November Challenges and Successes

For our November Round Table meetings, we held an open discussion on the topic of “What’s Your Biggest Challenge?” For your convenience, notes from the chapter meetings have been recorded below for you to review.

In our Round Table format, some virtual and some in-person, groups shared current challenges in the business environment that are arising out of the ongoing pandemic.  These challenges spill over into our personal lives as well.

Some are experiencing business growth and having throughput challenges and staffing needs

Others are facing challenges in acquiring business—especially consultants.  Engagements have been cancelled. It is hard to financially support CBRT when clients have been lost.

Some leaders report having lost employees during this time, creating lasting emotional and business effects.

Many are now encouraging their teams and reminding them that their activity today impacts the rest of the team down the road, even while we are very slow today on new prospects. The funnel of business takes a few months to trickle down.  Suggestions from groups include keeping the game face on and share success stories with the team to keep them motivated. 

Team building can be a challenge when workers are remote. 

Change and compliance are key issues.  Pandemic “rules” change periodically, and it may be difficult to assess the level of comfort people have with meeting in person. As with traffic rules, we need to learn to have faith in others on the road—trust that they will follow social norms to keep us safe.   We are challenged with keeping the workplace safe and clean to allow employees to feel safe. Those working in person have a power in collaboration that you’ll never get with the workforce at home. Some are finding that remote staffing can be efficient and work well, but some tasks are difficult to accomplish remotely.  There are varying degrees of fear, spiritual challenges, and we are working in an unusual environment that we’ve never dealt with before.  We need to work together to get through this and remember that the battle belongs to the Lord.

Accelerated pace of change in many areas—constant change and state of flux.

There are challenges in convincing CEOs to accept the new reality and develop communication models that work today.  In the near time we must develop virtual skills and platforms to accommodate possibly not going back to office before July 2021.

We struggle with being seen as a priority by clients—selling in the new world.  We must keeping communication flowing, give our clients interim structured steps that they can do, instead of asking for immediate POs or moving towards a quick close, which may result in no gains whatsoever and you get nothing as the weeks go by.  Our job is to move people forward, always selling.  Even if it is through baby steps. 

Think of clients in the Filter System—profile client more than ever to determine their current business status.  1.  Are you doing business as usual through COVID?  2. Are you pushing work into next year?  3. Are you pushing back work indefinitely?  4. Are you mitigating risk by doing something today to stay afloat (baby steps)?

More Key Ideas from our Round Tables:

  • How to lead another leader who is not directly accountable to you
    • Use the process of self-discovery by asking questions to guide them.
    • Be bold and blunt when necessary.
  • How to handle when the team pushes back to change.
    • Soft sell with encouragement.
    • Establish and reinforce the Core Values.

As a reminder, our next Leadership Events are scheduled to be Virtual and Global, for maximum impact.  Please save the following dates:

February 26, 2021 Virtual Leadership Event

March 19, 2021:  Annual Summit

April 16, 2021 Virtual Leadership Event with speaker Brig Sorber (Two Men & A Truck)

If you are unable to attend, subscribe to our YouTube channel where you can review all past event presentations. Be sure to turn on your notifications so that you are the first to know when Ron Kitchens’ presentation is available!

Due to ongoing Michigan pandemic response, our December Round Table groups will meet Virtually, via GoToMeeting.

Join us at an upcoming Round Table meeting!  RSVP to to receive a meeting link.

Impact in the Community

In the October Round Table meetings, we discussed the topic of “Providing Impact in the Community.” For your convenience, notes from the chapter meetings have been recorded below for you to review.

As a reminder, our next Virtual Leadership Event will take place Friday, November 6 via GoToWebinar, and will feature Ron Kitchens, Senior Partner & CEO of Southwest Michigan First. He will be speaking on “Preeminence: Characteristics of High-Performing Organizations.” Spaces are limited, so click here to RSVP for this FREE event, compliments of our generous sponsors!

If you are unable to attend, subscribe to our YouTube channel where you can review all past event presentations. Be sure to turn on your notifications so that you are the first to know when Ron Kitchens’ presentation is available!

The October Round Table notes are below:

  • What should be the impact of business leaders in their communities?
  • What are ways that leaders can enable their employees to serve and make an impact in their communities?
  • What opportunities are available in your community?
    • United Way, Chamber of Commerce, church groups, etc.
    • Brainstorm and share ideas of what you’re doing.

Birmingham Group – Thursday:

Key ideas:

  • Make a list of people to reach out to. This might be employees, customers, suppliers, friends –and their families. “Just checking on you.”
  • Word of love.
  • Pay it forward.
  • Encourage hope and trust God.

Kalamazoo Group – Friday:

Key ideas:

  • One of the primary community opportunities is within your own family–preparing your kids to be a positive impact on the world.
  • Be a beacon of care, compassion and love.

Additional points:

  • Do the work (without boasting and bragging) and note the motivation for the action.  Like Samaritans’ Purse—let people know that our love for Christ makes us willing to do work and help to better our communities. Make a Connection to racial/social injustice as a Bible-believing Christian—when I am seen pushing for this effort it turns heads and gets a little more attention.  Bring a Biblically- based/balanced Christian perspective.
  • Remember that things are a little different than last year.  Isolation, depression, anxiety fear, suicide rate increase.  What have you have done in the past, and how will you change your community service activities in today’s environment? Change has occurred, we are more detached, so how do we get more engaged in our communities moving forward?
  • As employers and leaders we can enable employees to serve & make an impact in their communities. Look at leadership relative to employee well-being.  Gallop research shows community is just one of 5 aspects of well- being (engagement and connectivity). What are we doing to foster that?  Time off for community service, supporting work/life balance, other tactical solutions in the context of taking care of our people.  There is a tremendous emotional impact of current events on our communities, driven by fear.  Be aware of the services provided in your community.  Know what existing programs might help your own employees. Local food bank, church programs, help cut through red tape and connect them with what they need–don’t need to reinvent the wheel.   Provide hope, identify issues.
  • Consider reaching out to Habitat for Humanity, March of Dimes, Gospel Mission (serving Thanksgiving dinners).  Shelter and food are some key needs. Samaritan’s Purse is phenomenal and projects Christ in the community.  Volunteer for CBRT.
  • Though our municipalities vary in size, we all have some similar needs. Unemployment is off the charts. Look internally:  what is the condition of your employees and their families?  Have a listening ear regarding meeting the needs of those closest to us. Be proactive in giving extra days off, sending food, ministering to sick employees, send notes to them.  If our employees are not cared for, it makes it harder for them to reach out beyond our companies. Focus on others’ problems—that takes your mind off your own problems. Focus your passion to help someone else helps your soul.  Find a way to tie to your company’s Mission/Vision/Values to your outreach.  This will engage employees and fosters greater passion.  Help them look beyond their own needs and contribute to the meeting of other people’s needs. Ask how your outreach in the community reflects your company’s values.  There is no shortage of opportunities—the harvest is plentiful, but workers are few—use whatever gift you have received to serve others.  Create your own pay it forward story. You will be richly rewarded for the gift you give to someone else during these times of challenge.  Take action:  Identify what we are aligned with and move forward to make a difference.  Have the courage to implement a plan to bring it to reality.  Oxygen mask concept:  We are no good to others until we put our own mask on first.  Care for the well-being of your employees to allow them to serve elsewhere.   

Join us at an upcoming Round Table meeting!  Several groups are working to begin meeting in-person and/or as a hybrid of in-person and virtually. For more information or to RSVP:

The Road to Recovery

In the June Round Table meetings, we discussed the topic of “The Road to Recovery.” For your convenience, notes from the chapter meetings have been recorded for you to review.

As a reminder, our next Virtual Event will feature Bryce Harbaugh, Co-Owner of Midwest Management Systems, on July 24th. Bryce will be speaking on “How Serving Others Equals Success in Business & in Life.”  Spaces are limited, so click here to RSVP!

If you are unable to attend, subscribe to our YouTube channel where you can review all past event presentations. Be sure to turn on your notifications so that you are the first to know when Bryce’s presentation is available!

The June Round Table notes are below:

Kalamazoo Round Table (Thursday)

How do we get our people back?

  • Company survey to review employee’s feelings on returning to work.
  • For one company, less than 20% of employees feel safe to come back to the office. Out of 160 employees, only 15 want to come back — in spite of being a predominantly young company. How do we encourage our people to return to a routine and still respect their concern?
  • Many are wanting to stay home indefinitely. When employees were asked what their concerns were, some admitted that it had nothing to do with COVID but that they simply liked working form home with the new-found flexibility.

Phases of bringing people back to the office:

  • Be as diligent as we can. Have answers for their concerns: protocols, timing, etc.
  • Plan for a “soft launch”: Don’t require them to come back right away. Simply allow it as an option.
  • Consider hybridizing between working from home and working from the office.
  • Offer flexibility on their time in the office. Remember, one of the draws of working from home is the flexibility and the ability to arrange their work day as they want to.

How do we maintain company culture through Covid:

  • Foster collaboration
  • Virtual happy hours
  • Virtual trivia nights
  • Rest on core values to drive your strategy.
    • Make your client’s experience one of your core values. It doesn’t matter whether that experience is virtual, in person, at home, or at the office. As long as employees are embracing that value, they will provide a great experience to your clients regardless of where they are.

What other challenges have presented themselves as we try to move back into the workplace?

  • Business has fundamentally changed. Many businesses have had to shift their focus to areas of the market that were not initially their primary targets.
    • For instance, some companies had an increase in demand in products that were not initially their bread and butter product (such as waffle makers). Other companies have switched to making PPE. Will that demand continue? What consumer behavior will remain and what behavior will change after COVID?
  • How do we tackle the work we’ve taken on to survive during the crisis while also getting back to the work we were doing before?
  • Some companies have moved from wholesale to retail which changed the work flow and process for them, but has been positive in terms of business.

How does our faith support and guide those challenges that we’re facing?

  • Our faith is our only source of stability right now.
  • This situation has allowed faith and religion to become more common in workplace discussions. Prior to Covid we could only demonstrate our faith through actions, but now we have more opportunities to share with words.
  • Changes in personal faith: previously tended to say “this is what I have, this is what I’m doing. Lord please bless it.” Now we’re asking “What do You want from me today? Where do You want me to spend my time?”
  • We cannot possibly predict what will come next. It is faith only that will carry us through.


  • Understanding that we should not shape our own plans and simply ask for God’s stamp of approval. We must leave ourselves open to God’s leading.
  • God is going to use this situation, but we have to listen, watch, and learn.
  • Digging deeper into the reasons people want to stay remote and figure out if that will be part of the change.
  • None of us have the ability to know how this will turn out. We’re all in the same boat and there is some comfort in that.

Kalamazoo Round Table (Thursday)

What new challenges or opportunities have developed for you or personally in these last 3-4 months during quarantine?

  • The lockdown has provided more time to work on writing and creating new materials.  
  • Taking time to reflect and exercise some self-awareness.
  • Focusing on becoming who we need or want to be in the future rather than simply staying the same.
  • New opportunities for growth for industries such as financial advising, securities, technology, etc.
  • This situation has forced us to utilize technology that we always had access to but never pursued.  
    • One member who works with people with disabilities said their organization was forced to quickly create an online sales platform, adapt to virtual case management, and finding ways to support their clients long-distance. The quicker this can be done, the better.

How have you changed your business model? Will they be long lasting or short term?

  • Remote work will continue long term. This may lead to businesses getting rid of their offices to save funding or simply because they don’t need them anymore.
  • How do we network in this new world?
    • Virtual meetings
    • Send a Starbucks gift card and tell them to enjoy the coffee on me.
  • In the short term, our business models have all changed, but it will need to remain fluid with the governor dictating what is allowed.

What are some of your fears in the midst of this?

  • Many people are losing their jobs.
  • Fear that the governor will not let us re-open.
  • Uncertainty on whether our clients will be back once we reopen.
  • With unemployment being so high and businesses being shut down, there is a concern over how young people fresh out of college will get hired for work experience.
  • Will the small businesses make it? They’re the lifeblood of our economy.
  • Social media has become so divisive. There are no peace makers.
  • Fear is a part of our life. We must combat it with more time in prayer and relying on each other. Be thankful in all things.
  • Challenge: discover what you can be more thankful for: kids, wives, husbands, families, relationships in business, running group, fellow employees, staff members, technology etc. He has and will continue to provide for us in this time.

What are some of the positives?

  • The emphasis on personal relationships. Learning what is really important to us. Increased relationships with family members, friends, neighbors etc.  
  • It is breeding creativity and adaptability.
  • A newfound respect for teachers from parents. Parents had lost respect for teachers but now, with the homeschooling, they’re realizing just how hard of a job it is.

How do we come alongside others during this time?

  • Reach out to friends, family, colleagues to simply ask them how their doing.
  • Social media has been a blessing and curse:
    • Cons: there is been a huge divide that has been exacerbated by social media. As Christians, we need to reach out and try to bridge the gap through helping others and sharing positive posts on our pages.
    • Pros: It has kept us connected through lockdown and has even had a huge hand in helping local businesses.  It has been a valuable avenue in promoting takeout availability from restaurants. People have been organically trying to support the businesses that have suffered.

Join us at an upcoming Round Table meeting! RSVP to

Leading & Managing Through Crisis: The Path Forward

CBRT Teleconference Forum Notes

“Leading & Managing Through Crisis: The Path Forward”

April 24, 2020


Paul Brinks, President & CEO of Koops, Inc.

Paul Hindelang, President of Results Systems Corporation

Jason Walther, President & CEO of Walther Farms

Jamie Clark, President & CEO of Clark Logic


Panel Topic 1: What can businesses do to get through this crisis?

  1. Determine whether or not your business is considered essential. Who do you serve? Are any of your customers or clients considered essential?
  2. Establish strong communication with your customers/clients. Call them to ensure that you understand what they are going through. This will accomplish two things:
    • It will help you to determine whether or not they will remain a customer during and/or after this crisis. Do they have the funds to continue buying your product? Will they still be in business at the end of this? Without checking in with them, you may be surprised to find out 90 days from now that you don’t have any customers.
    • Secondly, reassure your customers that they can rely on you for their supplies/services. Communicate what safeguards you have in place to protect the supply chain.
  3. Determine what areas will provide the most revenue. All industries are being affected differently. For instance, the food industry has seen a decrease in demand for products sold to restaurants, but an increase in demand for snack foods, potatoes, potato chips etc. Focus your efforts on the areas that will ensure cash flow.
  4. Get online. Prioritize this if you do not already have the ability to do online transactions
  5. Be innovative. Look for the opportunities in the midst of this crisis.
  6. It’s all about relationships. The relationships we build today are going to be what carries us forward.
  7. Continue on with business as usual as much as possible.


Question from Attendee:

Question: My company is a lighting & engineering firm. Since the shutdown, we have started producing PPE materials; however, we do not want to become known for that. How can we take this opportunity without losing our reputation as a lighting & engineering firm?


  1. Clearly communicate your intentions to your customers. Establish that you are doing this temporarily.
  2. Protect your brand. Keep the original brand and mission in front of your customers.
  3. Watch your money flow. If you invest heavily into PPE and your customers start purchasing those supplies from you, you will be in the PPE business whether you want to be or not. Monitor your money flow closely to determine if you are getting too far off track.


Panel Topic 2: Revenue

  1. Determine which projects have the highest margin. Focus all of the energy in your company on that work.
  2. Consider liquidating inventory items. Sell it for immediate cash needs.
  3. Prepay contracts if possible.
  4. Agriculture has been in recession for 5 years, at least. It has forced companies to find every possible way to reduce fixed cost. So, even before the pandemic, that was a big priority. We budget, watch the cash flow very closely — at least monthly.
  5. In order to receive revenue, you must put the billings out there.


Panel Topic 3: Billings & Accounts Receivable

  1. Review your Accounts Receivable. Categorize them into three categories: A, B, & C.
    • The “A” accounts are those who will likely pay on time.
    • The “B” accounts are those accounts that you aren’t quite sure about.
    • The “C” accounts are those who are high risk. Work on the high risk accounts immediately to get as much cash from them as you can because, if they’re not in business 90 days from now, you may not get anything from them. Try to get as much out of them as you can while they’re still in business.
  2. Put tools in place to fully understand your cash flow. Review your customers billings from the stand point of 30, 60, 90 days so that you fully understand where the cash will or will not be.
  3. Know where your break-even point is. Look at this once or twice a month.
  4. Have a strong team behind you.
    • There is a completely different emotional behavior in AP vs. AR. Your team must be able to wear two hats. First, they must put on their hat to try to collect AR, then put on their AP hat which is deferring payments.
    • Take a team approach. Sales, business development, etc. all have different contacts and relationships with the customers.
  5. Strive for a commitment from the customers. Any commitment. For instance, the customer may be late, but can they pay half in 30 days? What about 20% this week? We may not get 100% of what we’re after, but something is better than nothing. Just continue to be sensitive to your customer’s cash flow needs, while communicating yours as well. Note that this is not something you can do on a monthly basis. In some circumstances, you may need to contact customers weekly or even daily.
  6. Utilize technology to help communicate and maintain timeliness.
  7. Stay calm. Have compassion. Remember that on the other end of the line is a person dealing with the exact same thing you are.
  8. Be flexible and creative. If you’re in real estate and a tenant can’t pay for the next 3 months, consider extending their lease by 3 months.
  9. “Proper preparation prevents poor performance.”


Question from Attendee:

Question: How can/should we be handling the government’s very one-sided response to COVID-19?

Answer: Koops, Inc. has a daily meeting to discuss all of these topics. We’re focusing on staying informed. What is the recent legislation coming out of Lansing? How can we work with our legislators? When appropriate, we have talked with them, sat in on webinars, and are trying to form a partnership with the government.


Panel Topic 4: How can we avoid layoffs?

  1. Consider reducing work hours. For instance, Koops, Inc. has reduced their hours from an average of 45-50 hours per week down to 36-40 in order to spread out the work and conserve. You may need to shift roles a bit to keep people busy, but this will help to keep the balance of protecting livelihood and health.
  2. Don’t make emotional reactions today. Stay calm and look long term. Don’t alter your company culture as a result of all of this.
  3. Clark Logic experienced something similar last April when two of their biggest customers decided to make changes. We can’t do anything about that. It was looking as we were going to have to lay off employees at that time, but we decided to reduce their work rather than laying them off completely. Remember, there are 26 million American’s laid off through this… Put your people first.
  4. Make sure your team is working on productive activities that will generate revenue in order to keep your company viable long term. Most people are not used to working from home and being self-starters, so it is very important to require your people to keep a record of their time. Have them record the date, time, and the amount of time they are spending on the particular activity. Is that activity billable or is it internal? This allows them to track themselves on whether or not the activity is truly beneficial.
  5. Review your processes. Look for opportunities to improve your organization. You may find that certain processes should not continue and should be eliminated when this is over.
  6. Automate as much as possible.
  7. Some businesses are starting their PPP program, but their people are not being productive or do not have any work. Is this viable long term?


Takeaways & Input from Attendees:

  1. There has been a lot of talk today about maintaining communication with your clients and suppliers. Do not forget about your banker. Make sure they understand exactly what you’re doing, your business model, and tactics you’re using to manage and work your way through this. If there is anyone who doesn’t like being surprised, it’s a banker.
  2. Many people are struggling with managing their employees remotely. My team is remote already. As a leader, you have to know your deliverables. You will be able to see whether or not your team is being productive.
  3. This circumstance is like a wakeup call to all of us. 1 Thessalonians 5:2 tells us that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. In the same way, no one was ready or prepared for this. It shows that we need to strengthen our business practices if we haven’t already.
  4. Be creative. Status quo is not good enough anymore. We must be creative to evolve our business to the next level.
  5. Focus on viable work. One attendee has a customer who owes them a lot of money and has gone silent. Now they have to make the decision on whether or they should continue work on that customer’s product. We all must keep on an eye on these sorts of clients and make sure we don’t continue to throw money at an account when it is unlikely that we will be paid.
  6. Maintain the culture. In these situations, you can get a really good understanding on which members of your team really get the culture.


CBRT will be hosting another FREE teleconference forum on May 29th. Our topic will be “Current Challenges & Future Opportunities: The Road To Recovery.” If you would like to attend, please RSVP to Christa Moxon at If you would like to sponsor the event, please visit our website for more details. We look forward to having you join us! 

The How & Why of Leadership Development

In the June Round Table meetings, we discussed “The How & Why of Leadership Development.”

As a quick reminder, our next Leadership Event will feature Bill Kieffer, President & Chief Advisor of Kieffer & Associates, on August 16th at the University Club. Bill will be speaking on “Dealing with the Unexpected in Business & in Life.”  Click here to register and save your seat!

If you are unable to attend, subscribe to our YouTube channel where you can review all past event presentations. Be sure to turn on your notifications so that you are the first to know when Bill’s presentation is available.

Below are the notes from the June Round Table meetings.

Plymouth Round Table

Q1: Why Do We Need Good Leaders?

  • We need leaders to provide direction and focus.
  • They provide the necessary guidelines for the team.

Q2: What Traits Make a Good Leader?

  • Decision makers
  • Strategic thinkers
  • Visionaries
  • Absolute integrity
  • Strong ethics/values
  • Courageous
  • Influential
  • Accept ownership/responsibility
  • Good communicators
  • Support the team

Q3: Can Everyone Be a Good Leader?

  • Not everyone possesses the skills to be a good leader. Similarly, not everyone wants to have the responsibility/ownership that goes along with leadership.
  • However, everyone should strive to be a leader within their area of involvement and skill set.

Q4: How Do We Develop Good Leaders?

  • Lead by example to clearly communicate the desired leadership style.
  • Clearly communicate the leadership objectives.
  • Demonstrate steadfast support for the leaders that you are developing.
  • Do not belittle well-intentioned mistakes, offer understanding and support.
  • “Ask, don’t tell. Show, don’t yell.”

Q5: Does it Take a Good Leader to Develop Another Good Leader/s?

  • Yes – If the person developing the future leader is apathetic or lacks integrity, the new leader will follow-suit.

Q6: How Important is Coaching? What Works Better, Rewarding Good Behavior or Punishing Bad Behavior?

  • Coaching and nurturing are very important to leadership development. We should be focused on the success of the future leader, which will result in the success of the team. Positive reinforcement yields far greater success and reduces the fear of failure. However, it is the responsibility of all leaders to quickly recognize a subversive person who is not committed to successful leadership practices, or a person who is not capable of meeting the leadership situation that they are in, and remove them from that situation for the good of the team.


  • It is always important to remember that we are supposed to do God’s will, leading as God would want, which may be in conflict with our personal style or business goals. We will all have to answer to God eventually for our business practices.
  • Example: Henry Ford built a huge business empire at the expense of his family life and was generally perceived by society as curmudgeon and an un-loving father. While his business principles in-general were sound, how he executed them often left something to be desired.

Kalamazoo Round Table (Tuesday)

Q1: Why Do We Need Leadership Development?

  • For our teams:
    1. It is not realistic to expect someone to come in cold and immediately know how to lead. Stop focusing on your need for a leader and develop a leader.
    2. Leaders often become an island to themselves without focusing on developing their managers into leaders – but we can’t do everything ourselves. We must empower our teams to support us in facilitating growth, improving efficiency, and protecting the values, vision, and mission of the company.
    3. Developing our employees will improve employee retention. People often don’t realize their own potential and helping them to realize their ability is a gift in itself. Your employees will appreciate this investment and will likely extend loyalty to you and the company.
    4. This development will ultimately make our employees better leaders throughout society and this has the potential to change the world.
  • For ourselves:
    1. As a leader, “You have to work on the business not in the business.” But you must have time in order to do that. Remember, if you don’t have anything in your bucket, you won’t have anything to give.
    2. Being a leader is often isolating and can make it difficult for our personal development, but we must find those who can help facilitate our growth. We must seek out avenues for this through books, or at church, CBRT, etc.

Q2: How Do We Develop People?

  • There are many models that incorporate mentorship, training, seminars, DISC surveys, etc. But the most effective method is personalization. Spend time learning about your employee and asking a lot of questions. What are their goals and aspirations? What are their experiences?
  • Teach them how to analyze their failures and turn them into opportunities for growth. This can be done through sharing your own experiences of failure and demonstrating how you handled it.
  • Once you have spent time developing and demonstrating to them what you expect from them as a leader, you must give them opportunities to practice. Give them more responsibilities starting first with low risk projects and increasing from there.
  • Remember that leadership development is like a garden: you must plant, fertilize, water, weed etc. in order to receive the harvest. It is the same of our employees. Nurture, develop, and cultivate.


  1. Be purposeful & proactive
  2. It takes a lot to develop a leader – we must be comfortable with difficult conversations
  3. Your investment is worth the time & risk
  4. We must be the leader we expect them to be
  5. Take a chance on someone

Kalamazoo Round Table (Thursday)

Q1: What Are You Doing to Develop Yourself? 

  1. Seek out mentors
  2. Attend CBRT and other similar groups
  3. Read books
  4. Read Scripture
  5. Seek out feedback
  6. Spend time on self-reflection & awareness
  7. Practice self-leadership
  8. Identify something that scares you and go at it. Get out of your comfort zone.

Q2: Why Leadership Development?

  • Leadership development is essential for the health of our companies. We can’t grow and sustain that growth on our own. We must build strong, lower-level leaders throughout the company to help support our vision & mission.
  • Unfortunately, many mistakenly think that seniority equals competency in leadership. The two are not synonymous. Most people lack the understanding of what leadership actually entails, so it is our job to teach them no matter how long they have been with the company.

Q3: Is Leadership a Skill or Innate?

  • Influence seems to be innate; however, everyone can be developed. Some simply have a cap on how far they can or want to go. They may not end up being a leader of the company, but they can be developed into a leader in their sphere.
  • We must have a workplace culture where we value the development of all employees.

Q4: Can Everyone Be a Leader?

  • We often apply the term “leadership” to a specific role, typically in a company.  However, everyone is/can be a leader somewhere whether it’s at work, home, church, community, etc. Everyone has that potential and we must tap into it. Our goal should be to develop our employees into excellent leaders, wherever that may be applied. In turn, this will make them into better employees.
  • Focus on their strength and manage around their weakness.  Find what motivates them.

Q5: How Do We Implement This?

  • The main issue is time.  Most executives do not have the time to sit around thinking about leadership development, but someone needs to be. Someone needs to be thinking about how to implement the following:
    1. A leadership training program
    2. Coaching/mentorship
    3. Opportunities for them to practice what they’ve learned in the training programs


  1. Never underestimate the abilities of your employees. Everyone can be a leader with proper nurturing.
  2. Be thoughtful & intentional.
  3. Know where the ceiling is for each employee and recognize their coachability.
  4. When our team fails, it ultimately falls on us as the leader.

Kalamazoo Round Table (Friday)

Q1: Why is Leadership Development Necessary?

  • To improve efficiency, we must be intentional about developing those key performance indicators or traits that we expect from our employees. Additionally, we must develop them in a way that aligns them with our company values and mission.

Q2: What is the Difference Between Leader & Leadership?

  • A leader gathers followers
  • Leadership develops those followers into more leaders

Q3: What Does Leadership Development Mean?

  • Cannot simply state your vision, mission, & values. The younger generation wants to know how those actually apply to your business practices. What is the practical application of those values?
  • We must coach for application
  • Example: Lou Holtz
    • People want to know the same things: Can I trust you? Do you care about me? Are you committed to excellence?

Q4: How Do You Develop Them?

  • Mentorship
  • Provide opportunities to practice
  • Allow people to fail
  • Role play
    • Teach them how to apply the values
    • Share your mistakes
  • Get away from the superman mentality. Share your failures for others to learn from.

Birmingham Round Table

Q1: What is Contained Within or Meant by Leadership Development?

  • Training new leaders
  • Communicating good performance
  • Identifying leadership qualities
  • Reaching out to people
  • Empathy
  • Patience
  • Remembering that people are different
  • Being able to see beyond the metrics

Q2: Why is Leadership Development Necessary? Aren’t Leaders Just Born?

  • Schooling doesn’t necessarily teach management or leadership skills. Use continuous positive reinforcement to encourage the behaviors/traits that you desire.
  • Need to understand people and the influences from their outside life.

Q3: How Should an Organization Develop Their Leaders? Who is Responsible? Who Does the Development? When Should It Be Done?

  • An organization may have a checklist of “laws” or policies, but it is the job of those in leadership to explain those laws, and educate and inspire the employees. Leaders must provide the purpose or “the why” behind policies and decisions.


  • Live it, experience it, apply it. It is not about rules, laws, and lists.
  • Empower people to become more than their job so they can live a balanced life.
  • Learn, master, change.

Join us at an upcoming Round Table meeting where we will discuss the “Vacation: Managing Time Off In An On Demand World.” RSVP to


Employee Engagement: A Key to Employee Retention

In the May Round Table meetings, we discussed the topic of “Employee Engagement: A Key to Employee Retention.” For your convenience, notes from each chapter meeting have been recorded for you to review.

As a quick reminder, our next Leadership Event will feature David Beatty, Vice President of Finance & Administration at Weldaloy, on June 21st at the Birmingham Country Club. David will be speaking on the topic of “Confronting & Overcoming Fear.”  Click here to register and to save your seat!

If you are unable to attend, subscribe to our YouTube channel where you can review all past event presentations. Be sure to turn on your notifications so that you are the first to know when David’s presentation is available.

Below are the notes from the May Round Table meetings.

Plymouth Round Table

Q1: What are some ways to get employee engagement?

  • Does not boil down to money
  • Purpose & volunteerism engages
  • Facing the problem now of even finding any candidates

Q2: Does employee engagement influence retention? How?

  • Yes, but most people really need more training, not necessarily gimmicks.

Q3: What steps can employers take to cause employees to be fully engaged?

  • Better training
  • Environment / Workspace
  • Communication

Birmingham Round Table

Q1: What are some ways to get employee engagement?

  • Engagement – is different for each grade level (i.e. Millennials differ from older employees who look to employer for entire benefit needs).
  • Complete ownership of their job.

Q2: Does employee engagement influence retention? How?

  • Job satisfaction – freedom, challenge
  • Job significance – leadership training, culture, certification, guild model
  • Job security – wages, benefits
  • Engaged employees also attract customers.
  • Help employees find their way.

Q3: What steps can employers take to cause employees to be fully engaged?

  • Breakdown in agreed-upon leadership causes people to leave.
  • Need careful and complete rollout in explanation of benefits program.
  • People leave their leader not their job.
  • Establish clear mission & give people purpose.

Kalamazoo Round Table (Tuesday)

What is Engagement?

  • Trust
  • Commitment
  • Finding programs that interest your employees
  • Having people who are not asleep at the wheel
  • Open and quality communication
  • We must listen to our employees and their ideas
  • People want to feel part of the team/ that they belong
  • Align your mission with their goals.

Examples/Ways to Improve Engagement:

  • Know their name
  • Ask questions
  • Book: Dream Manager
  • Engagement doesn’t have to come through some big initiative
  • Management is caring for people
  • “Adapt, migrate, or die”
  • Good leadership has a trickle-down effect
  • On boarding: engage in the operation in spite of management.
  • Engagement comes through the investment of:
    • Time
    • Teaching
    • Management
  • Calculate time lost
    • Disengaged employees
    • Conflict
  • Food/Potlucks
  • CRC – Connect, Recommend, Commend


  • Trust
  • Investment of time
  • Everyone must share the ownership
  • Our words & deeds must match
  • Our employees must feel that they belong
  • Balance
  • Make your people smoke-jumpers
  • Equip others to lead/engage

Kalamazoo Round Table (Thursday)

How Do We Define Employee Engagement?

  • The level of an employee’s emotional engagement toward their job.
    • Do they have a best work friend?
  • Trust given and received.
  • Tough for employers to engage emotion.
    • Some employees don’t pursue career advancement because they love their team, coworker, etc. and don’t want to leave their area.
  • Importance of conflict resolution.
  • Employer-Employee relationship has changed from giving orders to a coaching leadership style.
  • Deep root of industrial revolution mentality: “You’re here to have a job and that should be sufficient.”
  • No education on how to pursue & communication your passion or purpose.
  • HR is stuck in admin/clerical work.
  • Executives must have development as well, not only mid level managers.
  • Assumption that high level leaders got where they are because they must know best – but that is not always the case.
  • An employees good work may lead to a promotion, but are they a good leader?
  • Must be able to distinguish talent & skillset.
  • Strengths finder & explorer.

What Role Does Vision & Mission Play?

  • Articulate a simple and clear mission. This will:
    • Connect the employee to their job
    • Serve as a constant reminder of why they are there and why their job matters.
  • Be sure that you communicate stories of people fulfilling the mission.
  • Be sure that your benefits match your stated values. Do not say that you value family while you offer terrible family benefits.
  • Use your Core Values as a filter for business decisions.
  • Employees expect your investment.
  • Express love in your actions.

Kalamazoo Round Table (Friday)

What is Engagement?

  • Participation.
  • Related to Education / Skill.
  • Compare engagement to commitment/pledge.
  • Want people to see their value.
  • A highly engagement employee melds with the company – you no longer see the individual but the whole.

How Do We Implement This:

  • Make sure that your employees know how to do their job.
  • Pledge to make sure they are successful.
  • Utilize transparency / honesty.
  • Remember to fill in the blanks/ gaps in knowledge before they do.
  • Express the value of every member in your company.
  • Allow innovation.
  • Give constructive feedback on ideas.
  • Demonstrate respect.
  • Be available.
  • Thank them for being leaders and show them how they are leading.
  • Provide resources.
  • Humility goes a long way. Admit when you don’t know something.

Current Challenges:

  • Lack of spiritual influence on the younger generation which leads to employees having no bedrock values – constantly shifting their morals.
  • Bridging the generational gaps.


  • Start where people currently are.
  • Do not assume that employees know what to do and how to do it, or that they understand your direction, vision, mission, etc.
  • Be very clear with your expectations for them.
  • Approach each employee as an individual rather than a generational label.

Join us at an upcoming Round Table meeting. RSVP to

How to Be an Effective Leader in Business

In the April Round Table meetings, we discussed the topic of “How to Be an Effective Leader in Business.”

To continue this discussion, join us at our upcoming Leadership Event featuring Dave Turner, President of Vos Glass, on May 17th at the University Club of Grand Rapids. Dave will be speaking on the topic of “The Positive Influence of a Leader.”  Click here to register and to save your seat!

If you are unable to attend, subscribe to our YouTube channel where you can review all past event presentations. Be sure to turn on your notifications so that you are the first to know when Dave’s presentation is available.

Below are the notes from the April Round Table meetings.

Birmingham Round Table

Q1: What are some characteristics of an effective leader?

  • Courage
  • Confidence
  • Self-reflective
  • Humility
  • Patient
  • Consistency
  • Energy
  • Ability to communicate/ engage/ coach
  • Establish performance expectations
  • Integrity, truthful, trustworthy
  • Flexible
  • Acceptable
  • High standards – Quality

Q2: Who influenced you in leadership and what did they teach you?

  • Captain of team
  • Organization as a producer of leaders
  • cannot sustain company w/o new leaders

Q3: Do you have an example of how you demonstrate effective leadership?

  • Transparency


  • Pray
  • Study Word
  • Disengage
  • List Personal Goals
  • QSP

Lansing Round Table


  • Dwelling on the negative or problem
  • Reacting emotionally to an issue
  • Disrespecting their need to “process the process” – not just the decision, outcome or recommendation – AKA not being patient
  • Not realizing that the way you act and deal with uncertainty is exactly how your team will act
  • Losing trust due to lack of past honesty or consistency
  • Not maintaining values and calm in all situations
  • Pinning blame – not taking responsibility
  • Not being supportive of the team and the fact that they were trying their best
  • Tend to take things personally
  • Keep secrets or don’t tell the whole story


  • Remember Who is on the Throne and that it will all be FINE
  • Take responsibility and own you and your teams outcomes
  • Be honest and open
  • Don’t hide your faith and beliefs
  • Be consistent and be yourself
  • Don’t compromise your values
  • Catch yourself being emotionally reactive
  • Find others to encourage you (like CBRT!)
  • Have confidence and trust in your Christian leadership
  • Be patient in providing responses – even if the answer seems clear
  • Be outwardly grateful and show your gratitude both by letting your team know you are thankful for them but also being careful to craft your words and actions around being positive first
  • Live a godly life
  • Be open, truthful and honest
  • Take action – doing nothing is a decision
  • Show love
  • Don’t be afraid of personal relationships


  • Creating a journal of gratitude
    • Works with kids, couples or businesses
  • Challenge yourself in a year – write down 1,000 different things you are grateful for
  • Be consistent and be yourself
  • Surround yourself with encouraging believers
  • Be patient in providing responses – even if the answer seems clear

Kalamazoo Round Table (Tuesday)

What are the characteristics of a good leader?

  • Consistency of Character
    • Closely tied to trust and integrity
  • Vision
    • Being able to see where the company should and can go
    • Having the vision to know the company, what it can produce, where it can help in society, what will be the most effective etc.
  • Wisdom & Discernment
    • Knowing when to deliver bad news
    • Balances transparency with peace
  • Transparency & Vulnerability
    • Admitting faults or not having the answers
  • Influence
    • Having the ability to gather followers
    • Ties in all the other points of good leadership
    • Brings in an emphasis of actions over words.
  • “Leadership is not for sissies”
  • Directing People to Productivity
    • Helping others to reach their full ability
  • Awareness
    • Is anyone following? If not, why not?
    • Must be able to self-evaluate and adapt
  • Engagement / Active Listening
  • Self-Awareness
    • A strong leader must have a strong sense of self. Who am I? What are my goals, values, strengths, weaknesses, etc?
    • What behavior do you want to model?
  • Humility & Servant Leadership
  • Courage
    • It takes courage to hear criticism, to stand alone, and pursue purpose with passion.
  • A Leader Must Stay in a Constant State of Learning

How do we walk this out when we are overwhelmed?

  • Character must have the above qualities as a foundation.
  • Take the time for daily renewal of the mind in Christ.
  • Mentor, train, build up other leaders who can help bear your load.
  • Pause and pray.
  • Be careful of your words as a leader.
  • Practice humility before the Lord. Ask for strength and help when needed.

Kalamazoo Round Table (Thursday)

What is effective leadership?

  • Communication
  • Showing compassion for employees
  • Integrity: meeting your commitments
  • self-evaluation: be aware of your blind spots
  • Vision & Culture: Giving everyone a goal to work toward.
  • Authentic

What challenges prevent us from implementing?

  • The Overwhelm can cause even a good communicator to misstep.
  • Capacity.
  • Can we do everything? No. We need to delegate.
  • Exercising compassion and grace for each other.


  • Learn to read your people well
  • Full Focus Planner by Michael Hyatt
  • Replace your to-do list with calendar reminders to increase your accountability
  • Make time to think & reflect
  • The courage to say no is just as important as the confidence to say yes
  • Make sure you eat, drink, sleep, and rest to eliminate simple agitators
  • Delegation
    • We must balance when and where to get involved
    • Need to demonstrate trust but ensure that they have the tools to succeed
    • Allow them to pursue their role
    • The struggle is letting go of control. Think long term on the growth of the employee and the benefits of delegation, rather than on the immediate task.


  • What is the responsibility of the organization to help all leaders to become more effective?
  • Leaders, to be effective, must understand the view of their employees.

Grand Rapids Round Table (Tuesday)

A couple of interesting questions that stimulated the group were:

  • How are you demonstrating effective leadership in your position?  This made it personal.
  • How is effective leadership measured?  What is the result?
    • This one was compelling.  I concluded that effective leadership is the achievement of the vision and the legacy.  Consider Jesus and his legacy, the most effective leader of all time.


Join us for our May Round Tables as we discuss “Employee Engagement: A Key to Talent Retention.” RSVP to

Effective Talent Planning to Build a Great Team

In the February Round Table meetings, we discussed the topic of “Effective Talent Planning to Build a Great Team.”

As a reminder, our next event will be the annual Leadership Summit at the University Club of Grand Rapids on March 22, 2019 featuring Dave Kahle, President of Kahle Way Sales Systems. Dave will be speaking on the topic of “Overcoming the Overwhelm: The System is the Solution.” There will also be four additional speakers giving focused module presentations. Click here to learn more and to save your seat!

If you are unable to attend, subscribe to our YouTube channel where you can review all past event presentations. Be sure to turn on your notifications so that you are the first to know when the Summit presentations are available.

Below are the notes from the February Round Table meetings.

Plymouth Round Table

Q1: What basic characteristics are required for a great team?

It is essential to populate your team with the trustworthy members that are also team players.  Truthfulness, ethical/moral consistency, open-mindedness/acceptance, impartiality, engagement/support, reliability, and loyalty are all important base personality characteristics to help build a great team.

Q2: Getting the right mix of talented individuals on a team is crucial to success.  How do you find, develop, and keep them in such an interconnected/distracting world?

Finding the right team members from a large selection of candidates is difficult.  It is therefore crucial to have a robust/thorough/efficient interviewing process.  Known candidates minimize the risk of hiring regrets and can speed the team development.

Engaged/dedicated/talented employees like challenge and growth.  Challenging talented employees and giving them the freedom/support to excel is critical to their happiness.  Collaboratively developing a strategic growth plan, and regularly reviewing the employee’s progress with them, demonstrates your commitment to them and cements their dedication to the company.         

Q3: How do you deal with individuals or groups that are not team players?

If an employee, or group of employees, exhibit behavior not conducive to the team’s success, it must be addressed quickly.  This doesn’t necessarily mean termination or other severe punishment, as there may be be unknown reasons for the problem.  It is important that leadership try to understand the root cause of the issue and work collaboratively to solve it.

In some instances though, the offending individual/group may not be motivated or able to solve the issue.  When this happens, if you’ve tried in good conscience to solve the issue but just aren’t getting the respect/cooperation of the individual or group, the problem needs to be swiftly eliminated.  The longer a negative situation is allowed to exist, the more toxic it becomes to the team and organization.

Q4: Given the choice between sound character (integrity) and raw talent, which is most important for a great team?

Everyone agrees that sound character (integrity) must be chosen over raw talent, if a situation comes to that decision point.  Gifted (talented) individuals are sometimes not team players and don’t play well with others, creating a toxic situation within the team.  You stand a better chance of training a solid team player and growing their talent level, than trying to change the toxic behavior of a gifted loner.

Several examples were discussed by the group pertaining to this subject:

  1. A gifted employee was not a good team player and was a long-term difficult employee in general to deal with. A new V.P. was brought into the department and immediately recognized the problem, which was exacerbated because previous V.P.’s refused to address the issue through normal communication or performance reviews.  The new V.P. tried to work with the individual to correct the situation, but the individual was unwilling to change.  The company was a large, international organization so the V.P. had options other than termination at his disposal.  Much to the relief of the V.P. and his team, the individual was transferred, with a demotion, to a new department within the company, with the hope that the individual would have an awakening and prosper in their new position.  The moral and performance of the team immediately improved.
  2. The Owner of a manufacturing company allowed a toxic situation to develop within his company because he put his trust in a long-term employee who was his Operations Manager. This individual had moved-up through the ranks and was a gifted tool and die maker who demonstrated basic shop leadership ability. After advancing to a management role, he refused to embrace new company agendas or to fairly enforce company employee manual policies.  Many poor decisions were made by the Operations Manager by not enforcing the employee manual policies on “gifted” employees, allowing them to blatantly violate rules of conduct and performance.  The Operations Manager himself did not follow the company policies, setting a bad example for all.  Unfortunately, this situation was allowed to fester for several years, creating a toxic environment throughout the company, affecting company morale, performance, and profitability.  Eventually the company Owner recognized the gravity of the situation and brought in a General Manager, who recognized the toxic culture within the company and addressed the situation.  Unfortunately, several key “gifted” employees, including the Operations Manager, refused to correct their behavior and had to be terminated.
  3. The V.P. of a division had an employee that that was well respected and a strong team player, but was underperforming in some areas when he took over the division. When the V.P. performed an honest employee review with this employee, they became very emotional.  The V.P. discovered that no previous supervisor to this employee had never honestly discussed these shortcomings with the employee and the employee was not even aware of them.  The employee felt that they were doing a good job all along.  The V.P. developed an improvement plan with this employee, thereby saving a good team member and demonstrating to the team that the company supports their work force.

Comments were made by the group regarding the following characterizations of how Jesus handled situations:

  1. Jesus was kind, but not always nice in how he handled situations.
  2. Jesus wasn’t fair in how he handled situations, but he was always just.

Bible Guidance Regarding Using Our Talent:

  • “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” 1 Peter 4:10 ESV
  • “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16 ESV

Birmingham Round Table

Q1: What are the characteristics of desirable Talent?

  • Concern today that employees have sense of entitlement and arrogance beyond their ability.  Character is more important than skills.

Q2: Where can desirable Talent be found?

  • Find and select those that share the values of the company

Q3: What steps need to be taken? How?

  • Consider restoring the band with employees.
  • Cement a long term relationship with investment in their education and growth.

Q4: What can be done when talent doesn’t work out?

  • Ease them out as soon as possible.

Kalamazoo Round Table (Thursday)

Q1: What is an existing challenge in your organization?

  • Transition of leadership style from micromanagement to empowerment.
  • Management of volunteers.
  • Planning is Training.

Q2: What is the role of the customer/client in your talent planning?

  • Their needs and feedback help to define your business model.
  • This can include the danger of losing focus/growing too quickly.
  • Need to focus on your skills/expertise. When a customer’s needs are out of your skillset, bring in a partner/contractor to fulfill that need.
  • Talent planning includes your vendors/contractors.

Q3: How do you as a leader bring the staff, consultants, and vendors together into one plan? 

  • Understand what tools are at your disposal and how to best use them.
  • Be precise on what type of person you want in your company.
  • Emphasize character. Skills can be taught, character cannot. Your employees are the face of your company and how they present themselves can make or break your reputation.
  • Don’t stick to traditional interview questions. Ask strategic questions to understand their habits and character:
    • What does your typical work week look like?
    • What is a successful work week?
    • Do you use your phone as an alarm (this helps you to know how accessible they will be. Using a phone as an alarm means their phone is always on).
  • Other ways to assess character:
    • Don’t focus only on accomplishments/grades etc.
    • Review their social media pages.
    • Ask for positive and negative reference. No one is perfect. Even Jesus commissioned Peter who denied him three times.
  • Remember to hire the person, not the position.
  • Define your “attraction statement” or employer brand. This shows applicants who you are and what values you are looking for.
  • Leadership defines culture. They are constantly watched by those that they lead.
  • “Culture is what the leadership allows it to be.”
  • Communication is key.
  • Remember that everyone is working with themselves in mind. Lead people from within themselves. You can’t make them go where they don’t want to.
  • Book: Ideal Team Player

Join us for our March Round Tables as we discuss “Overcoming the Overwhelm in Business & in Life.” RSVP to

Lessons Learned When Trust is Broken & What it Takes to Rebuild It

In the January Round Table meetings, we discussed the topic of “Lessons Learned When Trust is Broken & What it Takes to Rebuild It.”

As a reminder, our next event will be the annual Leadership Summit at the University Club of Grand Rapids on March 22, 2019 featuring Dave Kahle, President of Kahle Way Sales Systems. Dave will be speaking on the topic of “Overcoming the Overwhelm: The System is the Solution.” There will also four additional speakers giving focused module presentations. Click here to learn more and to save your seat!

If you are unable to attend, subscribe to our YouTube channel where you can review all past event presentations. Be sure to turn on your notifications so that you are the first to know when the Summit presentations are available.

Below are the notes from the January Round Table meetings.

Plymouth Round Table

Q1: What drives people or groups to betray a trust?  Is it always intentional?

Drivers for betrayal: Greed, Jealousy, Laziness, Fear, Lust, Ego, Hate, Ignorance, Hidden Agendas, Not understanding what drives other involved parties.

Breaking of trust is often intentional, but not always. Unintentional breaches of trust can be caused by miscommunication, misunderstanding, fear of confrontation, and lack of leadership qualities.

Examples Discussed:

  1. How the news media is inconsistent with it’s message and reports skewed opinions instead of facts to promote their hidden agendas.  Nobody trusts the news media, they lack integrity.
  2. The cover up and lack of action regarding the sexual abuse by priests in the Catholic Church was a breach of trust with their members and the public in general.
  3. The general situation with regards to Washington DC politics. The rampant partisanship and blatantly disingenuous behavior by many politicians has created a situation of genuine mistrust of the government by the citizens that they are supposed to serve.

Q2: In what ways can trust be broken?

The breakage of trust results when an expected action or output does not occur, often repeatedly.

Typical ways that trust is broken: Lying, Disingenuousness, Cheating, Lack of Support, Apathy towards a wrong situation, Cowardess, Acceptance of wrong-doing.

Examples Discussed:

  1. Gillette’s “Toxic Masculinity” commercial attacks many traditional male values, basically stating that all all males with traditional values are guilty of discrimination or abuse of some type. This has left many traditional males feeling attacked for something that is blatantly false, on a very large/public stage, with no ability to defend themselves.  This unprovoked/unwarranted attack has broken any trust that many had with Gillette and the marketing media.
  2. Recently, the Boys Scouts of America have been under attack on many levels by the news media, again for instances of sexual abuse and for promoting traditional male values. This is just another example of a hidden agenda being promoted in a very public/disingenuous way by the news media, further eroding all trust in their values and what they report.

Q3: For trust breakages that you either caused or endured, that were able to be repaired, how were they repaired and how long did it take?

Often a genuine apology regarding your actions, with an explanation of why you took these actions, will repair a broken relationship.  The nature of the incident, the scope of the damage, and the commitment to forgive the slight all contribute to how long it will take to rebuild the trust.  There is no guarantee that the trust can be repaired.

Q4: For the trust breakages that you’ve endured or caused, that have not yet been repaired, is there a still a chance that they can be repaired?  Why or why not?

There is an old saying that “time heals all wounds”.  There is some truth to this in that, over time, the offending party has the ability to further demonstrate a change, support a position, or consistently take a course to rebuild the trust.  While we may not always be able to repair a broken trust, we often learn more about ourselves and others involved, further honing our beliefs/values.

Q5: We live in a world where trust at all levels is eroding or has disappeared altogether.  How do we prevent further degradation? How do we rebuild this within our families, communities, nation, & world?

If we all followed the directions/examples of God and Jesus, the world would not have trust/integrity issues.  Unfortunately, we do not.  To improve the world, we must be leaders.  We must understand and be true to our core Christian values and expect the same of others.  We must practice fairness, compassion, honesty, kindness, & forgiveness.  We must have the courage to support what is right and to fight what is wrong.  We must hold ourselves and others accountable to these high standards.

Examples Discussed:

  1. The fall of G.E. under the leadership of Jeff Immelt and the apparent apathy of the G.E. Board (and it’s lack of accountability for this).
  2. The falls of Sears and K Marts as retail giants.

Bible Guidance Regarding Building/Maintaining Trust:

Be Humble:

Be always humble, gentle, and patient. Show your love by being tolerant with one another. – Ephesians 4:2 (GNTD)

Offer Forgiveness:

Instead, be kind and tender-hearted to one another, and forgive one another, as God has forgiven you through Christ. – Ephesians 4:32 (GNTD)

Communicate Well:

Remember this, my dear friends! Everyone must be quick to listen, but slow to speak and slow to become angry. – James 1:19 (GNTD)

Have Patience:

Let your hope keep you joyful, be patient in your troubles, and pray at all times. – Romans 12:12 (GNTD)

Birmingham Round Table

Q1: What are some business examples that have elements of trust?

  • Customer
  • Supplier
  • Employees
  • Referrals

Q2: Is trust to be expected, given freely, earned, and recieved?

  • You must attempt trust, guarded as it may be.
  • Without showing trust, you will not receive it in return.
  • Reagan – Trust, but verify.

Q3: When trust is broken, can it every be restored? How?

  • Remain patient and open to repair.
  • Don’t be disrespectful, but be cautious.

Q4: Is there a trust relationship that you must work on? What process can be followed?

  • Trust is a process – Follow yours.
  • Create a formal process upfront to get a agreement of trust.


  • Discipline yourself
  • Eliminate the negatives
  • Avoid those with early signs of issues/ problems
  • Trust people

Kalamazoo Round Table (Tuesday)


  • When trust is broken, it tends to punish others. If you lose trust in one employee, it may damage your trust in others.
  • It brings out insecurity in the work environment – from boss to employee and vice versa.
  • It is challenging to rebuild.
  • We often do not talk about trust until it has been broken.
  • Often trust has not been broken, but it was never established in the first place.
  • What constitutes broken trust?


  • Book: The Speed of Trust
    • Trust is the accelerator. It streamlines operations
  • Trust is necessary to any relationship.
  • Lack of trust may really be a lack of confidence in someone’s ability.
  • Give trust – Even though it is a risk and takes courage.
  • Know your employees. Understand what you can expect from people.
  • Example: Kalamazoo Air Zoo.
    • New CEO set the tone for people to fail. He wants them to be innovative and try new things. Failure is necessary to our improvement.
    • Since he took over, they have had massive growth each year.
  • We must be authentic. Masks can cause distrust.
  • Stages of team formation:
    • Forming (Coming together)
    • Storming (Learning. Who you are, your style, role etc).
      • Most people fall off in this phase.
    • Norming (Finding your normal)
    • Performing
  • Build trust right away.
  • Use the DISC personality tests to understand your team members and how they prefer to be communicated with.
  • Jack Welsh: “Before we’re a leader, it’s all about growing ourselves. After we’re a leaders, it’s all about growing others.”
  • How do we teach our managers to lead?
  • Must have crucial conversations to avoid unnecessary misunderstandings.
    • Acknowledge their strengths before exposing their weakness.
    • Separate the task/failure from them as a person.
  • Communicate boundaries clearly for your employees.

Kalamazoo Round Table (Thursday)


  • Trust must be established at the first encounter.
  • Trust requires adequate communication.
  • Vulnerability – It is impossible to trust someone without knowing truly knowing them. Respect does not equal trust.
  • Trust piggy bank – you must deposit into the trust bank before you can take out.
  • In our society, we are used to trust being broken. This pattern is established by teachers, coaches, parents.


  • Establish your values and communicate them.
  • CEO of Airzoo:
    • Looks for an element of failure when hiring new employees.
    • Wants to see that people are taking risks and failing.
    • Instills the idea in his employees that failure is okay. We must fail in order to discover.
  • Give yourself and your employees permission to fail. It will protect against stress-induced mistakes.
  • Babe Ruth struck out more than he hit homeruns, but he is only remembered for his homeruns.
  • Encourage honesty / sharing bad news.
  • Trust is earned vs. Trust is given.
    • Slow vs. fast.
    • Trust is a fast currency.
  • We can only control our environment.
  • How do you recognize your employees?
    • Companies often wait to recognize their employees at the 5-10 year mark; however, an emphasis should be placed on the first year to encourage them to stay.
    • Ways to recognize: Additional PTO, gift card, salary raise, social media recognition, personalized gifts etc.
  • It starts with us first. We need to deal with our own issues, baggage, brokenness before we can trust others and expect them to trust us.
  • A leader is the thermostat and thermometer of their workplace culture. We set the tone.
  • How do you teach that to next gen of leaders?


  • Importance of Recognition.
  • You can extend trust, but cannot assume everyone has good discernment.
  • Share your war stories.

Grand Rapids Round Table (Tuesday)

Key Takeaways:

  • Radical candor
  • Bold vulnerability
  • Address issues promptly
  • Listen to your advisors.

Grand Rapids Round Table (Thursday)


  • Proceed carefully when assigning trust in the beginning because eventually you may find that you may have misjudged the offender from the start. Assuming that their character was good when indeed it was not.
  • Once trust has been broken, in order to go forward, transparency is a key element and a non-negotiable requirement for both parties.


Join us for our February Round Tables as we discuss “Effective Talent Planning to Build a Great Team” RSVP to

The Strategic Importance of Trust & How to Build It

In the December Round Table meetings, we discussed the topic of “The Strategic Importance of Trust & How to Build It.”

As a reminder, our next Leadership Breakfast will be at the Kalamazoo Country Club on January 18, 2019 featuring Michelle Mei, Chief Talent Officer at Momentum Development Group. Michelle will be speaking on the topic of “Effective Talent Planning is a Necessity in Building a Great Team.” Click here to save your seat!

If you are unable to attend, subscribe to our YouTube channel where you can review all past Leadership Event presentations. Be sure to turn on your notifications so that you are the first to know when Michelle’s presentation is available.

Below are the notes from the December Round Table meetings.

Plymouth Round Table

Q1: What are the characteristics that you value in a trusting relationship?

Truthfulness, Ethical/Moral Consistency, Open-Mindedness/Acceptance, Impartiality, Engagement/Support, Reliability/Loyalty.

Steadfast commitment by all parties to each other, regardless of the situation.

Commitment to amicable follow-thru/closure of relationship issues (lack of closure = anxiety in the relationship).

Q2: Does everyone view/define trust the same way?  Can it vary depending on the circumstance?

Trust is defined by the complex set of expectations that we have for a person or parties and can be very fluid.  We may trust someone in some ways, but not others, depending on how their capabilities and values meet your expectations.

Q3: How are trust and integrity synonymous?  What methods do you use to build trust in your relationships?

Trust and integrity are similar, but are not the same.  Integrity is defined as one’s reliable adherence to their ethical/moral principles.  Said another way, integrity is the knowledge that one will always do the right thing when no one is watching.  Trust, on the other hand, is sometimes a blind or forced condition based on circumstance.  We are often forced to trust someone or something because we do not have a choice.

Integrity builds/strengthens trust.  If we’re dealing with a person of integrity, we’re much more comfortable trusting them and this trust becomes stronger over time.

Various methods of building trust:

  • Taking a team approach to solving issues, vs. a dictatorial approach, fosters greater trust.
  • Being a consistent leader of integrity builds trust.
  • Ignoring politics in the pursuit of truth builds trust.
  • Demonstrate grace and forgiveness to our fellow man, as God does to us.

Q4: How long does it take to build a trusting relationship?  How long to destroy it?

As stated above, trust is sometimes forced by circumstance, which is a weak trust.  A strong trust can only be built over time.  Conversely, a trusting relationship can be destroyed almost instantly in the right circumstance.  However, if we are committed to maintaining a relationship and are willing to exhibit grace to others, a relationship can usually be saved and the trust rebuilt over time.

The following example was shared by one of the attendees:

The previous owners of a recently sold company had been using the same accounting firm for many years, with no apparent problems.  The new owner of this company was having trouble getting timely responses out of this firm, but wanted to continue using this firm for various reasons, if this issue could be corrected.  The new owner decided to give the accounting firm a second chance and met with the owner of the firm.  He was assured that this issue would be resolved by the firm owner, who wanted to be copied on all correspondence.  The relationship endured, but the same issues continued or got worse.  There was no explanation for the lack of improvement from the accounting firm owner, despite his being directly involved.  After the broken promises and apparent lack of concern by the accounting firm (and its owner), the good-faith trust displayed by the customer was destroyed and will result in the loss of future business to the accounting firm.

Q5: How does a lack of trust affect our personal and professional success?  The success of our church and country?

Without trust, progress/success is impeded because we feel that must protect ourselves.  Whether it is in our personal, church, or professional lives we simply cannot be as successful because of this distraction.

The current political climate within our great nation is a perfect example of how the lack of trust can stifle progress.  Our two major political parties seem willing to do anything to hinder or disgrace each other, at the expense of doing what is often obviously best for the country.  They do not trust each other and seem to often not trust even people within their own party.  Most people do not trust the news media to even fairly communicate the truth.  This total lack of trust breeds gridlock and eventually apathy, which severely limits our progress as a nation.

Q6: If a trusting relationship gets damaged, how do you repair it?  Is the repair process only one-sided?

Open/honest communication is crucial to creating, maintaining, and repairing a trusting relationship.  Depending on the circumstances, both sides may need to work to repair a damaged trust.  God wants us to forgive our fellow man through grace, as he forgives us for our sins.

Q7: What relationships need rebuilding or improving in our lives?

One attendee discussed their new neighbors, who seemingly want to avoid neighborly contact, to the extent that they don’t know their names and have never spoken to them (after several months).  They have repeatedly avoided friendly efforts to meet/speak, such as an invitation to the annual neighbor Christmas party and chance outdoor encounters.  Perhaps they are just extremely shy, or some other embarrassing circumstances are driving their actions.  Whatever the reason/s for their avoidance, they need to be given the benefit of the doubt until God places another opportunity to communicate and develop a trusting relationship.

Bible Verses Regarding Trust:

But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.  Proverbs 3:5-6

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”  Psalm 91:1-2

But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.  James 1:6 

Additional Takeaways for today:

Most humans are suspicious by nature, but want to trust each other.  The times that trusts are broken only promote this suspicion, supporting the policy of President Ronald Reagan: “Trust, but verify”.  The only person in history worthy of complete trust was Jesus Christ.

Because a strong trust can only be built over time (but quickly destroyed), the integrity of an individual, team, or nation are crucial to establishing and maintaining a strong trust.

The toxic atmosphere of distrust currently existing in our nation is a serious danger to us all.  The blatant lack of ethical behavior by many in government (and most of the news media) has destroyed most of the trust that may have existed toward them.  It is important that we fight this trend or we will suffer negative long-term consequences at the hands of our foes.  In the words of Founding Father John Dickinson, “United We Stand Divided We Fall.”

Birmingham Round Table

Q1: Why is trust needed?

  • Create confidence, courage, competency, delegation
  • Trust yourself, trust others – you can give freely and not hold back
  • Speed, accelerate

Q2: How do you create trust?

  • Extend it first, measure, affirm it, do your own.
  • Rotary
    • Honest
    • Fair
    • Loyal
    • Giving
    • Goodwill
    • Benefit to all

Q3: What happens with high trust relationships?

  • Sped, accuracy, confidence, innovation
  • Understand Frame of Reference
  • Personally responsible

Q4: What examples do you recall from low trust relationships?

  • GM, Lopez, Supply chain, Government

Takeaways for today:

  • Frame of reference
  • Extend trust first
  • Foundation

Kalamazoo Round Table (Tuesday)


  • The heart of business is people.
  • Trust is foundational to our success regardless of our department/industry.
  • We need trust to work well together and compete in our industry.
  • It is tough balancing our focus between customers and staff.
  • There’s risk involved in trusting people.
  • Trust can be broken in two different ways when we or our team members are not honest:
    • Integrity: Failure to follow through.
    • Competency: The inability to follow through.
  • It takes courage to admit our shortcomings and build trust.
  • Sometimes there will be failure. Building that trust between us and our employees will encourage them to be honest when they have made a mistake.


  • Everyone wants to trust and be trusted.
  • How do we become trustworthy? Through honesty and consistent follow through.
  • There are two types of trust:
    • Common trust
    • Vulnerability trust – Asking for help, accountability without fear.
  • Book: “5 Disfunctions of a Team.”
  • Book: “The Speed of Trust.”
  • Trust gives you the ability to do things quickly. It eliminates time spent in supervising and streamlines the operation.
  • We used to think the customer was most important, but our staff are actually the most important because they will be the ones taking care of our customers.
  • Remember that people are always watching. We must set the standard by “going first.”
  • It all starts with God – He always follows through.

Kalamazoo Round Table (Thursday)


  • What is the standard for a trusting relationship?
  • Does “Strategic” mean disingenuous?
  • Lack of self-awareness – What if a leader thinks he’s great at building trust, but is not?
  • Two types of trust: Character vs. Competency.
    • Character: Will you follow through?
    • Competency: Are you able to follow through?


  • 2 Priorities to build trust:
    • Be honest
    • Be vulnerable
  • Strategic trust should be innate/genuine.
  • Always be honest in order to build trust through consistency.
  • Practice Empathetic Listening:
    • Empty yourself when listening to someone. Be present and stay away from your work.
  •  Staffing HR:
    • Need Internal and External assistance.
    • Utilize HR while also considering outside consultants for fresh eyes.
    • Send your HR team to conferences/workshops outside of the company
  •  Generational divides:
    • Remember that all people are the same at their core, but their behavior manifests differently.
    • Figure out your employees preferred communication method.
  • Use employee engagement surveys.
    • Be sure to address any negative feedback. Do not simply explain it away.

Kalamazoo Round Table (Friday)


  • What is trust?
    • A shared understanding on something / a scenario
    • Showing genuine care
    • Sharing interests
    • Supportive
    • Mutual respect for each other
    • Trust doesn’t grow overnight
    • It takes patience and grit
    • It’s the foundation for everything
    • It takes a lot of time
    • It’s not given, it’s earned by consistently doing what you say you’re going to do
    • Having confidence in someone
    • Putting time and effort into it – it takes discipline
    • Our ethics fade when we’re under stress/pressure
  • We live in a disposable world where we’ll throw people out if they break trust


  • We need to become intentional about building trust and to make a concerted effort to keep it top of mind
  • Value others above yourself
  • Dial in on each individual – care about them more than yourself
  • We need to be more vulnerable
  • Cast a vision demonstrating trust – consistently doing what we say we’re going to do – continually do and show
  • Notice your people and explain that you trust them
    • Tool to give feedback:
      • When something is off, remind them that you trust them and that lately your behaviors/actions have not aligned with that trust then ask what’s going on and if they are OK.
      • Show you care in grace and truth.
      • Is there anything you can do to help?


  • We have to put in the effort first and to “extend the olive branch”
  • We want to get to the next level of trust: trustworthiness (most genuine)
  • It starts with doing the right thing and then showing why we’re doing it
  • We have to allow failure and follow through with consequences
  • Trust is built in training, not while you’re “in the fox hole” / “under fire”
  • Trust means having a shared understanding of a component or scenario and that we support one another and choose to move forward together
  • It’s all about building trust
  • More power = more responsibility
  • It’s a faith journey – need to trust in God no matter how hard it gets and show trustworthiness and that it’s for the right reasons
  • Celebrate trustworthiness with others and show your appreciation towards it – think about somebody you trust and thank them/acknowledge them

Join us for our January Round Tables as we discuss “Lessons Learned When Trust Is Broken & What It Takes To Rebuild.” RSVP to