GE 285: How the CEO Whisperer Founded & Grew the COO Alliance to $2.5M in Revenue & 7 Employees (podcast)

Hey everyone! In today’s episode, I share the mic with Cameron Herold, founder of the COO Alliance and known as the CEO Whisperer.

Tune in to hear Cameron explain what it takes to join the COO Alliance, how he helps entrepreneurs around the world build and manage their team, why he won’t fly economy class again (and not for the reason you’re thinking!), and the valuable lesson he learned when working at 1-800-GOT-JUNK.

Time-Stamped Show Notes:
  • [00:44] Before we jump into today’s interview, please rate, review, and subscribe to the Growth Everywhere Podcast!
  • [01:45] The COO Alliance is expanding over the next four years.
  • [02:00] He has authored four books thus far, the most recent of which just came out this past summer.
  • [02:33] Cameron won’t fly economy class again, because he’s made such great connections in business class.
  • [04:45] The criteria for the COO Alliance is as follows: Minimum of $5 million in revenue and 50 employees. For the forums, the minimum is $3 million in revenue and 30 employees.
  • [05:05] Only the second in command (the COO) is allowed to join, no exceptions.
  • [05:33] The national program costs $20,000 per year, while the forums are $10,000 annually.
  • [06:56] The focus of the alliance is always about making the entrepreneur’s dreams come true.
  • [08:40] The international version of the COO Alliance and city forums meet fewer times and have fewer events.
  • [09:54] The COO Alliance bring in around $2.5 million in revenue and has 7 employees.
  • [11:05] When working at 1-800-GOT-JUNK, Cameron hired a strong team, but didn’t always listen to them.
  • [11:40] They ignored warnings from the VP of Finance and, after nearly tanking the company, learned that they need to trust their team.
  • [12:30] More often than not, leadership teams are not A-level players.
  • [12:42] Every six months, Cameron likes to rate his team on results and cultural fit.
  • [12:55] This helps to determine each person’s value.
  • [13:45] Cameron mostly does one-on-one coaching, but sometimes will open it up to other team members.
  • [15:00] He rarely does onsite work and works remotely most of the time.
  • [15:25] He prefers to teach the company to fish, rather than bringing them fish.
  • [16:48] The Vivid Vision is a technique; it is a four or five page description of your company three years in the future.
  • [17:07] When creating this document, you want four or five bullet points per area of your organization.
  • [18:32] The Vivid Vision is something Cameron is known for globally.
  • [18:38] His audacious goal is to replace mission statements with Vivid Visions.
  • [19:32] The concept of “meetings suck” was based on a phone call he had.
  • [19:55] The idea is that it’s normal for people to hate meetings, but how many people are actually trained to run meetings in order to improve them?
  • [20:12] His theory is that meetings suck because people neither know how to run them nor attend them.
  • [22:35] Cameron makes sure to work only two Fridays a month. He also won’t do calls before 8 a.m. or after 5 p.m.
  • [23:05] He has both annual and quarterly goals. He meets with his team on a quarterly basis to check in about those same goals.
  • [23:20] He also has an accountability partner and they use the app “Commit to 3”
  • [24:28] Cameron recommends the book The One Minute Manager. It’s a thirty-year-old book but he still believes it to be very relevant.

Resources from the interview:

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About Eric Siu

Eric Siu (@ericosiu) is the CEO at Single Grain, a digital marketing agency that focuses on paid advertising and content marketing. He contributes regularly to Entrepreneur Magazine, Fast Company, Forbes and more.

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