It’s that time of year again. The start of a new year, right on the heels of the closing of last year. I once heard someone say that looking back is a good thing, but probably only in the same ratio that the rear view mirror takes up in your field of vision when driving. I like this picture in my mind—especially with Gentex being one of our best customers and the really cool mirrors they make!

I hope you had a chance over the holidays to reflect on your year, and even your life, as a way to help you think about how to go forward into 2019.

As I look back on 2018, I am amazed at what a good and busy year it was. We kicked off nine new cohorts, which is same amount we kicked off in our first three years combined. So cool! This brings us to twenty-five total cohorts, and this growth is putting us right at the beginning of the “hockey stick” part of our growth chart.

We also brought on two new team members. Dave Ozios joined us in September and is a great addition to our teaching and coaching team. He comes to us after having a nice long run in the leadership of engineers at Prince/JCI and Motus. You’ll get to know Dave better over the coming year as we get him on our website and as he starts to write some blog posts. Right now he is co-teaching cohorts 23 and 24 with Gerald and is coaching nine of those participants.

Janet Wielenga joined our team a couple months ago to help me serve you alumni. My main job these days is growing the top line, curriculum design, and serving alumni.

Janet will help me part time with alumni, and I’m fortunate to have her on the team. She is a very wise and caring person who I’ve known virtually all my life, and she will quickly become your key contact for our alumni offerings. This includes things like scheduling the use of our alumni room, sending blog-post emails on Monday mornings, supporting alumni small group leaders, planning events like we had last October at the Switch Pyramid, and more. If you have any needs or requests of us, please feel free to reach out to Janet at

Another exciting change for us over the past year is the launch of our first C-Level cohort. Cohort 25 is made up of five CEOs and five VP-level leaders from five companies. I am leading it with the help and support of one of you alumni—Ken Horner, the VP of quality at Gentex.

It’s great to co-teach with Ken, and we get to engage with a very interesting group, as you might expect. Just three months into the year has me believing that they will find it very valuable as they continue their own growth and learn the models and language that you already know, which will help them communicate expectations with you—and vice versa. 

Our plan for 2019 is to kick off at least ten new cohorts (at most twelve) of which one will be another C-Level. We’ll also explore some additional space in Grand Rapids to help support our growth. We’ll have at least one alumni event sometime this year, and we’ll stay close to the six small groups that meet monthly to see how effective they are at helping you continue to grow.

And finally, I want to talk about our Leadership Audit that we encourage you to engage annually at this time of year. You can find it here. (It was also attached to the email about this post.)

Please consider taking a few minutes to walk through it, like I just did, in order to make a self-assessment on where you are per the audit. If you would find it helpful, one of us would be happy to review your results with you, either over the phone or in our office. This would be a good chance to reconnect and also encourage you to continue your growth as a key leader in West Michigan.

Thank you. Lead well this week!

Image by gerlos. Used under CC BY-ND 2.0 license.