Entrepreneur Addiction #20 — Running the Gauntlet with Jeffrey Hayzlett

10+ min read • Jan 16, 2012 • Dan Bischoff

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Creating change in an organization is one of the most crucial (but often most difficult) steps in growing a business. Jeffrey Hayzlett, former CMO of Kodak and judge on Celebrity Apprentice, talks about his new book, “Running the Gauntlet,” and how companies can lead, drive change and grow profits.

“What’s stopping you from making the changes your business needs to thrive? The most dangerous move in business is the failure to make a move at all. The history of business is filled with companies that are no more because their leaders refused to enact change when the writing was on the wall. Fear. Apathy. Lack of personal responsibility. These simple human flaws can turn a good company into a dead company.” — From the book’s cover

About the guest
Jeffrey Hayzlett is the author of the bestselling business book The Mirror Test, a former Fortune 100 C-Suite Executive, and a leading business expert. Jeffrey has made multiple media appearances on Fox Business, MSNBC’s Your Business, and NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice with Donald Trump. From small business to international corporations, he puts his extraordinary entrepreneurial skills and creativity into play, launching ventures blending his leadership perspectives, insights into professional development, mass marketing prowess, and affinity for social media.

In this episode of the Entrepreneur Addiction Podcast, we discuss:

  • What is Running the Gauntlet?
  • To all the naysayers, opportunists and obstructionists
  • Why we’re better at cutting than growing our business
  • Driving change
  • Have fun making enemies
  • Jeffrey Hayzlett on Celebrity Apprentice
  • Changing the mood
  • Horses for Dummies
  • How to motivate your horses to get on the trailer
  • People that put on their pants in Wall Street are the same that put on their pants in Main Street
  • Entrepreneurial timeline
  • How to recognize when your organization needs change
  • Buying and selling 100+ companies a year
  • Encourage mistakes
  • Don’t lock in your steering wheel
  • Fear of change
  • Being a change agent
  • Steps to make changes today
  • Chief listening officer
  • Focused Executive Program
  • Being a dog soldier

Click below to Play

If you can’t listen, here’s the transcription done by Shad Atkinson:

Voice: Fueling your business success, this is the entrepreneur addiction podcast, breaking the small business loan news you need if you obsess about your company. Heard exclusively on Lendio.com. And now here are our your hosts: Brock Blake, Dan Bischoff and Patrick Wiscombe.

Patrick: This podcast is sponsored by Lendio.com, the online source you need to find the right business financing to grow your company. So check them out: Lendio.com, to get your business growing right now. It’s the entrepreneur addiction podcast episode number twenty. My name is Patrick Wiscombe. Thank you, as always, for tuning us in and taking us along wherever and however you’re accessing the podcast. And we have a great show today, but before we get to our guest. Dan Bischoff director of communications at Lendio.com joins me for the podcast. How are you, sir.

Dan: How are you doing?

Patrick: I’m doing alright.

Dan: It’s great to be here today with Jeffery Hayzlett.

Patrick: You know, I’ve been excited to talk to Jeffery today. Jeffery Hayzlett is the author of “Running the Gauntlet”. It was just released, was it not?

Jeffery: It was just released on January the third.

Patrick: I was going to be the guy who says happy new year, but it’s a little late for happy new year. We’re way too far into the year to say that.

Jeffery: Well, it depends on when you consider your new year. If you’re Chinese, it’s coming up. See?

Patrick: Okay. Well, let’s see…

Dan: So, for all the Chinese listeners out there: Happy New Year.

Jeffery: Everyone in Beijing.

Patrick: Let’s see, and if you’re Japanese, konnichiwa.

Jeffery: Oh, yeah. domo arigato.

Patrick: (laughter) Let’s get right into this. Jeffery Hayzlett is the author, as I mentioned just a second ago, of the brand new book Running the Gauntlet: essential business lessons to lead, drive change, and grow profits. First of all, let’s just talk about the title of the book. Why did you call it Running the Gauntlet?

Jeffery: Because that’s what it’s like being in business when you’re trying to drive change. Everybody’s trying to line up against you. In fact, in the beginning of the book, I actually put a foreword or a dedication to all the naysayers, opportunists and obstructionists who get in the way of driving change, who fight to keep everything as the status quo. I put: note: we will beat you. Because it takes a very special group of people, these agents of change, who aren’t satisfied with the status quo, who want to change the business and continue to make it grow, and I wanted to make sure they had a voice. So that’s a big part of it. You know, for so long now we have been watching businesses cut and cut and cut. We’ve gotten really good at it in this country. We’re better at that than growing our businesses. So it’s about focusing back on growing the business, and to do that, it’s going to be like running a gauntlet. It’s going to be like being captured by the Shoshone Indians or whatever tribe it might be. My good friend there is from Wyoming, so I use those guys as an example. You know, back in 1820, and brought into the tribe, they line up on either side and you have to run the gauntlet, and they beat you with sticks and knives and stones and everything else. And if you survive, they say, “We’ll let you go free.” But then they jump on horses and chase you down. That’s what it’s like in most businesses today to try and drive change, and that’s why I named it Running the Gauntlet.

Dan: When I was reading your book, I thought of a quote that I had just recently read from Woodrow Wilson: “If you want to make enemies, try to change something.”

Jeffery: (laughter)

Dan: So, Jeffery, have you made a lot of enemies in your life?

Jeffery: Absolutely. That’s the fun part about it. If you can’t do that, what’s the purpose of living. I mean, come on. And if they have a problem, get over it. I’ve just learned to be very thick skinned, and you know, some people will describe me somewhat like a Mack truck, you know, in a china store, or the bull in the china store that breaks a lot of dishes. And I say, “When have you known me to break dishes? I might rattle a few. But I don’t break them.” And I think most change agents are like that. And you know, people take it for the wrong reasons. I like to see things improve. I like to solve problems. I enjoy watching businesses grow at high rates of speed, and that just takes a different type of breed of person. Sometimes, yeah, I’ve made a few enemies, but life goes on. No one died. Move on.

Patrick: Now, for people who don’t know who Jeffery Hayzlett is: I know you’re the former chief marketing officer at Eastman Kodak.

Jeffery: Yep.

Patrick: Or does it go by Kodak?

Jeffery: Ah, Kodak. Eastman Kodak is the official name. Kodak’s known as the brand name for most people.

Patrick: Gives us some background about Jeffery Hayzlett.

Jeffery: Well, I’ve done a lot of things that makes my mother very proud, right.

Patrick: (laughter)

Jeffery: In fact, the other day she wrote an endorsement for my book on Amazon.com. She actually went on and said she loves the book. And I said, “Well, if you make your mom happy, then what else is there really, guys?”

Patrick: (laughter)

Jeffery: No, I’ve run a number of business over the years. I’ve obviously been in a Fortune 100 business as a C level executive. I worked in television a little bit here and there. You’ve seen me on Celebrity Apprentice as a judge and on various talking heads here more recently, in the last two years. I left Kodak a couple years ago.

Patrick: That’s why I know you’re name. You were on the Apprentice.

Jeffery: Yeah.

Patrick: I was like, “I know this name, but I’m not sure why.”

Jeffery: Yeah, there you go. And I’ve started and sold a lot of business over the years. That’s what most of my career has been about. Then I got tapped out to help Kodak out for a period of time, which we did. And it was growing. Then they hit the economy and, of course, things aren’t go so well for them right now.

Patrick: Now, who are they biggest obstacles to business, right now, today?

Jeffery: I think it’s internal. I think it’s people’s mood. It’s a couple of things. So first of all, I think it’s fear, the fear to take risk. You know, and our job should be about driving tension in the business if you’re about growth. To create tension, you know, there’s an old saying in sports: “No pain. No gain.” So you need to drive some tension in the business. That’s why in Running the Gauntlet I spent a good time on how to do that and the ways you can do it, in a healthy way. Because healthy tension is a very good thing in a business, and you get something good out of it. And the other thing about it, internally, it’s the mood of the business. Sometimes a lot of folks think their best days are behind them and not in front of them. And if that’s the way you think, I’ll tell you, you’ll never succeed. You’ll always fail. And so, changing the mood is a very important thing. And then I’ll give you a third one, and that’s “Willing to be a beginner.” And it kind of ties back to that fear. You know, when I first started riding horses a number of years ago… I’m kind of a cowboy from South Dakota. You know, I’m this big stapping guy. You know, six foot three, two hundred and seventy some pounds. I had these horses, and yet I didn’t know what to do with them. I’d gone out, and you know, I’d never lived on a ranch or anything like that, but I always wanted to ride horses and be a cowboy.

Dan: Wait, you lived in South Dakota, and you never road horses?

Jeffery: I know! I know! So people think that everybody out there are like bows and arrows and cowboys and Indians.

Patrick: Oh, I thought that’s what is was. (sarcastic laughter)

Dan: That’s what I thought it was.

Jeffery: Yeah, we have a fort. People still live in teepees. You know, and all that kind of stuff. It’s not like that. It’s got real city stuff. We have a Walmart.

Patrick: (laughter) “We have a Walmart.” I think we have a title of the podcast: “Hey, we have a Walmart.”

Jeffery: We have a Walmart. There you go. That’s another book. But anyway, I went out and got horses for dummies. I watched everything. I read the books. I was trying to figure out how to do all this. Got the horses. Got the trailer. Got the saddle. Got the reigns. Got everything. Yet I still didn’t know how to saddle and bridle a horse. I remember, I had to go up to this fourteen year old girl and ask her, you know, here’s this big strapping man, to say, “Ah, can you help me. I don’t know how to saddle a horse, and could you teach me how?” But now I’m so glad because now I know everything about horses. You know, I can do a lot of different things with them, and know how to break them, know how to ride them, know how to train them and everything else. But if I hadn’t been able to declare myself a beginner and ask for help and get over my fear, I never would have been able to have the enjoyment that I’ve had.

Patrick: You know, and always get on the horse from the right side.

Jeffery: Yeah, exactly, which is the left side.

Dan: Yeah, the left side.

Jeffery: (laughter) Well, it’s depending on where it’s at. Well, unless on whether your train your horses, you can get on them from both sides. Some of us can do that.

Dan: You know, speaking of horses too. You compare people to great horses that need to be motivated to get into the trailer.

Jeffery: Oh, yeah.

Dan: What are some of the ways that you can make them get into the trailer, and explain that a little bit?

Jeffery: You know, it’s a great analogy that we’re talking about here. What it is, and I don’t know if you know about horses, but horses don’t like to be in confined spaces. In fact, horses for millions of years have evolved by fleeing. That the way that they flee. When they sense danger, they just run. That’s why horses are kind of jittery, and you see most horses they shy away. They get jumpy. They get irritated very quickly. In fact, you can’t even look them in the eye when you go to get them in the field because they think, “Oh, he’s going to eat me.” So, you know, you always have to look at the back side of a horse or their stomach or whatever.

Dan: So is that what you used to do with your CEO: never look them in the eye.

Jeffery: You never look your CEO in the eye. Exactly. He thinks you’re going to eat him. He thinks it’s competition.

Patrick: I’m coming for you.

Jeffery: That’s why most CMO’s never survive past twenty-three months, as the average lifespan of a CMO. So what you have to do to take a horse up to get it in the trailer, a small confined space. They always start freaking out. So you have to back them away and make it very irritating to be away from the trailer. As you walk back up to the trailer with them, you calm them, you soothe them, you say, “Nice horse. This is calm. This is great.” And you keep doing this over and over, but you make the spot where they were more irritating than the spot of where they want to go. That’s what you have to do with most people too. You have to make the spot where we’re going to go a better place than where they’re at today. By doing that, then more people are more accustomed to change. More people are wanting to make the change that you’re going to want to implement.

Dan: That’s a very fascinating concept, I think.

Jeffery: It works! I always try to break things down. In fact, in Running the Gauntlet, as you read it, you’ll see it’s like having a conversation with me, and most people say that. “Hey, Jeff, it’s like listening to you.” And I say, “Well, great. That’s really what I wanted to accomplish.” I did that with my first book, which was a bestseller: The Mirror Test. And I did it with Running the Gauntlett. And I think that that’s the way most people learn as well is by the stories and the experiences that you have. And I try to really jam a lot of them into the book.

Dan: Let’s bring this down to… a lot of our audiences are entrepreneurs and business owners, and they’re people who own a pizza shop or a construction company or some kind of small business. And how does this relate to them who might not have a large staff. How do these things relate to those small businesses?

Jeffery: Well, it’s the same thing. That’s the unique thing about trying to write or at least tell the story. Look, I’m just as comfortable on a board room in Wall Street as I am in the back room of a shop in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on Main Street. So it doesn’t make a difference whether you’re on Main Street in a small town with a small business or you’re on Wall Street with a big business. Whether you have twenty-seven employees or 27,000 employees. The only difference, my friends, is the number of zeros behind the number. That’s it. The same problems I have with twenty-seven people, or with two people, I have with 27,000 people, or 270 people. I guarantee it. It’s just nothing but a scale issue in terms of the irritability or the problems that you have or the opportunities that you, either way. It’s got positives and negatives to it. When I talk about doing a major golf tournament with PGA and using Kodak and buying the scoreboards and spending millions of dollars to promote the product, the same thing applies to my local community. I’m just not spending millions. I might be spending a thousand or maybe hundreds or sometimes ten thousand, but I can still do that same, same exact thing in my small town and with small business. It’s just the scale issue. There’s no difference. Please. Please understand that. You know, here I am from South Dakota, but I live in New York now, as well as my place in South Dakota. And I’ve been a Fortune 100 C level executive. And I find those people who put on their pants on Wall Street are the same guys who put on their pants on Main Street. There’s no difference. There’s no difference between the two. In fact, most of them came from those small towns.

Dan: One of things that I think is really interesting with a lot of these start ups. You know, they have an innovative idea that puts a change in the industry or some sort of change, and as they start growing, how do they continue to make the right changes instead of thinking, “Well, I’ve been making success so far with what I’ve done.” How do they continue to find out how they should change? Maybe, how do they find out the pivot point they need?

Jeffery: Those are always tough to do. I mean, first of all, if you take an entrepreneurial, kind of like Timeline, they start off as a one man band, or one woman band. I mean, that’s really how we start off as entrepreneurs. I love being an entrepreneur. I’m still and entrepreneur, and I constantly go back to that. That’s why I’m not back in a Fortune 100, 50 or Fortune 10 company today. Even though I’ve had those offers, I don’t want to do that anymore. I’ve had it. It was fun. It was great. I like doing my own thing, and so I’m back to really running my own small business. It’s a small business, even though we’re doing really well. It’s got a lot of zeros on it. It’s a small business. But you know… I’ve forgot the question again. (laughter by all) Oh, yeah, I remember what it is. I get so caught up in things. I’m so excited. Plus I’m looking out my window. I’m doing this phone interview from Vegas, and I’m…

Dan: When you’re in Vegas there’s a lot of things on the street that can distract you.

Jeffery: Yeah, there’s snow in the mountains.

Dan: Is it snowing in Vegas?

Jeffery: Yeah, there’s snow up in the mountains, so it’s like, “Wow!”

Patrick: That’s right. We called you at the Bellagio. What are you doing in Vegas anyway?

Jeffery: I’m here for he consumer electronics show. Doing some media. Doing some book signing. Doing some speeches. You know, it’s part of the book tour. I’ll be on the road for eighty-four days straight. But let me tell you about being an entrepreneur and about “How do you recognize these things.” You start off as a one man band. Then the next thing you do is you add these devout followers. I mean, that’s what we do. It’s the way we always do it. As you add these devout followers, they might have the skills. They might not. Hey, they just believe in it. They’re drinking the Kool-Aid. They love what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. And then the third thing is to add the skilled technicians and professionals that are going to get you there. If you don’t make that transition, you’ll never be on the other piece of it. So you have to start looking for some of the signs. And if you don’t know these things, if you’re not reading the books or watching the tapes or getting together with other business leaders to get the information out, some of that is going to pass you by. But another thing I think is a very important thing to do is looking at establishing a board of directors or some advisers for you that can help you, that’s been through this before. Most people love to do this, and there’s people in your community that you can tap that are very successful business people, who can say, “Hey, look I want you to help.” And there’s lots of good organizations. There’s Entrepreneur Organization. There’s YPO. There’s all kinds of groups that you can tap into.

Patrick: Do you still have a board of directors for you? Do you still get input from them?

Jeffery: No. I mean, I have a network of people that I’m always in touch with that are very good friends and that I’m always learning things, like, “Wow, I’ve got to do something like that.” But I’ve kind of moved past… You know, once you get past where you kind of have the experience where you’ve bought and sold, in my case, three or four hundred companies in my career, you kind of figure out a lot of these things.

Patrick: Only three to four hundred?

Jeffery: Yeah, only three to four hundred. I did a hundred and twenty-three in one year.

Patrick: You’re kidding?

Jeffery: No. Yeah.

Patrick: Did you sleep?

Jeffery: Yeah, I slept, but we did a lot of deals on the backs of napkins. We bought a lot of companies. Rolled them up into a two million dollar company and took it public. It was print companies. We were buying print companies, by the way. So we bought a lot of small businesses. I’ve been involved with a lot of things: start ups, venture capital groups, that’s what we do. But we sleep about four, five hours a night, but we’re very busy. We like doing what we do.

Patrick: Let me ask you this: What is your greatest success, something that you always go back to and go, “Man, I really enjoy doing that.” And then to contrast that: What was one of those big disappointments where you just went, “Man, that just didn’t work out the way I thought it was going to.”?

Jeffery: Well, I’ve got a ton of those. You know, my biggest success is whatever I’m working on now. I don’t dwell too much on the past. I mean, I’ve done a lot of great things and took a lot of businesses up and done some super campaigns and things that I just love. And then I kind of forget about them. It was great. I enjoyed it. Learned it. I don’t dwell on it too much. I just kind of move on. But the one I remember the most are the ones that I’ve failed at. But I like that because when you fail at stuff, that teaches you how to do it right. I talk about this in my book, gentleman, Running the Gauntlet. I talk about, “Get out there and make mistakes.”

Dan: I think you say to encourage mistakes in your organization, right?

Jeffery: Absolutely. I mean, so what if you make a mistake. Is anyone going to die? I mean, short of us having a construction business…

Dan: Maybe if you’re a surgeon.

Jeffery: Yeah, a surgeon or something like that. I don’t encourage you to do it there.

Patrick: “Oh, I’m sorry. That was the wrong artery.”

Jeffery: “Oops, wrong arm.” But I’m talking about marketing and selling your business. I mean, come on. What are you going to do? So you screw up? I mean, I’ve done it. I’ve done it colossally. I can tell you. One time I did a big mobile campaign, and I was going to run ads in the motion picture theaters and did this big campaign against Big Ink, which was a company we were competing against. And I was doing it with a video ad. You text. You saw the ad on the screen when you’re in the motion picture theater. When you saw the ad, then you text us and we sent you a coupon off. We went nationwide with it. Then I come back in the morning on a Monday, after the weekend, after the blockbuster weekend, and ask how many texts we got. They say, “We got two.” I said, “What do you mean, two? Are you kidding me, two?” And asked people, “What the heck was wrong? Why? We tested this, and it was double digit response on the mobile ad. And you’re telling me all we got was two text? Somebody please explain to me what the heck went wrong.” And finally someone said, “Jeff, what do you do when you go to a motion picture theater with your phone? You turn it off.” I said, “Where the heck were you when we came up with that idea? Thanks a lot.” But that was my mistake because I was so focused in on, “This is a great idea, a great campaign.” And it was, just wrong implementation. I mean, I can come up with a million like that, to be honest with you. And I think any good business person can and should be able to do that because you just screw up. I mean, come on. I didn’t die.

Dan: Let’s rewind a little bit too. I’m not too sure if we covered why change is so difficult for people. We talk about fear a lot, and where does that fear come from? Why is it such a hard thing for people?

Jeffery: Well, I think most people when you look at your business or look at most things in life, if you look like you’re going to get to a certain level, then you coast it, and it should be set. And that’s not the way it is. I mean, think about a journey going down the road, and you’re riding. You don’t lock in your steering wheel. But that’s what we think. And I don’t know where we got this thought process that once it’s there, it’s there. No! That’s just the beginning. Now what’s the next stage. How do you constantly innovate? How do you have constant change? How do you have continual improvement to whatever it is? Even the best idea can get better. And we think that once we’ve done it, we can check out and go, “Ah. I can check it off the list, and it’s done.” “I said ‘I love you’ to my wife.” Check. Wait a second, you’ve got to do it again. You’ve got to do it with more emotion. That’s life, and it’s just tough for people. It’s not inherent for us. So we like to have the comfort of it’s the same, and that we’ve developed a process. Well, the process should be that it’s always going to change. That’s what most of us have to get to, I think, in order to be a much better business person than we are today.

Dan: You talk about being a change agent. I think you have a blog ChangeAgent.com. Is that right?

Jeffery: It’s my Change Agent Blog. It’s right on my website on Hayzlett.com.

Dan: You talk about… do you really need to love to be the change agent to make that happen, to make those changes happen?

Jeffery: You have to do that or love somebody who will do it for you or with you, and give them the permission to do it. Because not everybody is going to, especially as an entrepreneur, not everybody’s wired to do every job. Even though entrepreneurs are having to do a lot of that themselves of everything. But sometimes you need other people. I mean, when I was brought into Kodak to make some changes, of which they didn’t go far enough, obvious, but when I was brought in to make changes, I had to have the air cover. The CEO couldn’t do all of those themselves. The president couldn’t do all of those themselves. They needed somebody like myself, you know, who just didn’t care. Meaning, my job was to go and do that. So give me the air cover. My job title was to go out and make tension, and I think I did a pretty decent job of it.

Patrick: (laughter) I know that you’re not at Eastman Kodak anymore. Are they going to make it?

Jeffery: Well, I mean, I think they will. There’s products that are very, very profitable in the company. They’re extremely profitable, and they’re growing. The problem is two things. One is, when you’re trying to make the transition, which they should’ve done in the nineties. Come on. The present management team that’s there, and even when I was there, gave them more time to try to make the changes. The mistakes were made, and I can trace them all the way back to 1975 when they first discovered the first digital camera. They invented the first digital camera, and then they put it back. And they finally pawned it off to Apple in 1996, and shoved it down their throat with all the grace of a anaconda eating a rabbit. (laughter) That’s basically what they did, and then they tried to protect the margins on film. In fact, I was talking to somebody at Kodak the other day, and someone actually said this to me, “I really think film is going to make a comeback.” Are you freak’n kidding me?! It’s dead. It’s over. It’s done. And it was over many years ago. And people have moved on. In fact, they’re moving past the camera now to just everything’s captured on your digital phone.

Dan: I know.

Patrick: “So what part of this don’t you understand?” So it’s about making the products go inside that phone. That’s where you’ve got to innovate, and that’s where you’ve got to change. And so if you don’t get that, then you’ll never make the change. And I don’t know if they’re ever going to get that because they’re so, the culture is so engrained to that. Parts of it can because they added other pieces to the company that actually doing most of the revenue now and is most of the profit of the company. So if they can migrate away from, really, truly the consumer electronic products because that’s the things that are killing them.

Patrick: Who is making interesting products or services right now?

Jeffery: Well, I mean, you can always point to companies like Apple, right? That’s one. And everyone thinks they’re perfect. They’re not. Think about it. Iphone4. Think about it. You had to get a special antenna to wrap around the edge of your thing because it would hang up on your calls, you know. So they’re doing well, but they’re still make mistakes. I mean, we forget that, but the key thing is that they’re transparent about it, at least to some extent.

Patrick: I was going to say, Apple’s transparent?

Jeffery: (laughter) They try to be. But I think Dell has done a fairly decent job of that. I believe companies like Ford… I’m watching Ford and how they’re soaring in the marketplace. I love to watch the SmartCar. I think they’ve really innovated in different ways. I mean, you can go into every industry and probably find a real market leader in that vertical that you could say is doing some pretty cool stuff. And you see that all the time. I mean, everyday you turn around you can look and see it.

Dan: What are some actions people can take, some steps people can take right now for those who are listening to the podcast that they can apply to their own business today?

Jeffery: Well, the first one I tell people, especially entrepreneurs right now, is to get into some social media. I mean, what are you waiting for? You think it’s a passing fad? It’s a way to listen to your customers. So who’s your chief listening officer in your company?

Dan: The chief listening officer?

Jeffery: Yeah.

Patrick: I like that.

Jeffery: Yeah. I invented that about three or four years ago when I put a person inside of Kodak called the chief listening officer. Not someone to watch every single conversation because at that scale you can’t do it. You know, you’re tweeting in fourteen different languages and twenty-eight different countries, you know, with websites and everything else. There’s no way you can do it. We’re actually in a hundred and forty different countries. But where we have tweeting and Facebook presence and stuff. But, you know, to someone to act like an air traffic control to kind of route the conversations to sales. These conversations to customer service. These kind of conversations to product development. Now, if you have areas that big. If you don’t have areas that big, well then you put them a sheet of paper. Well, here’s some people that have some opportunities for sales. Here’s some complaints. I need to get that fixed. Or here’s somebody that has ideas how to improve our services or products. You know, change our hours. Better delivery. Make our delivery drivers, if they’re selling pizza, take a shower. (laughter) You know, and watch what’s going on. I call this the biggest use of OPM I’ve ever seen, guys, and you know what that means: Other People’s Money. This is where people are having conversation. This is where it’s going on, and there’s great stuff happening. One of the trends I noticed writing my book Running the Gauntlet, I talk about friend sourcing. Friend sourcing is huge. We talk about crowd sourcing. Well crowd sourcing is big, but friend sourcing is more pinpoint, more exact. It’s more measurable. And that’s where friends are using other friends to source their products and services. So how are you tapping into this friend network? It’s huge. I mean, I use it extensively. It’s the biggest thing that’s lead me to a bestseller, the Mirror Test. And it will lead me to a bestseller with Running the Gauntlet. It’s my network of friends. I’ve 50,000 on Twitter and 50,000 on LinkedIn and growing I think we have ten on Facebook because I realized, “Oh, I do have Facebook friends.” Because I kind of ignored that market. It didn’t think Facebook was the right market for me. Then I found out, “Nope.” That’s where my real deep engagement is. That’s where my real hardcore fans go, and so we’re adding a couple hundred fans a day there.

Patrick: For people who are not familiar with Snap Tags, explain what a Snap Tag is and why they’re even relevant.

Jeffery: Well, we’ve seen QR codes, right?

Patrick: Right.

Jeffery: Everybody knows that. It’s a two dimensional bar code, and that’s what a Snap Tag is as well. It’s just a QR code that’s pretty. And to me a QR code is an ugly code, and Snap Tag is more of a branded code. So it’s a tag that actually gives me more information. It’s a little more proprietary, but it’ going to be a tag that, I think, is going to develop and take off where the QR code is not. And the reason for that is because the QR code just seems out of place. It looks like a Rorschach test in the middle of my brochure. And in this case, what I did… I wanted to make it innovative with a mobile product. I tend to be cutting edge on a lot of things, so we put a Snap Tag at the beginning of every chapter. You take a picture of it. Then you text it. You don’t need to download. You text it. And when you text it, a video pops back up about a minute later and says, a text message that say, “Hey, would you like to see a video?” You click on the video, and there is me telling you what we’ll talk about in the chapter. It’s a great interactive way to be able to have a conversation with my fans and my readers.

Dan: Yeah, I think it’s a great idea. On our newsletter, which goes out to about two hundred thousand people, more and more, it’s getting close to about half of the people are downloading it to their mobile device somehow. So I think that’s just the way things are going.

Jeffery: Well, let’s put the Snap Tag in there and they can use that.

Dan: There you go.

Jeffery: We’ll do a special video for them.

Dan: There you go. There’s two more questions I have. One, if you quickly, I think, that business owners could value from your executive program, your focused executive program that you talk about…

Jeffery: Oh, yeah, yeah.

Dan: Then I want to finish up on the importance of never giving up and outlasting the bastards and then being a dog-soldier too.

Jeffery: Oh, you got it. Well, on the focused executive program, wherever I’ve gone at every company, I always want to make sure to get the management team involved, especially if you’ve got a much larger company, but even if you’re looking at a smaller company. You’ve got a certain amount of customers that really give you most of your business, and that’s almost always: 20% of your customers giving you 80% of your business. I don’t care where you go, what company it is, it’s almost always the same, everywhere. Truly, almost always the same everywhere. Rarely have I ever seen a business that doesn’t follow that rule. So what are you doing to take care of the 20%, and how are you putting special emphasis on those folks. And so years ago, when I was working with Xerox actually, we established a focused executive program where I helped them establish a program that they took, executives in the company. I had them focus in on one or two clients. It might have been the CFO. It might have been the treasurer. It might have been the chief legal officer. But we got everybody involved across the board, where they became the cheerleader for that particular business. So if anything happened anytime, you know, with a conflict or issue, they could pick up that phone, the owner or that customer could pick up that phone and call that focused executive and say, “Hey, I need some help. Your billing people aren’t getting this. They’re late for the third time delivering me the product.” Whatever it is, but it gave us a way outside of the salesperson to establish a relationship at the highest level of the company and really have a focused relationship, and a strategic relationship with the customer. So I give some examples on how to do that in my book Running the Gauntlet.

Dan: Let’s finish with, towards the end, you talk about never giving up. I love the line about outlasting the bastards, even though Patrick doesn’t as much. But I love it. (laughter) And then being a dog-soldier.

Jeffery: Yeah. Well, you need to have relentless energy. You just need the relentless energy to really beat back all these naysayers, opportunists and obstructionists that get in your way, and they’re going to be there. Sometimes they do mean to do it, and sometimes they don’t mean to do it. The one thing that I’ve always found, that I’ve always been able to beat them back, because I say, “You can’t keep up with me because you’re going to get tired before I will.” That’s my intent. That’s my job. And if I tell you I’m going to punch you in the face, please trust me, I’m going to punch you in the face. So what it is, I’m going to drive change, and that’s what I’m hear to do, and I’m going to get it done. And I want to improve the business and grow. I want a high growth. And if you don’t want that, then get out of my way. So you really have to get in there and make it happen. So then I tell the story, and to illustrate it by dog-soldiers. The breed of people that do this in companies are like the fierce warriors of old. These are the kind of warriors that walk through the tribe and through the village, and they were kind of like the Michael Jordans of their time. So they put a stake in the ground. They tied themselves to the stake and never would retreat in battle. And the only time they could move forward was to defeat all the enemies around them. Then they could pull the stack. Set it in the ground and go on and defeat them again and again. That’s what you need here. It’s a very, very special breed of people, and I hope the listeners that are part of this podcast are of that same ilk. And they want to be dog-soldiers. And they want to be the people that drive change and that drive high growth in their companies because that’s what running the gauntlet is about.

Patrick: Alright, we’ve been talking with Jeff Hayzlett, the author of Running the Gauntlet. Before we wrap up here, where can people pick up the book?

Jeffery: Well, it’s available anywhere, in any of your independent bookstores. In Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, and on Amazon.com. You can look it up: Running the Gauntlet by Jeffery Hayzlett or go to my website: Hayzlett.com. Follow me on Twitter. Follow me on Facebook. We’re everywhere.

Patrick: Alright, well enjoy your time down at CES. It’s been a lot of fun just talking to you about your book.

Jeffery: Oh, fantastic, and thank you very much. And anytime you need us just give us a call.

Dan: Yeah, appreciate your time.

Patrick: Alright, we’ll go ahead and wrap it up there. So for Dan Bischoff director of communications at Lendio.com and of course Jeff Hayzlett. Be sure to pick up his book Running the Gauntlet: the essential business lessons to lead, drive change, and grow profits. Jeff, good to chat with you. So for Jeff, Dan, I’m Patrick Wiscombe. Thanks for listening to this addition of the Entrepreneur Addiction Podcast. You can pick it up on Lendio.com/blog. You can also pick it up on my website, which is PatrickWiscombe.com. So for Jeff, Dan, I’m Patrick. Thanks for listening. We’ll talk to you next week. See ya.

Voice: Making business loans simple, this has been the entrepreneur addiction podcast, helping you secure the capital you need, with your host Brock Blake, Dan Bischoff, and Patrick Wiscombe. Heard exclusively at Lendio.com.


Dan Bischoff