Entries by Ron Kitchens

More Than an Apple a Day

Not much says “Michigan” better than a crisp apple in the fall or, increasingly, a craft brew. Fortunately for the region, the Schultz family has found a way to provide both and a whole lot more.

Schultz Fruitridge Farms is owned by a third-generation farm family out of Mattawan. The grandparents of the current co-owner, Bill Schultz, started the farm back in 1951. Today, the family grows a variety of crops—from asparagus and cherries to sweet corn, peaches, grapes, and apples. The farm even has a small herd of bison, a few of which they slaughter for meat each year. “We are farmers by trade, and it’s our heritage,” said Bill. “We work the farm every single day of the week.”

The Human Capital

BusinessDictionary.com defines talent as (1) a natural ability to excel at a duty or action or (2) a group of people who have a particular aptitude for certain tasks.

Albert Einstein spoke to talent in a more plain-spoken way, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

However you describe talent, it will be the defining factor in determining which regions globally grow and which cease to be relevant. As Jim Clifton, Chairman of Gallup, unveils in his recent bestseller, The Coming Jobs War, “that of the seven billion people in the world, there are five billion adults of working age of which more than three billion say the most important desire in their lives, above food, shelter, and safety is the desire for a full-time job.”

A Culture of Excellence

Every executive and business owner sets out to achieve immediate results for accelerated performance and lasting change. A few make it big, some lose what they gain, and some never even come close to achieving desired results.

The Talent Journey

People are not your greatest asset. Talented people are! When your company or organization is ready to face the “talent” issue, you must decide whether you are building a house, doing an extreme makeover or putting on an addition—meaning you have something great in “one room” and are ready to expand to another “room,” department or location.

The Sound of Music

Walking by a restored historic building in downtown Marshall, Michigan, you just might hear a few mandolin chords coming from behind the closed doors of Northfield Musical Products. Its storefront on W. Michigan Avenue is home to the company’s Marshall headquarters, which features a workshop area and showroom. This is no ordinary music store. Here you will find racks of specialty woods for use when master grade mandolins are commissioned, a full selection of instruments for trying out the various Northfield lines, and lots of charm and history to soak in while sitting in the front room.

(269) Reads July/August

Selecting Great Players
THE BOARDROOM IS A LONG WAY FROM THE KICKBALL DIAMOND

Remember how team captains selected kickball teams during recess? Taking the next player available with the strongest kick might have worked on the playground but not in today’s boardroom. Whether you are looking to identify a new teammate or be on a new team, you will be ready to take on that next interview with this batch of good reads. Bob Beaudein’s The Power of Who has the potential to unleash your dream and the job to go with it. For those who like a good story, Patrick Lencioni never disappoints with his realistic fable of a corporate team in its desperate quest to survive. Grab a copy to uncover how the leadership team at fictional Valley Builders systematically identifies three virtues held by their very best employees to guide their search for candidates that “fit.” If you’re looking to double impact, then StandOut 2.0 and StrengthsFinder 2.0 unveil how to get the most out of talents to multiply the power of both an individual and a team. Already got your team together? Then Sydney Finkelstein’s Superbosses or Ari Weinzweig’s Being a Better Leader lay the groundwork for improving your leadership. Our reads promise a little motivational kick! The rest is up to you.