Strengthening the Small Business Backbone: A Conversation with Chris Lautenslager
As a podcaster, I have the privilege of engaging in enlightening conversations with a variety of guests. In a recent episode, I had the pleasure of interviewing Chris Lautenslager, a man who has journeyed from growing up in a small family business to working in the corporate world, and eventually returning to support small businesses. Our conversation revolved around the importance of strengthening the small business backbone in society and making conscious purchasing decisions to support local businesses.
The Journey of Chris Lautenslager
Chris Lautenslager’s story is one of community, corporate disillusionment, and a return to the roots of small business. Growing up in a small family business, Chris experienced the sense of community at a local diner where business owners would gather. His journey through the corporate world led him to a realization that corporations often prioritize profit over customer care. This realization sparked his desire to lead a global movement to reinvigorate support for small businesses, which he believes are the fabric of society.
The Importance of Small Businesses
Chris and I found common ground in our shared experiences growing up with small businesses. We discussed the challenges faced by female business owners in the past, and the importance of supporting local businesses. Chris emphasized the importance of conscious purchasing decisions, as these businesses contribute to the quality of life in communities and foster human connections.
The Power of Community
Chris shared a poignant childhood memory of his father taking him to a local diner where business owners gathered to start their day. This sense of community and support, where everyone knew and referred business to each other, was a powerful lesson for Chris. He compared this to the concept of mastermind groups for business owners, highlighting the value of a close-knit community.
Expanding Our Understanding
Chris also discussed the importance of connecting with people from different socio-economic groups. He believes that exposure to different perspectives and opinions helps us learn and discern right from wrong. He disagreed with the idea of cancel culture, emphasizing the importance of listening to and observing how people act in making informed judgments.
The Need for Honest Leadership
I agreed with Chris and added that there is a major shift happening in the way information is disseminated and how we perceive truth. I emphasized the need for good, honest leadership at all levels of society and criticized the tendency to elect leaders based on their loud voices or campaign spending rather than their ability to lead effectively.
A Case Study: The Plumbing Company in Denver
Doug shared a story about a plumbing company in Denver that has established a set of company values and visions. The owner holds quarterly personal vision board workshops for all employees, where they update their personal goals and share them with each other. This practice emphasizes the importance of creating an environment that supports people’s dreams, growth, and families.
Living According to One’s Values
Chris also shared his own experience of identifying his ten key values, which has helped him navigate through life and make decisions that bring him joy and fulfillment. He is in the process of creating a course on values and will be providing webinars, seminars, and speeches on the topic.
The Importance of Vision
I agreed with the importance of having a vision and driving it based on core values. I mentioned that many of my executive coaching clients often lack a clear vision and are waiting for instructions from above. I believe that crystallizing a vision and aligning it with one’s values is crucial for personal and professional success.
In conclusion, our conversation with Chris Lautenslager was a deep dive into the importance of small businesses, the power of community, and the need for honest leadership. It was a reminder of the importance of living according to one’s values and the transformative power of having a clear vision.
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Small business owners will hit an invisible wall that can stall the growth of the company. The key reason there is a wall is that owners need to shift from manager to leader. The question is, how to do that?
Doug Thorpe. Doug is a coach for CEOs and Senior Leadership Teams with 30 years of leadership experience. He is the president & CEO of Doug Thorpe Group. Doug is also a podcast host.
He helps owners understand the ways they need to reshape their thinking and attitude to make a successful break through the wall.
Learn how to move from Founder to CEO.
Doug Thorpe LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dougthorpe/