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Three Reasons to Host a Tribal Meeting

On May 16th , I am hosting my 2nd annual Small Business Matters Conference. This is a tribal meeting. Marketing guru Seth Godin suggests in his best-selling book “Tribes” that we are all chief of our own “Tribe”. My tribe includes Vistage members, GrowSmart participants, colleagues, and friends. Who are the members of your tribe?

Why a meeting? One might think in today’s world of instant and digital communication there would be less of a need for tribes to meet. I disagree. I believe the need for tribal connection is greater today than ever. Here are my three reasons for believing this:

#1. I believe you have an incredibly tough job. Most of my tribal members are small business owners and their executives. You live and work in a world of great uncertainty despite the amazing amount of data available to each of us with a single click. Uncertainty whether we should buy or sell. Hire or fire. Go fast or slow. These are very tough strategic decisions that may be made easier with the help of small business experts with extensive knowledge and experience.

This conference will feature twelve (12) expert speakerson the topics of Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Marketing, and Work/Life balance (Happiness).

#2. I believe that you have a very lonely job at times.  There are issues that you wrestle with that you can’t talk about with just anyone including your direct reports, spouses, and friends. You operate to some degree in isolation and it’s refreshing to be able to meet other CEOs and share these issues. Ask questions. Share best practices. Provide support. Often times we find out that many of our peers share similar issues. We are not so alone. The power of executive connection cannot possibly be understated.

This conference will be an opportunity to connect with over 200 small business owners, executives, and trusted advisors.

#3. I believe that business success does not lead to personal happiness. In fact, it’s the other way around. Personal happiness leads to entrepreneurial success. I am embarrassed to say that many of my tribal members are unhappy. They believe that if they can just add one more client, close one more deal, fix that one cash drain; they can be happy. Never happens. It becomes a mindset of always setting higher and higher hurdles to achieving happiness and the track is endless. The secret is to find happiness first.

If nothing else, you will find happiness at this event. You will laugh. You might cry. You will make new friends. You will enjoy this tribal experience. I guarantee it.

I look forward to seeing each of you on May 16th. 

Traction by Geno Wickman

Do you ever feel like you are losing control of your business? Starting to slip? A little out of control? Losing “Traction”?

If so, author Gino Wickman has written a great book for you.

How do I pick books to review? It’s usually when I have heard enough people recommend the book that I feel I must read it myself. This was definitely the case with “Traction”. It comes highly recommended from a variety of sources.

In the book, the author prescribes a practical method, the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS), for achieving business success. The method is not rocket science. It’s more about the “blocking and tackling” of running a successful small business including planning, good hiring, measurement, accountability, and processes. The author also provides a variety of tools and templates for the reader to readily implement the EOS in the business.

There are a number of key takeaways in the book. Here are just a few:

#1. “Dictatorships not only are exhausting, but also preclude future growth. It’s simple math. One person can only make so many decisions and solve so many problems.”

#2. “Your department heads should be better than you in his or her respective position.”

#3. “Most companies need to start with a focus on internal growth before they can even think about external growth.”

#4. You will find that your hiring success ratio will increase if you evaluate applicant’s core values before their skills.”

This book reminded me of several others that I also enjoyed including “Good To Great”, “Mastering the Rockefeller Habits”, and “The E Myth”.

If you are ready to gain “Traction” in your business, this book is for you. Be prepared to use your highlighter and take notes in the margin. 

I strongly recommend this book. 


“The best tools from across the web – Use one and switch to another tool with a click. Tools to look up, to translate, to convert, to find anything.” 


After hearing this commercial endless times, I thought I would put a different spin on it.

He is the Most Interesting Entrepreneur in the World

  • All of his sales come unsolicited
  • Banks compete for his overdraft accounts
  • Employees pay his salary
  • He has multiple business plans for the same business
  • He has gone from “Good to Great” and back to “Average”
  • He is a no-show for his own mandatory staff meetings
  • He learned leadership by watching late night reruns of The Office
  • His customers regularly measure his satisfaction
  • Chinese companies outsource their production to him
  • Customers prepay their bills whether they owe money or not
  • Vendors ask him to delay payments
  • He executed his exit strategy prior to starting his business
  • Google searches him regularly
  • He is a Vistage member and a GrowSmart graduate 🙂