How the state of Louisiana is Helping to Grow Louisiana Business Leaders

November 29, 2022

LED offers Small Businesses the Opportunity to Retreat at the Edward Lowe Foundation in Big Rock Valley, Michigan.

Back in early October, I had the absolute pleasure of joining 13 other Louisiana business owners and leaders for a three-night, four-day retreat on Leading a Resilient Organization at the Edward Lowe Foundation in Big Rock Valley, Michigan.

It was a super special and valuable exercise that allowed me to get away from the day-to-day grind and really invest some time into growing my business with other entrepreneurs who were there to do the same thing.

14 of us had full reign to roam 2000 beautiful acres owned by the Edward Lowe Foundation and spent time in thoughtful sessions led by very seasoned professionals challenging us to think about our businesses differently.

Leadership retreats at the Edward Lowe Foundation are designed specifically for leaders of second-stage companies — those beyond the startup phase with the intent and capacity for continued growth. Second-stage companies are typically defined as businesses with 10-99 employees, $1m – $50m in revenue. They comprise 16% of all US companies and 37.8% of all jobs.

I view retreats as highly personal, because often the programming actually stimulates new thoughts around other initiatives that you already have in the works or were contemplating making them stronger and better than before.

Based on facilitated sessions and attendee conversations I was able to:

  • Spend time focusing on fine tuning BBR’s company positioning, setting our BHAG (big hairy audacious goal) and testing its language out with fellow attendees to get honest, critical feedback on our value proposition
  • Update our Right-Fit Client Prospect criteria — which is essentially a scorecard to evaluate the best prospects for a business
  • Explore ways to drive value-based decision making
  • Consider rethinking how annual reviews are given based on new data and information in the business psychology space
  • Discuss the implementation and use of EOS (Entrepreneurial Operating System) from other businesses that have found value in its usage
  • Learn to use questioning as a tool to grow leaders and stimulate critical thinking and problem solving
  • Analyze existing organizational structure
  • Participate in a workshop on positive intelligence, learning more about my personal saboteurs which prevent me from showing up as the best version of myself

The opportunity to participate in the leadership retreat was offered to me through my affiliation with the LED Growth Network. The LED Growth Network is a suite of resources designed by Louisiana Economic Development to accelerate the growth of Louisiana’s second-stage companies.

I participated only after being invited several times by Chris Cassagne, the Assistant Director of LED’s Small Business Services group, and now wish I would have participated earlier. Chris is not your run of the mill government worker. He gets involved, is prompt, willing to help and offers great value to Louisiana small businesses if you just take him up on his offer to learn more about what is available to your business — free of charge.

So if you are a second-stage business or in upper management of a second-stage small business, I strongly recommend that you investigate how LED’s programs — especially leadership retreats at the Edward Lowe Foundation – could be of value to your business.

To learn more, contact Assistant Director of LED’s Small Business Services group, Chris Cassagne, at Christopher.Cassagne@la.gov or 225-342-5882.

Remember, you are creative too.