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May I Be on Your Team? I Dunno, Why Do You Want to Be Here?

Uncategorized Jun 01, 2019

I’d like to begin this month’s lead-in with a congratulations and public thank-you to Elise Brown, the LoCo Marketing Intern for the past ~8 months. Elise just graduated from CSU with a degree in Economics with a Marketing emphasis, and has accepted a full-time position as a Digital Marketing Coordinator with AZDS Interactive Group in Denver beginning in early June. Elise has been a strongly contributing team member from the very start, and grew her skills and confidence throughout her LoCo experience. Thank you Elise - you get it, you want it, and you’re highly capable - and you’re fun to be around. You’ve got a bright future ahead, and we’re proud to have had you in our tank!  

 
Knowing Elise’s departure was coming, we posted our job ad for a part-time Marketing Communications Associate in early May. Though we’ve now had two great interns, this time we were hoping for someone with a bit more experience and who might...
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Longest Title Ever!: April Showers Bring May Flowers, The Mayflower Brought Freethinkers, Freethinkers Built Great Prosperity, and a Cold Civil War Risks it ALL.

Uncategorized Apr 30, 2019

Longest title ever, and apt to be a fairly long post, lest I’m careful. Did I lose you already?

 
Stick with me on this one please - it’s gonna be a good one. (I hope so anyway…) I’ve been chewing on this topic for months, both in internal and external conversations. The title finally came to me the other day when I was meeting with someone for the first time - we’d crossed into religion and politics within our first 20 minutes of being acquainted, and we weren’t even sorry about it. Another 50 minutes of wonderful conversation followed, fueled at least in part by our noted differences in the areas of religion and politics. We found joy in our differences, and pleasure in learning from one another about the why of our held opinions.  
 
But from what I read in the newsfeed and hear about on podcasts and what fuels my clickbait browsing habits - this is abnormal behavior. It’s almost becoming politically incorrect to hear...
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Cash Like a River Flows

Uncategorized Mar 29, 2019

This is one of my favorite times of the year - the emergence of spring. The birds are returning from their southern climes, the trees are budding out, and the river flows are starting to fill out a bit. They won’t hit their peak for a few months however - June is the time for big water! 

 
Here in Colorado, our rivers are comprised chiefly of snowmelt, and our high mountains is where we receive and store most of our snow (that’s why we have skiing!). Though it is warming weekly down here, it’s still cold in them thar’ hills. And as it warms, the snowmelt takes its sweet time flowing down the hill to the stream, down the stream to the river, and down the river canyon to our small city on the banks of the Cache la Poudre River. Some of it we divert into high-mountain reservoirs, others into Horsetooth closer to town.  
 
Now, to transition to more businessy topics as is my habit, let’s do a metaphor exercise, with visualization....
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Getting Mr. or Miss Market to Say "I Love You"

Uncategorized Feb 27, 2019

We are a couple weeks removed from Valentine’s Day - that wondrous holiday created by the greeting card companies. Snopes - that one’s not true - St. Valentines day goes WAY back. Though Hallmark did invest heavily beginning in 1913 in the notion that a greeting card was a great way to say “I love you”. Alongside the red rose growers and diamond miners investing similarly over the centuries.  

 
Actually, the roots of Valentine’s day go back to the ancient Roman three-day fertility festival known as Lupercalia - traditionally February 13 - 15. Men would sacrifice goats, and whip their chosen women with the goat skins in a ritual believed to make them fertile! The holiday was later Christianized and it may have been Pope Gelasius that declared it to be February 14th during the 5th century AD. I would say the transition from goat skin whipping to cards, flowers and chocolates represents an advancement - and I’m certain my female...
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On Purpose

Uncategorized Feb 01, 2019

You’ll read later in this issue about our LoCo Next Level speaker event held on January 30th with Zach Mercurio.  Zach is the best-selling author of “The Invisible Leader - Transform Your Life, Work, and Organization with the Power of Authentic Purpose”.  He has become a leading expert on this topic in recent years - helping people and organizations activate the guiding hand of purpose.  He is also a CSU professor, and when we met for the first time this fall it felt like we were speaking the same language in a foreign land, and we immediately began putting plans together to have Zach speak for a LoCo event.  Learn more about him here.

 
Oh, and if you’re wondering “what’s LoCo Next Level?” - this is LoCo Think Tank’s newest service offering - Value Driven Peer Advisory for the leaders of larger and more complex regional businesses.  You can learn more about that here.
 
The topic of purpose...
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Forecasting a Merry Christmas and a Profitable New Year

Uncategorized Dec 20, 2018

I love Christmas. I love the music, the lights, the time spent with friends and family, and of course the significance of the holiday for those of us who attempt to follow Christ. The crowded streets and stores I could do without, but the good comes with the bad and all in all, it’s a joyful time of year for most of us.

  
We’ve been working on our budget for LoCo Think Tank for 2019, forecasting continued growth in chapter membership and a couple more chapter launches projected. With our business model as a membership organization, it’s a fairly simple exercise - we know the revenues from each member, and the ratio of LoCo Facilitator expenses to that top line, and then we have our overhead expenses for office rent and tech spending, marketing and meals, figure in my meager salary and intern wages, and viola! We can project our profitability on a monthly basis, and budget when we can finally get a good office printer and Jill can have her inkjet back at...
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Profit isn't a Right or a Privilege, it's a Responsibility!

Uncategorized Nov 29, 2018

Did you know? - The second-largest (behind NRA, duh) and fastest growing gun-rights organization in the US is based here in Northern Colorado. Located in Windsor, the National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR for short) was founded in 2000, and has grown to become a very prominent organization, with over 4.5 million members. One of my longtime friends used to work for them, and I’ve met the founder, Dudley Brown. For some reason I always remember one of their old T-shirt designs that proclaimed, “Gun ownership is a RIGHT, not a privilege”. So, as you might guess, their agenda is basically no compromise on individual gun ownership freedoms. It’s a complicated issue, and I’m not here to get myself a bunch of new haters - but I will say that I enjoy the simplicity of their message.  

 
The point I mean to address is that words have very precise meanings, and something small business owners can get confused about is profit. (As can their...
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Scary Jobs!

Uncategorized Oct 23, 2018

 

A job I had during my college days was working for the Fargodome - a sports and music venue in Fargo, ND.  It was very part-time, always under 20 hours/week, and often late at night or on weekends. About half my time was spent zipping in or zipping out the artificial turf - mindless and tedious work - but it paid pretty good on the per hour, and I worked with fun people.  

 

The remaining time was spent setting up or tearing down for music shows and other events.  Highlight: I met Ted Nugent in the parking lot one day - he was shooting his bow and arrow at animal targets, waiting for his crew to set up the show.  He was nice. The role I especially cherished - and nobody else wanted to do - was to climb the trusses behind the stage and adjust where the lights were pointing, and occasionally change bulbs or similar.  No safety lines, no training, no hazard pay - but I was an excellent tree climber and have almost no fear of heights - so it was...

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On Facilitation

Uncategorized Sep 18, 2018

Only years after founding LoCo Think Tank did I attempt to define the foundations of the business model.  My interactions with business members of Vistage and other peer advisory group models, and later membership in a Trusted Advisors chapter of Vistage, convinced me of the extraordinary power of peer learning.  Likewise, my involvement in Rotary Club - where our motto is Service Above Self - was an obvious element. The third foundational element actually preceded the others in time - my role as a Discussion Leader within an organization called Bible Study Fellowship when my wife and I lived in Colorado Springs.  Though over 30 at the time, I was new to matters of faith, and when invited to the role I protested that I didn’t know very much about the Bible. The response - you don’t need to! My mentor (and recruiter) shared that the role calls for a facilitator, not a teacher, and the duties required only that I maintain order in the conversation, and ask...

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On Leverage

Uncategorized Aug 21, 2018

Out with a friend and LoCo Think Tank member the other day, I was introduced to a business owner with whom he was acquainted - an inventor, custom builder, manufacturer, rental business, and online retailer.  Sharp guy, very interesting as you might imagine, with a clearly successful business. As we chatted a bit more, I learned that his multi-faceted business operation is a one-man band - no employees at all! Tried it, didn’t work out, so I just do a little bit of everything he says...

Gasp!  With an economics education and a banking background, this seemed to me a tragedy!  No employees means no leverage, and no leverage in business ultimately means modest impact and earnings and low growth...but I get ahead of myself.  

What is leverage, anyway?  And why and how is it important in business?  We all know the basics of a lever - you’ve got a fulcrum, and an object to be moved, and a handle for the operator.  Ancient...

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