The Journey to CEO With Dustin Hillis—Episode 309 of The Action Catalyst Podcast

Dustin Hillis

As Chief Executive Officer, Dustin Hillis is leading the vision and strategy to make Southwestern Family of Companies the largest and most impactful privately-owned company worldwide by 2048. Under his leadership, the company has grown from 19 to 30 businesses and is well on its way to reaching the aggressive goal of more than 200 businesses in less than 30 years.

In addition to being CEO of Southwestern Family of Companies, Hillis is a Co-Founder of Southwestern Consulting, a sales and leadership coaching, keynote speaking and personal empowerment firm that helps clients around the world drive sales performance through the use of time-tested principles and proven methodologies. He remains the head of Southwestern Coaching. With more than 100 fully dedicated Southwestern Consulting Certified Coaches operating in seven countries, the business has helped over 10,000 clients grow their incomes by more than 25 percent on average. The coaching business grew at 60 percent per year for the last 8 years before Hillis took on the role of CEO of Southwestern Family of Companies.

As a junior at the University of Tennessee, Hillis broke the more than 160-year-old, all-time sales record for Southwestern Advantage, making a profit of more than $100,000 in 14 weeks. That sales record still stands today. With a degree in psychology and experience knocking on thousands of doors, Hillis is an expert in buying, selling, management behavior and how to adapt to the way people want to be communicated with.

Hillis is the co-author of Navigate 2.0: Selling the Way People Like to Buy, and the co-creator of the sales training curriculum Top Producer’s Edge, Manager’s Edge, and Executive Edge. His latest project, Redefining Possible (co-authored with Ron Alford), is set to release in September 2020.

Dustin Hillis has traveled the world to deliver keynote speeches in multiple countries including Singapore, Scotland, London, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Peru, Columbia, Canada, and all across the United States. He is a regular guest teacher covering the Cycle of the Sale for business students at Vanderbilt University.

In 2019, Hillis was named to Nashville Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 list. He’s a frequent guest on podcasts and has been featured in a variety of media outlets such as Entrepreneur magazine, Fortune magazine, The Dave Ramsey Show and Entrepreneurs on Fire podcast to name a few. Hillis is saved by grace and passionate about helping people break down barriers and coaching them to reach their God-given potential.

Show Highlights

  • One thing that makes Southwestern Family of Companies different is that we put our principles before our personalities. —Dustin Hillis
  • Being coachable and following a process are skill sets. —Dustin Hillis
  • A great leader is a great recruiter. —Dustin Hillis
  • The level of problem-solving is much more significant as a CEO. —Dustin Hillis
  • It was a great learning lesson to hear I was being evaluated kind of covertly. As I’m evaluating new leaders I’ve realized that seeing people in action is the ultimate form of a litmus test. Someone’s track record far exceeds talking to them or interviewing them. —Dustin Hillis
  • I think the most important thing as a leader is to hone in on your core values and to focus on why you’re here. If you don’t know why you’re doing something, then what are you actually doing? —Dustin Hillis
  • More important than money is your time. What we really believe in at Southwestern is investing time in people. When you invest time in people, those people build great companies. —Dustin Hillis
  • In order to be inspiring, you need to be inspired. We have methodologies that teach people how to be more inspired. —Dustin Hillis

Dustin’s final thoughts: The 11 businesses that we’ve started in the last year are all really center around impact. We want to invest in people who believe in impacting the world in a positive way. People are focused on making a profit versus serving and we want to flip that.

The Action Catalyst is a weekly podcast hosted by Dan Moore, President of Southwestern Advantage, the oldest direct-sales company in America, and Partner with Southwestern Consulting. With more than 45 years in sales leadership and marketing management, Dan has a wealth of knowledge to share on how to make better use of time to achieve life, sales, and other business goals. Each week, he interviews some of the nation’s top thought leaders and experts, sharing meaningful tips and advice. Subscribe on iTunes and please leave a rating and review!

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