Thursday, March 10, 2016

Stuck in a Box? Take the Pain Out of Growing Your Business.

We often hear one of the predominate challenges of becoming a successful business owner or manager is isolation in our daily operations. That is why Colleen Rudio, Chief Strategist and founder of Cascadia Business Development designed the P5 Capacity Building Program and partnered with the School of Extended & Lifelong Learning (SELL) at the University of Montana and the Missoula Area Chamber of Commerce to deliver this new comprehensive business development program and help regional businesses grow responsibly.

The P5 program is scheduled to officially begin in March 2016, with individuals representing several business sectors and participating in facilitated roundtables throughout an entire year.

“We anticipate a high demand for this program, and as a result, will kick off new roundtables on a monthly basis throughout the year,” said Roger Maclean, Dean of the School of Extended Lifelong Learning at the University of Montana.

This is year two of the P5 program. New this year is a three month intensive and engaging program, that leads participants through capacity and personal strengths assessment, monthly in-person coaching sessions, monthly facilitated roundtable, as well as industry profile outlining benchmarks, challenges and opportunities.

In 2015, Cascadia Business Development, a strategic operations consulting firm committed to creating lean, conscious growth through operational excellence, facilitated a 12-month version for local businesses. Former participants have underlined the “trust and understanding” that was built, the “innovative first steps to improve business capacity” produced, the ability to relate to all forms of business and the collaboration to “offer invaluable advice” to all, and the “priceless” insights gained.

Lynne Foland, publisher for the Missoula Independent was wary at first to participate, citing common worries about the benefits versus time away from the office and relevance to her particular industry. In explaining her experience, she says, “Boy, was I wrong! The time spent with the group was great and I left feeling like they DID relate and they offered invaluable advice. It was also reassuring to hear that those larger businesses face the same type of problems that we do - we’re not especially special or unique when it comes to management challenges. I’d definitely recommend the roundtable to others. And I’d say that you may be reluctant to take the time away, shy about sharing your issues and/or intimidated by the other people in the room, but the format of the session will help you get past those concerns. And the insights you take away will be priceless.”

Nick Kaufman, Vice President/Principal Planner for WGM Group expressed his thanks to Cascadia
Business Development, the Missoula Chamber of Commerce, and SELL for creating the program. “I
found the presentations to be clear, concise and on point. The presentation and roundtable discussion
was efficiently facilitated. The roundtable process was highly productive. The exercise sponsored trust, understanding and a willingness to share exclusive professional expertise toward each participant’s particular issue. I came away vastly enriched with ideas and an implementation strategy. We are taking the learned, innovative first steps to improve our business capacity thanks to Cascadia P5 Capacity Building Roundtables.”

Currently, Cascadia Business Development is also partnered with several regional organizations and
delivering a customize version for local manufacturers.

The program framework is based on Cascadia’s P5 (purpose, process, product, people, profit) training model. The P5 Capacity Building Roundtables allows business people to focus on their organizations for three hours a month during the program dates, strategize with their peers, and go back to their organizations with the framework to make the right decision, at the right time, for the right reasons. P5 is designed to systematically and directly support business leaders (owners, managers, supervisors) as they address common issues impacting organizations at various stages of growth. The program is designed to create a learning environment that is both fast-paced and high-level. Participants should come prepared to both ask and answer tough questions.

Kim Latrielle, President/CEO of the Missoula Area Chamber of Commerce said, “We are always looking to identify value added training for our business members. The Chamber believes the P5 classes can help assess issues and approach business in an effective and efficient manner. The format of the class encourages trust, participation and, through thoughtfully posed questions, allows you to identify the root cause of an issue. Group input and suggestions create a collaborative approach to problem solving. The collaboration between Cascadia, SELL and the Chamber is a winning partnership for our business community.”

Throughout a three-month period, participants gain in-depth knowledge and understanding of critical
business topics allowing for systematic and specific improvements, creating strategic growth. The
learning begins with pre-session homework, organizational assessments, and custom video featuring
professional topic material experts. Time commitment is comprised of 9 hours of classroom time, 3
hours of workshop time and 3 hours of homework time. The three-month introductory program cost is $897.00 paid in full, however the program value is estimated at $4,500.00 in materials, education,
instruction and mentoring.

Jan Schweitzer, Office Vice President and shareholder of Anderson ZurMuehlen shares, “Being in a room with a group of experienced professionals who were able to offer practical insight and advice for my specific business issues was invaluable. Not only is it comforting to be part of a group that offers feedback in a safe environment, the energy that resulted from the session has made me motivated to look differently at the way of conducting certain practices in my office.”

Throughout the three-month program, participants will achieve the following P5 learning objectives:

1. Purpose Management: including organizational development and design and leadership

2. Profit Management: including in-depth understanding of financial management and
profitability analysis

3. Process Management: including how to become a more efficient and productive

4. People Management: including human resource basics, and performance management

5. Product/Service Management: including relationship management, product and pricing
strategy and sales management

Program participants may also be eligible for the Incumbent Worker Training program, a competitive grant program that provides funding to eligible businesses to purchase training for their existing workers. Interested parties can find out more at

To find out more about the P5 Building Capacity Program call Cascadia Business Development at 406-239-3547 ,the Missoula Area Chamber of Commerce at 406-544-2396 or visit

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

10 Reasons to Join MOLLI Today

You might be asking yourself what the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (affectionately known as MOLLI) is and how it can benefit you? MOLLI is a program at the University of Montana’s School of Extended & Lifelong Learning (SELL) that allows individuals ages 50 and over to further their education by taking exciting, noncredit courses from outstanding instructors in a wide variety of subject areas a wide variety of topics. No grades, no tests, just fun! Is MOLLI right for you? Here are some reasons to join MOLLI today!

1. World-renowned Instructors

The instructors for MOLLI are unsurpassed! They include current and emeritus University of Montana faculty as well as professionals and scholars from the community. When we say you get the most out of your membership, you truly do! Take Anya Jabour, for example. She will be teaching this spring for MOLLI. Anya was a consultant on the new TV mini-series “Mercy Street,” which premiered on PBS in January. Other well-known professors for upcoming classes include Larry Mansch, Gary W. Hawk, Dan Spencer, Anne Basinski, and many, many more!

2. Special Member Events 

MOLLI memberships also include exclusive access to MOLLI Special Member Events. Different activities are offered each semester that allow you to experience new things and meet new people. “Inside the Drama: The Montana Repertory Theatre’s 2016 Production of Arthur Miller’s All My Sons,” is an example of a recent MOLLI Special Member Event.

3. Community Involvement 

Missoula is a strong community and MOLLI brings the community to the University and the University to the community. MOLLI classes bring together a cross-section of interesting people, and will allow you to engage with others you might not ever meet otherwise.

4. Non-Credit Short Courses 

MOLLI classes are offered during short (usually six-weeks) terms during the fall, winter and spring, with limited offerings during the summer. This structure allows you to continue the lifelong process of learning without the added pressure of academic credit, tests or grades. Expand your horizons and learn about topics you have never explored, or further your study of a subject you are extremely passionate about. The possibilities are endless!

5. Curiosity Never Retires 

No matter your age, you never lose the desire and passion to learn, especially after retirement when you have the time to explore. With MOLLI, you can challenge yourself while making the most of your retirement.

6. Affordable 

MOLLI gives you the chance to explore many topics and allows you an easy way to go back to school without the burden of standard college tuition. With affordable courses, MOLLI allows you to keep learning without breaking the bank!

7. A Wide Variety of Topics 

The MOLLI program offers courses in a wide variety of topics. From the humanities, fine arts, natural and social sciences, to political and current affairs, there is something for everyone. Explore one subject areas, or sample topics in each.  MOLLI provides you with the chance of a lifetime to learn things you never had the time, money, or opportunity to consider in high school or college.

8. Learning for the Joy of Learning 

This experience truly provides learning for the joy of learning. There are no exams, no tests, just fun! You can experience a relaxed classroom atmosphere where you do not have to worry about grades, but can unwind, enjoy the classes, and have fun with your new classmates. Positive feedback from past members who return for more enjoyment and individual growth are a testament to the MOLLI program, so come out and join the fun. You will not regret it.

9. Meet New Friends

This is a great chance to meet people in the same stage of life in our wonderful town of Missoula, Montana. Do not be afraid to sign up alone because there are others who are also joining solo. This is an opportunity to reach out to a group of people who share your interest in learning and community involvement. Do you have a regular group of people you spend a lot of time with? Why not all sign up for a MOLLI course together, and create new friendships?

10. Gain a Sense of Personal Fulfillment 

Accomplishing something can be incredibly fulfilling. You might have finally finished that month-long project, or remodeled your kitchen and created the space you always dreamed of. You most likely experienced the feeling of tremendous joy and personal accomplishment by overcoming a challenge. Now, instead of talking about going back to school, you can do so and gain that feeling of personal fulfillment once again by joining MOLLI. Do not wait, go to and register today!