Founder and Chair – LMFC
Vice Chair – LMFC
President and CEO – LMFC
President & CEO – The Bank of Holland
SVP of Shared Services - LMFC

Hear from the founder of Lake Michigan Financial Corporation, Rich Lievense, and his insight on what this blog encompasses.

Every ten years the Communist Party in China chooses a new slate of leaders.  China’s new leader, Xi Jinping recently drafted a sixty point document which is a blueprint for social and economic change over the next decade.  This sweeping document makes tactical concessions to individual rights and freedoms but clearly establishes the priority of state power and himself as the leader in the country.  He believes he is another in a long line of Chinese leaders with a mission to return the state to its golden era of wealth and power (the Chinese call it fuqiang) after a century of humiliation by imperialist poser that began with the First Opium War in the early 19th century. 
We have certainly witnessed the rise of China - their rising role in world events, their aggressive moves to consolidate access to raw materials around the world, a more aggressive posture toward their regional neighbors, and a rapidly growing economy.  There are also significant challenges in modern China from intellectual property issues, to rapid urbanization, to massive environmental problems, to a potential world class real estate bubble, to a restless emerging middle class. 
We have posted a number of articles on this blog about issues surrounding modern China.  We believe it is important for us all to understand the changes in the home to 20% of the world’s population and the world’s second largest and fastest growing economy.  It is going to have a profound impact on our country, our businesses, and our lives. 

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We rely on computers to fly our planes, find our cancers, design our buildings, keep our checkbooks, and audit our businesses. That’s all well and good but what happens when the computer fails? I was reminded of this recently when we had a short period of system down time at the bank. As I walked around the building, I noticed that work almost ceased. As more and more of our information is delivered in an electronic format, what happens if the internet or the communication lines go black for a period of time? What does it mean that Michigan schools no longer have cursive writing as part of their core curriculum since so much of today’s communication is accomplished on a keyboard?
Regular readers of this blog will remember that we posted an article by the same author a few years ago titled ‘Is Google making us stupid?’  Recent advances in the field of artificial intelligence will only underscore the importance of this issue. While the advances in technology are thrilling and make our lives richer in many ways, is there a point where they become too intrusive and affect our ability to reason and function in their absence?
This thought provoking piece is worth the time. How are you and your business affected by the increasing role of technology in our modern lives?

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America’s economic map has been in a constant state of change since the country was founded over two hundred years ago.  There have been many migrations of its citizens and cities have risen and fallen.  These changes were dependent on economic activity, weather, new industrial development, technology, and other changing factors. 
As we think about out our regional economy, we need to think about the emerging economic map and figure a way to get on the front end of these important trends.  These trends are critical as we find our place in a changing world. 
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On several ‘blogging’ occasions, I have recommended books for reading. Here is another must-read for any growth company striving to make strategically sound decisions and keeping everyone aligned and accountable. Mastering the Rockefeller Habits by Vern Harnish builds on the very precise habits followed by John D. Rockefeller, one of the most successful and wealthiest business leaders in history.
Our senior management team read the book about a year ago and has since been implementing Harnish’s disciplined approach. Here’s what our past year has looked like: After our senior managers read and studied the books principles, they prepared their ‘one page’ strategic plan for their respective business or department. We met over the course of several days to thoroughly discuss the application of Rockefeller Habits concepts and review their draft plans. The process was challenging, refreshing, frustrating, stimulating, etc.  We needed to boil down our priorities, identify measurable metrics, and develop an effective rhythm to maintain alignment and drive accountability. Harnish suggested, “keeping it simple keeps it clear.” A single-paged, action-oriented strategic plan was the result of our intense discussions.  Each employee in the organization has the strategic plan pinned up ‘in plain view’ as a roadmap for the execution of our goals.
Mastering the Rockefeller Habits is a “how-to” book providing solutions to issues and challenges growth companies experience.  Below are a few of the key concepts the book outlines:
·   Rockefeller’s top habits:
       - Priorities – develop a “Top 5” list
       - Data – know your numbers really, really well
       - Rhythm – have daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly meetings

·    Build a powerful, usable and postable one-page strategic plan to strengthen execution.

·    Optimize your human capital through the “Right Things Right” model. This framework will outline what decisions need to be made and in what order.
On October 30, The Bank of Holland is hosting a discussion on the book Mastering the Rockefeller Habits with keynote speaker and CEO of Gazelles Systems, Patrick Thean.  Following Patrick’s presentation, a panel of local business leaders will share their insights into how they incorporated the Rockefeller Habits within their companies.  Join us and learn more about the Rockefeller Habits formula for business success.  Guests attending will receive a complimentary copy of Mastering the Rockefeller Habits as a gift, reserve your seat online.

October 30, 2013 | 4:00PM | The Pinnacle Center
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