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What I Learned at the 2008 Fall Summit

We just completed the 2008 Fall Summit.  As he has done before, member Tim Gase sent us his "bullet points" that he took away from the event -both from general sessions and his own Board meetings.  

If you haven't experienced an Executive Summit, here's a sampler of some of the things that just 1 member learned, re-learned, or was reminded of during our two days in Richmond.  And here's also a link to what Tim learned at the 2007 Spring Summit:

This is Tim's 2008 list, in chronological order through the program:   
  • There was a book review of the book “Revolutionary Wealth”, which claims there have been only 3 revolutions in wealth creation:
    • The Agriculture era
    • The Industrialization era  -- and
    • The Knowledge era, which we are in now
      • Knowledge- based businesses have more opportunity to grow faster than any other businesses of the past
  • If a job is "everybody’s job" it will become "nobody’s job" to get it done
  • Setting goals – ask all managers to name 5 goals that they think the company should have in a given year and one personal goal for themselves 
  • Should share with employees what our sales order backlog is at our Gainsharing meetings -- that way they would have a better idea of what is really going on.
  • Summary of the 8 wastes found in a business (fundamentals of Lean Manufacturing)
    • Lost opportunities due to poor safety and disengaged workforce
    • Production or rework of out of specification parts. 
    • Excess raw material, work in process or finished goods
    • Excess supply beyond the requirements of the next process
    • Lost time due to poor product flow – shortages bottlenecks and down machines 
    • Wasted movement made while working 
    • Excess movement of work in process
    • Work that adds no value to the customer or the business
  • Keys to successful sales growth
    • Laser focus on the key opportunities and attack them – rather than the shotgun approach\
    • Craft careful dialog on objections to buy
    • Once you’ve made the sale – know when to stop selling 
      • Get off the phone or you can lose the sale, respect their time
    • Be in touch with your existing customers – go wide
      • so if there is a change in work force you know more than one contact
  • Power plants use 90% of the water used in the United States
    • Water is a good thing to consider investing in for the future – will be a world wide shortage of water if we don’t figure out better ways to purify
  • Chile is the #1 fish farming country in the world
  • Considering the market conditions we ought to send copies of my book to our customers 
  • There is an organization in Dayton, Ohio called Aileron that was started by Clay Mathile, former owner of Iams Corporation (dog food). Its main function is to help business owners succeed. We need to consider using it as a resource for us in the future. Programs are very inexpensive and extremely valuable according to those who have used it. Their web site is
  • Given the current market conditions 
    • Need to control cash flow on the balance sheet very carefully
      • Inventories, accounts receivables, accounts payable, 
      • Know how much reducing your AR by one day means in dollars to cash flow
  • One member shortened his employees work week to 36 hours a week to keep all the people (reduced payroll by 10%)
  • To check on your bank’s status go to – call reports – banks financial and or watch list
  • If you are not using part or all of your LOC you may want to consider pulling some cash out and holding it somewhere safe.
    • Reason – banks are tightening up LOC’s if companies are not using them to reduce or minimize their risk. 
    • An example of what we might want to do is pull $300K off our line and invest it in a CD for 3 months or put it in some interest bearing bank account somewhere else.
    • That way we have the additional cash if we need it
  • Speaker from the Richmond Federal Reserve spoke at dinner Thursday night and addressed a number of issues related to our economy
    • Best take away was that he felt the country has been in a recession since last December and it will likely last at least 16 months so we are looking at mid 2009 before we can expect things to recover
    • We should be hitting the bottom in December of this year 2008
    • Made very clear comment that this entire economic debacle can be traced back to the downturn in the housing industry, which was the result of the Clinton administration loosening lending restrictions
Our thanks to Tim for sharing these notes with us, and to the dozen or so members and presenters who shared these ideas with Tim at the Summit.  Do you have the Spring Summit on your calendar?    If you took something valuable away from a recent Summit or Board meeting, would you reply to this email, and let us know?  We'll share it with other members, as well.

Terry Weaver
Chief Executive Boards International
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