Hard work is not all it takes to create success. Without the right mindset, even a lot of action won’t make things happen. Our guest, Jeffrey Hayzlett, is no stranger to success. Jeffrey is a global business celebrity and CEO of C-Suite Network, and he has developed a specific way of thinking that will get you at the top of your game. In this episode, he gives us a peek into his new book, The Hero Factor, where he talks about how great leaders transform their organizations and create winning cultures. He then takes us back to his origin story and narrates the different roles and businesses he went through, along with the obstacles he faced, to become the person he is now – from the printing industry and catching Kodak’s eyes, to becoming the host of the C-Suite. Join us to learn more about the mindset and the values it takes to become a hero company.
The Hero Factor: Creating Success Using The Right Mindset with Jeffrey Hayzlett
We are focused on how to create success first for yourself and then for all the people in your world, but success doesn’t come automatically. They say hard work is responsible for success. Yet without the right mindset, even a lot of action won’t allow it to happen. You have to feel like a success. It’s not only possible, but probable when you do, and it’s even inevitable. My guest is no stranger to failure and success because he’s developed a specific way of thinking, a success mindset. He’s at the top of a powerful media company with a burning desire to give back. His empire is legendary in its depth and scope. In the process, he’s written four books on growing companies and being successful and the ideas about how to shift your thinking are fully explained in his book, The Hero Factor. Let’s welcome CEO of C-Suite Network and my friend Jeff Hayzlett to the show.
Thank you so much for having me. I appreciate it.
It’s been a while. I’m glad we have a chance to catch up and to do this together. Let’s go back to the beginning so readers get a feel for where you started in building your own brand, your own company, and even before that. Give us a little background.
I got started in politics primarily working in political campaigns and that led me to go off and take a job with the American Diabetes Association. I was an executive director at the state level in South Dakota for a couple of years. I put on bike-a-thons. I went around and did diabetes testing, and one day I was about to get fired. On Christmas Eve, the chairman of the board came to me and said, “You got two choices, you can resign or I’ll fire you. Which is it going to be?” I said, “I think I’d take the resignation letter.” It’s because I got a little too big for my britches and started making decisions without the board’s approval that you just don’t do in a nonprofit group. I was 25-years old at the time.
You are a gunslinger from the beginning,
At the start of that day, I went to the computer store and I bought an IBM PC Junior. I got a credit card to do it and I bought a printer. Literally two days after Christmas I was looking for my first client and landed my very first one to start a public relations firm and then went off bought and sold 250 businesses over the next couple of decades. It was about $25 billion in the transaction and then I became a CMO of a Fortune 100 company.
Let’s go unpack what you said a little bit. The time that you worked for the nonprofit, you are making the big bucks there, aren’t you?
I probably was making $20-some thousand. I think I was getting $1,000 for every year I was. It’s not much more than that, I’ll guarantee you that. I remember the first time I made $36,000 was when I started my own firm. Back then that was good money.
I have a friend who has a very large national position as the president of a major nonprofit. When I found out what she made, I couldn’t stop laughing. I said, “Are you sure? You’re not kidding me?” Literally, the people who run nonprofits and work hard doing do it for love, not for money.
That’s true. By the time I was 26, I had made my first million. I was on the right track doing it, and that year I bought a cellular phone company. I bought a license for television, the licenses that became the first Fox station. I did a lot of different things.
What gave you the right to go out and earn $1 million at the age of 26? How did that happen? Did you just decide you are going to do that or did it evolve from something that you didn’t expect to go in that direction?
I think everything evolves. I always knew that one day I’d be successful. I would always do what I want to do, whatever that was. There wasn’t a preconceived notion of, “Here’s my secret, diabolical plan to dominate the earth.” I don’t have that. Like a lot of entrepreneurs, a lot of very successful people, we start to build the plane as we fly it. We know it’s going to be a plane. We just don’t know how fast it’s going to be, how big it is, what the payloads are, how long it’ll last, what needs to be swapped out first. I’m a little bit like that and I always have been just because I like that journey. With some businesses and other businesses I’ve been involved with or things I do, I start with better ends in mind when I buy a building, an office building or I buy a piece of property. I know it’s a slower pace, but I know there’s an end in mind and I’m going to benefit from it in some way. Usually, with the business side of it, no. There’s a lot of trial and error and a lot of mistakes that you make over the years or even the weeks. It depends on how fast you’re going.
Let’s go back to the PR firm. You went from running and building a PR firm to buying another business. Explain the transition there.
I built up good–sized public relations and then an association management firm as part of it. We manage a lot of associations and then I was a lobbyist. You heard I was in politics. That led me into the lobbying as well. We managed associations, campaigns, causes, groups, and then we also did public relations and then it became strategic marketing. Marketing is always at the forefront of what sells. I was looking at the balance sheet and I’m doing about 300,000 hours a year in printing. I said, “Who are we doing all this printing with?” It was a friend of mine, a guy named Michael O’Connor, who was a state senator. He ran for governor at one time. He was a county commissioner, a good overall friend. He’s one of my mentors.
I went to him and said, “Mike, how much business do you do in this print shop?” He said, “$600,000.” I said, “I’m half of your business.” He goes, “Yes, I know that.” I said, “You should just sell me the print shop.” He said, “Okay.” I said, “I can take this business elsewhere and it’ll ruin you or you can let me buy it.” He was at the age where he said, “Yes, this makes a lot of sense.” I bought it and then ran it for four years. The first year I made money. The next two, I lost my rear end. Finally, my fourth year, I made money and I decided to sell it. The getting out was good.
Were you still running the PR firm at the time that you had the print business?
We did that at the same time and continued to manage that, do that, and built that up. That was the bread and butter. It was into the millions of dollars in terms of what we’re doing. The print shop, I eventually grew that into millions of dollars as well over the four years. It was a quick printing operation and a copy shop. It was Xerox’s largest customer in South Dakota. I was also their only customer in South Dakota. I was very cutting-edge. I’m always at the bleeding edge of things. That’s part of what I like to do.
That’s where the fun is. If you’re not on the bleeding edge, it’s just no fun. I know why you were there. I’m focusing on this because our readers are more in that stage than you are now. When you go back and think about growing the print shop, other than maybe throwing a couple of ads in the local newspaper, how did you go about doing that?
One, I used a lot of direct mail because I was in the printing business, so that made a lot more sense. Back then that was a very smart thing to do. We got very active and visible in key events. We did an Easter Egg Hunt and the Chamber Mixtures. We were very innovative in the kinds of things that we did. I typically did a lot of very big public events, so we were involved with those things. We nurtured word of mouth. That was a big piece of it. We had Pizza Tuesdays for customers, we did carnations where we deliver carnations to the assistants that ordered the printing. We did a lot of little things that were cool. We put candy in the boxes when we’d go over to the printers so they would be so excited to open our stuff when we got there. We found out the things they liked, little gimmicky things, but they worked well.
What you were doing is you’re building relationships. That’s the difference in every case. Jeff, I know you’ve interviewed thousands of people. For me, it’s only been a couple of hundred, but the thing that’s common with just about every person is the time when they finally decided to build those critical relationships that would then take them to the next level. Even running a tiny little no-name print shop that did nothing but print, you were able to multiply it by creating relationships and by being creative. That’s important. I’m glad that we touched on that.
I was at a speaker one time where the guy said, “It’s not now, it’s new. It’s all about relationships.” I said, “When did it stop being about relationships? It’s always been that.” The quality of the work that you do, those are the table stakes. The things that will hold it together will be those relationships. Because whoever’s reading, you’re going to make mistakes, you’re going to fail, you’re going to fall flat on your face. You’re going to screw stuff up. You’re going to mess up on the job. When it needs to be printed in blue, you’re going to print in red from a printing perspective. The service that you provide, you’re going to let someone down, you’re not going to deliver on time. The only thing that’s going to keep that going is the relationship you had.After making money and building businesses, ultimately what it comes down to is helping others. Click To Tweet
There are many stories of where you could illustrate that, but the important thing to get across is that once those multiple relationships are in place, then you have a foundation. From that foundation, you could go in many different directions. After the print shop, was it a cell phone company you bought next?
We bought a Cellular One license and operated that for a while. That was back when the cell phones were bag phones if you can remember those. We did those when cell phones were mounted in your car, they were mobile phones. That was one of the businesses that I got in. I bought into a pheasant farm. I tried to corner the market on pheasants until I realized there wasn’t one. We did a number of different things that led to this, that and to the next thing.
You’re saying that you don’t recommend getting into the pheasant business, is that what you’re trying to tell us
I don’t think so. You just want to shoot those things and eat them. We tried to corner the market. We had a pheasant slaughtering facility. We had a ranch where we had pheasants in large outdoor pens. It was a nightmare and a disaster.
We had a client once that owned a dog food company and claimed to have the dog food that they use in Hollywood on all the stars, the animals on TV. His claim to fame was that he had developed a way of feeding a dog so that the coat would be super shiny. Talk about a pivot, he was raising minks for mink stoles in the ‘40s and ‘50s. The social awareness of animals became an impediment to that business big time. He shifted into dog food. Unbelievably, it turned out that he was able to make that transition. Stuff like that is hard. It was hard to make a transition, but he figured it out and he did it and as a result, he was successful. What did you do after the cell phone company?
I ran the cell phone company while I was doing public relations work. I eventually sold out the PR firm and sold all the companies over a period of time. I started getting into straight consulting work where I was consulting companies. I went into a company with a couple of people in the raster image processing business. What is that? In the mid-‘90s, if you had a computer and you wanted to print, you needed a raster image processor. Let’s say the computer spoke French, but the printer spoke Spanish. You needed something that would interpret between the different computers and the printers. Eventually, those devices would be embedded into a printer and become a chipset, but before that you needed a separate server. You had to have a separate device to run a color printer.
There were hundreds of companies to begin with but ended up to be three major companies and we were one of those. We built that business into a fairly multimillion–dollar business over a period of a number of years. It was Tom White, me and a few others. We started as a company called Color Star. It was a company before that, we bought it out and we based it in Atlanta. We took on a partner by the name of Sheldon Adelson. Sheldon became one of my main partners. Sheldon’s the fifth richest person in the United States. He’s pretty high up there. It’s like Gates, Buffett and then Sheldon. He’s one of the richest people in the world as well. He owns the Venetian Hotel. I was there the opening night and we got to sit next to Sophia Loren at the opening dinner of the place.
We built that business and we sold those products to companies like Ricoh, Minolta, Mida, Mimaki, Xerox and Kodak. That’s how I got into more of the printing business. It was related to the printing business and to the technology. I became the president of the company. I headed up all the sales and marketing. I spent a lot of years in Japan because a lot of the technology for printers were coming out of Japan. I went there and figured it out, started learning the language. I spend Monday through Friday there, flew back on the weekends typically or spent weeks on end. I had a young family and I always made a commitment I’d be home, but that was tough to fly and to do that. There were times where I would fly to Japan, have an hour-long meeting, turn around and get back on a plane and go back the same day.
I have a quick story about Sheldon. I started a software company in 1985 and I wanted to get a booth at COMDEX. Through a connection, I knew Sheldon and I called up and said, “I need to come to talk to you.” He goes, “What it is about?” I said, “I got to get a booth at COMDEX, but I don’t want to be with all the Taiwanese bent middle guys in the back of the hallway. I want to be upfront.” He says, “Come on over and we’ll talk about it.” I drive out to Needham, Massachusetts. He had a little office there. It was a tiny little thing. I think his desk was older than his parents.
People don’t understand; he’s one of the richest guys in the world. If you go see him in the Venetian, he’s in the basement. It’s the crappiest office. There are no windows. You have to go down a long corridor. It looks like you’re going into a kitchen. It has concrete floors and literally a cluster of three or four offices like you’d see in a strip mall. Most strip malls are nicer.
I got in front of him and I argued with him for ten minutes to take my $2,000 and get me a little booth, but he finally relented and said, “I’ll put you over there by maybe Microsoft, how’s that?” I said, “Great, perfect.” After all this started, that’s when Kodak took notice of you because of your involvement in the printing industry.
Yes. In 1986, I bought the printing company and I didn’t know anything about it. I thought I should go to the national convention. I went to the National Association of Quick Printers and I took my manager that was running the shop at the time, who was working for Mike and we went to Chicago. I went to the convention, sat in on all the sessions, learned everything and I was paying attention. Fran Tarkenton was the keynote speaker. That’s where I met Fran for the very first time. I went over and introduced myself. Since then we’ve been friends for many years. While I was there and getting into the industry, I started seeing all these problems that were popping up around the copying of papers.
Kinko’s was getting sued by a company called Basic Books. They were suing them for what was called course packets, where they take a chapter this book. Rather than buying all the books, they would just copy a chapter here, a chapter there, then they would sell these course packets. They sued all of the other franchises. I picked up the phone and called all seventeen and said, “My name’s Jeffrey Hayzlett. I know you don’t know me, but I am going to be in the printing industry and I am a lobbyist. You have a lobbying problem. You have a problem with public perception with the government and we need to fix this. Let’s create the quick printing public affairs council.” I created it and got everybody to contribute to it. I could’ve run just a business on that.
I went on to helping the Printing Industries of America. I saw a need for consolidation where people wanted to get in and buy up all these shops. I helped them sell to each other. I was doing that and that’s what led me into the raster image processing business with Color Star because I knew every printer. We buy the raster processor and company. We build that up and then Kodak notices, so I start brokering businesses to Kodak. I was doing that then at the time there was another company that I saw that was about to do a big consolidation. That was a company called Mail-Well Printing, which was a large envelope configurer. I joined them along with the label company that I’d helped to sell a couple of times, a family–run company. I became the head of sales and marketing and we bought 140 businesses in a year and rolled it up to $2 billion company and took it public. That’s I get started from that little tiny print shop in the middle of South Dakota.
The thing is Kodak took notice and that’s when the fun began.
Right after that, we were publicly taken over by a hostile takeover. The hostile guys tried to get me to stay and I said, “My stock cash is out.” This is called a change of control and I get to make money. I took off a few. My wife and I went and toured a little bit of Europe and did some fun things. I came back and I bought a franchise called TeamLogic IT. I bought another franchise called New Horizons Learning Centers. The things went side–by–side. I built those franchises off and sold them. While I was doing that, I was then still brokering all these other deals and I sold Kodak a couple of billion dollars’ worth of companies. They said, “Why don’t you come with it?” I said, “Only if I can be the chief marketing officer.” That’s how I got there.
You and I have spoken about the Kodak story. You try to get them to take advantage of their digital technology, but for some reason you’re fighting against a group of people who were afraid to bastardize their own popular product line called the film. Somebody wasn’t afraid to do that and that’s where all of this started.
It was about realizing where are the trends going? Let’s talk about that plane analogy, where you’re flying a plane as you’re building it. In this case, we’re running out of gas and we’ve got to find a new way to make this point stay afloat. If we keep doing what we’re going to do, we’re going to crash. People believe it. “No, we got good fuel mileage. We can glide for a while. The engine will start back up.” During that time when I got there, we had all these champions of no, all these people who had their head in the sand and drank the Kool-Aid and were living in the past. While the film was great, that’s all there. There are different ways to be able to capture a Kodak moment. My job was to help them see that. In some cases, I was successful in that. In other cases, I was not as successful with that.
It reminds me of the guy at Sony who said to the chairman, “We got this popular Walkman here that plays these cassette tapes, but this tiny little company called Creative has found a way to package a thousand songs inside of a device the size of a CD player.” He laughed at it and said, “No, that’ll never catch on.” What was amazing to me was just like Kodak, Sony waited years and this product was out there for years and they didn’t see it until Apple finally built the iPod. Kodak could have been the Apple if they simply would have woken up and did a little bit of creative destruction.
They did launch the photo CD. I remember my PR firm helped launch that. Kodak was one of our clients then too. I finally threw mine away from the ‘90s. I think I sold it on eBay. There was a little company that you can give all your old stuff to and they’ll sell all that stuff. I had a photo CD, which was interesting. For those people who are reading, we used to have a special machine to look at digital photos. I had that device for a long time, but it played great music. It was a stereo sound. I liked it because I had it out so I could play CDs in the garage.
I’m such a packrat. I probably still have one somewhere as well.
In the stuff I’ve got, I find ten BlackBerrys. I was talking to somebody. She’s still using a BlackBerry. I said, “The last one I had, I gave it to Kim Kardashian.” She goes, “What?” I said, “Kim Kardashian loves BlackBerrys and she likes this particular model.” I saw one day that someone had said that she was looking for one and I went, “I think I have one of those models.” I went in the closet and dug down in and I found one. I tweeted her and then they texted back and said, “Yes, Kim would love to have it.” I sent it to her and they said, “How much do you want?” I go, “She can have it.”
You have in a minor way a connection. It goes back to the discussion about relationships. That could have been the beginning of a business relationship with someone very famous, powerful, and successful. Everything is a relationship.
Most people are afraid to pick up the phone and make it happen. “They’ll never respond.” Why not?
I used to pick up the phone and call the heads of software companies before I even had a software company, so I totally get that and agree with you. Readers, we are with to the amazing Jeff Hayzlett. He is the CEO of the C-Suite Network and he is about to tell us some incredible news about a book. If you want to take advantage of the free giveaway, just go to YourFirstThousandClients.com, look for the Jeff Hayzlett show page and there everything will be waiting for you. Jeff, the C-Suite Network, quick overview, how did it start? What is it and how do you serve your clients?
In a couple of different ways. It’s fantastic to be able to tell you about it. It started as a result of doing a television show on Bloomberg that I was the host of called C-Suite with Jeffrey Hayzlett. I started realizing more people were watching me online. They were watching me through broadcast. I went to the president of the network whom I was reporting to because I was an anchor and a contributing editor with my own show. I said, “We should take advantage of this digital stuff. We should go to where the people are.” They go, “No.” They gave away my inventory and I own the show and we split it. I was losing all this money. I said, “No, we’re going to put this on digital.” I said, “I want to start C-Suite TV.” They said, “We don’t want to do that.” It took me a few years to get out of the contract.
As I got out of it, I started C-Suite TV. That led me to think, “How can I capture the audience? How can I capture the group? How can I create a trusted network that becomes a platform and then hopefully becomes a marketplace?” That‘s how we got started with the C-Suite Network. We have C-Suite Television, C-Suite Radio, which is a podcast network. We have 139 podcast shows, the world’s largest podcast network for business. We have a book club, an academy, events, and we have all these councils. We have these subject matter groups based upon specialties, roles, size and geography. We have thousands of paid members and then we have all these partners that serve them. That’s what we do.
By being a member of the C-Suite Network, do you get access to all of the things you just mentioned or are there various levels?
There are certain levels. Not everybody gets everything for free. Like any good restaurant, you got to buy a la carte or all you can eat. It depends on what you want to do. It’s not that expensive and people see great value in it. We’re growing in a 117% year over year. We were feeling pretty good about it, we’re making some acquisitions and lots of announcements that are going on.
Can readers get involved in the C-Suite Network or is it more for corporate executives?
It’s anyone that’s running a business, whether a VP or higher. We’d love to have you involved.
Would they just go to C–SuiteNetwork.com to get more information on that?
It’s that simple or anything with C-Suite. If you search for C-Suite, you typically will find us because we own so many properties inside of that name. We’d love to have you.
The reason we’re here, Jeff, other than to catch up and have a good time, is to chat about your book, The Hero Factor. Can you give us some background? What inspired you to write that and could you give us the spine of the book, the idea behind it?Without the right mindset, even a lot of action won't allow success to happen. Click To Tweet
It all stems from The Hero Club and what’s The Hero Club? It’s a group of CEOs that have gotten together and created a special group. It’s all started by a guy named Rob Ryan. Rob Ryan back in 1998 sold his company Ascend Communications for $20.4 billion. When he sold it, he set aside a percentage of the company for all the employees making the single largest number of millionaires ever created in one day. He didn’t need to do this. He just decided that was the right thing to do, he and his wife Terry who was the chief legal officer at the time decided that they were going to give a portion of the company to all the employees because that’s who got them there. These employees would run up to him and say, “Mr. Ryan, you don’t know me but I’m the janitor and you just allowed me to send my kids to college. You’re my hero.”
The night watchman will run up and say, “Mrs. Ryan, you don’t know me, but my wife’s mother’s got cancer. She didn’t have health insurance and we’re going to pay for the operations. She’s going to live. You’re my hero.” They said, “This is unbelievable. We don’t have any special skills other than I know how to do this, so let me go teach other people.” He started pulling together a group of people and they call it The Hero Club where they would get together and work much like a mastermind or much like what we call a council of peers. You get together on a regular basis around a common theme to work together and to share, to learn, and cheer. That’s it, but he could never get it bigger. Most masterminds or most groups like that have about ten to fifteen may be as many as 30 members and he had about 22.
One day he saw what we were doing with the C-Suite Network and the scale and the growth that we were getting. He said, “Here, take it.” We took The Hero Club and we’ve grown into hundreds of CEOs. What’s the difference? What we did was we started studying these hero businesses and we found out that where the good to great stopped, the hero factor kicked in. What’s the hero factor? It’s a value-based company. A company based on extreme values of what they believe in and they implement the business based on those values. We make everybody sign a pledge that says, “You’ll put these values, whatever they are in to play and you will lead a hero business.” We find out that those businesses running with the hero factor, they gross more dollars than anyone else in their industry. They’re at the top of the tier.
They make more money. They have employees who are happier. They have customers who are more engaged. They have vendors who want to do business with them and the community loves them. What’s wrong with that? I wrote a book around it and said, “Let’s talk about these businesses that have values.” They have these certain walkaway values that if you violate them, we won’t do business with you. If you violate them, we don’t want you to work with us. If you violate them, you won’t supply us. If you violate them, we’re not going to be in your community. We found out that there were some great learnings from this, so I wrote the book called The Hero Factor. We expanded The Hero Club to hundreds of members. We get together on a regular basis in 40 different cities and we’re having a blast of a time. It’s businesses that put people over profits.
I say it a little bit differently, but I’ve been doing something similar with my clients. You may not know this, but my businesses revolved around building certification programs for companies and people. We have this thing called the code of ethics. You cannot create a tribe without a code of ethics. It’s the code of ethics that holds the whole thing together. It’s not the money, the business, the titles, it’s the ethics, the adherence to this code that makes everything work. Here’s the best. It also makes it self-policing. It‘s not as if you need somebody to tell someone you’re doing something wrong. It turns out that the membership self-polices and if they see something that’s out, they step up and fix it without the need of a formal corporate officer to do it for them. I love what you guys are doing, and I think it’s so important in this world where there’s so little obligation to people anymore from corporations and from businesses. When you find somebody who gets it like that, it’s exciting. I’m glad you wrote this book.
I’m excited by it too. I would love everybody who’s reading to go buy the book, but you don’t have to. We give a free assessment that you can have. You just go to HeroFactorBook.com and you get it for free. You get a whole assessment. It will take you through the things that you can learn from the assessment. Where does your business sit in? Are you a do-gooder are you just a good-co? Are you a wanna–be? Are you a butt-hat? Are you a bottom liner?
These are the terms that we use to describe the various companies inside of the spectrum of businesses that you can operate and what it takes to be a hero company. I said walkaway values, but these are companies that have unbelievable integrity, that believes in diversity and believe in being inclusive. They’re good people. You know this, Mitch, that nobody wants to be a hero, but they love to run a hero company. They love to run companies with great values and run companies that work. As a result, these CEOs, these owners, these founders and these partners become heroes themselves. It’s wonderful.
What you’re describing is a form of an avatar that people step into. Once a CEO adapts the role of the hero, all the values that you attribute to a hero are then implanted into the way that he is now going to see himself and therefore run his company. It’s a brilliant way of teaching because it’s not as if someone has to learn something. They just need to understand what it feels like to be that individual.
That’s a great thing. I was talking to somebody about bodywork, of all things, how to be more in tune with your body. As you get older, you get pains, aches, and certain things start to happen in your body and how to get alignment. You don’t know it hurts or that you’re doing those things until someone opens up your eyes. By allowing people to practice being hero companies, you start opening their eyes to what can be. Until you know that that can be done, sometimes it’s difficult for everybody else to get there. We shine the light on those great businesses that are doing it. I mentioned a number of them in the book and I talk about a number of our members. I’ve got a podcast we’ve created around this called The HERO Factor as well to highlight how people have great practices and be just good people.
After making money and building businesses, ultimately what it comes down to is helping others. I said that that’s who you are, Jeff. I admire you for it. I think what’s so important about this is that you don’t have to be known as that. You could read this book and instill these values in the company you work at and you don’t even have to own the company.
Without question. Imagine how much more valuable you’ll be as a person who does that. We all know this, Mitch. We know that in our businesses, people bring me problems all the time. I call it the Tyco rule. Thank you, Captain Obvious. “I don’t know there are problems. I don’t know if this is a problem.” How about bringing me a solution? That’s what great hero leaders do. They figure things out and they do it because they can. I use that as a big phrase because you can. A lot of times we don’t always feel that we’re given permission to do it and it’s important to do. I want to circle back the phrase because I talk about this in the book.
Here’s a fact, and Mitch pointed this out and I appreciate you saying what you did about me, is the more you give, the more you get. Most times I start off with most conversations when people call me or they want to have an appointment is how can I help you or how can we help you like our team? A lot of people say, “Tell me about your sponsorship program.” No. Let’s talk about more about what do you want to get, how do you want to get there? Let’s be clear that hero businesses aren’t just altruistic, hero businesses make a lot of money.
They’re serving a lot of people. The more people they serve, the better it is for business, but the better it is for people. That’s the part I was saying. That’s why I love this whole concept so dearly. That’s why I know that you can’t build a successful organization without that. Whether you call it The Hero Factor or the code of ethics, either way, it’s the same thing.People who run nonprofits and work hard at it do it for love, not for money. Click To Tweet
It’s operating by a moral code. It’s operating by a code of ethics. It’s operating by a code of values. That becomes your culture. That becomes who you want to be and you can change that. The more leaders operate by it, the better it is for the rest of the company because we’re not perfect. I make mistakes. I’ve done things I shouldn’t do. I get stubborn and I push it through.
I did that with my team in San Francisco. I said, “We’re going to do it this way.” In the end, it hurt morale and everything else. I had to come back to him and said, “I apologize.” I also said to him, “Not only I apologize for the way I acted the way I did it, but you shut down. When you shut down, it only made me more resolved to do what I did. I asked you not to do that, and second, when I’m like this, you need to come to me and help me realize and put a mirror in front of my face so I can see it.”
You’ve given him permission. It‘s so critical that people know that it doesn’t mean just because you want it one way that it has to be that way. Intelligent people are able to share an idea in a way that is non-confrontational. 90% of the time it can be heard, maybe not acted on, but certainly heard. I think that’s all you’re asking for.
My team says, “Jeff, you’re powerful. You’re in a position of authority and I usually don’t buck that.” I said, “Let me give you the permission to buck it.” If we were in a relationship and we were husband and wife, you’re equal. I said, “In this relationship, we’re equal. We’re working together on the same common cause.” I got that I owned it and I’m the boss, but if I’m being an a–hole, point out that I’m being an a-hole.”
You have to give people permission to do that. When I used to have a boss, I had a guy who said the same thing to me and I watched as someone else on the team, courteously, gently pointed out a particular idea that he had, which was totally insane. This other man thanked him for saying something and then fired him. Your actions always speak louder than words.
Sometimes that happens but I would rather be on the right side of it than the wrong side.
I totally agree. The next part of this, Jeff, is more about you. This question, in particular, helps readers get a feel for the way you think and a little look into your heart as well. Who in all of space and time would you like to have one hour to enjoy a walk in the park, a quick lunch or an intense conversation with?
It would be my mom or dad. They passed. I’d want to say my dad, but I also want to say my mom because my mom was nicer of the two. You say you love your parents equally, but you don’t. I have a better feeling from my mother than I do for my father, but I didn’t get to know my dad as well because of who he was and what he was and what he did. He was in the Air Force. He traveled all the time. He was gone for years at a time and he got to be a rough guy but as he got older, he got nicer. By then I was tired of him. I’ll give you a story. I remember one time, my dad was physically abusive. One time right when I was sixteen, I handed him the wrong tool and he reached back and physically punch me because that’s the kind of guy he was. I remember it was a 1970 Ford Bronco. I can tell you exactly because I still love that truck and I worked on it. I handed him the wrong wrench, he reached back and he said, “You stupid bastard.”
I remember exactly what he called me. I reached back and I said, “Take your best shot because it’s the last one you’ll ever get. If you try to punch me, I am going to punch you.” By then I was about his size. He looked at me and he knew right then that I was the man and that was the end of it. It never happened again. We never had a conversation about that, but our relationship was a very formal one. I never had the opportunity to have a deeper conversation. Although as I got older, he got older, I had my kids and he was around my kids, he treated them nice and good, but yet there’s always a distance and it would’ve been great to have some conversation.
You do understand psychologically, most men are bonded to their mother and most women are bonded to their dad.
Even more when your dad beat your mother and you attacked him and you step in the middle, even when you’re a little kid. Those things are tough to realize or to visualize. Thank goodness I broke that mold.
Good for you, and it’s important in a family.
Not that it wasn’t difficult. It’s always difficult, but the physical stuff like that, it’s tough for people to break that. It takes someone in that chain to finally say, “No, I’m not going to resolve my issues with my wife this way or my children.”
Your story reminds me of my dear friend Chet Holmes. Chet and I were best friends for many years and he had the same exact issues with his own dad. Like you, he would say things. He was a pretty terrible dad, but a great grandfather.
Chet’s got some beautiful children. I saw a picture of them on Facebook. I think one of them got married. I know his daughter better than his son. I got to know Chet after I left the corporate world, but I knew him. As I hit the speaker circuit, I ran into Chet. I remember the last time I saw him was in Toronto. He is never speaking. He goes, “I just had walked off the stage and the CEO of Southwest Airlines was going on.” Chet was up next. It was a pretty house program. He goes, “Would you stay and listen to my speech?” He was so appreciative of my speech. He had never heard me before and he goes, “You should be in a Hall of Fame.” Which eventually I did. Chet said, “Would you listen to my speech? I would be honored.” A very few times I stay and listen to other people’s speeches by staying unless it’s Chet. I enjoyed it. It was very good.
I’ll tell you and the readers a secret that nobody knows about Chet. Chet used to take a pill for his nerves every time he got on stage. Every time he got on stage, he murdered it. He did an incredible job.
I’m in the Hall of Fame. I do about 150, 160 speeches a year. To me, I get a little nervous. You could ask me to speak in five seconds and I could go up and give a speech without slides and go do it. It‘s something that you get used to or you come to. It’s easier for a guy like me. My son is so good, my daughter as well, they’re both very good at it. I remember the first time he had to speak. I took them to a Hall of Fame CPA, CSP, Certified Speakers Group. He had to give a little speech before my talk. I walked up to him and said, “Are you ready?” He goes, “Dad, don’t talk to me. I’m going to throw up.” He did good and he was so good. I was in San Francisco and he led one of our programs. He stood on top of a chair during the middle of the interview on the couch with all these people and shouted out something. He was using that as an example. I went up after, I said, “You’ve come a long way.”
That’s a great story. Congratulations. Jeff, I have one more question for you. It’s the grand finale question. I know you’re going to have the answer to this because it’s so perfect for you. It’s the change the world question. What is it that you are doing or would like to do that truly has the potential to change the world literally?The more you give, the more you get. Click To Tweet
We’re on it with The Hero Club. I wish I’d found this many years ago. One, because we would have impacted more and more of the economy, more and more of the business leaders out there. As we become more attuned to how we want to live and the way in which you want to live, The Hero Factor is it and The Hero Club of finding these leaders. It‘s amazing to watch. We’re going to be at Crazy Horse Memorial. It’s at the Black Hills in South Dakota. We’ll have hundreds of CEOs there. We’re going to be meeting with the people who carved the mountain at Crazy Horse.
When you think you have it tough, they’re carving a mountain. We’re going to meet with the mayor of Sturgis in Sturgis, South Dakota, who’s the city host of the Sturgis Bike Rally. It’s the largest bike rally in the world where the state of the population of South Dakota doubles over one whole week. 700,000 people go to this event and yet there’s no one single person in charge. It’s such a great event and such a great way to bring people in and the armor is off the second you walk in the room with the learnings and the things from it. That’s what I do.
Readers, this is a rare opportunity to learn from somebody who has not accomplished so much in terms of money but accomplished so much in terms of who he is as a person. I hope this touched you the way it has me. Jeff, thank you so much. We always have a free giveaway. Jeff, I understand you said that we are going to give my audience a chance to take an assessment. Can you give us an overview of what that is?
Come and learn where your business stands on The Hero Factor scale. What kind of business are you? Answer a few key questions and then understand where you can go and build your business, how you can get other people to lead it to a better place. If you’re a wanna-be, if you’re a do-gooder, if you’re a butt-hat, chances are we’re never going to get you there. If you’re a good-co, how can you move from good-co to not great but to the hero company? That’s what the assessment’s all about. It’s free. I would you to have it and change the world.
Let’s take that assessment. Let’s get this book. This book might become the turning point for you and your company. Jeff, thanks so much again for sharing everything you did. I can’t wait until we get a chance to talk again soon.
It’s my pleasure. Thanks so much for having me, Mitch.
Resources Mentioned in This Episode:
- The Hero Factor
- C-Suite Network
- The Hero Club
- The HERO Factor
- C-Suite with Jeffrey Hayzlett
- The Hero Factor Assessment Free giveaway – HeroFactorBook.com
- Jeff’s last book: Think Big, Act Bigger – https://amzn.to/31tyaAu
Use the Event Code: WINNER for free access.
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