Episode 68:

Business Leadership Lessons Learned from Tony Hsieh

What You Will Learn:

  • What key business leadership lessons Brett learned from Zappos founder Tony Hsieh that helped Brett and his colleagues grow Infusionsoft (now Keap)
  • How, in October 2010, Brett and Infusionsoft CEO Clate Mask traveled to Zappos HQ in Henderson NV, and how meeting Tony Hsieh became a highlight of Brett’s career
  • How the Zappos Culture Tour made a lasting impression on Brett and Clate, and how Infusionsoft borrowed from Zappos the idea of offering new hires money to quit
  • Why offering new hires $5000 to quit from Infusionsoft helped Brett and Clate avoid the huge cost and innumerable headaches caused by retaining wrong-fit employees
  • How Zappos replaced standard office and cubicle nameplates with custom automobile license plates that showed the month and year the employee joined the company
  • How Infusionsoft learned from Zappos that single-word Values leave too much room for interpretation and don’t offer the clarity of longer Values
  • How Zappos’s in-house life coach impressed Brett with the company’s dedication to its employees’ wellbeing
  • Why allowing every employee to contribute to the annual Zappos Culture Book became a powerful way to cement their commitment to their company Values
  • How implementing the business leadership lessons learned from Tony Hsieh allowed Infusionsoft to grow into one of the best places to work in America
  • Why it is more important than ever to learn the business leadership lessons Tony Hsieh shared as we move into 2021

Business Leadership Lessons Learned from Tony Hsieh of Zappos

Tony Hsieh created a legendary workplace at online shoe and clothing retailer Zappos, and since his passing in November of 2020, it is important to take time to remember the contribution Tony made to our understanding of the impact of shared Values and a great company Culture, and to review the many business leadership lessons Tony taught us through his humility and his passion for his employees. In this episode of Elite Entrepreneurs, Brett Gilliland shares personal stories of how meeting Tony Hsieh impacted the Culture and growth of Brett’s company Infusionsoft (now Keap).

Invaluable Business Leadership Lessons

Tony Hsieh touched countless lives through the examples he shared and the powerful Culture he built at Zappos. Importantly, the business leadership lessons he shared work for companies of any size and industry, and they can serve as a powerful growth catalyst and a magnet for attracting top talent. From offering new hires money to quit at the end of their training period, to building clear, memorable, and impactful shared Values, to asking every employee to contribute their thoughts to Zappos’s annual Culture Book, Tony worked hard to build a workplace Culture that his employees could be truly proud of.

Adapting Tony Hsieh’s Business Leadership Lessons to Your Own Workplace

The important business leadership lessons Tony Hsieh taught us can be adapted to your own company, regardless of where you are in your growth journey. Zappos offered an in-house life coach to help support and motivate employees. While your business may not be of a scale where you can do the same, the important lesson here is that you can find other ways to demonstrate your support and dedication to your team members. You can move beyond a transactional employer-employee relationship and create a Culture that supports a Vision everyone on your team can work toward, with shared Values that resonate and help align everyone to the same goals for the company. Tony Hsieh’s legendary leadership serves as an example that we can all follow as we grow and scale our companies beyond seven figures.

Business Leadership Lessons

About Brett Gilliland

Brett Gilliland is Founder and CEO of Elite Entrepreneurs, a company that specializes in giving $1M+ business owners the knowledge, processes, and tools to grow to $10M and beyond. Brett is an expert in organization development, leadership, and strategy and spent 10 years helping Infusionsoft grow from $7M in revenue to over $100M. Brett was involved in the foundational work of Purpose, Values, and Mission at Infusionsoft and facilitated the strategic planning process for many years.

One of Brett’s favorite professional accomplishments is co-creating Infusionsoft’s Elite Forum along with Clate Mask and building the Elite business inside of Infusionsoft. As the leader of the Elite business, Brett has helped hundreds of struggling seven-figure business owners overcome their biggest challenges and achieve new levels of success. He also played a central role in the development of Infusionsoft’s Leadership Model and was serving as the VP of Leadership Development when the decision was made to spin the Elite business out of Infusionsoft. As the new owner of Elite Entrepreneurs, Brett can’t think of anything else he’d rather be doing professionally. When Brett isn’t busy helping $1M+ businesses succeed, he is a family man who enjoys spending time with his beautiful wife, Sharon, and their 8 children.


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