Specialization and divisions of labor have long been touted for their efficiency. But does their very existence promote isolation, competition, and a lack of cooperation?

Any successful company culture is based on a team approach to satisfy the customer, keep the products and services relevant, and the commitment to a set of goals, principles, and common purpose. In the absence of any fostered higher purpose, specialization can itself become the default culture. The current employer can be viewed solely as a line on a resume to impress a future employer.


Does the “professionalization” of each specialty isolate and insulate those professionals from their co-workers? How do they contribute to the sales and customer service process that supports their salaries, bonuses, and benefits? Do they identify more with their profession than the company they work for? Do they entertain the idea of leaving for a few dollars more? In other words, have they become mercenaries who, like samurai and ninjas, will work for any organization?

The Challenge

How do you win their loyalty? Is it money, benefits, career path, or promotions? How do you get these various professionals to identify with your company? How do you get them to identify with the history, challenges, and principles of your company? In other words, how do you get these specialists, who could work for anyone, to work for you, stay with you, and engage in the sales and customer service process, no matter what their profession?

Story Works!

We think it’s through story, the story of the founder and the company, the story of not just the “whats” and the “hows”, but the “whys”, the guiding principles the founders relied upon to overcome challenges and create their businesses. The story conveys the goals and aspirations of the founders, the obstacles they had to surmount, and the way they did it. It’s story that humanizes the founders and gives the listeners the opportunity to identify with them and pull for them.


Every company wants to change their customers into advocates. But unless you start with your own people and turn them into advocates first, the customer may see your products and services simply as commodities rather than the movement they want their friends to join. That’s why we created Business Audio Theatre. It’s 21st century solution to an age old problem: How do you change mercenaries into missionaries?


Business Audio Theatre captures your business story in a fun and entertaining way. It is in an audiobook format but the similarity ends there. Unlike most business audiobooks, Business Audio Theatre is performed, not just read. Your story is brought to life with actors voicing the parts in scenes with actions and consequences, with sound effects and music – just like a pre-TV 1940’s radio play. This format captures the imagination as you see the action with your mind’s eye. Critics call it “3-D Audio” and “Transformational.” Plus your employees are already familiar with the format and love the screen-free and paper-free total mobility only audio can deliver.

Mercenaries to Missionaries   

Once your (specialized) employees experience your story, they will approach their work with new gusto. Now they know where you came from. Now they know what you stand for. Now they want their friends to know the story. Now they have a new level of appreciation for the company and its history. Suddenly, it’s not just a job. Suddenly, it’s a cause with which they can identify! They are proud of where they work! And isn’t that the whole point?!

Who We Are

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey Barefoot Wine Founders

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.

Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.

They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.

Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular brand building site at www.consumerbrandbuilders.com.

To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact sales@thebarefootspirit.com.