IAM1651 – TV Host & Global Business Celebrity Builds His Network of C-Suite Leaders

Podcast Interview with Jeffrey Hayzlett

Why it was selected for “CBNation Architects”: Jeffrey has built a community and network of C-Suite executives. It was great to hear his story and how he took something he leveraged while growing his company and brought it to so many people.

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Jeffrey Hayzlett Teaser 00:00 

Being relentless. I'm relentless. If I get onto something, whatever it is I'm gonna do, we're gonna do it. Sooner or later it's gonna get done. So that, you have to have, that's one of the things I think makes up our hero CEOs, is that they're also relentless in the ability of going after what they want and focusing on the key things.

So, That's mine. It's relentless. I'm relentless.

Intro 00:21

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview?

If so, you come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you are in search of. This is the I am CEO podcast.

Gresham Harkless 00:46

Hello, hello, hello. This is Gresh from the I am CEO podcast and we're doing something a little bit different this year with some of our episodes we're repurposing some of our favorite episodes around specific topics related to entrepreneurship. This month we're focusing on entrepreneurship and community.

Us, we, our, together. And we're gonna look at entrepreneurship and industries in different types of entrepreneurship and ultimately what that really means. But we're also gonna delve deeper into the importance of community networking niche communities and how that supports being a CEO entrepreneur and business owner.

So sit back and enjoy these special episodes around entrepreneurship and community.

Hello, hello, hello, this is Gresh from the I am CEO podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Jeffrey Hayzlett of C-Suite Network. Jeffrey is awesome to have you on the show.

Jeffrey Hayzlett 01:33

It's good to be here. Thanks so much for having me.

Gresham Harkless 01:35

No problem. And what I wanted to do was just read a little bit more about Jeff so you can learn a little bit more about all the awesome things that he's doing.

And Jeffrey is a primetime television host of C-Suite with Jeffrey Hayzlett and Executive Perspectives on C-Suite TV and business Podcast host of All Business with Jeffrey Hayzlett on C-Suite Radio. He's a global business celebrity speaker, bestselling author and chairman, and CEO of the C-Suite network. Home of the world's most trusted network of C-suite leaders. Hayzlett is a well-traveled public speaker, former Fortune 100 CMO, and author of three bestselling books Think Big, Act Bigger. The Rewards of Being Relentless, Running the Gauntlet and the Mirror Test. Hayzlett is one of the most compelling figures in business today and inducted into the National Speakers Association Speaker Hall of Fame.

Jeffrey, are you ready to speak to the I am CEO community?

Jeffrey Hayzlett 02:29

I am ready. Thank you.

[restrict paid=”true”]

Gresham Harkless 02:31

No problem. Thank you. And the first question I have was just to learn a little bit more about your CEO's story and what led you to start your business.

Jeffrey Hayzlett 02:37

You know, I got started over a number I bought and sold over 250 businesses in my career, about 25 billion in transactions. I've worked my way up all the way up to a Fortune 100 officer at one point.

But, you know, as a small business owner, I got started by just, I was working for the American Diabetes Association years ago as an executive director in South Dakota, and I was about to get canned. And that was a true story. I'd run a file with the board of directors, I got headstrong young kid at that time, I think it was 24, 25, and thought I knew everything and thought I knew how to do everything.

And then I remember the chairman of the board, Mike McMillan, a very good friend of mine who's since passed. Vietnam Vet, great guy, doctor, and he came to me and said, do you want the resignation letter or the fired letter? And that's a true story. And that was Christmas Eve Day. And that night I went out and got an IBM PC Junior, and I started Hayzlett Associates the very next day, which is Christmas day.

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And then the day after Christmas, I started looking for clients and nailed my very first client, which was a medical school. You know, to help them. And so that's how I got started. So, with necessity, but even with necessity, I always had the business bug. And so that led me to then go off and build that company up into multimillions and make my first million by the first time I was 26.

And then I went out and started buying up companies and getting involved with them and helping other people buy up companies and getting involved with them. And that took me all the way to where I'm at today.

Gresham Harkless 04:10

Nice, nice, nice. Obviously, that's a great story and to be able to kind of laugh at, you know, what happened years ago and be able to say. Hey, it worked out best for you. Sounds like.

Jeffrey Hayzlett 04:19

Yeah, look, you can't be bitter about stuff like that. I mean, it was a great opportunity and it got me to where I wanted to go. And be honest with you, I deserved to be fired. So there you go.

Gresham Harkless 04:30

There you go. So that makes perfect sense.

So I wanted to hear a little bit more about everything you're doing with C-Suite Network. Could you tell us a little bit of, what you're doing and how you're helping serve the clients you're working with?

Jeffrey Hayzlett 04:38

Yeah. You know, one of the best things I ever learned when I was in the fortune 100 space was that it's a very small community.

And when you think about even Fortune 1000, there's only 5,000 five officers per company on average. So if you think about that, major officers of a company, it's only 5,000 people, so it's a very small community even at a worldwide level, very small. We all know each other. And then, so then expand that out to more and more business.

There are only 7,500 businesses in North America that are over a billion dollars. So it's not a lot of businesses that are in that mega, mega category. But one of the things I learned is that, I started to look for people who I could trust, you know, a trusted network. And I found them by size or by their position for the most part, because if you're in a billion dollar company, you wanna do business with a billion dollar company and because they understand your trials, tribulations, problems, opportunities, strengths, weaknesses, and so I looked for things like that.

And so that's what gave me the idea once I got out of there was how do I keep that going? You know, I used alot of money, like 50,000 hours a year just to go to a meeting three times a year just to be with other people like me and have that insight. And of course, it would save my company hundreds of millions by doing that.

So it was a very small investment to get something back because, who do I turn to? Who can I go and ask? Who can I have, just like on this podcast. You've built this tribe of people who listen and the same thing and so I just wanted a thing that we could do that.

So we have a C-Suite community, we have a membership, we have meetings, and we have an education. We have C-Suite TV C-Suite Radio, and C-Suite Book Club, we have our Hero club, which is for our high-level CEOs, and entrepreneurial CEOs that we asked to sign a pledge to run their business like a hero company.

I mean, these are the things that we do every single day.

Gresham Harkless 06:32

Awesome. Awesome. And it sounds like you're dialed into obviously the needs of what it is that community actually needs and wants and you have created all these products and services based off on that.

Jeffrey Hayzlett 06:41

Absolutely. So we've got a lot of things. So like with our highest level of membership is what we call C-suite Black and just like a black card. And so for a thousand dollars you could be a member and you get all these benefits. It ends up to about over 10,000 hours with stuff. You get to come to the meetings for free.

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You get a digital electronic digital system or AI assistant who listens in on every single meeting and takes notes. You know, I'll send you a recording, send you the eight action items that you just discussed. We have MD live where if I'm not feeling well, I hit a button and I'm talking to a doctor in 15 seconds.

Live on camera we give you things so you can go through the airports. You don't have to wait. Because you're C-suite, that's what we try to do to help build and give you the kind of services that you need in order to be more valuable to your company. That's what that's all about.

Gresham Harkless 07:35

Absolutely it makes perfect sense cause those are pain points that they have, but you're providing that solution for exactly what it is that they're looking for. So now I wanted to ask you for what I call your secret sauce. And this could be for you or your organization, but the idea is something that makes you unique or distinguishes you as your business and organization.

Jeffrey Hayzlett 07:52

Being relentless. I'm relentless. If I get onto something, whatever it is I'm gonna do, we're gonna do it. Sooner or later it's gonna get done. So that's one of the things I think makes up our hero CEOs, is that they're also relentless and the ability of going after what they want and focusing in on the key things.

So that's mine. It's relentless. I'm relentless.

Gresham Harkless 08:11

Awesome, man.

Jeffrey Hayzlett 08:12

You'll not beat me. You will not beat me. I go to bed at night hoping I'll hurry up and sleep so I can get going the next day.

Gresham Harkless 08:19

That makes perfect sense. And that is something that you feel like you developed, or is something that was already kind of in place?

How do you, how did you develop that relentless gene, so to speak?

Jeffrey Hayzlett 08:27

You know, I think it is partly it's there. It was always there, just a little bit, a little bit crazy, a little bit sane. So I think for all of us, we all have something like that, it's just I recognized it more. And I think those are things that we come as we get older or we get smarter, hopefully, we get more awareness about who we are and what we do is that you can start turning these things on a lot faster and the faster you can identify those things in you or around you, the better.

The other thing is I got a good sense of who I am and what I like and what I don't like and what I want to do and not. I don't, I don't have to debate about those things. And I think that's a real mark of a great leader too. You know, it's like my wife will ask me, where do you wanna go for dinner?

And I'll answer right away. And she goes, you didn't even think about it. Yeah, yeah. I think a lot faster, sweetheart. And it's not to be derogatory to my wife in any way, shape, or form cause she's the boss. But you know, my point is that no, I did think through those things and I went through all the permeations. That's still where I want to go eat.

Gresham Harkless 09:30

Awesome. Awesome. Well, I wanted to switch gears a little bit and ask you for what I call a CEO hack. And CEO hack. Could be a resource, like a book or an app, or it might even be a habit that you have, but something that makes you more effective and efficient as a business owner.

Jeffrey Hayzlett 09:43

Well, I mean, I'm gonna tell you right now, it's the membership stuff that we have at C-Suite Network, and the reason I say that is because that's what we do for CEOs, we go find all those. So we go find the AI assistant, and we go find the doctor's app, we go find all the strategic tools and everything else that you wanna have in place so you don't have to. When I was a CMO of that major company when I stepped out of a trade show out of the hotel to go to a trade show in the morning, there's three people waiting for me- somebody with my coffee, someone with an egg sandwich, someone with a calendar or the schedule to go over the schedule for the day.

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And that was at seven o'clock. I mean, I stepped out. Boom, seven o'clock they were there and then someone's rushing ahead to go push the elevator button so we don't even have to wait.

Right? That's the kind of service that we try to do at the C-Suite. Same thing. Your time is valuable, your knowledge is valuable, and so what we try to do is just like you go to a fine restaurant and they know what you'd like to drink, and when you sit down, there's your favorite scotch or your favorite wine, or whatever you might like to have, it's there.

Well, that's what we try to do too. That's my favorite hack.

Gresham Harkless 10:45

Yeah, I love that. And I love the concept and the idea because time is something you cannot give back. So being able to say that no matter how small it might seem, it all starts to add up and you can get a lot more done.

Jeffrey Hayzlett 10:55 Exactly.

Gresham Harkless 10:56

Awesome. Awesome. Now, I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO nugget. And this might be a word of wisdom or a piece of advice, or it might be something that you might tell your younger business self. Do you have a CEO nugget for us?

Jeffrey Hayzlett 11:06

Yeah, go faster, go faster. Quit worrying about what everybody else thinks, go faster. So we listen to other people sometimes when we should listen to that inner voice a little bit more than just says, go faster. I wish I'd done it faster.

Gresham Harkless 11:18

I love it. I love it. I love it. And now I wanted to ask you,  we're hoping to have different CEOs on this podcast and hopefully kind of looking exactly what, what the word CEO means and what that kind of, how people actually define that. So what does being a CEO mean to you?

Jeffrey Hayzlett 11:31

Being a leader, it's being a leader, a very open approachable leader who is responsible for lots of people, lots of customers, lots of customer satisfaction. That the buck stops here when it comes to that. So I don't look at it as just, I run a business, I run a big family, and family of customers, a family of vendors, a family of you know, partners, a family of employees, and I really look at it like that.

Gresham Harkless 11:57

Awesome. Awesome. Well, I appreciate you, Jeff, for taking some time outta your schedule. What I wanted to do was pass the mic to you, so to speak, to see if there's anything additional you want to let our readers and our listeners know, and how best people can get ahold of you.

Jeffrey Hayzlett 12:08

Well, you can find me anywhere. Just go to Jeffrey Hayzlett, h a y z l e t t. There are a few of us with that name, but only one of me. And so you search that. And then search for anything with C-Suite. C-Suite Radio, C-Suite Book Club, C-suite TV and certainly you'll find us on the C-Suite network. And if you're inclined about making a difference as a CEO and you wanna be, a value-based CEO, check out the Hero Club. But reach out to me directly and I'll be glad to talk to you.

Gresham Harkless 12:33

Awesome. Sounds good. Well, thank you so much, Jeffrey, for everything that you're doing, and all the impact that you're making upon the world. I appreciate your time and I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

Jeffrey Hayzlett 12:40

All right. Cheers, my friend.

Outro 12:42

Thank you for listening to the I am CEO podcast, powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at I am CEO is not just a phrase. It's a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Google Play, and everywhere you listen to podcasts, subscribe and leave us at five-star rating. Grab CEO gear at

This has been the I am CEO podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.


Dave Bonachita - CBNation Writer

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(, podcasts, ( and videos ( CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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