High Performing Business – Strategy – Nurture

Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI-ACP, RYT

Nurturing the strategies that help achieve our vision through our mission is job one as the Chief Cheetah.

Nurturing the strategies that help achieve our vision through our mission is job one as the Chief Cheetah.

We have a bold vision with our new initiative – Cheetah Micro Greens.  This was a product line we created from our research efforts with Alaska Research Garden this summer.  Our goal with Alaska Research Garden is to research various ways to cost effectively create a year round food production system in rural Alaska.  Over the summer we pursued three different research projects – hugel culture raised beds,  geodesic dome green houses, and indoor climatically controlled agriculture.  For the indoor climatically controlled agriculture, we tested out if we could efficiently and cost effectively grow micro greens in a grow tent (originally designed for the marijuana industry).  Our goal was to create a simple, and inexpensive system easy enough to set up and run by a middle school science class.  There is a similar sized system by a company called Urban Cultivator, that requires a plumber and an electrican to install and is over $10,000 US.  While the system is beautiful, we felt this was outside the price range and installation complexity for most people – especially in rural Alaska where it is difficult to retain skilled tradesmen for the installation (and possible repair as there are complex electronic controls in the Urban Cultivator system).

We tested installing our efficient grow tent throughout the community in our small rural town in Alaska.  We wanted to verify other people could generate good results with this inexpensive approach as well.  Buoyed by the success the school, local grocery store, and two small farms had in Alaska with our system, we decided to head south and expand it into the lower 48 through our headline brand “Cheetah Learning.” We call our system Cheetah Micro Greens – since our  climatically controlled system does in fact grow the micro greens faster than the conventional ways of growing them outdoors and in green houses.  (We do not know how quickly we could grow micro greens in the Urban Cultivator but the grow times they provide for their seeds are about twice as long as what we see in our system for similar seeds).

The vision for “Cheeth Micro Greens“is pretty simple: With the right training and systems, most people can efficiently and cost effectively grow their own food year round. Our mission is to: Create inexpensive, easy to set up, operate and maintain systems that enable people to grow micro greens year round (cheetah fast) and provide training for ways to use, share and/or sell the micro greens in their communities.  Strategies are the way we achieve our vision through our mission.  Our strategies are defined through the lens of a strategy map process I learned in the Harvard Business School’s Owner President Managed (OPM) program (I graduated HBS OPM 35).  The strategy map shows how we integrate the team, with our internal processes, our customers, and our core growth strategy.  The three core elements of our strategy are:

  1. to use research based methodologies with accelerated learning to grow ours and others capabilities.
  2. to create inexpensive systems that are easy to use and generate great results, fast.
  3. to interact with others using our best friend customer service model.

Back in full blown business development mode here as this initiatve takes off, I find myself nurturing the various elements of these strategies, as we develop the team that is bringing this vision to life through our mission. We now have a team of  14 helping to launch this new product line.  I’m using Cheetah Learning’s well proven strategies to build these new capabilities and sharing them with others through the Project Micro Green class.


High Performing Business – Strategy – Respect

High performing businesses create a culture of respect with a zero tolerance approach to harassment of any type.

High performing businesses create a culture of respect with a zero tolerance approach to harassment of any type.

Muchelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI-ACP,  RYT

High performing businesses create a culture of respect. The leader of every organization sets the tone for the level of respect in the organization by how they handle challenging issues – such as sexual harassment.

I move quickly on any allegations of sexual harassment in my own business (and yes there have been several). On my first job as one of the first morning newspaper girls in my town I got introduced to sexual harassment in the work place (I was 15). It took six months for people to believe me that one of my customers was flashing me every Saturday morning. A neighbor finally got a picture of him. He was arrested and pleaded guilty. But it took six months for this to happen and I was labeled a liar and a trouble maker even up to the time he was arrested. Dismissing an allegation of harassment harms everyone and creates a toxic work environment.

There are extensive laws employers must follow relating to sexual harassment in the work place. But even without these laws – every person deserves to feel safe (and respected) in your business, or on your project.

Here is how to create a safe and respectful environment for everyone:

  1. Listen to complaints and investigate discreetly, immediately. Never dismiss a complaint of harassment.
  2. When someone is sharing their experience, acknowledge it happened just as they shared. Protect their anonymity while you discreetly investigate.
  3. Remove the accused immediately from the situation while you investigate. Take these complaints seriously.
  4. Require every person in the organization to take a class on what is sexual harassment and how to prevent it –  for even just one allegation.  (it’s actually the law).  Let it be known under no circumstances do you allow this type of behavior in your organization – think zero tolerance here.
  5. Involve your legal counsel immediately to protect everyone – the victim, the alleged perpetrator, and the business.

I got introduced to the difference between appropriate and inappropriate behavior very early in my professional careee in Air Force officer training   The rule of thumb is how would it look if this appeared as a news headline?  If it would bring shame on you or the organization you were serving – don’t do it.

Being an effective leader means bringing out the best of everyone – this can only happen in an environment with mutual respect as it’s foundation.





High Performing Business – Strategy – Reframing Complaints

Muchelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI-ACP, RYT

Feeling buffaloed by the current divisive political climate? Learning how to reframe complaints can over ride reptilian survival response patterns.

Feeling buffaloed by the current divisive political climate? Learning how to reframe complaints can over ride reptilian survival response patterns.


In 2003 I met a fascinating neighbor.  He had taken the summer leap from his main stream existence in the lower 48.  He was in Alaska being a river guide and was living with a friend on a lot across the road from my new place in Alaska.  We met one day when he stopped by to see if he could use our scrap lumber as he wanted to experience living in a tree house for the summer.

Several weeks later we were sharing what we did and he said “I’m into consciousness and learning.” We’ve stayed in touch – he now runs a thriving somatic psychology counseling practice and teaches at a university on a topic he calls “embodied agency.”  It’s about managing your physiological responses to stress so you can behave with more conscious clarity to your day to day challenges. He does a lot of work with Police departments. I’m very glad he exists and I’ve learned much from him over the years.

He recently cured himself of brain cancer, after removal of the tumor, by adopting a ketogenic diet and using Rick Simpson oil.  I wrote about this on the blog at the time as this is a topic near and dear to my heart. I shared what he did with a friend who was  recently diagnosed with late stage lung cancer.  He gave it a shot and for a month while the conventional docs were busy lining up tests to evaluate what if anything they could do, he went from a terminal to a curable diagnosis.  Being open minded is healing while being close minded can literally kill you.

We recently had a local election here to elect two new assembly members. A six person assembly runs the town. The local paper was filled with editorial and advertorial copy about the six candidates running for the two open assembly seats. The senior owner of one of the larger construction companies in town took out an ad that disparaged half the town by calling the part of town where I live the “Mud Bay Liberals.”  He accused this group of ruining the town.

Being of the “thinking” class, I wondered the efficacy of vilifying half the town with what he considers a derogatory label especially when you run a business that serves all of the town? I did not even see his ad until after the election where the two from our neighborhood won by a large margin – 45% of the population showed up to vote in this election.  My “liberal” hippie side of the tracks typically shows up to vote in most elections. Personally I consider myself a capitalistic conservative liberal Buddhist catholic yoga teacher. Many of my neighbors have similar multidimensional approaches to their existence as well.  Classifying us as “Mud Bay Liberals,” to rally people to show up to vote for his preferred candidate kind of back fired as it had inspired all those he had vilified to come out  to vote. (I had already voted by absentee ballot but he sure fired up the rest of my neighbors). The “Mud Bay Liberal” candidates won by a landslide.

So what is the point of all of this?  Ive been observing my own phsyiologic response to the divisiveness of our political climate these days. I get a visceral reaction to people’s disdain over this or that candidate whether it be in the local elections in my town or the larger national election. I started noticing myself complaining more as well and overall becoming more and more frustrated with events in my own life. Instead of being open minded and exploratory, I shut down and join in the divisiveness.  I’ve also noticed it’s taking longer for minor cuts and bruises to heal on my body.  The stress is starting to impact my body’s ability to heal.

I’ve decided to put the breaks on this and apply what I’ve learned from my Somatic psychology friend about “embodied agency.”  I can take charge by reducing the stress in the first place by using a reframing technique to help me put my pre frontal cortex back in charge of my life rather than be ruled by my more stress inducing reptilian brain – you enemy me scared brain. After all how successful can I be with my overall strategy of your success is my success when I have categorized an us vs them approach to existence where I only succeed when the “them” fails?  Kind of hoses my whole strategic imperative of your success is my success.

Ineffective complaining hurts the performance of my brain. So I’ve decided to master the art of effective complaining. I am only allowing myself 12 complaints a day in areas where I can make changes by reframing my approach to the issues of the day. There are four areas I’ve noticed the majority of my complaints – my business, my friends & family, my projects, and myself.  Each of these areas is allowed 3 complaints per day and for each complaint, I am identifying three possible remedies.  This way I shift from the reptilian helpless and hopeless response pattern to using my prefrontal cortex to develop creative empowered approaches to address these opportunities masquerading as complaints.

I want back in charge of this brain I’ve grown to love and adore. By finding the gold nugget opportunity in the malaise of the moment I condition this to be the silver lining of every complaint.




High Performing Business – Strategy – Persistence

Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI-ACP, RYT

Persistence pays – when you learn how to run a successful business in any field, you can transfer what you've learned to other business ventures. Generating a viable income from your business pursuits is the first step. In Cheetah's course Project Micro Green, you learn how to run viable business.

Persistence pays – when you learn how to run a successful business in any field, you can transfer what you’ve learned to other business ventures. Generating a viable income from your business pursuits is the first step. In Cheetah’s course Project Micro Green, you learn how to run viable business.

It took me fifteen years to become an overnight success.  That was fifteen years where I tried one idea after another, learned, built up a business infrastructure, developed the capability and the capacity to run a thriving business.  The skills I learned during those fifteen years helped keep my business thriving during the toughest economic climate of our times.

For the past several months, I’ve been creating a course that teaches business start up skills through the development of the capability to grow your own food year round (and sell it to others).  What I learned during my 15 year trial and error period it was the ability at doing business that helped me create a thriving business – it didn’t really much matter what the business was.  The skills to run a successful business – marketing, sales, production, delivery, customer service, risk management, accounting – these are pretty much the same regardless of what business you are in.  This is one of the reasons I’ve been so excited about Project Micro Green course – as I designed it to help budding entrepreneurs create a viable business while also doing something to improve the health of their communities and families

What I’m even more thrilled about with Project Micro Green – it’s possible for someone who wants to set up a thriving business – do so for no start up costs. How is this?  Well we set up a system for installment payments through Affirm.  We set up Project Micro Green so that by following the course, you can have product you can sell (and we give you the tools to successfully sell the micro greens in your community) in a month.  This enables you to pay the small monthly payments that are less than 15% of what you can make per month with the system.  Yes you have to do the course work – you have to set up, grow, and learn how to distribute your micro greens in the course.  Like with all of Cheetah’s courses, when you follow the course the way it’s designed, you are guaranteed success.

If you want to someday become an overnight success too, learn how to set up and run a successful business,   Project Micro Green is a good place to start.

High Performing Business – Strategy – Commitment

Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI-ACP, RYT

Cheetah's Project Turnaround students master how to align their commitments with their calling. The strategies that emerge from this breakthrough create enduring success.

Cheetah’s Project Turnaround students master how to align their commitments with their calling. The strategies that emerge from this breakthrough create enduring success.

The psyche craves consistency which is why commitment is such a favorable construct.  Yet commitment to a strategy that is not adaptable to changing market realities requires a reread of the book “Who Moved my Cheese.”

The question I routinely ask myself is – if I were making this decision today, would I still be doing things this way?  Does this strategy still make sense now?  I’ve dropped way more strategies than I’ve kept through my 30 years of business ownership.  The longest running strategy is with Cheetah Learning where we help people master the skills to quickly achieve their goals with our special blend of accelerated learning and project management. We teach the foundation of this while helping people become Certifed Project Managers – whether it be to pass the Project Management Institute’s PMP exam after a four day accelerated prep or to fully leverage their’s and others innate talents by becoming a Cheetah Certified Project Manager.

When I look at this through the lens of would I make this same decision today – the answer is a strong yes.  My calling, purpose in life, what gets me jumping out of bed, working long into the night, moving mountains and leaping tall buildings in a single bound is to help people joyfully and skillfully pursue their dreams. The accelerated learning techniques we adapted to teach project management literally rewires the brain so it becomes much easier for people to joyfully and skillfully pursue their dreams.

Every single course we design at Cheetah Learning incorporates these accelerated learning methodologies within a project management framework so people quickly achieve whatever it is they set out to achieve. This is our core strategy.  So while we teach this at the meta level with helping people become Certified Project Managers, we also embed it into the very fabric of our other programs – whether it’s to learn how to grow your own food year round in Project Micro Greens, to adoptimg practices to live a happier life in the Happiness Project, to even something as common as throwing a better holiday party as in our course PM of Parties.

A solid strategy aligned with your calling transcends market variability – students who take Cheetah’s 40 hour online class Project Turnaround  master how to align their commitments with their calling. The strategies that emerge from this breakthrough create enduring success.

High Performing Business – Strategy – Turn Key

Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI – ACP, RYT

Project Micro Green is a full turn key solution where Cheetah Students get a vertical hydroponic system and learn how to set it up, use it and share the food they are able to grow year round with others.

The online Project Micro Green course is a full turn key solution where Cheetah Students get this vertical hydroponic system and learn how to set it up, use it and share the food they are able to grow year round with others.

Somewhere along the line I learned an important strategy for business success called “turn key.”  It means to offer a complete solution.  It’s pretty easy to find opportunities to develop turn key solutions. All you have to do is to see where you are having the biggest challenges.

I live part time in a remote small town in Alaska.  I stumbled upon this place in 2002 on a vacation – being an adventurous entrepreneur and very fond of the Pacific Northwest, I found my nirvana.  Over the years, I’ve lived here more and more.  Now one of  my daughters lives here year round and is the town dietician.  One of the challenges up here is “food insecurity.”  We get a barge once a week that delivers our food.  The produce that gets delivered is already at the end of it’s shelf life when it arrives.  The produce crisper in our refrigerator is called  “where good intentions come to die.”

At the beginning of this year, I created a course called “The Goal Lab.”  My main goal was to create a year round food production system in Haines, Alaska.  Yes.  I’m concerned about food security up here. But I’m also a foodie and not satisfied with the quality of the food available. In March I reconnected with Dylan Kasch who was working on an Aquaponic farm that ran year round in New Hampshire. Dylan was very much into doing climatically controlled institutional agriculture for schools, restaurants and larger organizations. He was all in on helping me achieve my goal in Alaksa as he wanted to create more climatically controlled agricultural solutions in all realms.  We decided against trying an aquaponic solution up here as we have plenty of fish.

Dylan and I prioritized several projects to work on first.  But those early projects required more man power than we were able find as everyone who could or would help us was out fishing.  So our first project became testing out Dylan’s idea with creating an indoor grow house. I initially envisioned a larger indoor area growing the standard veggies – tomatoes, beans, cukes.  Dylan wanted to use a grow tent for that effort.  Dylan saw micro greens, but on a much larger scale then what I wanted to do.  When we were visiting the hydroponic store in Juneau we saw a small grow tent that would house a very nice shelving unit in it.  I initially was not a fan of the grow tents (these are primarily used to grow marijuana).  But when learning how much less light we could use in there, and how much cleaner it kept everything, I was sold.  We went to work building our first indoor system, using a small grow tent.

The guy who ran the store agreed with Dylan on micro greens.  He and Dylan put together  all the supplies to get going with them.  I got online and was amazed with the varieties.  But what was even more amazing was how quickly they grew.  We had fresh greens in less than two weeks.  While Dylan perfected growing techniques and how to get the system working best, I got to work immediately on figuring out all the ways to use them and created this how to guide for using micro greens (it’s part of the Project Micro Green class now).  Soon there were fewer trips to town for veggies.  And that morgue drawer in my fridge now stores the starters to ferment veggies.

So what were our biggest challenges that led to this incredible turn key solution we call Project Micro Green:

  1. Manpower to help develop the physical infrastructure of some of our other year round food production system was very limited.   How many people don’t grow their own food because it’s time consuming, hard physical labor?
  2. Our fresh produce choices are very limited 3/4 of the year. Generally the further a fresh food source has to travel before you can consume it, the less nutritious it is.  Where else do people have to rely on their produce being shipped from far away, that just goes bad in their fridge before they use it?
  3. Indoor vertical hydroponics sounds really technical and kind of expensive. I was intimidated to try this.  I had tried growing regular greens indoors several years ago and had really bad results. Who wants to start something to just have it fail?

Being mindful of these problems, we created a system that was easy to operate, produced results very fast, prevented a lot of the common disease related issues with growing things indoors (keep the plants protected, grow them fast, and use them immediately).  I knew for it to work for me, it had to be something easy to do.  I’m not the most talented gardner on the planet.  Dylan still shakes his head in amazement about some of the moronic things I’ve done with this system.  Yet it still worked.  It still produces amazing micro greens on a continual basis.  And we’ve tested it out with a number of other people – it works for them as well.

I knew to help others use this system, we had to “Cheetahize” it – that is create the full turn key solution – whether someone is using our accelerated approach to become a Certified Project Manager  or wanting to become more food self sufficient and grow more of their own food year round with our Project Micro Green Course.  Turn key to us, means once someone signs up for the Project Micro Green course, they recieve the complete solution to achieve their goal.  In this case, it is an entire system to grow your own food, year round in a way that is easy to learn and easy to do.

There is a reason we have had 70,000 students take Cheetah Learning courses over the past 15 years.  We pay attention to every detail that enables another to quickly and easily achieve their goal.  When looking for that one strategy that can increase your chances of success in business, think “turn key.”


High Performing Business – Service – Ready, Willing, and Able

Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI-ACP, RYT

Thank you Dylan for being Ready, Willing and Able to install the micro green system this weekend. We learned a great deal about the importance of being ready, willing and able with succeeding in life (and in growing micro greens).

Thank you Dylan for helping with the micro green system install this weekend.  We learned a great deal about the importance of being ready, willing and able with succeeding in life (and in growing micro greens).

In designing learning experiences, we use a technique called the “emotional gradient t-up” as a way to engage our students. This way even if they do not come to class being “ready, willing and able” to learn,  through the t-up, they become so.

I was thinking about this in relationship to being in service with the installation of our micro green tents this week.  In the class we designed called “Project Micro Greens”  Cheetah students get a complete indoor vertical hydroponic micro green system (like the one in the picture). To learn how to set it up and use it, they go through a t-up process we designed to help them get ready to set up and operate their system. By the time their kit arrives, they are ready, willing and able to set up their system in five hours and use it to produce enough micro greens to sell or share with others.

Yet this weekend, as a favor to several folks in our community, instead of requiring they take the class, we showed up and installed the micro green system for them. We now are showing them how to operate the system to grow micro greens  Initially I was surprised at the level of T-up we had to do to engage them in growing micro greens. Then I remembered – well of course, they have not done the course nor have we taught them the course in person.

Being in service for us, means following our own programs the way we design them to ensure those we are serving become ready, willing and able to learn what they need to learn with us.

For more information, on Project Micro Green – visit Alaska Research Garden.

High Performing Business – Service – Tools and Talent

Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI-ACP, RYT

Giving or getting exceptional service requires having the right people with the right tools to make light duty of heavy work.

Giving or getting exceptional service requires having the right people with the right tools to make light duty of heavy work.

Being of service, helping others, creating value – these are innate human drives.  For many, focusing on being in genuine service brings meaning and depth to life. I was discussing these deep philsophical ideas with the dirt working dude for our year round food production project in Alaska.  (He has been working in the heavy equipment trades running logging camps for 30 years and is clearing land for our project).  Our long awaited rental wood chipper finally arrived on the ferry from Juneau.  He got right to it, and made fast work of chipping the large brush pile created from clearing the land. He was far more efficient at using that machine than I was.  He had both the right tools and the right talent to be of the most service.  We both agree each of us has our unique talents and when we are able to support each other with the right tools, we can best serve the greater good.

As a project manager, to ensure people are able to deliver the best service possible,  I match the talent required with the best tools available and the appropriate training for using those tools. Talented professionals  deliver consistent performance over time – it’s more than just having good intentions or the willingness to do the job, as I discovered with my desire to be helpful with the wood chipping project.  The professional with 30 years experience clearing land was way more qualified and got the wood chipping job done in 1/10th the time it would have taken me, no matter what my best intentions were.

I saw a prime example of the impact of making a hire based on intentions rather than qualifications with an elderly relative.  He  had a recently unemployed son’s girlfriend take on the caregiver role with the best of intentions.  She took a quick online training program to be able to get paid – but lacked the talent or tools to be of the best service.  Family members calling the shots on who did the caregiving were not aware of the requirements. Not having experience in eldercare;  they thought professional care meant their family member would be over medicated and left drooling in a corner in an under staffed nursing home. I understand this is a common misperception regarding professional  eldercare.  Everyone suffers in this situation as the well meaning but unqualified amateur driven by their best intentions,  over time gets increasingly stressed and burnt out not having the proper systems, skills or training to handle the basic day to day requirements and even worse effectively navigate the challenges that arise (this is actually an issue with unqualified people in every field).  The  person being cared for suffers most though from these well intentioned yet misguided efforts of an unqualified  amateur who often creates more problems then they resolve – especially for someone at the most vulnerable time of their life.  And instead of saving the family money, this ends up costing far more than if a more professional approach was adopted from the get go.  (plus it increases the chances of having to make a hasty decision for professional care when the elder in an unsafe situation gets injured – increasing the chances of the very situation they are thinking they will avoid – escalating the care level required).   Yes sometimes, you have no choice but to have an amateur at the helm, but this is not one of those cases as the family can well afford the best care money can buy. They just happen to believe the amateur is actually better than the professional.

Yet how often we make this same costly mistake because we lack the insight required to hire the right person?  Knowing how to hire the right professionals and providing the type of support they need is crucial to running any successful business – even if that business just happens to be day to day living as is the case in getting older.

We all know that sweet spot when talent and tools meet to deliver exceptional service.  Professionals practicing their craft know it in themselves  and it’s also easily recognized by others.  Granted there is a spot for apprenticeship and helping people learn the ropes.  And many people find much joy in their  DIY efforts.  But when we support (and benefit)  from the level of service that the pro’s in their field can deliver – we in fact significantly improve the quality of the journey for everyone.

In the Cheetah Certified Project Manager program, students hone in on where they and others can best be of service based on leveraging innate talents.  Cheetah Certified Project Managers stand out by creating the situations where delivering exceptional service is their norm.


High Performing Business – Service – Feedback

Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI-ACP, RYT

Everyday I get to review five to ten course evaluations from Cheetah Learning students.  For me, this is my pay day. All student feedback is valued insight, however and whatever our students want to share about their experiences as they pursue their goals under our guidance.

It always impresses me to the level and depth Cheetah students share what happened for them in our courses and their suggestions for how we can take our programs to the next level.  We roll many suggestions into improving all elements of the business – most of our students express sentiments such as this from a recent Cheetah Certified Project Management graduate:

“What was the most valuable part of the course?: ‘I appreciated the opportunity to use what I already know very well (myself, and project management) to learn a lot about things that I wanted to know much more about (how to do projects FAST, and how to effectively negotiate like a CHEETAH).’
Other topics you’d like to see in a course?: ‘I think a little information about COMMUNICATION and CONFLICT STYLES would make this course EVEN BETTER! :-) A few years ago I took a course on communication style and conflict resolution style. The course was taught by my companys (Anthem, Inc – Fortune 50) Director Of Organizational Development. I was the only student in the class who had a communication style AND confrontation style of “DIRECT/DIRECT.” Interestingly enough the instructor also had “DIRECT/DIRECT” as his communication/confrontation styles. I am a Myers-Briggs ENTP; he is an ISTJ. However, I learned more from him in a few sidebar conversations after class about how I can more effectively communicate with others if I know how to read their communication style, and also resolve conflict more effectively by recognizing the conflict resolution style of others and flexing my approach towards them accordingly.’
Other Comments?: ‘Ive taken Cheetah Learning courses 3 times in the past prior to this course – I took my PMP exam the day after my Cheetah Exam Prep  course ended, and passed with flying colors. Ive maintained my PDUs via Cheetah Learning’s courses since. I appreciate how your curricula approach the material of each course module from different perspectives. This makes your courses easy to commit to, and extremely useful in real world application. Last, but certainly not least – JEAN STEINMETZ is AMAZING. Jean was my instructor twice before, and when the Cheetah after-hours answering service failed to connect me to a representative after 2 calls, I e-mailed Jean and asked for her guidance. She CALLED ME within 5 MINUTES, helped me select the best course for me, and even generated a discount for me on the phone. WOW!!! I was absolutely overjoyed to hear from Jean; I have no words. Also – Coach Allison is amazing. She is responsive, helpful and insightful. Allison really helped me stay motivated and provided great feedback. It was obvious she read my assignments and cared about giving me useful and constructive feedback.”

When someone takes the time and effort to provide this level of feedback,  it helps us up our game and improve our service.  Think about – why ask for feedback if you are not planning on using it to improve how you serve your customers?   Student feedback helps our high performing business stay high performing.


High Performing Business – Service – Leverage

Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI-ACP, RYT

In Haines, the bears go into hibernation when their food sources decrease. But we humans who live here have to survive year round. Booming more food independent is one of the goals of our new course - Project Micro Green. Like most inventions, it was born out of necessity up here.

In Haines, the bears go into hibernation when their food sources decrease. But we humans who live here have to survive year round. Becoming more food independent year round is one of the goals of our new course – Project Micro Green. Like most inventions, it was born out of necessity up here.

In 2008, very concerned about the unraveling of our financial investment infrastructure, it occurred to me I was looking at just one element of our capital basis.  We in fact have five distinct sources of capital we can leverage to be in service and create value with and for one another – financial, social, knowledge,  brand and infrastructure.  I have written extensively on this and created a number of courses for Cheetah Learnng  over the past eight years related to leveraging all your sources of capital.  Yesterday was a remarkable day where I got the privilege of serving my community in three unique ways by leveraging my other non financial sources of capital.

One of my bigger goals is to improve food self sufficiency in this small remote Alaskan town I’ve called home the past 15 years.  My daughter went to the University of Alaska in Anchorage and became a registered dietician – she is now the town dietician here.  Several years ago, she introduced me to a concept I never gave much thought to living in the lower 48 – food insecurity. We get a barge that delivers our food here once a week.  By the time we get fresh produce, it’s already at least ten days old.  I’m not an epidemiologist but have noticed we seem to get a lot of people with cancer diagnoses up here – is there a correlation?

So this year, with the help of a recent Environmental Science grad from Berkley named Dylan Kasch, we started a project up here called the Alaska Research Garden.  Our mission is to research and teach ways to become more food self sufficient here.  (What we’ve realized is this is not just an up here issue).  Anyhow, yesterday was one of those crucible days where everything coalesced into focus of exactly why we are doing what we are doing.  We often do tours of the projects we have going on here. Yesterday we had the owners of the largest grocery store in town visiting.  And we had a couple neighbors who want to help us share our efforts in the community.  Together we may actually help make our town more food self sufficient. We are going to be helping each group set up micro green operations for the sectors of the community they serve, the way they serve them.

But that is not the all of yesterday. I’ve been negotiating an arrangement with one of the former town planners who wants to get into farming with his ten children. My dietician daughter had worked with him seven years ago in an internship – good guy, community first, kindred spirit in our interests in local food self suffficiency. Yesterday we signed the contract on a mutually agreeable approach to leverage a five acre parcel of land I own.  It used to be the main farm in the area a hundred years ago, before we had a barge bringing up our food every week.  It’s ten miles from my home, but only a half mile from his home. It’s a natural fit for he and his family to resurrect the historic farm for our town.

In all of these situations we are all leveraging our unique sources of capital to be of best service to each other and our community.  Food self sufficiency is very much a community effort where we need to work together in the ways that best serve the greater good – and it’s most certainly not all about the money.  It’s about leveraging our relationships.  It’s about leveraging our collective know how. It’s about leveraging our infrastructure.  And yes it’s about leveraging our brand equity – our reputations.  Every single person I’m aligning with is rock solid  with their heart in the right place – as demonstrated over years of consistent behavior.

Being in service to others is a highly collaborative effort – far more enjoyable when in the company of like minded, kindred spirits.  While meeting financial needs is relevant, it is through leveraging our other sources of capital where we are often best in service together.  I deeply appreciate the willing, go for it, pioneering spirit and the talent of my neighbor’s in this small Alaskan town.  It makes it even more of an exciting adventure to be here, now.