Archives for January 2014

How to Gather Key Data Points from Employees



There are key data points that should be monitored to ensure that all of your company or department projects come in on time, on budget and with the proper objectives achieved.  One great way to ensure this is by collecting data along the way using a 5/15 reporting system.

How a 5/15 Reporting System Works

Every two weeks, have each of the individuals that directly report to you take fifteen minutes to write up a one to two page bullet pointed document that covers the status of each project for which a person is responsible.  Each project should have a green, yellow or red dot showing if it is on track, something is going wrong, or if the project hasn’t started yet. The 5/15 reporting system makes certain that you have visibility on all projects, which is, of course, preferable to finding out something has gone off-track when it’s too late.

The 5/15 report should take your team members no longer than fifteen minutes to write and five minutes for you to read.

Recommended bullet points for employees’ 5/15 reports:

  • Employees’ goals for the upcoming week
  • What they accomplished in the prior two weeks
  • What’s working in their respective business area
  • What could be improved in their business area
  • How they’re feeling with the people in their group as a whole

A few years ago I was mentoring Jason Lew, one of my clients who lived in Boston and was growing chain of bilingual preschools called Pine Village Preschool. He needed to hire twelve new teachers by the end of August.  In our discussion I asked him a few questions: How many resumes do you think you need to net twelve hires? He wasn’t sure. Where do you plan to get all the resumes you need? Same answer. Obviously, Jason needed some assistance. He needed a plan and then he needed to reverse engineer it to make it a reality.

We started by listing every step in the recruiting process: Applications, autoreply, invitation to group interview, pass group interview, pass one-on-one interview, pass classroom test, pass reference checks, “sniff test,” offer accepted and signed, and finally, training.

During our discussions, Jason quickly realized that at each step of the process, a certain percentage of the applicants would drop out and not move to the next step. It turned out he needed five hundred and twenty-two applications to end up with twelve qualified candidates to hire.

Then it got even more fun. I pointed out that in order to have the new hires ready to start on September 1st, each new employee would have to go through two weeks of training and have time to quit their current job, as well as perhaps take some summer vacation. We quickly realized that it was time to list every step in the recruiting process so the team would have all the steps needed to be done in order and with a person assigned to do each.  It was going to require military precision to generate that many resumes in time for the fall.

Rising Medical Solutions is another company I mentored in Chicago, and they were hiring a vice president of sales.  When I asked them to list all the things that had to happen before doing so, and put them in order, here is the list that they ended up with.

  • Score Card For The Role Completed
  • Job Description Written
  • List Of Potential Candidates We Know In Writing
  • Roles, Goals & Expectations In Writing
  • Networking For Candidates Started
  • Comp Plan In Writing
  • Job Posting On Key Sites
  • Recruiting Firms Engaged
  • Interview Questions
  • One-On-One Interviews Done
  • Panel Interview Done
  • Ref Checks Completed
  • Background Check Complete
  • Drug Screening

Each step of the recruiting process was now thoughtfully considered.  Each step had one person who was assigned as single point, accountable for completing the step.  More importantly, each step of the process had a date assigned to it. All they had to do now was ensure that the people responsible for a specific task had the skills and motivation necessary to complete the steps assigned to them.

The Greatest Interview Questions, Ever!!!



I’m about to give you one of the greatest interview questions you can ever ask. With one simple query, you can glean insight into the candidate’s personality, values, tastes, background, decision making ability and so much more. Almost instantly, you’ll strip away all the bull and get a good, solid look right into the person’s soul.

Are you ready? Here it is:

“What is your favorite movie of all time?”

I’m not being cheeky or suggesting you hire someone based on whether or not they like Dumb & Dumber. Let me explain:

People come into interviews ready to answer run of the mill interview questions. They’ve likely rehearsed their responses to all the standard scenarios or cliché questions, meaning you don’t learn much more than the fact they’re good at preparing for interviews.

But toss in an oddball, unexpected inquiry like this, and the applicant is forced to go off script and answer on the fly. The answer is almost inconsequential (although you could make a case for immediately disqualifying anyone that mentions Gigli). It’s the person’s reaction, thought process and level of comfort at dealing with the unexpected you should be studying.

Unconventional is certainly one way you could describe my interview questions. It’s what I strive for, a balance between finding out what I need to know about the person and seeing how they react to unexpected situations.

I will ask two or three ‘traditional’ questions about a person’s job history. Then hit them with something way out of left field, like, “Why have you always let people tell you what to do?”

It’s a great question in two ways. One, I really do want to know why this person has never sought a position of leadership before.

And two, it’s admittedly a little harsh and wholly unexpected, and the way the person answers will tell me so much. Do they get angry and defensive? Do they stay calm and explain the situation? Do they stammer and talk in circles? You want confident, level-headed employees that can capably deal with crisis and unanticipated situations. No better place to find them than in the interview room.

So get them to tell you about the time they disagreed with a customer and how they handled it. Ask them to list their top three workplace accomplishments. They’re great, tried and true interview questions. But don’t forget to dig into your bag of tricks and keep them off balance. You’ll be surprised how much you can learn.

Besides, do you really want to hire someone who thinks “Twilight” is the best movie of all time?


3 Free PR Hacks

When Ed Lee first started out in PR, he thought he’d “turn into a Machiavellian
manipulator over night, artfully maneuvering the media into submissive yet glowing articles about [his] clients.”

Then reality set in. Ed’s typical day now looks like this.

“Get in, monitor for one client, monitor for another client, report the results of the monitoring, read the newspapers and look for ways to get clients into the news cycle. Internal meetings. Do some writing, field requests for interviews/comment/bylined articles from journalists, spam the other journalists. Write more reports, more internal meetings and the most important part of any UK’s job, making tea.”

Read Ed’s typical day again. You’d be hard-pressed to see him do anything proactive other than making tea. Most businesses approach PR in the way that Ed describes—as a passive and reactive marketing endeavor. But the problem is that doesn’t work. The best PR is treated as a sales function rather than a marketing function—and the best PR people are great salespeople who are anything but passive. They live for the pitch.

Here are three easy steps to help you craft your PR sales pitches in order to greatly increase your percentage of landing great press coverage.

1. Know the angle

Everybody has an angle. Some just don’t know what it is. When it comes to pitching to reporters, it pays to know your angle so that the reporter can quickly and easily understand why your story is worth reporting on.

A great angle starts with two basic questions: “What is my story idea?” and “What will I pitch to the writer I’m about to contact?”

Potential angles could include story ideas related to:

• Your sales approach or strategy

• Your advertising and marketing methods

• The systems you use to run your business

• The importance of IT in running your business

• Your personal entrepreneur story

• Lessons from the edge when you almost lost your company

• Charity projects or efforts to give back to your community

• Stories about how you created your signature corporate culture

• Strategic alliances you’ve established

• Stories about specific employees

Any of those angles is a potential story.

When you read through newspapers and magazines from now on, be certain to read with two different lenses: one that reads for enjoyment, and one that identifies the angles that reporters and writers use to create stories. By engaging yourself in this way, you’ll start to see potential angles everywhere.

2. Know the audience

Every media outlet targets a different type of reader or viewer. When you’re pitching your stories to writers, keep their audience in mind and ask yourself these questions:

• Why will their audience care?

• Why will my story help their audience purchase the magazine or tell others about the show they watched?

Here are examples of well-known media outlets and the audiences each one targets.

Bloomberg typically covers financial information, and discusses publicly traded companies. If you’re pitching them, make sure you’re not a privately held company.

Oprah typically has emotional, heartrending stories. Don’t try to sell her producers anything but stories that fit this description.

Forbes typically covers bigger businesses like Apple and Starbucks. You might want to rethink trying to sell a reporter on covering your small business.

Inc. covers start-ups. If you have a small business, consider this the ideal medium to pitch stories to about why yours is unique. 
Even on a local level, different newspapers may lean further to the left or right in their coverage. Be aware of that before you pitch a story about your business to anyone who works at these publications.

3. Call the writer 

Every day, editors go to their offices and sit with a stack of press releases in front of them. Those press releases came in over the news wire, and guess what the editor does for the first two hours every day? Rejects almost all of those press releases. 
Given a choice, would you call the editor who says no all day or the writer who is just waiting for inspiration? You call the writer, of course!

Writers wake up every day, go to their offices, sit down at their desks, stare at their computers, and think, “What the hell am I going to write about today?”

That’s where you come in.

My most successful pitches to the media have come from using the good old telephone —not by sending an email. Reporters aren’t looking at their email. They’re trying to get inspired to write about something, and when the phone rings, they’ll answer it.

And that’s when all your work building your pitch and knowing the writer comes in handy. You’re ready to sell your story. And chances are, since the price is right, the writer is buying.

What to Say to Win Media Exposure



Which would you prefer, a PR team that proactively prepares and calls potential news sources to pitch stories, or one that hides behind a desk sending passive emails and writing releases for newswires?

Obviously, you’d want a proactive team member, but these are few and far between. Why? One word: fear.

One of the biggest obstacles to success in a PR is apathy that comes from anxiety.

The best PR takes a sales mentality, and a sales mentality means cold-calling and making pitches. Many PR professionals are more marketers than salespeople, and the idea of cold calling is terrifying. The good news is that the right preparation goes a long way towards overcoming fear—and towards creating a successful PR strategy.

And the one of the most important steps in preparing for a cold call is to have your script ready.

The PR sales script 

When contacting the media, I’ve found that a simple script works best to build confidence. Here’s an example of mine.

“Hi, my name is Cameron. Do you have a couple of minutes? I think I have a great story for you.”

The writer will say one of the following:

(a) “Sure. What have you got?” To which I’ll say: “Well, I have this cool story about this [fill in the blank]. Here are a couple of quick bullet points.” Then, being the salesperson that I am, I ask, “What do you think?” I then continue to ask questions, and listen.

(b) “Sorry, I’m on a deadline.” To which I’ll say: “Okay. I’ll call you tomorrow, or would the day after be better?” I’ll also take the opportunity to ask what the reporter is working on and listen to what he or she says. From there, I’ll suggest helpful options for achieving the writer’s goals. By doing this, I achieve my own at the same time. Finally, if possible, I also suggest ways I could share expert comments for the reporter’s current story.

(c) “No.” To which I’ll respond when the person hang ups on me: “Okay, so I’ll just go grab a cup of coffee, sit down, and call the next person on my list.” I’m one call closer to a yes!

Talk less, listen more

As the saying goes in sales, you have two ears and one mouth—use them in that ratio! The conversation should go something like this: you ask questions, you listen, you listen, you ask questions, you listen, and you listen some more.

Too many people show up and throw up. Don’t give the writer who answers the phone your entire story. Instead, quickly give the person your first little angle, and then ask, “What do you think?” The writer will give you an opinion right away, and then you’ll narrow or amend your angle a little bit more or hit the writer with your second angle, or your third angle—which ever fits better. Stay alert and focused on the task at hand.

Following up

Sometimes you’ll strike out and not be able to get a hold of someone. The good news is that since you’re on the phone you can leave a voice mail. If I have to leave a voice mail, I usually leave a message like this: “Hi Susan, this is Cameron Herold. Sorry I missed you, but I think I have a great story angle for you. I’ll give you a call about it tomorrow. If you have a chance before then, you can call my cell: YYY-XXX-CCCC.”

After connecting with a writer, or after a writer covers you, a follow-up email are fine for thanking him or her. That being said, a handwritten thank-you note to him or her, mailed (as in placed in an envelope with a stamp), is 100 percent better. No one sends thank- you cards to just say thanks anymore, and you should—you’ll stand out. Landing Free Publicity is as easy as picking up the phone.



Meetings Suck: Turning One Of The Most Loathed Elements Of Business Into One Of The Most Valuable

We all know that meetings suck, right?

You hear it all the time. It’s the one thing that almost everyone in business can agree on.

Except it’s not actually true… 

Meetings don’t suck.

We just suck at running meetings.   

When done right, meetings not only work, they make people and companies better.

In Meetings Suck, world renowned business expert and growth guru Cameron Herold teaches you how to use focused, time effective meetings to help you and your company soar.

This book shows you immediately actionable, step-by-step systems that ensure that you and everyone in your organization improves your meetings, right away.

In the process, you’ll turn meetings that suck into meetings that work. 

In life, we always hear about people who’ve made huge decisions from their gut – without data.Today, I want you to make a decision, not only from your gut, but also from some data.  A decision that is only $12 per employee but will be priceless for your business.

Right now, your gut is telling you something is wrong with your company’s meetings.  You KNOW everyone complains about meetings.

People HATE going to them, they HATE running them, and they really have NO idea which meetings are truly necessary but they hold meetings simply because they think that is what they SHOULD do.

Even some of the smartest CEOs in the world complain about meetings – Elon Musk publicly told employees at Tesla & SpaceX to walk out of meetings if they weren’t being run properly.

I sent Elon a message saying that wasn’t going to fix anything – the key is to fix the root of the problem – NOT continue to ignore why meetings suck.

A Meeting is – Any phone call, video call or occasion where 2 or more people meet to discuss or work-through office topics.

Most employees on average spend 1-2 hours per day in meetings.

And likely, none of those employees – front-line staff or leaders – have had any training on how to attend meetings or participate in them, LET ALONE How to RUN THEM.

Consider this…

If the Average employee spends just 1 Hour per day in meetings – that’s 1/8th of their time.

If the Average employee earns $50,000 per year.

And they’re spending 1/8th of their time in meetings, that means you’re paying $6,250 dollars per year for just ONE employee to attend meetings.

The reality is, employees spend 1/8th of their time – and 1/8th of your company’s payroll – doing something they have literally NO idea how to do.

The Reality is…

95% of employees are booking & leading meetings – and they have NEVER been trained on how to run them.

95% of employees have had NO training on how to show up and participate in the meetings they attend daily.

And 95% of employees and companies have no idea what meetings are even necessary to hold.

Meetings CAN be hugely effective – IF you know how to run them

Meetings don’t SUCK, we just SUCK at running meetings. 

Investing $15 per employee – to help ensure the $50,000 a year you spend on them is an obvious and easy choice.

This could be the most impactful $15 you’ll ever spend and will save the company’s money, time and resources instantly.

Buying a copy of Meetings Suck for 100% of your employees and having them read it this month will have a huge impact on your company’s success.


Free PR: How To Get Chased By The Press Without Hiring A PR Firm

Public relations has always been an essential part of doing business which is probably why you’re shelling out big money to an outside PR firm. But the truth is that you don’t need them. You already have all the necessary tools in-house to do as good a job as the so-called experts. 

Cameron Herold and Adrian Salamunovic have taught thousands of company execs how to exploit free media coverage and ditch these expensive, often ineffective outsiders. 

Cameron & Adrian have also built in-house PR teams, spent decades learning how to generate Free PR and how to leverage public relations to complement their sales and marketing strategy. 

In Free PR, you’ll learn how the media world operates while you gain invaluable insider knowledge and actionable advice on how to: 

  • Build your own in-house PR team
  • Provide effective interviews
  • Score great media coverage for free with just a few easy steps 

Landing public relations coverage for yourself and your company is a powerful tool to help elevate your personal brand. PR is easier to generate than marketing, PR is easier to leverage than marketing and PR is more cost effective than marketing. In other words, Public Relations is more critical than ever in growing your brand and your business. 

You’ve got more passion, commitment, a larger stake, and a deeper understanding of your business than any outside PR firm could ever have. So stop wasting money and take the reins yourself.  Learn the secrets to landing TONS of Free PR for your company.

What they’re saying:

“I think PR is the core for promoting any business. Public relations acquires customers! That’s what’s cool about this book.”

– Kevin O’Leary,  Shark on ABC’s Shark Tank

“The ultimate guidebook for those looking to get press, grow their brand, and get in front of the masses. Free PR is the roadmap you’ve been looking for.”

– Peter Shankman, Founder, Help a Reporter Out (HARO)

“Adrian and Cameron will show you the secrets of getting massive exposure for your business. This book is packed with actionable insights from two guys that actually know how to to do it.”

– Dan Martell,  Serial Entrepreneur & Investor (, Unbounce)

“I told Cameron to write the book on generating free PR. I’m excited to see that he’s finally sharing his secrets with the world. This is a must read for any entrepreneurial company and marketing team.”

– Verne Harnish, Founder of Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) and author of Scaling Up (Rockefeller Habits 2.0)


Vivid Vision: A Remarkable Tool For Aligning Your Business Around a Shared Vision of the Future

Many corporations have slick, flashy mission statements that ultimately do little to motivate employees and less to impress customers, investors, and partners. 

But there is a way to share your excitement for the future of your company in a clear, compelling, and powerful way and entrepreneur and business growth expert Cameron Herold can show you how. 

Vivid Vision is a revolutionary tool that will help owners, CEOs, and senior managers create inspirational, detailed, and actionable three-year mission statements for their companies. In this easy-to-follow guide, Herold walks organization leaders through the simple steps to creating their own Vivid Vision, from brainstorming to sharing the ideas to using the document to drive progress in the years to come. 

By focusing on mapping out how you see your company looking and feeling in every category of business, without getting bogged down by data and numbers or how it will happen, Vivid Vision creates a holistic road map to success that will get all of your teammates passionate about the big picture. 

Your company is your dream, one that you want to share with your staff, clients, and stakeholders. Vivid Vision is the tool you need to make that dream a reality.


The Miracle Morning for
Entrepreneurs: Elevate Your SELF to
Elevate Your BUSINESS


A step-by-step guide to enjoying the roller-coaster ride of growth — while getting the most out of life as an entrepreneur. A growth-focused approach: The book is divided into three sections, which cover planning for fast growth, building a company for fast growth, and leading for fast growth. Each topic the author covers — from creating a vision for the company’s future to learning how to generate free PR for a developing company — is squarely focused on the end goal: doubling the size of the entrepreneur’s company in three years or less. A down-to-earth action plan: Herold’s experienced-based advice never gets bogged down in generalities or theory. Instead, he offers a wealth of practical tips, including: How to design meetings for maximum efficiency; How to hire top-quality talent; How to grow in particularly tough markets; How to put together a board of advisors — even for a smaller company; How even the busy entrepreneur can achieve a work/life balance.


Hal Elrod’sThe Miracle Morning has helped redefine the mornings and the lives of millions of readers since 2012. Since then, careers have been launched, goals have been met, and dreams have been realized, all through the power of the Miracle Morning’s six Life S.A.V.E.R.S.


Now The Miracle Morning for Entrepreneurs brings you these principles in a whole new light—alongside the Entrepreneurial Elevation Principles and the Entrepreneur’s Elevation Skills. These are essential skills that you need to create a successful business and personal life. Cameron Herold— Bestselling Author and a widely-respected expert on entrepreneurial mindset—brings his wisdom and insight to you using Hal Elrod’s powerful Miracle Morning framework.


The principles and skills you’ll find in this book will help you to channel your passion and achieve balance in a remarkable new way. – Learn why mornings matter more than you think – Learn how to master your own self-leadership and accelerate your personal development – Learn how to manage your energy—physical, mental, and emotional – Learn how to implement Hal Elrod’s invaluable Life S.A.V.E.R.S. in your daily routine – And much more… You’re already an entrepreneur. Now discover how to take your success to the next level by first taking yourself to the next level. The Miracle Morning for Entrepreneurs is your roadmap to masterfully building an empire with a powerful vision, utilizing your areas of personal genius, with the right team at your side.

Start giving your business and your life the very best opportunities for success, right now.

A step-by-step guide to enjoying the roller-coaster ride of growth — while getting the most out of life as an entrepreneur. A growth-focused approach: The book is divided into three sections, which cover planning for fast growth, building a company for fast growth, and leading for fast growth. Each topic the author covers — from creating a vision for the company’s future to learning how to generate free PR for a developing company — is squarely focused on the end goal: doubling the size of the entrepreneur’s company in three years or less. A down-to-earth action plan: Herold’s experienced-based advice never gets bogged down in generalities or theory. Instead, he offers a wealth of practical tips, including: How to design meetings for maximum efficiency; How to hire top-quality talent; How to grow in particularly tough markets; How to put together a board of advisors — even for a smaller company; How even the busy entrepreneur can achieve a work/life balance.