The Hero Factor Explains How Great Leaders Transform Organizations


Read The Hero Factor to revaluate your leadership in practice with people everywhere you go against the intentions you had for your business.   Doing so will alter how you maintain ethics in your business.

the hero factor

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The Hero Factor

Maintaining ethics is critical for building value in a business. These days staying on top of those ethics is requiring the strength of a Marvel or DC superhero.

Fortunately, a more real-world way to be heroic in your business ethics exists. Read The Hero Factor: How Great Leaders Transform Organizations and Create Winning Cultures by Jeffery Hayzlett with Jim Eber.

I reviewed Hayzlett’s previous book Think Big, Act Bigger last year, trusting that he is the right authority on protecting business ethics and values. His experiences and direct tone are a superb combination for this subject.

What Is The Hero Factor About?

The theme of The Hero Factor is delivering outstanding leadership, with a thesis that behaviors and values create an outstanding leader. Sixteen chapters explain how your values and the expression of those values to others can make or break how your leadership goes the extra mile. That extra mile is expressed in business as operational excellence and how customer service is delivered.

“You can’t operationalize your values in the workplace and marketplace if no one can see what they are – starting with you.”

What I liked about The Hero Factor

The book ultimately teaches the reader what makes an outstanding leader versus a mediocre one. The way Hayzlett succeeds in teaching the reader how operational excellence is forged based on one’s value. One value that Hayzlett deems essential is being inclusive:

“The Hero Factor is about all people, not just the people like you. That means bringing everyone — all kinds of people and their different perspectives – to the proverbial table and allow them to impact decisions, directions, and growth.”

Another example I love is how Hayzlett deftly notes how one act does mean you have achieved operational excellence:

“One heroic act does not make a hero or undo bad acts. Even Bernie Madoff gave money to charity.”

Heroic Acts are Daily Practice

His point is heroic acts are a daily practice, subject to disruption when companies are not careful. Hayzlett notes the highly-scrutinized incident in which black customers were arrested at a Philadelphia Starbucks for loitering as an example.

“The Starbucks incident shows that you can always be surprised – that you’re often only as good as your weakest link….Simply put Starbucks is holding itself accountable.”

There is also a commentary on a customer’s experience with US Airways Flight 1549, the flight on which Captain Chesley  “Sully” Sullenberger and his crew successfully performed a forced water landing in the Hudson River near Manhattan.

There remains a good mix. The book mentions both well-known businesses and lesser-known businesses. The book gives them as examples of living up to their values in how they operate. The results are mentioned in everyday encounters. These encounters support what Hayzlett wants the reader to do – to identify the difference between seeing people as people and seeing them as a transaction.

“Hero cultures are not self-sustaining. Fail to care or be aware of problems as the company faces change, and your Hero Intensity will take a big hit.”

How does The Hero Factor Compare to Think Big Act Bigger

Hayzlett’s straight forward tone becomes apparent in this latest outing. Think Big, Act Bigger focused on scaling a business. But The Hero Factor outlines a complementary topic essential to protecting that scale. People – centric values must occur when a business evolves. The intriguing part remains how Hayzlett frames the difference between heroes and leaders through values. I saw Hayzlett speak a few years ago. I feel the book’s observations really reflect his style. But also, not so incidentally, his values. Moreover, the book seems a good complement to other human management books. Consider books such as Blamestorming and How Do I Keep My Employees Motivated?

Why The Hero Factor

Read The Hero Factor. Re-evaluate your leadership. Judge it against the intentions you had for your business. For example, think about how it alters the way you maintain ethics in your business. Consider how you bring heroic treatment to people everywhere you go.

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Pierre DeBois Pierre Debois is Associate Book Editor for Small Business Trends. He is the Founder of Zimana, a consultancy providing strategic analysis to small and medium sized businesses that rely on web analytics data. A Gary, Indiana native, Pierre is currently based in Brooklyn. He blogs about marketing, finance, social media, and analytics at Zimana blog.