Is co-managing a business or department possible??

Co-managing a department is possible and co-managing businesses happen successfully everyday among partnerships and spouses.

However there are differences between couples and partners owning their own businesses and individuals working as employees managing a department. There are also similarities to successfully co-managing your own business and managing in a business or organization as an employee. This article will outline some of the pitfalls of co-management as well as my keys to success of how you can make co-managing work so that your time and energies are focused on being a well managed organization that benefits all of its stakeholders. For purposes of this article I will refer to spouses owning and co-managing a business together as partners.

Is it impossible for two individuals to manage an organization in the same way? Managing and leading a organization is a very individualized thing. While there’s volumes of books written about leadership skills, and management styles, each person applies these skills in their own individual way and has their own style of communicating with other stakeholders. Without exception each person has their own personality traits, strengths, and weaknesses that affect their management abilities and style. Personality traits such as whether you are  introverted, extraverted or somewhere in between have a huge impact on your management style and how you impact the performance of the other stakeholders in your organization.

There are some clear advantages if you can successfully make co-management work:

  • Having co-managers can be beneficial in that you’ve created redundancy so that there isn’t a gap or lapse in performance when one of these managers is out ill,  on vacation or leaves the organization. Each manager should have a basic understanding of the other managers responsibilities and have the ability to step in and fill the other’s role on a temporary basis so that until the other manager returns or can be replaced there isn’t a lapse in the day to day performance of the organization.
  • It is a great way for you to further the development and gain valuable experience for your managers and future leaders. You can determine who can take on larger roles within your organization and what each person’s strengths and weaknesses are. You may find a new or different role within your organization for one or more of these managers based on the job they did co-managing the department.  
  • If managed well co-management can be effective and allow you to accomplish more in a shorter amount of time than with one.

Keys to success:

  • Clear definition of responsibilities and expectations. It is imperative, and I cannot emphasize this enough, that there are a clear job description that details each manager’s role, areas of responsibilities and expectations. These should be written and shared among the other stakeholders so that each person within the organization understands what each manager is responsible for and who to go to with what question. However, without written job descriptions and a shared understanding of each person’s areas of responsibilities you’ve created a recipe for disaster that will end up in competition for control, each manager stepping on each others toes, sometimes unintentionally but often intentionally. It will create confusion among employees and other stakeholders as to who’s actually in charge and who can best help them fulfill their needs.
  • A strong pro-active leader willing to deal with conflict.  As a business owner or head of an organization when we create a management structure where two or more people are co-managing a department, we need to understand we have created additional work for ourselves and are ultimately accountable for the outcome, good or bad. By its very nature you have created a situation where two individuals are going to compete with each other, it is our job to manage those efforts and energies in a way that benefits the organization. As the leader we must lead to ensure there is a clear understanding of each manager’s role, area of responsibility and expectations of performance.  We must take the lead in ensuring the communication between managers is open and consistent. We need to be involved, even go as far as scheduling, daily or weekly meetings between the managers. Finally, I can’t emphasize this enough, be willing to step in early to resolve conflict. Ultimately you are responsible for the day to day operation of the department and if the management of that department isn’t working you are responsible.
  • Communication is the key. There should be daily or at the very least weekly one on one conversation between the managers as to what’s going on. What are the challenges and opportunities each is currently facing. Can the other manager help or offer another point of view?  Is the other manager better equipped to take on and solve the problem? Some decisions need to be made jointly and this allows for discussion among the managers and ensures each manager has the opportunity to express their opinion prior to these decisions being made. If these are co-managers reporting to a higher authority I would suggest the boss is part of these meeting so that all are on the same page and the boss has the opportunity to hear first hand from each of their direct reports. I would suggest the boss refrains for making decisions on behalf of these managers, however offering an  opinion is appropriate provided they let the managers come to their own conclusion. Their presence alone will have an impact on the discussions and on how these decisions are made.
  • Managing Conflict. In partnerships there are no bosses to settle conflict or to get a another point of view and ultimately settle a disagreement. If the partners are married this can be a dangerous things as conflict and disagreement can easily carry forward and affect family life or creep into the bedroom. If the managers are partners I would encourage setting time aside to discuss how to solve problems and share their opinions. This time might be at lunch or another place outside of the office. I might even suggest you agree on processes to resolve disagreements so they are resolved sooner than later. Letting ongoing issues continue to fester doesn’t get them resolved and can create all kinds of resentment and dysfunction that can eventually destroy a business, department and/or marriage. Don’t be fooled, if there is ongoing conflict between partners or managers, employees, coworkers and even customers know it.
  • Shared Vision & Mission. If two or more managers are pulling in different directions it won’t be long before they pull the department or organization apart. You all need to be on the same page working towards a common set of goals, have a common vision of where you want to take your organization and have the same mission for what you do. If you don’t have a Business Plan for your organization and departments, I would strongly encourage you to put one in place prior to creating a co-management structure. Involving these key managers in the creation of that business plan will ensure their respective buy-in and common understanding of where the organization is going.

Pitfalls of co-management. Before you head down the path of having two people share the responsibility of managing your business or department there are several significant consequences if this arrangement does not work that should be considered before creating such a management structure:

  • One of the co-managers will become frustrated, dissatisfied and will eventually leave. This often can be the better of the two managers. The one departing is often the stronger of the two, one that is better equipped to make decisions and create opportunity. Their decision to leave is a prime example of just that, they have made a decision to change and pursue opportunities this time for themselves, unfortunately not your organization.
  • High turnover within the department. We all look for leadership and want to be led, if employees can find that consistent leadership within your organization they will find it elsewhere. Without clear leadership, whether that’s accomplished with one or two employees, your employees  will become unsettled and confused about who’s in charge and the direction of the department, maybe even the organization.  It won’t be long before they  look for greener, more stable employment opportunities. You are operating at a clear disadvantage when you are spending your time and energies recruiting, hiring and training not improving your organization.  Your competition will run circles around you with a seasoned, trained, and motivated team.
  • There is a difference between leaders and managers. Leaders will almost always find a way to separate themselves from managers and not necessarily intentionally. To some lucky  individuals leadership and connecting with people comes naturally. People want to be led and will naturally gravitate to those individuals that show the greatest amount of leadership skills and empathy for the individuals they are managing . “Leaders don’t necessarily have to have a title to lead and just because you have a title doesn’t mean your leader.
  • Low morale and performance. Those employees that stay may lack the motivation to find other employment or are close to retirement and can’t afford to leave. However, their motivation for doing a good job will be lacking with ineffective management. Your department is a direct reflection of the environment you’ve created. If your department is in constant turmoil and stress because of conflict between your co-managers and your inability to correct the situation, it will function in a confused, stressed, and ineffective manner. Employees are often like children and they will look for the least path of resistance. It is very important that both managers have the same set of standards and operating guidelines so that they can consistently apply the organization’s policies.

As this article points out there are some clear advantages to successfully co-managing your business or organization. The real key is you and your strength as a leader. You have to be involved and positively affect the outcome.
Beartooth Business Consulting specializes on Strategic planning, organizational structure, and leadership training. We can assist in how you set-up and manage your organization. Please call us for a free initial consultation to see if you can benefit from our services. 406-690-5988 or email at mike#beartoothbiz.com

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15 Simple Questions that will make you a better leader

Leadership is about empowering and inspiring people to be successful at their jobs and take pride in what they do. Great leaders ask questions and learn from their teams so they can do a better job leading their organization. No matter how great you think you are you are only as good as the team you surround yourself with and allow them to be.

The following are a few powerful questions and statements you can use to change the course of any conversation to learn what your team is thinking and what’s important to them.  Whether you are a CEO leading from the boardroom, working with a small team in a county office, or leading a team of firefighters to battle a raging wildfire these simple phrases and questions will have a powerful impact on your team and further your success.

“I’m Sorry”

This can be the most powerful of all. It is usually unexpected and it shows you’re human. It also demonstrates you are willing to be accountable to the team and the company.

“Tell Me More”

It’s open-ended, it shows interest, and it demonstrates your listening skills. The important part is listening. If you encourage your employees to open up to you and only hear, not listen they will never tell you more again. Remember your conversation, take notes if appropriate and act on those things that are actionable.

“What’s Working?”

Especially good if everyone’s on your team is complaining or in a funk. This one will  help you refocus on the positive. You can’t ignore the problems but by building  on what’s working you’ve changed the conversation so the problems may not seem as important.

“I’m Proud of you

Everyone needs to be recognized and as the boss you hope your team likes and respects you. These simple words when stated in a sincere fashion are powerful because they are clear, concise and from the heart.

“How can I be of help?”

Simple, but I’m often surprised at the responses. It may be that simply offering an ear is help enough, but often there are few specifics offered that really can make a difference and are easy to do.

“What are your Goals?”

This may be the goal for the team or for the project. It may also be personal goals including career aspirations. Knowing each team member’s goal, as articulated by the person, can change your opinion or perspective of them and their capabilities.

“What’s the most common things you’ve heard employees grumbling about?”

Try this one, Many will be shy about complaining. They don’t want to be seen publicly as the naysayer. But this question allows them to say what “others” are thinking and therein lies the power to get to what that person is thinking.

“You have my full Support”

If you desire to instill confidence that your team or a member of it has your support, this simple phrase will do it.

“Let me start by bragging about you and this team?”

There’s no better team builder than to give them accolades in front of an audience. Make it about them not you.

“If you were my what one thing would you change?”

This question gives them the opportunity to say what their thinking. The question is will they be honest and really say what’s on their mind. This is an opportunity to see how much they trust you.

“ What’s keeping you up at night?”

You may be up at night thinking about a major organizational change or a strategic issue. There can be an assumption that everyone is thinking about the same problem. That’s probably not the case. Ask this simple question and listen to what others are worried about and then help them solve their challenges. You may learn about a challenge you never knew existed but that could have a significant impact on your organization if it doesn’t go addressed.

“How could we get better and faster?”

How do we get better, how can we service our customers faster, more efficiently and with the same or better quality. These are important questions  to ask. As a consultant I make my living asking questions, writing down the answers your employees give me, and then putting them into reports for you.  By asking these same questions, you will save time, a lot of money, and more importantly build the kind of rapport with your staff that will enable you to lead.

“Tell me what you’re hearing from customers?”

Customers are the lifeblood of any organization. A good leader is listening to customers directly and talking to their team who have a vast amount of information about them. They may have a completely different perspective than you do or may reaffirm your assumptions, There may be a problem with a particular customer that only you can fix but if you don’t know about it how can you fix it. I remember many similar conversations I had with my team in a mood of frustration, maybe in those days even anger, about why did I not know about a particular problem. I don’t have enough fingers and toes on my body to count how many times the response was “You never asked”. Touche!!

“What else?”

A catch all question that can evoke a lot of different responses. That’s the point you have just opened the door and allowed your employee to talk about anything that may be on their mind.

“Why are you proud to work here?”

The answer may surprise you but in most cases it will allow people to talk about their co-workers, helping customers or maybe even you. Listen carefully you may hear accolades and praises for another employee who pitched in on a project or stayed late to meet a deadline. Leaders need to seek out the unsung heros and sing about them.

 

There a only a few moments in every conversation that allow you to impact the conversation and empower your staff to open up and tell you what’s on their mind. They almost always have the best interest of your organization in mind and you should take whatever they say in this spirit. Keep these simple phrases in your back pocket, they will help you move your organization forward and build a loyal empowered team around you, after all it’s your success that’s at stake.

 

Beartooth Business Consulting’s purpose is to make a positive impact on businesses and organizations through strategic goal setting, operational excellence and leadership coaching.  We can be reached at 406-690-5988 or by email at mike@beartoothiz.com

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Mission, Vision and Values

Mission/Vision/Values, the guiding principles of your organization & the starting line for your  Strategic Planning Process

These three words and their respective statements will guide your organization through its long term strategy, long term goal setting, short term objectives, and how it will conduct its business in order to fulfill the mission and ultimately reach the vision.

I recently sent an outline to a new client for their strategic planning process. The very first items to discuss with their leadership team and board are their Mission, Vision and Value statements. The follow-up conversation with the executive in charge was all about how they frame the strategic planning process. As I explained each individual statements role in the leadership and management of the business it occurred to me this conversation would be a great blog topic to share with my world.

Mission. What is our purpose, what is your reason for being, who and why do we serve. A Mission Statement should be relatively static and should be the guiding principles as to why the organization exists and why it does what it does. In the nonprofit or 501(C)-(3) world mission statements are often synonymous with the stated purpose in their Articles of Incorporation. Mission Statements can be relatively short, here are a few examples.

Expedia+ the internet travel company mission statement is: To Revolutionize travel through the Power of Technology.

The Mission Statement of the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center where I once served as Vice-Chair remains the same since it’s inception in 1976, and is still relevant 40 years later: “Our mission is is to expand the potential of people of all abilities through meaningful, educational, and inspiring outdoor experiences.”

Headframe Spirits has aligned themselves very closely with preserving the historical importance of the city of Butte, Montana where it is located , here is their Mission Statement: “To produce quality spirits, to promote responsible alcohol consumption, to create jobs in our community and to use the history and culture of Butte Montana to inform our production and product marketing. We live in a wonderful place and our craftsmanship should reflect positively upon it.”

The Mission Statement for Kampgrounds of America is:  “To make Happy Campers that recommend KOA to others”

The Mission Statement for The Women’s Fund, a non-profit organization, is brief and to the point “The Women’s Fund for the Fox Valley Region, Inc., invests in women and girls through:

  • Grants
  • Advocacy
  • Education

Vision. Companies often stop at their mission statement but the Vision Statement is what the world or organization would look like once the mission is fulfilled. The Vision Statement reflects what your organization ultimately wants to achieve. The Vision Statement can be something that is ultimately achievable or can be a dream that may not be achieved in the current staffing lifetime but is still ultimately worth striving for. Vision Statements may or may not change over time. Essential elements of a successful Vision Statement are:

  • Future oriented
  • Likely to lead to a better future for the organization
  • Fits the organization’s history, mission and values
  • Sets standards of excellence
  • Clarifies the organization’s purpose and direction
  • Inspires enthusiasm and commitment
  • Reflects the uniqueness of the organization
  • Ambitious

As an example Ford Motor Company’s original Vision Statement  was to “Democratize the Automobile”, today it is “To become the world’s leading consumer company for automotive products and services”.  

The Ronald McDonald House Vision Statement is: A world where all children have access to medical care, and their families are supported and actively involved in their children’s care.

The Vision Statement of the Red Lodge Songwriter Festival one of my companies is: Our vision is to create an annual event that brings tourists and songwriters, including hit makers, to Red Lodge each summer to share their talent and skills with the local community. Through this interaction of songwriters and their music we will create an inspirational culture that promotes creativity in songwriting, performing, and collaboration among the artists.

Values. How do we want to conduct ourselves in our business and personal life. This should be the guiding principle on how leadership conducts

themselves in their business dealings and is reflective of how the outside community views the organization. Words like honesty, integrity, caring, transparency, knowledgeable are often reflected in value statements.

I’ll use Expedia again as an example.  They call their values Cultural Norms which is a great name. If the company abides by its values statement that is what creates the culture.  

“We believe being different: We feel new ideas, different ways of thinking, diverse backgrounds and approaches, because averages can lie and sameness is dangerous. Because of this belief, our norms aren’t rules or universal at all corners of our company, But they are important to our identity and how we work together. Like our company, these norms will evolve.

  • We Lead Humbly: Our leaders serve their teams. None of us has all the answers, but we are curious and we are always looking to learn. Though our leaders take their responsibility to our business and their teams incredibly seriously, they never take themselves too seriously.”
  • We are transparent: We communicate openly and honestly, at all levels, upwards, sideways, and downwards. We surface difficult issues quickly, we act, we learn.”
  • We Organize for Speed: We seek to gather data as fast as possible, and move. Speed allows us to make mistakes and constantly improve.
  • We Believe in the Scientific Method: Everyone’s ideas are equal in the face of hard data. We use data to guide but not define our actions.
  • We Act as One Team: We look to optimize for the greater good, not just our own, or even our own teams’ interests. We are actively interested in the success of others.”

The following is the Values Statement for Women’s Fund, A non-profit Organization for Women

  • Our core values are the foundation of all our decisions and actions. We intend this statement of values to be used across the organization to ensure that our decisions and actions are consistent with and supportive of our values and beliefs.
  • We believe that in order to create a just and sustainable society, women and girls must have opportunities, unlimited by gender, to develop and use their individual talents, abilities, and skills, along with the freedom to make their own decisions, guided by their personal values and beliefs.
  • We express our values by promoting and supporting open and respectful communication in all forums;
  • Full participation of women and girls of all backgrounds, including diversity of race, class, age, religion, culture, sexual orientation, and other identities;
  • Informed, educated, innovative action designed to have a positive, measurable impact on the lives of women and girls;
  • Collaboration among organizations and individuals working to benefit women and girls.

Whether you’re a for profit or nonprofit corporation having a mission, vision and value statement will guide you through your Strategic Planning, goal setting, day to day execution and ultimately permeate throughout your organization making you a more profitable, more sustainable and much more successful.

There may be a strong person within your organization that can lead you through the Strategic planning process however using an outside facilitator can
often lead to better results in a shorter amount of time. An outside facilitator can help drive the process without influencing the content, remain objective,  and will not try to influence the conversation. Beartooth Business Consulting is well versed in the processes necessary to make your organization stronger and more efficient with Strategic Planning. Give us a call to discuss how to implement Strategic Planning in your organization. Give me a call at 406-690-5988 or email me at mike@beartoothbiz.com. Mike Booth, President

 

 

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Partnerships can be Challenging

They start out well, all parties fired up and ready to go, everybody working hard to ensure their goals and interests are fulfilled. Sometimes these interests and goals align with the businesses, but in many cases they don’t or eventually move away from the needs of the business. Partnerships can form for a number of reasons and sources, spouses, friends, or business associates. In some cases the business may be small and relatively easy to manage, all is well, however as it scales one or more of the partners take on more and more of the work leaving a disparity and resentment due to the amount of work each partner is doing.

I have been in four partnerships during the course of my career each with their own dynamics. I am currently involved in two, one that produces an event the Red Lodge Songwriter Festival and the other that facilitates a high end business mastermind group, The Yellowstone Business Forum. Each one has it’s challenges and it’s successes. In this article I will share some of the pitfalls and challenges with partnerships and some preventive measures to make your partnership the organizational foundation for success.

Do you have the right partner. Having the wrong partner can be the source of a great deal of personal stress, it can also have a negative effect on your business and your staff.

If you can answer yes to any of the following questions you are probably in a bad partnership.

  • Your’e feeling like you’re carrying more than your share of the work. If you’re feeling this way I would suggest writing down all the necessary job functions of your business and #1 who is responsible for each and #2 who is doing them. By completing this exercise you can substantiate your feelings, not only to yourself, but your partner.
  • Your partner seems to have lost interest in your business.
  • You’re finding more and more to disagree about.
  • There have been changes in your partner’s life that are interfering with their ability to fulfill their duties. There may be times during the partnership that the other partner is willing to pick up the slack for their partner who may be dealing with temporary illness, family or personal issues. However a partner may have found more permanent interests such as another career, hobbies, or financial interests that are interfering with their ability to function effectively in the business. This may also lead to a conflict of interest if the other interests are closely aligned to your existing business.
  • Your interest in the direction of the business has taken a different direction than your partner. This often happens when the size of the business scales up. While all the partners originally shared the vision of a growing business there comes a point when the size of the job and the amount of work that needs to be done scales up relative to the growth of the business. Some partners are not willing to put in the additional work or effort to substantiate that growth. In these cases one or more of the partners will end up doing a disproportionate amount of the work to keep up with the growth causing serious resentment within the partnership.
  • Can’t talk to each other. Communication is so critical to maintaining a viable partnership. When partners get so busy doing their own thing that they can’t find time to sit down with the other partner(s), they will likely start to feel less engaged. An unresolved issue can also lead to partners being unable to communicate freely.
  • Employees come to you for direction, even if they report to your partner on your org chart. Employees are always a great barometer of success and failure within your business. If your employees are coming to you for direction or with their concerns rather than your partner, this is a pretty significant sign they recognize who is in charge and who’s is leading the company.

If you answered yes to any of these questions you are in a bad partnership and should immediately take steps to take charge and fix the partnership or end it.

Here are a few steps to give your partnership the best chance to succeed.

What business are you in. Seems like a pretty simple question but if you cannot agree on what business you’re in you’re probably never going to be on the same page. In one of my partnerships my partner and I co-produce a Songwriter Festival in Red Lodge. It takes place over three days drawing tourists and music lovers into our community. My partner is a musician and naturally sees the festival as a music business. However, it takes all the elements of a good event, venues, fundraising, personnel management, talent, marketing, ticket sales etc. to make it work. I naturally see it as an event business whose product happens to be showcasing songwriters. This disconnect is a fundamental problem. My other partnership is the organization and facilitation of a high end business group. We both share the vision of helping business people be more successful and better leaders. We also understand each other’s strengths and limitations. We often use our partnership as a sounding board to further our other careers as a non-profit executive and business consultant.

What is each person’s expectations and needs. This can easily become a conversation of self interests and that’s OK. It’s important to get this information out on the table early. If not it will surface somewhere down the road and may make the partnership uncomfortable or worse create a conflict of interest for the business. 

What are the company’s goals? Define your company’s goals and create a business plan with the steps necessary to accomplish those goals. Accountability is key for the success of any business. Defining each partner’s responsibilities and commitment to accomplishing those  goals is key to your businesses and partnerships success. When personal goals become more important than the companies goals the business and partnership will suffer. 

What is each partner’s role. This is probably the most important aspect of a successful partnership..Understanding and defining each partner’s role and responsibilities is key for the business to run efficiently and the partners getting along. A lack of clarity around job descriptions and roles is a source of major frustration and disappointment in most partnerships and can often lead to their demise. These responsibilities should be written down and become part of the businesses strategic business plan. They should also be reviewed at least once a year and updated if necessary. These roles should be based on each person’s skill set and needs, many subsequent decisions can be made such as percent of equity, position within the company, decision making abilities and titles once the roles are set. There is no written role that partnerships are 50/50 propositions and that partners need to equally share in decision making responsibilities. In most cases someone has to drive the bus, be overall responsible for getting things done and be accountable to customers, employees and other stakeholders.

In one of my partnerships my partner is very out going, an A type personality. He also has close ties to music talent in Nashville. On the flip side he weak on commitment and follow thru. His role is talent acquisition, sound and PR. He does a great job of being the frontman for our festival making sure everybody is having a great time, and the artist needs are being met both onstage and off; an important role. The day to day running of the business has to be picked up by the other partner, in this case me. Marketing, bookkeeping, fundraising, logistics, etc. We both have opinions but once the overall business plan is set the final decision when it comes to our areas of responsibility lies with the individual.

Handle disagreements, frustrations and disappointments early. As in any type of partnership disagreements will happen. It is best to address them early and not let them fester over time. It is also important to address them in person. All too often in our electronic age of instantaneous response an email or text is sent that can be full of emotion or words that can easily be taken out of context. Regularly scheduled sit down meetings or lunches is a good time to discuss issues that the partners may see differently and attempt to get back on the same page. If you have clearly defined goals and action plans this is always a good place to go back to if there are disagreements. Many a disagreement can be resolved by going back and seeing how each person’s belief will impact the goals of the business. If there is a need for a change to those goals now is a good time to discuss it.

Can the partnership be fixed? Breakups are hard and can be time consuming taking the focus away from the business and if attorneys are involved valuable monetary resources. In many cases the partnership can be fixed but it will be up to you to take action. Here are a few steps to take to right the ship

  • Be proactive
  • Be clear in what you want
  • Schedule time to talk
  • Discuss actions you are each willing to take, compromise might be necessary.
  • Write a plan for agreed upon changes

What happens if the partnership no longer works? It is important to have an exit plan upfront so that each partner knows when and how they can exit the partnership and what they will leave with. It should also addressed how a partner can be fired and how that might affect their equity. There’s no written rule that partnerships last forever and in fact most do not. For a number of reasons, some listed here, others not, partnerships will end and you should have a written plan in place on how to unwind the partnership so it has minimal effect on the business. Things like client relationships, non-competes, proprietary information, client lists, patents, financial information should be addressed and how any equity is paid out or in some cases if the business is in debt what the exiting partner is responsible for should be spelled out.
There are times when using a mediator or a third party to facilitate that conversation is useful. Beartooth Business Consulting can be that resource. Please call us for a free consultation to see if we are the right tool for your situation. 406-690-5988 or email us at mike@beartoothbiz.com

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A Special Invitation for You

Do you want to become a better leader, increase the profitability of your business, and/or overcome the challenges that are holding you back?

Over the last several months we have visited with dozens of business leaders vetting the idea of an high level group of business owners and executives that are organized with the sole purpose of theirs and each other’s success. The response has been overwhelmingly positive.

They told us how beneficial it would be to hang out with other like minded successful business people to share ideas and discuss problems in a confidential and nonjudgemental environment. They said that learning effective leadership skills and finding fresh ways to overcome problems and seize new opportunities on a regular basis with the same group members would be awesome. Most importantly they wanted the sharing, support and accountability that comes with being in a mastermind group.

So we’ve created this exclusive business group, the Yellowstone Business Forumfor leaders like you.

The introductory meeting for this group will be May 15,2017 at the Billings Petroleum Club. We have invited a select group of business people who we think will fully participate, not only for their own benefit but to support others with their expertise and experience. We recognize that leaders have different needs and will facilitate two groups, one for business owners and one for business executives. Group sizes will be small with a maximum of 10 leaders in each group.

When you join the Yellowstone Business Forum you will also be invited to our YBF Retreat Weekend, October 2017 in Red Lodge, MT. This 2-day event is a chance to learn new leadership skills and work on your Strategic Plans for 2018 with other Yellowstone Business Forum members. You will get the opportunity for a deep-dive hot seat where you can really vet challenges and opportunities with other bright minded people.

Learn more about the benefits of Yellowstone Business Forum and how to become a charter member at www.beartoothbiz.com/ybf

To join Yellowstone Business Forum or figure out if Yellowstone Business Forum is right for you, let’s schedule some time to talk about your situation and what your goals are, email Mike or Erika at mike@beartoothbiz.comor erika@erikawillisassociates.comand we set up an hour to talk either in person or by phone.

Here’s to all our success, Mike Booth & Erika Willis www.beartoothbiz.com/ybf

Yellowstone Business Forum A Place where Success is Accelerated

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