Happy Fourth of July

July 4th Independence DayI’m sitting in the warm morning sun as I write this. On a pirate ship. On the Mississippi. Gotta love Airbnb.

I’m grateful. So, grateful for this country.

I’ve been traveling, with my wife and three kiddos, through Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. We’re here to attend a wedding, visit family, plunder houseboats and such.

Traveling through mostly rural areas of these states, I was struck by the grit and determination that supported the farmers, miners, and loggers who built much of what we saw. All of it, hard work.

We drove through beautiful, mature national forests. Vast areas were replanted, the direct result of the Great Depression, the Civilian Conservation Corps. Tag-team work by two Roosevelts.

On the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, there is a strong and fun sense of regional pride. Which we were educated on at length.

In Wisconsin, to my boy’s delight, we discovered the Hodag. A forest monster invented 100 years ago as a practical joke. Now it’s a tourist attraction, a mascot for schools, the name of businesses and the subject of many local works of art.

Now, I’m on a pirate ship.

There have been friendly, hospitable and gracious people everywhere we’ve gone.

In the United States, there is such a tendency, almost a need to dig around and find out what is wrong with our country. With our leaders. With our systems of governance. With our society. With “those people.”

In the midst of the posturing and complaints and arguments and dissatisfaction about what is the best way to make America a great place to live – we too often forget that we’re already there. We already have it.

No, America is not a perfect place. The Founding Fathers did not create Utopia. From my read of history, they were more realistic than that. They created a country, a system, that has been stable enough to handle centuries of change yet flexible enough to grow and evolve.

It’s so remarkable that most of us really are unable to appreciate it. Most of us can’t really imagine any other reality.

Like running water and electricity, we take our freedoms and prosperity for granted. We can tend to focus, instead, on faucets that drip or fuses that get blown.

I’m grateful this 4th. I’m grateful for the foresight of our Founding Fathers. I’m grateful for the sacrifice of our service men and women. I’m grateful for all of those people who go into public service, to do the work of maintaining and building the systems and services we take for granted.

I’m grateful to live in a country of creative, fun, hardworking and often very gracious, regular people.

We already live in a great country. Let’s treat each other like that. Let’s keep building.

Take good care,


Special Fourth of July Offer!

During the month of July, I’m celebrating the volunteerism that is unique in America. I know that many of my readers lead non-profits as executives or board directors. So, this is for you.

During this month, I’m making a special, free, offer to a limited number of non-profit boards. The offer is my services for a one-day board retreat that can include:

  • Board training on board best practices.
  • Strategic planning.
  • Board development and recruitment planning.
  • Executive Director succession planning.
  • Mentoring for board president, chair or executive director.
  • Or…any other topics relevant to improving the performance of your organization through your board.

This retreat can be scheduled for any mutually convenient date in 2017.

To Apply:

  • E-mail a Letter of Interest: I need to receive a one-page letter signed by both the executive director and board president expressing interest. Please e-mail a copy of this letter to me. In it address the topics below.
    • Describe your board’s current practice and willingness to fully step into their board roles. Preference will be given to active boards.
    • Describe your mission and primary opportunities and challenges.
    • Provide a thumbnail sketch of your organization: # of staff, # of board directors, years in operation, website, etc.
    • Communicate how you intend to use this investment of your time to further the mission of the organization.

I’m looking for motivated boards and leaders to support. If you feel like that describes you or your board, please respond.

I will receive applications through the month of July and announce recipients in August. Contact me at christian@vantageconsulting.org.






Would You Like To Lead A Consistently High Performing Team?

Would you like to build a unified and aligned team? Would you like them to grow and function at their best? Would you like to help them achieve better results while reducing your management time and effort?

If your answer is YES, then let’s talk.