Welcome to the Newsletter!

Welcome to the first edition of the Tamarack Holdings monthly newsletter! Here we will outline progress towards various strategic goals across our family of companies, as well as celebrate the success that we’ve all created together. There is LOTS happening, and this is a great way for us to talk about it. Please let us know what you think.

As the first year in my role comes to a close, I've found myself reflecting on our progress to date, which is both daunting and exciting all at once. We've made significant headway towards the goals that Chip has asked us to accomplish as an organization, namely:

  • Gain a full understanding of our overall expense structure, and put a cost-containment plan in place.
  • Design an improved management system to inspire our teams to excel.
  • Chart a course to financial break-even, and then, towards an annual return on invested capital of 4-5% across our entire family of companies.
  • Always find a Middle Path.

And we've made steady and encouraging progress:

  • Earthy is profitable for the first time in anyone's memory; details forthcoming.
  • Our decision to explicitly put Todd Brannock in charge of both teams in Okemos has worked. I continue to describe this operation as our "Culture Lab."
  • CCF has a cogent strategic plan for the first time, and people are excited about it.
  • Lee Michaels is consistently demonstrating leadership excellence at CCF, resulting in exciting changes across the organization.
  • The Tamarack Holdings team has made steady progress in establishing a baseline across the enterprise, culminating in a steady ramp-up of projects and the creation of a set of strategic goals for TH, for the remainder of 2016.

To accomplish all of this, we've been implementing the servant leadership management system pioneered by Robert Greenleaf, with a fair amount of success. Lee, Todd, Colleen Valko, and Hilary Gessner are all going to a Zingtrain seminar about this in a couple of weeks, and we're REALLY excited for them to come back and begin to implement these ideas with their work. This is the management philosophy employed by Zingermans, Marriott, Whole Foods, Herman Miller, Medtronic, Nordstrom, Southwest Airlines, Starbucks, and dozens of other successful organizations. It is my belief that, with what we've been asked to accomplish, this is our best way forward.

Here's servant leadership in a nutshell from the page linked above:

A servant-leader focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong. While traditional leadership generally involves the accumulation and exercise of power by one at the “top of the pyramid,” servant leadership is different. The servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible.

Hopefully, these ideas excite and inspire you. I’m confident that they will, because I’ve seen this management system create tremendous trust within teams, and I look forward to seeing this happen with our family.

- Jason Gollan, CEO