Skip to main content

Jeffrey Hayzlett, Think Big, Act Bigger, Be a Clock Changer Story

By August 15, 2018January 23rd, 2022No Comments
headshot, black and white of Jeffrey Hayzlett, three book covers including Think Big, Act Bigger

Jeffrey Hayzlett (personal site) was the keynote speaker at a Vistage Summit I attended. I really loved his “Be a Clock Changer” story.

After his keynote presentation, I waited patiently on the “buy-his-book” line. And I purposefully was last on the line. This guaranteed me an opportunity to have a few minutes to talk with him. We chatted about storytelling of course (big smile). He shared that for every presentation, he selects three to five stories to tell, at a minimum.

Jefferey Hayzlett was on his book tour for, Think Big, Act Bigger. I enjoyed reading his book as well. [Since our Vistage Summit was not recorded, I found Hayzlett’s story from his Inbound Keynote on YouTube]

In his story, Hayzlett has an excellent Better Tomorrow Message™, “Be a Clock Changer.” He has a powerful call-to-action, which is the same as his BTM™, “Be a Clock Changer.” He blends seriousness with self-deprecating humor, not just in this story, also in his entire keynote and book. The story flows well, building a healthy tension and curiosity in us with the character dialogue. He uses two figures of speech to great effect:  Asyndeton and Anaphora. All around, an excellent example of a business story/workplace story.

As you StoryThink™ (as we call it) more and more, you will gain a new appreciation into the importance of reframing experiences into stories that address workplace issues. For example, “Be a Clock Changer” from Jeffrey Hayzlett, could be used as an organizational mission story, a culture story, a story for action, a story for change, and so forth.

This is the transcript from the “Clock Changer” story from Jeffrey Hayzlett, starting at 10:00.

Please note. Public speaking from a stage is difficult. During every live presentation, new and experienced speakers alike, will have some grammar missteps, use a few filler words, and have a run-on sentence here and there. To account for these, I have edited Hayzlett’s story just a little.

Be a Clock Changer, A Jeffrey Hayzlett Story

I wanted to test the mettle of my team. I’ve bought and sold over 250 companies in my career. Over 25 billion dollars in transactions. Whenever I step into a new business, and I was stepping into a new business, having sold them [Kodak] a couple billion dollars worth of a company before.

And I wanted to test the team. I had some roughly three or four thousand marketing people at the time working for me, managing a budget of about $17 billion. I wanted to see what they were like.

I started calling the meetings together. I got to a room where there was a clock on the wall. I got there early, and I stepped up on a chair. I moved the clock ahead by about 20 minutes. I wanted to see what would happen when people came into the room.

As they started filtering in, they looked at the clock. Looked at their watch. Looked at the clock. Looked at their watch.

They started asking, “What time you have?” “What time do you have?”

Then they would start saying, “Well the clock is wrong.” “There’s something wrong.” “We can’t work like this.” “This is crazy.” “How are we expected to do things if the clocks are not correct?”

They went on and on. I finally said, “Stop! Move on. What do we care? Move on.”

Every day. Day after day. Same teams came in. Same conversations. Looked at the clock. Looked at their watches. Finally someone said, “We’ve organized a task force. We’re trying to find out who’s in charge of the clocks. We’ve called up departments.”

This is what goes on in big companies. Finally, I just said, “Why doesn’t someone just do something about this?” A woman got up. She went over to the to the wall where the clock was. She pulled the chair out. She hiked her dress. And she stood on top of the chair. And she changed the clock.

I named her my chief of staff the very next day. She’s running a billion-dollar company today.

See… that’s what we’re looking for. As leaders, as a chief marketing officer, as a C-level executive. I’m looking for clock changers. I’m looking for leaders. I’m looking for people who see things that need to occur and need to happen. And they happen. They do. You do.

Jeffrey Hayzlett, Think Big, Act BiggerBe a Clock Changer Story


  • Stop Blaming Steve, from Brene Brown  (read/watch)
  • The Power of Wonder  (read/watch)
  • Don’t Be The Idiot In The Red Convertible  (read)
  • All story examples  (go now)


  • Pause” with Purpose in Speaking, Training, and Storytelling  (read)
  • Talk At The 10th Grade – Simplify Your Communication (read)
  • Turn Your Everyday Experiences into Engaging, Powerful Stories  (read)
  • Add Suspense to Your Story with “Near-Impossible Goals”  (read)
  • Epizeuxis – Increase Impact with this Type of Word Repetition  (read)
  • All Business Storytelling Articles & Posts  (go now)

Photography Source:  Headshot from | Design © Copyright 2018, The Chief Storyteller®, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
#chiefstoryteller #storytelling #hayzlett #storytellingforleaders #executivecommunication #leadership

Ira Koretsky

Ira Koretsky has built The Chief Storyteller® into one of the most recognized names in communication, especially business storytelling. He has delivered over 500 keynote presentations and workshops in nearly a dozen countries, in more than one hundred cities, across 30 plus industries. His specialties are simplifying the complex and communicating when the stakes are high. He is also an adjunct professor in public speaking and storytelling at the University of Maryland's Business School. With over 25 years of experience, he is a sought-after storytelling coach, global speaker, trainer, consultant, communication coach, and public speaking coach.