Monthly Archives: December 2014

2014 Accomplishments


It always amazes me how in the moment the days seem long, the projects endless, and the challenges insurmountable. Then all of the sudden we find ourselves reflecting on how quickly the end of the year has come and begin to look back on all of the progress we’ve made, the challenges we’ve overcome and the days that flew by.

We’ve had a busy and productive year at CBRT. Just in case you missed something, we thought we’d fill you in on some of our 2014 accomplishments.

  • Added a Round Table group in downtown Kalamazoo
  • Expanded the board of directors
  • Added new staff members
  • Increased event attendance
  • Hosted our first annual Leadership Summit
  • Lives changed…dozens of eternal commitments

We’re excited for what God has in store for us in 2015! If you haven’t already, now is a great time to start attending an event or Round Table group to see first-hand how The Business Round Table/CBRT can impact your life! Contact us to find a group near you.

As you take some time off to toast in the New Year, enjoy this video of one of our 2014 events with speaker Doug DeVos.




Implementing a Blueprint for Success…

Topic for December Round Table Discussions: Implementing a Blueprint for Success through Measures, Succession, and Relationships. 

Kalamazoo – Tuesday, December 9, 2014 


  • Pick out leaders
  • communicating across the ranks
  • Relationships
  • Measures, Dashboards
  • Training/Development


  • Talent is King – Recognize talent
  • Knowing people, what they can and want to do
  • Identify what the position is
  • Expose people to new projects to see what they are capable of
  • Train and develop
  • Quarterly leadership/development programs
  • Use consultants with Leadership team
  • Simplify, get focused, balance time
  • Alignment, get everyone on the same page
  • Evaluate
  • Restate vision and mission to team members
  • Create wind, measures, cycle
  • Internal relations, increasing soft skills
  • Spend 1-on-1 quality time with leaders
  • Adjustment/Culture “People will only love the job as much as they feel loved.”
  • Don’t drive looking in the rear view mirror.  Look and plan for 5, 10 and 15 years out.
  • Top down approach, short and long term goals, Hire in groups and train 2 times a year
  • Equip to manage the growth
  • Measures on development, find dashboard that benefits team, move forward, IFMA
  • We must be the right bus.  What kind of bus are we?  Then…place the right people on it.
  • Communicate – multi-sensory communication

Take a Way:

  • Right accountability in place, ownership
  • Strategic Communication, be solid, vision, mission, build foundation
  • Can’t miss a beat
  • Fastest growing business is Google, everyone is a leader.  A totally different culture, a newer generation.
  • Trust and alignment, Multiple modes of communication

Kalamazoo – Thursday, December 11, 2014

Your Challenge:

  • Culture
  • Measures
  • Employment
  • Engagement
  • Communication
  • Distractions/Time
  • Get employees to embrace the Mission/Vision
  • Dashboards

The Solutions:

  • Lead with safety both emotionally and physically.
  • Be innovative taking risks.
  • Idea/Creation.
  • To have a good company it is said that every person needs to contribute ½ an idea per year.  For a great company you need 4 great ideas.  You to act upon these ideas within 2 weeks.  Everyone contributes.
  • Department projects to help become more productive.
  • Getting people of faith together to see the heart in order to impact others.
  • Build relationships.
  • Separate responsibilities appropriately.
  • Determine what the roles are.
  • Get Journey Champions to get more passion. Develop them within your team.
  • Recognitions for attitude, leadership, innovation, etc.
  • Create an environment that makes employees feel successful.
  • Prepare the next generation of leaders by training skill sets.
  • Establish a leadership program.
  • Determine measures by clearly identifying an expectation blueprint.

“You can accomplish anything as long as you don’t care who gets the credit.” – Ronald Regan

 Grand Rapids – Thursday, December 11, 2014 

Top Challenges

  • Truly prioritizing what we measure is hard work, but it is also an essential part of the process.
  • Keeping the top priorities at the top of everyone’s list is challenging because not everybody’s department, nor everybody’s customer can be #1 on the most important list.
  • The 80/20 rule must prevail, but it can run smack dab right in the face of the vocal minority.
  • When it comes to employee engagement, beware of the 3 Elements of Job Misery – irrelevance, immeasurement and anonymity.
  • Succession planning – demands that we retain our top talent, and that we hire top talent.

 Top Solutions

  • When it comes to prioritizing, separate the absolutes from the preferences.
  • Differentiate between measuring lagging indicators (I.E. how did we profit and grow in the past) from leading indicators (what strategic proposals must be delivered)
  • Invest in our employees by knowing their interests.  Engage them by asking, listening and responding.  This is key to building trust and to delivering fulfillment at work.
  • Express our gratitude to our staff and to our customers, more, more, more.

Top Takeaways

  • Connect vision with outcome.  I.E. As we articulate our 3-year vision, include our 3-year outcomes as well.
  • Be organized, disciplined and crystal clear with our priorities, but meet each employee and each customer right where they are to understand their true needs, first.
  • As we intentionally tend to the process of building relationships with the people we employ as staff, who we serve as customers, who we engage as vendors, and who we love as family, we should always do so in a way that prioritizes Godly impact on all levels: intellectual, emotional, physical and spiritual.

Grand Rapids – Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Your Challenge

  • Don’t plan
  • Shifting landscape
  • Limited resources
  • Analysis paralysis
  • Lack of Experience
  • Lack of interim steps
  • No actionable items
  • Lack of commitment

The Solution

  • Bring in the experts
  • Choose who to do business with
  • Identify the right person (succession planning)
  • Consistent messaging through meetings and other communication vehicles
  • Celebrate victories with those who got it done
  • Establish a process
  • Understand your team via personality testing

The Takeaway

  • Plan
  • Pray
  • Execute the plan with purpose / commitment




Creating a Blueprint for Success…

Last month we featured the topic “Creating a Blueprint for Success through Measures, Succession, and Relationships.” We hope you enjoyed the discussions at your local Round Table Meetings and hope you will join us next week as we discuss how we can implement our blueprint for success.

Below are the notes from our November Round Table Meetings.


Kalamazoo – Tuesday, November 11, 2014


  • Profit
  • Relationships must be sustained
  • Balance both present and future
  • Blueprint – strategy
  • Take a snapshot of our team every quarter and categorize them
  • Make people development a priority for the Lord
  • We can only do so much to lead them.
  • Succession is a challenge when you have 50 year olds and twenty some’s.
  • You have to choose someone to take your role. Career development vs. advancement can be succession
  • How do you set up measurements?
  • “Measures for  success” Measured to automatically see profits, focus on metrics
  • Measures = financial statements, regional/divisional reports
  • Do we have the measures in place and KPI’s to run the organization? Monitor them monthly/quarterly
  • There’s a natural hierarchy of KPI’s
  • Clarity and closeness to your business
  • What are your Measures to manage your business?
  • Association into bench marketing, use a guideline to compare
  • Census, labor costs, focus on things we can
  • Measure culture through a survey within teams
  • Human capital balance sheet quarterly review
  • Talent – what God gave us. Skill – What’s on our resume
  • Leaders love to grow and develop people
  • (T + F) I = GROWTH (Ritz Carlton formula)
  • Define values to measure culture

Succession Planning

  • Watch for hi-performers who don’t exude the culture.
  • Identify a replacement for you and train them without telling them – Who would be your successor?
  • LDP for people leadership skills rather than leaders of process
  • Average length of stay, cost/discharge, average cost, average revenue, quality

Take A Way

  • Reinforced creating 5 year plan with staff and sharing metrics
  • Strategic plan and have proper measures to support the plan
  • Train our replacement and mold the person. Measure when you are gone- how smooth do things go?
  • God given talents
  • Succession plans must be carefully communicated
  • 80/20 all these measures should be clear and communicated well.
  • Direct and set the vision people can self-manage so if you’re managing, you’re not doing your job.
  • Hi-performers aren’t always good for your company if they don’t fit the culture.
  • Relationships- help people be on their game so that doesn’t cut into bottom line
  • Care for the entire person (at home and at work)
  • 15% of the workforce is in crisis

 Kalamazoo -Thursday, November 13th

What are the measures?

  • Moral character is the fiber we need to see more in leadership.
  • Financial statement, operating income, reserves
  • KPI’s
  • New sales, maintenance
  • Online sales
  • Succession plan- who are you training?  Who is going to take your place?
  • You can’t manage what you don’t measure.


  • Leadership development program
  • Invest in people
  • Strategic planning
  • Reproducing what is working at the top
  • Relationships and having a good understanding with the management team
  • Discipline, balance, good rhythm and relationships
  • Empower your people
  • Evaluate what we do well and what we need to do better, and then have a plan.
  • Morning huddle – “We have one every morning for 5 to 15 minutes.”  The secret of a short meeting is to stand.
  • Build reserves
  • Weekly meetings, corporate meetings 1 time a year, senior management meetings
  • Be willing to learn.
  • Great care and service to customers

 Kalamazoo – Friday, November 14th


  •  Discipline
  • Desire to create the blueprint
  • Can’t have a blueprint without a plan, and can’t have a plan without vision
  • Hard to define success
  • Everything we do ought to bring glory to God
  • Success to me is being nice to people, building good relationships with others
  • As a leader, it is our job to ask the questions, and ask the right questions
  • We’re all responsible for and need to build relationships
  • If we’re doing it right, it’s who we are, not what we do.
  • There’s two things that corrupt, money and power, remember at the end of the day, neither one are yours.
  • Show the value of doing things the right way, reward the right behavior.
  • There is a financial component to success, you have to make a profit.
  • There’s the business piece of it, but also the personal piece. How can we ensure that our leaders are equipped to help with the tools to aid in the personal development of those they lead?
  • Need to create a plan that can help employees take care of their personal life
  • One thing I do is carry around some great books, that way when one of my people is having trouble in a particular area, I have a tool I can give them to help them along. I also pray for my staff, for their health, wisdom, finances. I pray specifically that God would bless the work of their hands.
  • Economics – people don’t like to talk about it, but business has to make a sound profit.
  • Illustration of putting your mask on first on the airplane. You have to take care of your own issues, before you can take care of others.


  • Time
  • Go back and review your plan
  • Course correction, you’re probably never going to go in a perfectly straight line, need to revisit and correct every so often.
  • Get up every day, figure out what works, keep doing it, you will succeed.
  • Profit, we have to make it, there has to be a financial plan in place.
  • Having the right people includes the right vendors and clients.
  • Setting boundaries and enforcing them.
  • The worst thing you can do is be inconsistent.
  • In business, it is all about your actions. The facts are the facts, it’s called integrity – you can’t fake this.
  • We all have different roles all day, but at the end of the day, the golden rule applies to all of us.
  • Pray for others. Pray for those we are serving.
  • Pray for yourself, pray for wisdom, success, opportunities. He makes them happen, but you have to be willing to do it. Pray, “Lord if it is not of You, throw it out”
  • We can’t do all those things for others, if we can’t do this for ourselves. We can get that power from God.
  • Be prepared, Success is when preparation meets opportunity.
  • Set boundaries, stand your ground.
  • Success isn’t just one thing, realize that success means different things in different places. Be flexible.
  • Love the Lord your God and Love your neighbor as yourself.
  • Success, you have to be disciplined and aligned with Biblical values.

 Marshall – Monday, November 10th

Problems addressed:

  •  Shortage of employment candidates for various job functions.
  • Some managers will not take appropriate business risks.
  • Managing the “bottom line” is often a difficult challenge.
  • PDI needs more engineers in order to introduce new products faster.
  • CBRT has a challenge of finding enough people and organizations to fund CBRT outreach costs.  We need more underwriters to fund our operating expenses.

 Grand Rapids – Tuesday, November 11th

Your Challenge:

  •  Identifying the blueprint
  • Identifying the gap – between now and where we want to be
  • Identifying the measures
  • Poor situational analysis – lack of internal honesty
  • Too attached to the business to let go / impede going to the next level
  • Too focused on quarterly results and not on long term results
  • Difficulty in creating a culture of empowerment
  • Difficulty identifying the end game
  • Lack of sustainability
  • Poor or lack of leadership or leaders
  • Great companies survive their leaderships / leaders
  • Lack of Passion
  • Lack of Planning
  • Lack of Execution
  • Poor Relationships
  • “If you died today, what happens to your business tomorrow”

The Solution:

  •  Put in outside board in place
  • Allow your board to develop and engage
  • Create great connectivity within the company
  • Define measures / track measures / publish measures
  • Link measures to pay / performance
  • Alignment of vision, mission, values……..all the way to performance reviews
  • Spend time building the blueprint a/k/a “the model” – see things 3 dimensionally
  • Understand the drivers of your blueprint /model
  • Measure your current state

The Take Away:

  •  Measure and audit
  • Visibility of vision, mission, values
  • Create contingency plans both operational and financially
  • Train the trainer – build upon those who are successful
  • Communicate in simple ways issues /problems / measures
  • Build positive relationships and end negative ones

 Grand Rapids – Thursday, November 13th


  • The lack of a Blueprint is indicative of a lack of appreciation for the future.
  • Beware of analysis paralysis, which can undermine the confidence to make decisions.
  • Over-engineering can be stifling, choking off opportunities for innovation, creativity and flexibility.
  • Don’t overlook the need to tend to people’s full scope of needs in our blueprinting – intellectual, physical, emotional and spiritual


  • Remember that a succession plan is just a success plan, without me, and without other current leadership team members.
  • Blueprints communicate our definition of success for our business KPIs, and for our customers, and our families and our life’s purpose.
  • Blueprints clarify our processes.
  • Remember to build-in margin, for innovation, creativity and flexibility.


  • A good blueprint is a good plan for how we will be making decisions in the future.
  • Our blueprint for relationship building defines our corporate culture, our personal standards, and our top priorities.
  • Whatever we measure receives our attention, so we must be prioritizing what we are measuring.
  • It’s easier to divvy up “stuff” than it is to divvy up relationships.  So people must be treated differently than things.
  • This topic is extremely relevant to parenting and family building.

 Detroit – Thursday, November 13th

Your Challenge:

  •  Training your team to be the next leaders
  • Letting go/surrendering control and responsibility to your team
  • Letting go and giving to God/die to self
  • Being vulnerable with others to create and strengthen relationships
  • Being open to the lessons and being tested as you grow yourself and the company.

The Solution:

  •  Having faith that God will guide your succession plan if the person you think will take over isn’t the one.  He will bring the right person if you seek His guidance.
  • Being mindful of God’s plan and watching Him show up in your life and business, rather than rigidly following our plan. Be flexible while being focused on Him.
  • Compete against yourself rather than others.

The Take Away:

  • God builds His kingdom out of our failures and challenges.
  • We appreciate the blessings after we experience the challenges and being humbled.
  • During the challenges, our faith is tested.  If we trust Him, the right outcome will occur.
  • God is present in the midst of adversity.
  • Succession comes through relationships.
  • Seek to be the best version of yourself.
  • Seek to follow your purpose as Christ reveals it to you.  This will have an impact on your business, family, and relationships especially when you duplicate it throughout your family and company.  Encourage others to be the best version of themselves an seek to follow their purpose as God reveals it to them.