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2014 Bigelow Forum

Our 2014 Bigelow Forum was held Thursday and Friday, September 18th and 19th. The theme of the 2014 Forum was to answer the question what is “The Job to Be Done?”


Our 2014 Bigelow Forum was held Thursday and Friday, September 18th and 19th. The theme of the 2014 Forum was to answer the question what is “The Job to Be Done?”

We asked many thought-provoking questions of the advisors and Entrepreneur Owner-Managers (EOMs) in attendance, including:

  • What challenge is the Entrepreneur Owner-Manager faced with, and what is the result she needs?
  • Does the expert advisor always, or even frequently, know what “the job” is?
  • What “job” is the EOM engaging the expert advisor to do?
  • How do we integrate expectations and experiences?


Pete Worrell opened the Forum on Thursday afternoon. We had a dialogue about the purpose of the Forum Community and the strategic importance of building relationships with each other to achieve EOM goals. We showed some real-time depictions of the relationships of the people actually in the room using Salesforce’s visual relationship manager. As part of the welcoming remarks, we watched the video, “Understanding the Job,” by Harvard Professor Clayton Christensen.


Rob MacLeod introduced Cindy Brown of Outward Bound Professional, who led the way to the opening event at Odiorne Point. The timed challenge at Odiorne instructed teams in the “Job to Be Done”: capture all the flags floating in the water. Each team was allowed to capture only their team’s flag. Negotiations among (most!) teams resulted in rafts built, rafts launched – most with numerous team members – and all flags captured, with only one capsize!  See the photo gallery to complete the vision.


On Friday, following the Morning Welcome, Stephen McGee walked us through LESSONS LEARNED: OBSERVATIONS FROM OUTWARD BOUND. What started as competitive chaos evolved into successful collaboration. Participants talked about relating the beach and water-centered activity with the intellectual construct.

Friday continued the focus on the “Job to Be Done” (JTBD) with two sessions.

SESSION I: JOB TO BE DONE – THE EXPERT ADVISOR with David Linton and Warren Widener


Using three case studies of “T-10,” “T” and “T+10,” this session told the story of Jim, Founder/Owner and CEO of a very successful aerospace parts manufacturer. “T-10” found Jim celebrating the 20th anniversary of his company and wondering what the future held. “T” finds Jim at the center of a competitive frenzy for the growing company, the ensuing offers and Jim’s struggle to make the right decision for himself and the company. “T+10” finds Jim sixteen months after the closing of a recapitalization transaction and how he fared.

Most of the advisors’ and Entrepreneur Owner-Managers’ time was in face-to-face “break-out” discussion groups exploring and answering focus questions. We reconvened and listened to the feedback and perspectives from each group. As one attendee commented, “The discussions in our breakout group were insightful and highlighted the benefit to be obtained by having other thoughtful, experienced professionals provide their insights and perspectives to a given situation. The whole was much greater than the sum of the parts.”



Friday’s session asked five successful Entrepreneur Owner-Managers in varying stages of “T+10” to reflect on their transaction experience, and particularly, what job they were hiring their advisors to do. Panelists Buddy Long, Former President of Level One; Reinhold Hesse, President CBT Technology (XTech); Hali Dearborn, Former VP of Corporate Responsibility EPTAM Plastics, Ltd.; Barry Hibble, Director and Former President Micronics, Inc.; and David Slutz, President of Precix, were forthright, enlightening and entertaining. We are grateful for their willingness to share their stories.

Note: they made it clear that sometimes it’s not about “doing;” it’s about listening and understanding.



Pete’s remarks synthesized our experiences back to Thursday afternoon’s Outward Bound session and the “Job to Be Done,” layered the EOM’s experiences, and shared the idea of integrating this year’s Forum into our daily thinking. He followed the journey of learning from each Forum that led to this year’s topic.

Pete then introduced the concept of “High Phi,” the Life Arc of an Expert Advisor, which we co-created with Forum attendees. A number of attendees suggested they would appreciate the opportunity to further develop this arc and proposed that an entire Forum could focus on this topic. Bigelow considers the Life Arc of an Expert Advisor to be a work in progress and promises to share updates as they become available.

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