From Arlin Sorenson, CEO of Heartland Technology Solution, who held a Go-Giver-themed business retreat in the summer of ’08 on his farm in Harlan, Iowa. Arlin also operates a business peer-group organization called the Heartland Tech Groups (HTG), where owners of different companies in the same industry get together once a quarter for two days of face-to-face meetings to share their experiences and best practices. They’ve been doing this for seven years and have eighteen groups going.
Here are a few pictures from Arlin’s 2008 Go-Giver Business Retreat, followed by his report on what happened next:
I wanted to share a great example of how your book and the culture it expresses is taking root in our peer groups.
This weekend, two of our members headed to another state to help a fellow member who had called out for help. The economy and some other circumstances were overwhelming to the point where this member’s company was considering massive layoffs or even closure.
These two volunteered to give up their own precious time (they both lead and manage their own companies) to fly to this member’s office and perform a SWOT (assessment of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats), from which they could provide guidance on immediate action steps that could be taken to deal with the issues at hand. This included part of their weekend, a level of commitment that makes this even more amazing.
I just received their findings and feedback report this morning after returning from church — and they are exploding with great ideas and suggestions that will make a significant impact on the company they went to help. Because of the go-giving actions taken by these two men, things for that owner have gone from “futile and overwhelming” to “manageable and possible.”
I now require all members of HTG to read The Go-Giver and do a book report on it, which is shared within their group meetings. When they join our program, the first thing I give them is a copy of the book (now over 125 copies handed out) and talk about the culture of go-giving that makes HTG what it is today.
[Nine months later, Arlin wrote us this follow-up:]
During the fourth quarter, the struggling member was able to regain control of the business, paid off most of their debt and had enough cash in hand to pay the rest. First quarter ’09 was a banner season for sales and profits.
But here is the really interesting thing: the two people who flew out to help the other member’s business say they have discovered that they have been forever changed by the investment of time, effort and dollars they made. Not only did they feel personally enriched by the experience, but they also learned much in terms of business acumen, critical thinking skills and leadership—ideas and processes they were then able to bring back and incorporate into growing their own companies.