Reason #349B to attend the Currie Best Practices Summit–“Learn from the Best”

Reason #349B to attend the Currie Best Practices Summit

Register now for the 2017 Currie Best Practices Summit.

Bob Currie will be leading Breakout Session B.  Evolving Leadership Roles as Companies Grow is specifically for Deader Principles and Dealership Executives. This session will include a small, distinguished panel of highly successful business leaders with unsurpassed knowledge and strategies for growth that can be applied to all industrial equipment dealerships.  Listen, question, and comment to two owners who have grown their businesses and how this growth impacted their leadership roles. These dealers have grown their businesses from single store operations with $5MM to $10MM in total revenue to multi store operations with $100MM+ in revenue.  For more information or to register to attend The summit, click here!

Currie Training Center updates!

In case you missed it—

Today’s live webinar was a free one-hour introduction to The Currie Financial Model.  The replay is available on demand, for free, by clicking here!


Still openings—

Benchmarking and The Currie Financial Model, offered September 14-15, 2017.  It’s coming up fast but it’s not too late to save your spot!  Register here!

FREE Webinar – Benchmarking and the Currie Financial Model

Free Live Webinar offered by Robin Currie, of

Currie Management Consultants, Inc.

Please join me on Tuesday, September 5th at 11:00 AM Eastern Time for a free, live, one-hour webinar that will take you through the foundation of The Currie Financial Model.  Learn what The Model looks like for your industry, how to calculate some of the critical benchmarks, and how to apply The Model to your organization.

During the free webinar, you will have an opportunity to register for Currie’s two-day seminar Benchmarking and the Currie Financial Model, offered on September 14-15, 2017 for $999.00.


This webinar is for:

  • Currie Clients (Dealer Principals, C-Level Dealership Executives, General Managers (also Branch and Department Managers), and Investors.
  • All organizations involved in the distribution of industrial equipment (power generation, commercial tire, lift truck, farm equipment, air compressor, transport refrigeration, golf and utility vehicles, systems, HVAC, and more).
  • Accountants and Business Valuation Providers for businesses in the equipment industries.


Important links:


Call us at 508-752-9229 if you have any questions!  See you on the Webinar!

Reason #7 to Attend the Currie Best Practices Summit

You Better Be Right

In honor of Bob Currie’s obsession with sports, the Currie Team has secured a guest speaker for this year’s best Practices Summit who is sure to please!  Richard Burleson is a best-selling author of You Better be Right – 7 Steps to Success.  In his book, Dick takes us with him onto the playing field, and we see life from the vantage point of an SEC Official. With ovations from the likes of top elected officials and four-star generals, Mr. Burleson is not to be missed.

Here’s a little more information about Dick:

Richard B. (Dick) Burleson is Vice President of Neel-Schaffer, one of the leading Engineering firms in the United States.  He is a native of Alabama and was inducted into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame. Dick graduated from Georgia Tech with a Civil Engineering degree.

Besides his engineering career, Dick also rose to the Army Reserves highest rank, that of Major General. He graduated from the Army War College and was Commanding General of the largest Army Reserve Command in the World. His command covered eight states, 40,000 troops and included over 5,000 soldiers placed on active duty during Desert Storm. General Colin Powell personally decorated General Burleson’s units.

One of his highest personal honors came, when General Burleson received the Spirit of America’s – Audie Murphy Patriotism Award. He was only the 23rd American to receive this award.

In addition to his engineering and military careers, Dick Burleson has been a football official in the Southeastern Conference for 25 years and worked a full schedule of top SEC games every year as head referee. Dick has served as Chief Referee and President of the SEC. He officiated fifteen major bowl games and the SEC Championship game.

His last game on the field was as the head referee for the National Championship Rose Bowl game.  He is now an SEC staff advisor on officiating and evaluates officials’ performance each Saturday from the SEC Command Center.  His book, “You Better Be Right”, has reached the #1 Best Sellers list at Barnes & Noble Bookstores.

Click here to Register for the Currie Best Practices Summit November 7-8, 2017

Or call us at 508-752-9229 with questions!

News from The Currie Training Center

Featured Program:

Benchmarking and the Currie Financial Model

This program is coming up very soon!  September 14-15 are the dates, and this Seminar is presented by Robin Currie.  There are still plenty of spots open so register here: and choose Benchmarking from the dropdown menu (it should be your first option).  After we receive your registration, we will contact you to discuss payment options and accommodations.

Other programs:  Please visit our Schedule of Events page to see what’s happening (and there’s a lot!).  Highlights for the upcoming season are:

  • Leadership Development 2018–one year program. Begins February 12th-13th, 2018 and registration is now open.


  • Leadership with Intention and Purpose—NEW PROGRAM!! By Robin Currie. The dates for this seminar are October 12th-13th.


  • Currie Best Practices Summit—first of its kind, multi industry event in Dallas, Texas November 7th-8th. Learn more by visiting the Currie Conferences website.

Visit the Currie Training Center website to see it all!

Reason #11C to attend the Currie Best Practices Summit, by Robin Currie

“What would it look like” (quoting our fearless leader Bob Currie) to intentionally align our business practices with spiritual principles?

What is really happening in our world today?  And how do we continue to implement and enjoy an enlightened business model in a changing world?

Change is upon us – there is a new thought process and a new way.  There is no denying it.  If you haven’t noticed, you will now!  Blame it on the millennials, blame it on the solar eclipse, or blame it on me, just know that it’s here.  Remember my Currie Reading List a couple of years back entitled The Philosophy of Distribution?  I hope that everyone enjoyed my collection of insights, because The List demonstrated the fact that ancient practices were brilliantly and timelessly crafted for the success of not just businesses, governments, and the wealthy, but for the success of all people.  We all go into business today for a variety of reasons:  passion, a desire for financial freedom, or a method of letting wealth flow through your business into the community.  Or perhaps you are committed to the continuation of a wonderful family legacy, one which abounds with the love and vision of the original creators (your grandparents, parents, relatives, or mentors).

Let’s go back to my musings (get it?) about a “new way”.  It’s actually not so new, but now is the time to look at life, and business, from a new perspective.  Come to the Currie Best Practices Summit and spend 100 minutes with me collaborating on how we can take our businesses to the next level, and by the next level I mean a lot more than a growth in revenue.  We are spiritual people, we humans, yet many of us are operating, albeit highly successfully, in a non-spiritual methodology within our distribution businesses.  Is that duality your best mode to success?  What would happen if we no longer separated ourselves, and instead we merged our true selves with our businesses and created an atmosphere within our dealerships where there was no limit, and success beyond imagination was a possibility for each and every one of our employees?  Aren’t all of us aligned, and collectively sharing a very instinctive, and very human, desire to achieve our highest potentials?

Could Buddha have been wrong when he presented the Eight Great Fears?  I believe not.  Some of us may be experiencing, in our businesses or perhaps even in our personal lives, limitations caused by anger, pride, ignorance, envy/jealousy, avarice/greed, attachment, doubt, or wrong views (misunderstanding)  Come to The Summit and be prepared for the next Chaotic Node in our world (wink, wink).  Here’s the link: Currie Best Practices Summit 2017.

In loving memory of Felix Vanholsbeeck

Written by Michelle Currie:

Felix came into our lives during our association with Bandag Europe. He immediately won us over with his knowledge and wit. The three of us traveled throughout Europe with Felix as our connection to the clients, their countries, and their businesses. Windshield time with Felix was never boring. A true Renaissance man, Felix, would engage Bob in philosophical discussions on the meaning of life and the next moment turn to me, Michelle, and discuss the latest fashion trend. Our respect and affection for Felix grew during these trips.

On one of our trips to Dresden, Germany Bob asked Felix to ask the proprietor of the hotel for an iron so he could iron his shirt. She said yes. While we were in the restaurant having dinner, the proprietor came over to our table and looking at me, the wife, asked something in German. Felix could hardly keep from laughing. I turned to Felix and asked him to translate. He said that the woman asked if I wanted an ironing board with the iron. He was now laughing. Felix knew what I would say, “I didn’t ask for the iron. Ask Mr. Currie if he would like the ironing board.” As Felix translated, the woman looked at me in horror. Felix was now laughing out loud. He translated to Bob that the woman said to bring her his shirt and she would iron it for him. I do believe that she said something rude about me but Felix being the gentleman he is would not translate that part. His laughter was enough. That was Felix. He was our buffer between our ugly American ways and the ways of Europe. He did not judge, he accepted people as they were and for what they had to offer.

When Bandag cut him loose, Currie grabbed him. Felix ran our European office for 10+ years. He took care of our clients, the business and the Curries. Our friendship deepened and so did our admiration. We had lots of success and fun with Felix. Then a marketing trip to Russia brought Olga into his life and ours. He was amazed that someone so beautiful, young, and smart would be interested in him. We weren’t surprised. Olga brought out the best of Felix. She was the love of his life and he was grateful every day he was with her.

Felix and Olga were acting as tour guides for myself and my friend, Annie. Annie asked if Felix knew of the American Cemetery in Belgium and of course he knew. So, on our way to visit Aachen, Germany Felix took us to this cemetery. This was in December and it was colder than the Arctic. Annie was looking for the grave of an American Soldier who died in the battle of Aachen and was the father of her friend back home. No one had ever visited his grave. We would be the first. We found the caretaker who lead us to the grave which was in the farthest corner of the site. Standing in the freezing cold the caretaker told us the story of the Battle of Aachen and what the soldiers had endured. Felix was moved and had tears in his eyes. That was Felix, going out of his way to help and connecting on an emotional level with someone he didn’t even know.

It is difficult to condense so many years of association and friendship down to so few words. Yet, when we think of Felix these are the words that come to mind.

Knowledgeable, Teacher, Mentor, Generous, Wine Connoisseur, Foodie, Loyal, Caring, and Friend.

I last spoke to Felix on his birthday, June 30, 2017. He sounded upbeat and we were planning to get together. Bob and I are saddened by Felix’s sudden passing and will carry our memories forward. He was loved and admired by many and may he rest in the arms of the Lord.

Organizational Culture: Does it Matter? Can it be Managed?

By John VanDeusen, Executive Partner at Currie Management Consultants

Also, published at

In this post, I’ll answer three key questions: What is organizational culture? Why does it matter? Can it really be managed and, if so, how?

I’ve been noticing an increasing amount of discussion on the web and in print devoted to the matter of an organization’s culture. Some recent Google results:

“10 Examples of Companies with Fantastic Cultures – Entrepreneur”

“Examples of Organizational Culture and Its Importance – Grasshopper”

“5 Company Culture Examples Worth Emulating – Business Hub”

While most business owners are aware that something ‘cultural’ is going on in their organization, few may think it deserves any deeper consideration. This is unfortunate because culture can prove to be a strong lever for improving a company’s functioning and profitability.

What is organizational culture?

Edgar Schein, MIT professor emeritus and the foremost thinker in this area, describes organizational culture as a “pattern of shared basic assumptions learned by a group as it solves its problems of external adaptation and internal integration.” Schein (1992) sees culture as operating at three levels in any organization:

  • Visible artifacts: Anything that would be visible to an outside observer, e.g., behavior patterns and work processes, the way the physical environment is organized, dress codes, company symbols/credos/logos, etc.
  • Espoused beliefs and values: What people say about “what we do around here and why we do it,” e.g., core values and guiding principles, as well as cherished stories about the company’s history and significant accomplishments.
  • Basic (unconscious) beliefs and values: Deeper feelings, mindset and motives about mission, relationships, human nature, etc., which drive words and actions.

In short, culture permeates everything said and done in any organization.

What Matters?

Organizational culture can be a driver of employee engagement and productivity, innovation, safety, reputation, value for money, etc. As an organizing force, culture can make any or all of these aspects of your company better or worse. Several attributes are key:

  • Strength: the extent that people clearly understand, can articulate and act according to its dictates. A weak culture may lead to uncertainty, friction and disappointment among employees and customers.
  • Outlook: A culture should strive for positive character, through proactive beliefs, words and actions that draw people in.
  • Coherence: The various facets of the culture should be internally consistent, not conflicting.
  • Focus: The best cultures concentrate on a few, vital aims with respect to creating and sustaining momentum in the desired direction.

Here are some examples of how all of this can translate into value not just for shareholders, but for everyone who participates in a strong, proactive and focused culture:

  • Companies with a participative culture can have an ROI nearly twice as high as firms with less participative firms (Denison, 1990).
  • Companies that managed their cultures well over an eleven-year period saw revenue growth four times higher than those that did not, and net income increases of 756% versus 1% (Kotter & Heskett, 1992).
  • Customer satisfaction and loyalty: Gillespie, et al (2008) found that organizational culture has a strong correlation with customer satisfaction and loyalty
  • Flamholtz (2001) found that business units adhering to a company’s preferred culture had greater profitability (as measured by EBIT), than units that did not.

Can Culture Be Managed? How?

Several authors have published good guides for culture management. Here are three I recommend: Roger Connors and Tom Smith (2012), Change the Culture, Change the Game, Jon Katzenbach, Ashley Harshak, et al (2012), Don’t Blame Your Culture; and Eric Flamholtz and Yvonne Randle (2011), Corporate Culture: The Ultimate Strategic Asset.

To get started, the steps I will suggest you take:

  1. Take Stock: What is the current state of your organization’s culture – the words, actions and beliefs that are most prevalent in day to day actions? How are these impacting customers, employees and business results? You could interview or survey to try to get a sense of these, but I find a much stronger approach is to bring together a cross-section of your stakeholders (including) customers to engage in some straight talk about their impressions.
  2. Define: Set the preferred direction for the culture. Identify the few key things most needed or desired from the culture to support the business, going forward. E.g., what is the desired orientation to customers, to employees, to performance and accountability, to innovation, etc. These should build directly from your company’s mission and core values. (If you are using a group meeting for the prior step, this can be a second topic for discussion.)
  3. Design: Seek to discover people and actions that can help catalyze or reinforce the desired changes. Katzenbach and Harshak suggest that you seek to engage four types of people in this work: pride builders, role models, networkers and early adopters. Work with them to design a simple, meaningful plan to start making the changes needed to tune up (or transform) your culture. It’s okay to begin with just one or a few items and see how well they work.
  4. Deploy: Put the plan into action. You may find that some desired changes are already happening somewhere in the company. Recognize and support these, wherever they are working. Where you don’t see anything relevant happening, drive new actions by incentivizing them in some manner.
  5. Keep Score: Regularly monitor your culture-building and -reinforcing activities in play to assess cumulative impact. Lend additional support and recognition to sustain momentum. Learn from both successes and failures. Repeat steps 1 and 2 every year or two.

Please contact me if you have any comments on the content of this post or would like to learn more about managing organizational culture.


Connors, Roger and Smith, Tom. 2012, Change the Culture, Change the Game. Portfolio

Denison, Daniel, 1990, Corporate Culture and Organizational Effectiveness. Wiley.

Flamholtz, Eric, 2001, Corporate Culture and the Bottom Line. European Management Journal, 19(3): 268-275.

Flamholtz, Eric and Randle, Yvonne, 2011, Corporate Culture: The Ultimate Strategic Asset. Stanford Business Books

Gillespie, Michael, Denison, Daniel, Haaland, Stephanie, Smerek, Ryan and Neale, William, 2008, Linking organizational culture and customer satisfaction: Results from two companies in different industries. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology.

Katzenbach, Jon, Harshak, Ashley, et al (2012), Stop Blaming Your Culture, in https://digitaledition.strategy- Also, available as a Kindle Edition from Amazon.

Kotter, John & Heskett, James, 1992, Corporate Culture and Performance. Free Press.

Schein, Edgar, 1992, Organizational Culture and Leadership. Jossey-Bass.

Photo Contest!

Want to attend a two seminar at The Currie Training Center for free?  Send us your photo!


Currie Management Consultants, Inc. is proud of the great work being done by dealer clients across North America.  Send us your favorite photo of your food drives, community events, Little League teams, projects for the homeless, etc.  We want to see all of the great work!

Here’s the link to enter!

Revenue Growth – Currie’s Strategic Plan and Growth Theme for 2017

2017 is all about Revenue Growth.  As we are finishing up 2016, let’s think about how we are going to manage our growth this coming year, and how we are going to continue to pursue not just excellence, but a new level of distinction for our companies.  How do we figure out a growth and revenue enhancement strategy as we look at the economy right now?  How do we meet the challenge of staying profitable during a time of growth? How do we achieve a new level of “what it looks like when it’s right”?  The answer can be found in Currie Success Principle #4:  Strategy, and in Currie Management Consultants, Inc.’s newest seminar, 2017 Revenue Growth Strategy for Equipment Distribution Companies.

According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis ( the U.S experienced a slim GDP growth of .8% in the first quarter of 2016.  The second quarter showed a marginally larger growth rate, around 1.1%.  Also noteworthy is the fact that profits from current production (corporate profits with inventory valuation adjustment and capital consumption adjustment [CCAdj]) decreased $24.1 billion in the second quarter, in contrast to an increase of $66.0 billion in the first quarter of 2016.

Warren Buffett shared some encouraging economic insights in his most recent annual letter to shareholders at Berkshire Hathaway, Inc.  His approach to predicting economic activity is to take a long-term view.  A deceleration in GDP growth for the short-term is not as alarming as some people would have investors and business owners believe.  And the measurement is not one that can be looked at in isolation:  consumers, business owners, and politicians need to think about other correlating factors, and include the consideration of those factors when looking at economic growth or decline.

One such factor is population growth.  The U.S. population growth rate is trending around .8% annually.  The per capita GDP growth rate, and dollars per capita, depend upon population growth as an element of the predictive calculations that economists project.

Another area that must be considered is the development of technology.  The efficiency that technology has created in the American and global workplaces is not something that is going away –rather that continuous transformation in our lives will endure and thus carry on a trend of higher efficiency as we move into the future.

Taking those, and other factors into the equation, the math tells us that the economy is headed toward a substantial yield in actual per capita dollars per person, as the next generation comes of age.  Remember last quarter when I shared a review of Andrew Carnegie’s The Gospel of Wealth? Buffett, and other experts, believe that income and lifestyle inequality will always exist.  However, when predicting long term outcomes, we must also consider an increased life expectancy, and higher standard of living as time moves forward.  This validates the mindset that analysts need to look long-term, and Currie clients need do so as well.  Remember Currie Success Principle #2:  Vision and The Big Picture.

Here’s an interesting quote from Mr. Buffett’s letter:

“It’s an election year, and candidates can’t stop speaking about our country’s problems (which, of course, only they can solve). As a result of this negative drumbeat, many Americans now believe that their children will not live as well as they themselves do. That view is dead wrong: The babies being born in America today are the luckiest crop in history.”[i]

Although long-term analysis is key in predicting the wealth of future generations, we experience cycles in our economy, and sometimes those cycles can be quite dramatic.  Currently there is a slow rate of GDP growth and the impact of that can have a severe effect on the short-term health of many businesses, as indicated earlier by the reference from the Bureau of Economic Analysts.  However, all is not gloom and doom in our corner of the world, but since equipment dealers and distributors today are facing a slowdown cycle, the Currie team is introducing a new seminar aimed at rolling out a comprehensive revenue growth strategy for 2017.

Currie Management Consultants, Inc. has identified the key areas that are critical to a new, and precise, overall strategy.  Bob Currie will lead the charge on implementing specific actions and best practices that will keep our businesses strong and healthy.  During the two-day program, 2017 Revenue Growth Strategy for Equipment Distribution Companies, the Currie Team will stand together with Dealer Principals and Investors, as we navigate through a short-term tight economy and a downturn in the availability of new business. And Currie will introduce new, innovative methods for industry leaders to succeed and grow through account management, account penetration, and winning business from your competition.  These strategies will be supported by micro-strategies including:

  • Scripting
  • Managing the Sales Force
  • Achieving Growth in the Aftermarket Departments through methods such as second segment service work and proactive parts selling
  • Measuring the key liquidity benchmarks to keep your “finger on the pulse”
  • Marketing the new strategy through Internet and social media
  • And more…

This program is offered October 11-12, 2016 in Washington DC.  Registration is available here:  2017 Revenue Growth Strategy for Equipment Dealers.  This seminar has been designed specifically for our highly successful dealer clients, and it is in keeping with Currie Success Principle #8:  Growth and Adaptability.  Register online or call us at 508-752-9229 for assistance.

[i] Warren Buffett’s 2015 Annual Letter to Shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc.