Three years ago i3 Business Solutions joined  Heartland Technology Groups (HTG) and Service Leadership, Inc. (SLI).  These two organizations have had more  influence on i3 Business Solutions in the last 3 years than any other factor.  Specifically:

  • Perspective & context – accountability to our 12 member “virtual board” with conversation about and observation of similar company’s operations and performance (HTG).
  • Benchmarking – moving from a couple financial markers to 25 comparative metrics (SLI).
Arlin Sorensen

Arlin Sorensen

Arlin Sorensen is the founder of HTG and writes a blog called Peer Power.  I read the blog and comment occasionally (it is linked below).  The mission of Heartland Technology Groups is:

Business & Personal Growth Driven by Execution.

The singular focus that HTG brought to i3 over 3 years ago is execution.  Given the context of similar organizations outperforming i3 Business Solutions, what changes are required in order to excel?  Set those goals and execute.  No excuses, no victimhood – just get out and do it!

Arlin wrote a great blog a few weeks ago called 10 Things I Accidentally Learned.  He shared his story in a presentation at ConnectWise IT Nation.  Here are Arlin’s top 10:
1. Strategy Matters – we have to understand the "why" so we can set our sights on where we are going and know the outcome we pursue.
2. Planning is Key – we need to plan in at least 4 key areas – business, leadership, life and legacy – and the more we plan the luckier we get!
3. Leadership is Required – we have to grow as leaders both in our company and for our clients. We can’t lead people where we have never been.
4. Cash is King – our ability to grow and continue to lead in this industry can happen only when we have managed our cash well. 
5. Growth is Hard Work – many think growth just happens. It doesn't. It takes a lot of continual effort and always is harder, slower and longer than expected.
6. Sell is Not a Four Letter Word – Ok - actually it is, but for many years I missed the boat on this one. Nothing happens until someone sells something. We have to become a strong sales organization.
7. Vendors Are Not The Enemy – we must learn to leverage their resources to help drive our business.
8. Success Without Balance is Empty – if we lose track of what matters and do not balance work and life – the results really don’t matter. We must manage our time and focus.
9. Keep Your Eye on the Customer – our marching orders come directly from them, not the latest fad or trend, and we must listen closely and respond quickly.
10. It is All About Relationships – we are in the people business actually helping folks with adapting to change. Boil it all down to this – we are in the change management business. 

As we approach the end of the year – I start thinking about what’s working and what’s not working?  I’m a change agent so I try to make annual changes to i3 Business Solutions and roll them out in the next year. 

If you're running a business or involved in managing an organization - I highly recommend that you get involved in a peer review type group of some sort.  Find organizations similar to yours in order to gain perspective.  These groups are everywhere - from CEO Roundtables to Vistage International.

 I’m excited about the future and direction of i3 Business Solutions.  We have the right people and this team is hitting on all cylinders right now.   Arlin observes about his 25 year experience and his own list that there’s no items on the list that deal with technology itself!  He states, “We are in the people business – we must never forget that – and technology is just a tool we have to serve them.  I agree that it’s all about relationships: family, i3 and customer relationships.  People deal with people that they know, like and trust.  And the technology tools that accelerate business results are changing.  It’s our responsibility to bring the right tools to our customers.

Yes, as the year ends we ponder what's working and not working in our respective businesses.  May I also challenge you:  what personal growth are you working on?   How will you improve your own well being in 2011?  What’s working and not working in your own life?

Michael Ritsema
i3 Business Solutions, LLC 

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