insights?

It’s pretty hard to provide insights into something you don’t understand.

Some of the highest end sales forces in the world buy their sales people MBAs.  You can build a lot of business acumen for a lot less…why are you choosing none at all?

Problem 2: Executives Only Want to Talk About Executive-Level Topics

Top executives organize their companies.  That is, they define and arrange organizational silos, then direct how work flows between them. If an operation or process lives inside a silo, execs don’t generally want to hear about it. Instead, executives summarily refer functional-level subjects down into the silo (and place the offender on their “time-waster list”).

The work of getting executive time is often the work of making your topic relevant to them.  While sellers should show the same respect for every persona’s time, the stakes are higher for executive meetings.

Only approach an executive on a topic/issue they will value.

If you don’t have anything, wait until you do.  If your people can’t tell the difference, they need more business acumen.

Of course, your training and enablement included techniques and practice for talking to executives (it did, right?).   Now, did you feed them executive-worthy issues…or the business acumen to find topics for themselves?  Or, did you simply tell your sales people to “get out of your comfort zone.”?  How did you coach actual conversations? Did you get out of your comfort zone in training and enabling them?

Problem 3:  Customers often buy in silos.

Another reality: your customer reinforces the apathy loop via their own org chart. Organizational silos shape buying processes by simply existing. Companies tend to self-examine their needs through a silo filter. Requirements, RFIs, RFPs, etc. often signal how narrowly your customer is thinking through their own problem.  The easy – almost automatic — reaction is to follow the customer’s self-limiting thought process.

Remember the customer who called your salesperson in after internally developing their own requirements? Have you explicitly trained your reps to ask:

  • Who had input into the proposal?
  • What other functions and silos were consulted? How heavily was/will their input be weighted?
  • What functions/silos weren’t consulted…and why not?

If you haven’t trained reps to ask these questions, do you think they formulate and ask these questions on their own?

If your solution positively impacts more than one customer silo, you need to make sure you uncover every possible ally.  Remember, cross-silo benefits are often a valid reason to engage with an executive.

Problem 4:  Perhaps your selling activity is siloed too.

Maybe you’re unconsciously reinforcing the apathy loop yourself.

Your sales methodology is just as effective across silos as within, but I haven’t seen a single trainer encourage thinking outside of the box…well…silo. Ask yourself: what explicit skills, analytics, or tools did I give my people to carry their methodology across silos to hunt for value gaps?  If you didn’t train and coach them to apply methodology outside of the comfort zone, you’ve reinforced a discomfort zone…and strengthened the apathy loop.

Business acumen provides a foundation.  Sales people rely on their business acumen to talk comfortably about bigger business issues across organizations.

Articulating different ways your product or solution could impact functions and roles across a target company requires a different kind of product training.  I know of some great tools to help sellers understand the networks of value their product/service can have at a customer.

Problem 5:  You’re Rewarding Mediocrity

You may have also erected another barrier to your own success:  your compensation plan.  Do you have a compensation plan and discounting review processthat incentivizes sellers to get outside of the apathy loop and discover value? Or, do comp plan and discounting process reward commoditization equally? Humans– buyers and sellers — take the easiest route to an end.  If sellers can, they will make discounted sales by sticking inside of the apathy loop: meeting expectations, acting unremarkably and not differentiating themselves or their offer. Ability to manipulate your discounting/price exception system is all that’s required.

Sales People Want to Be Great.  Let’s Help Them

I am happy to talk about how to help close all of these gaps.  Contact me if you’d like to discuss further.  As always, like and share with your networks if you think they might find value.

To your success!

Categories
Entrepreneurship Marketing Personal Development

This Entrepreneur Saw the Glass Half Full and Perfected his Product into the Perfect Holiday Gift!

Perfectly chilled beverages, no more shattered glass, and a solution for every can size!

BrüMate, The Dehydration Company:

On a mission to put an end to boring drinkware, one sip at a time. Hate warm beer? Can’t stand warm wine? They have a solution for everyone.

“There is no better feeling of accomplishment than taking an idea on pen and paper and creating something great from it. That is my passion,” says Jacob. 

REDUCE YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT

KEEP YOUR DRINKS AT THE PERFECT TEMPERATURE

WORKS WITH HOT OR COLD BEVERAGES

PERFECT FOR ANY OCCASION

Brumation is a term used for the hibernation-like state that cold-blooded animals utilize during very cold weather. On the other end of the spectrum is a state known as aestivation, which like brumation, provides a way for reptiles to handle temperature extremes.

Check out the interview here: http://brainhackers.com/the-brains-behind-it-dylan-jacob-brumate/