Blue Gurus is celebrating nine years… Wow. Thank you!

By Jason Terry, talking about Blue Gurus celebrating nine years of being in business.

Blue Birthday CakeWe celebrated being in business for nine years on April 26th, 2018. For anyone reading this post, thank you!!! There’s a good chance you’re actively involved in our ability to make a living doing work that we love. Whether you’re a client, a peer advisory group member, a vendor, friends or family, thank you for helping us succeed.

It really doesn’t seem possible that Blue Gurus has been “a thing” for nine years. Mic sent me a link to a blog post I wrote when we celebrated Blue Gurus’ fourth birthday. The title of the story was, “Top 10 Things I’ve Learned Since Starting Blue Gurus.” What surprised me was that the list really hasn’t changed in the five years since I wrote that story. As a reminder, here’s the list…

(Still) The Top 10 Things I’ve Learned Since Starting Blue Gurus

  1. Take good care of your clients and even better care of yourself.
  2. You already know the best people to hire.
  3. Make time for vacation….and turn your cell phone OFF.
  4. Make sure you know what you’re trying to accomplish in the business, and don’t let anyone influence you to stray from that purpose.
  5. Recognize your team members often.
  6. Evaluate your trusted vendors on a regular basis.
  7. Heartfelt apologies go a long way when you’ve screwed up.
  8. Don’t be afraid to fire a client that isn’t a fit.
  9. Tell your clients that you appreciate their business every chance you get.
  10. Adopt a not-for-profit organization on a regular basis, and give back to the community that supports your business.

We continue to focus on these goals, and the business has continued to thrive as a result.

What’s been the focus so far in 2018?

We’re doing websites, LinkedIn training and blogging with more great companies around Kansas City. Some of our recent clients include Lee’s Summit Physicians Group, MEDiAHEAD, and Health Partnership Clinic.

Lee's Summit Physicians Group LogoLee’s Summit Physicians Group

We just launched the new LSPG website. I wrote a blog post about how the relationship started… you might want to check that out here. Our primary contacts are Jody Brown and Matthew Hornung. Their new website was a fun project because everyone at LSPG is engaged and ready with a smile, even when things are busy. We start blogging with them later this month. I’m excited to get started!


MEDiAHEAD, formerly ColorMark, is led by Kat McDaniel. Our primary contact is Michele Stilwell. Kat and Michele are AWESOME. We launched their new website a month ago and we’re blogging together. We love their mascot, Izzy… who got her own blog post recently. Mic is leading their blogging efforts.

Health Partnership Clinic LogoHealth Partnership Clinic

We created a new website for HPC and we’ve been blogging with them for a few months now. Catherine is so much fun to work with because of her “can do” attitude. She is one of the most organized people I’ve met. Check out their blog… it’s a good example of an organization shining a spotlight on their people and their work.

Remember #6 Above About Trusted Vendors?

2020 Creative LogoWe’ve been collaborating with Jeff Potts of 2020 Creative for three years now. The relationship continues to strengthen as time goes by… mostly because we do business the same way. Jeff and I worked together on the Lee’s Summit Physicians Group and MEDiAHEAD websites. Jeff brings an additional creative element to the table through graphic design. He and his brother Derek bring abilities to the table that we wouldn’t normally have… eCommerce and database driven web applications to name a couple.

And yes, I trust Jeff. And I don’t consider him a vendor, even though by definition he’s a vendor for Blue Gurus. Jeff is my friend. He always does the right thing when a situation occurs. And his heart is all about taking care of our clients and adding an element of “wow!” through design.

And that’s a wrap! (At least for this blog post.)

Jason HugWe’re looking forward to another great year of building websites, providing LinkedIn training and blogging with really good companies. It’s a humbling experience being treated like we are part of the team. And it feels really good when we hear about the impact we’re having on their revenue and culture. From the bottom of my heart… thank you for these past nine years! Hugs.

Branding is important. Have you ordered tchotchkes lately?

By Jason Terry, talking about company branded tchotchkes for client gifts and networking events.

I love giving gifts to people. It’s a fun and unexpected moment for the recipient, and it just feels good to make someone’s day. I’ve carried that practice into the business for years in the form of Blue Gurus Tchotchkes.

I’m not sure where I developed the passion for branding. When I thought about it, the first thing that popped into my head was being proud of my high school. I had a letter jacket and lots of things with the Wichita Northwest High School grizzly paw stamped or embroidered on them. Binders, hats, and my gym bag. Then I went to college at Kansas State University, and my wardrobe quickly became predominantly purple, along with a bunch of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity T-shirts, sweatshirts and hats.

I think the reason I love branding is that it shows how passionate I am about the groups I’m actively involved in, and the teams or organizations I love to support. I’m proud of the work we do at Blue Gurus. Add my passion for gift giving and tchotchkes is built into our DNA. When you see Mic and I around the city, you can be sure the logo is on our shirts and in our bags, and we usually have something ready to hand out.

Tchotchke: a small bauble or miscellaneous item. The word may also refer to free promotional items dispensed at trade shows, conventions, and similar commercial events. They can also be sold as cheap souvenirs in tourist areas, which are sometimes called “tchotchke shops”. (Pronounced “chotch-key”)

The first Blue Gurus Thotchkes

Blue Gurus Tchotchkes The very first tchotchke I ordered with the Blue Gurus logo on it was pens from I started giving them out at LinkedIn training classes for attendees to take notes. And I left them at the ATM at banks and at the table at restaurants… and saw them in circulation over time.

The idea wasn’t all about spreading the brand, even though that’s a nice result. People that come to our training classes don’t always have paper and pen to take notes. So I took care of that. When I went to the bank to deposit a check, I was always searching for a pen. So I solved that for myself and the person following me. And I noticed that waiters and waitresses struggle to keep working pens handy, because patrons accidentally take them with them after signing the credit card receipt when paying for their meal. So I started the habit of leaving Blue Gurus pens at restaurants.

Over the years since that first pen order, I’ve bought lots of different things with the Blue Gurus logo on them. Coffee mugs, stadium cups, small and large umbrellas, stainless steel mugs, coolers, backpacks, and even USB fans. (The USB fans are always a hit, they plug into a laptop USB port and create a surprisingly strong breeze. Really useful when you find yourself working in a hot office or in the middle of summer.)

Blue Gurus: Spring Cleaning Laptop BagRecently, I’ve ordered super light travel backpacks, better quality pens, embossed leather note folios, magnetic chip clips and ice scrapers, all with the Blue Gurus logo. (I know, I know, ice scrapers in April? They were on sale…) These items will end up being gifts for clients, family and friends.

The reason for this story is two fold.

  1. It’s a reminder to think about whether or not you have some fun company branded gifts. If not, maybe it’s time to order some things.
  2. I wanted to share my “go to” place for getting this stuff.

Keith Steiniger, ProForma IDology Marketing Group

Just about all of our shirts (polos, dress shirts, T-shirts) were sourced and embroidered by Keith’s company. He has also embroidered lots of items like our coats and laptop bags. Last year, he gave me the idea of Blue Gurus bottle openers. They were a big hit.

One of the things I love most about Keith is that he always has great ideas when I ask him for new gift ideas. And he’s amazingly easy to work with. If you need help, give Keith a call.
(913) 685-9098

I hope you found this story helpful! Let me know if you have any creative tchotchke ideas for me… always looking for fun new things. Have a great week!

Blue Gurus Umbrellas

Servant Leadership Makes My Heart Smile

By Jason Terry, talking about servant leadership being a powerful tool for molding your culture and keeping good people around.

This week, I wanted to write about an experience I had last week while doing an executive LinkedIn training session with a local bank.

Quick aside about the value of connections and doing regular updates on LinkedIn…

I met the marketing manager for this particular bank at an Enterprise University class I led a few years ago (we’re still part of their course schedule). At the time, he was working for another company. He asked some great questions and was really engaged. We ended up connecting on LinkedIn but didn’t really talk for a few years. He’s in Wichita now, and it wasn’t easy to grab coffee together to catch up. But we were on each other’s radars due to LinkedIn network activity and status updates.

I got a call from him a couple of months ago to talk about doing LinkedIn training for their bank. This opportunity never would have happened if he and I hadn’t connected on LinkedIn to stay in touch. And I’m not sure he would have remembered me after the years passed, but I was doing weekly status updates on LinkedIn. It’s a good example of the value of social, even though it can be hard to “measure” sometimes.

So what happened that was the inspiration for this week’s blog post?

I was an hour into the training session for the bank. We’d covered a lot of ground already, and I was talking quite a bit. (I know, I know… you’re shocked, right?) I didn’t even realize that my water glass was empty until one of the executives stood up, grabbed my glass and filled it up for me.

Blue Gurus: Servant LeadershipIt caught me off guard. This executive is an important and respected leader at the bank and he was getting me water in the middle of training. It was a simple thing, but struck me as servant leadership in motion. I actually had to say something about it. When I said to everyone, “Wow. That’s servant leadership in motion.” He immediately said, “that’s not me.” Which solidified my opinion… he was humble about it.

Hey, it might not sound like a big deal. But in that moment, a simple act of kindness struck a chord. And it got me thinking about servant leadership.

Servant leadership makes my heart smile.

I started thinking about my personal experiences with servant leaders. People I’ve seen in the community that lead by serving their teams, their clients and their community. About a dozen names came to mind immediately. They’re the kind of people I would love to work for.

The people I think of are also key leaders of successful businesses. Their employees trust and follow them because they know they’re supported from the top. You can see it in their eyes… trust, respect and even love. They say things like, “she is an amazing person.” Or, “he’s one of the kindest people I know.”

Jason MoxnessI’m writing this story while sitting in a chair in a spare office at Core Bank. (I will be going into the blog team meeting in a couple of hours.) Jason Moxness leads the team for Core Bank in Kansas City. For anyone that knows Jason, he is an incredible example of a servant leader. His team loves him and they are doing great things together. And I know he will be embarrassed to read this, but he’s a good enough friend that I feel comfortable mentioning him. :)

Another great example… what is it with servant leaders in banking by the way? :)

Mic and I were in Montana doing LinkedIn training and blogging work with Stockman Bank. Our good friend Julia Warmer wanted to create a distributed team of bloggers and social media leaders representing Stockman branches from across the state. She put together a multi-day series of meetings and training that we helped facilitate.

There was a really nice dinner reception one night for the Stockman team. Once everyone had been seated and started eating, Bill Coffee, the CEO for Stockman Bank, went to every table and served wine. It was another “surprise” moment for me. I guess in that moment I assumed that the CEO of the bank is important enough to have people serving HIM wine, not the other way around.

There were employees from four different Stockman branches at my table. When I said that Bill was being a servant leader by serving the wine, they all went on to tell stories about how much they loved Bill. These were employees from all over the state that have a deep respect for their leader. Awesome.

Blue Gurus: Stockman Bank Training Blue Gurus: Stockman Bank Training Stockman Bank: Bill Coffee

My hope for all of us is that we can serve our teams through loyalty, respect and by genuinely caring for their well being. The things we do that demonstrate servant leadership are an important part of making our teams feel safe. If you’ve got 12 minutes, be sure to check out this video on YouTube from Simon Sinek: Why Good Leaders Make You Feel Safe.

9 Productivity Tools I Use Almost Every Day

Post written by Mic Johnson

I use several productivity tools almost every single day and I thought it might be helpful to share some of those tools with our readers.

Now maybe you use some of these tools already. Or maybe you’ve never heard of some of them. Or maybe you have others you use (please share those in the comments for me and everyone else) that make your life a little bit easier.

For the purposes of this post, I’m going to talk about some of the productivity tools I use on my laptop:

Roboform Everywhere – This is the username/password tool I’ve been using for the better part of the last eight years. There’s a handy little Chrome browser extension that makes it super easy to access all of the usernames and passwords for every website I use. I also use it to store client credentials. It’s encrypted and it’s easy to use and I use Roboform Everywhere countless times every day.

Checker Plus for Gmail – This Chrome browser extension gives me easy access to the multiple Gmail accounts I have…Blue Gurus, MJMeetings, and my personal Gmail account. It easily notifies me when I’ve got emails and I can quickly see, archive, delete and respond to emails with a couple of clicks.

Feedly – This tool aggregates all of the sites I want information from via RSS feed, whether it be news, sports, weather, you name it. I check it a few times a day to get the real-time headlines from sources that matter to me.

LinkedIn – The LinkedIn Chrome browser extension lets me know when I have notifications, but also gives me easy one-click access to get into LinkedIn. I usually pop into LinkedIn a few times a day to see what’s going on with people in my network, to share content, engage with others, etc. (ditto for Facebook and Twitter).

Honey – This money-saving Chrome browser extension searches for coupons when you’re buying things online and also will take a look at your Amazon Shopping Cart to see if you’re getting the best price on certain items. I wrote a post about this a couple of years ago and still use it today.

Loom – This is a new one in my toolbelt thanks to the article Jason wrote recently. Loom is an easy-to-use video service that lets you record your computer screen (and face) to create videos that are easily shareable on your website or social accounts.

Grammarly – This Chrome browser extension checks for typos, grammatical errors and more as you type emails, blog posts, etc. It catches errors for me on an almost daily basis and makes me more thoughtful about the accuracy of all of my communications. In fact, it caught several as I was typing this post you’re reading right now.

Boomerang for Gmail – This handy tool lets me type emails and schedule them to be sent at a later date and time. I use Boomerang all the time to cross off “to do emails”…for example, I send reminder emails to my peer groups about our monthly meetings. Maybe the meeting is a week from now…I’ll type up the email today and then use Boomerang to send the email later in the week.

WhatsApp – I wrote about WhatsApp in a December 2017 blog post. This tool lets you carry on encrypted conversations with groups of people you care about. I use it for one of my peer groups and a couple of Jayhawk groups I’m a part of. And there’s a laptop/desktop feature that lets you read and respond to messages easily (there’s also an app on the phone, but I use the laptop feature quite a bit myself.)

That’s it for now. Remember to share your productivity tools in the Comments section below. We all can use ideas to be more productive!

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Year End Reviews

By Jason Terry, talking about year end reviews and hoping everyone has a great start to 2018!

Hello friends! It’s time for our last blog post of 2017. Whew! It’s been a great year, and I’m ready for some down time. How about you?

Year End Reviews

One of the things I like to do every year is go back through my calendar to get perspective on what I’ve accomplished. I usually write up a list of personal things that have happened and put that into a Christmas card for Trista. It ends up being a great conversation over coffee one morning over the break. It helps us realize that a lot more happened than we remembered. And we end up feeling really thankful.

On the business side, Mic and I sit down to talk about how the year went and what we need to focus on for the next year. It’s always an honest, open conversation. We celebrate the wins, unpack the losses and talk about the things that matter most. And of course, we start by eating sushi at one of our favorite restaurants, Sushi Uni.

This year, I am behind. And to be honest, a little crispy. It’s been a great year, but there have been more challenges than in previous years.

  • We’ve lost clients. (Noooooo!)
  • We’ve gained clients. (Yay!)
  • We’ve dealt with insurance issues. (Ugh.)
  • I’ve found discipline in my walking regiment. (Life changing!)
  • I’ve done a bad job of managing my time. (Also life changing.)

I could probably list dozens of things, but you get the idea. Some good, some not so good. Can you relate?

Blue Gurus - Happy Holidays 2017What I know for sure is that most of the people reading this story are part of making it all work. Clients, referral partners, peer advisory group members, friends and family. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. None of it would be possible without you.

I’m looking forward to some down time over the next couple of weeks. And I hope you’re able to find some time to decompress as well. I love the saying, “your presence matters more than your presents.” We have that on our mantle during the holidays. I hope you’re able to leave work behind and spend real, quality time with the people that matter most to you.

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas from your friends at Blue Gurus!

Check out our JibJab holiday card!

By Jason Terry, talking about saving time, postage and paper by sending a JibJab eCard instead of a paper card.

Yes friends, it’s that time of year again. Time to come up with a mailing list. Design a holiday card. Pay to have it printed and embossed with your signature so you don’t have to fill out hundreds of cards by hand. Go to the post office and buy a metric ton of stamps to mail the cards. Address the cards (which usually results in a long discussion about the efficiency of printing mailing labels versus the personal impact of hand writing the address.) And then mail them by dropping them off at your local post office. It’s so much fun, right?!?!?

People don’t talk about it often… but my general impression is that a lot of companies dread the process of creating and sending holiday cards.

This year, I’m seriously thinking about sending an eCard instead of doing a traditional holiday card.

Click on the picture or link below to see the “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” eCard I made on

Blue Gurus 2017 Holiday eCard

Open the Blue Gurus eCard on

The JibJab eCard is fun, right? is $18 per year for access to all of their interactive cards. JibJab eCards are easy to set up and send in an email, blog or to social media websites. They’re more interactive than a traditional card. And I think they might make a stronger impression than a traditional card (or at least a similar impression).

But for some reason, I’m still struggling with the idea of skipping traditional cards this year. I don’t want to offend anyone. So please let me know what you think. Is your business sending traditional cards this year? If you are involved in the process, do you dread it or enjoy it? Do you think sending an eCard is a good idea?

A 10-Question Pop Quiz: What’s Your Common Courtesy Scorecard?

Post written by Mic Johnson, Blog Coach | LinkedIn Trainer | WordPress Builder | Rational Optimist | Sushi Fan | Jayhawk | #micnuggets | @MJMeetings

The way I see it is there are certain things that just fit ever-so-neatly into the category of common courtesy. But much like common sense, it seems like common courtesy has taken a backseat in recent years.

Throughout my lifetime I’ve observed people who are awesome at following up, staying in touch, doing what they say they’re going to do, etc. On the flip side I’ve seen the exact opposite from others. While I’m far from perfect, being reliable and exhibiting common courtesy are things I take great pride in and work hard on. The way I see it is the more I exercise common courtesy basics, the better, in my own small way, I make the world.

Thank youWith that in mind, I thought it would be fun to see how people would score themselves when it comes to a few items that fall into the category of common courtesy. Obviously this list isn’t exhaustive, but it’s a start.

Think of it as a personal and professional “common courtesy check up”. Maybe you’re awesome and have been rocking your common courtesy mojo for years. Or maybe you need a friendly reminder that you might need to work on becoming better at the common courtesy basics. Either way, I hope you find this exercise helpful.

Following is a list of items, scenarios, etc. Simply answer each question and give yourself a score on each item and then add them up and see how your Common Courtesy Scorecard turned out:

1. Do you say Please and Thank You:  
a. Every time a situation calls for it. (5 points)
b. Sometimes. (3 points)
c. Only if you feel like it. (0 points)

2. When you’re walking in or out of a door and you see someone coming or you know there’s someone behind you, do you: 
a. Pretty much always hold the door for them. (5 points)
b. Sometimes hold the door for them. (3 points)
c. Pretty much get yourself through the door and move on. (0 points)

3. If you’re talking to someone and say “We should get together soon”, do you: 
a. Pull up your calendar on your smartphone and lock in a date/time. (5 points)
b. Send them a text or email later in the week with dates/times that might work. (3 points)
c. Forget to follow up with them and the meeting never happens. (0 points)

4. When you get an invitation to an event that’s requesting an RSVP, do you: 
a. Always RSVP and let the person know either way whether you’ll be able to make it. (5 points)
b. Sometimes RSVP and let the person know either way whether you’ll be able to make it. (3 points)
c. Typically ignore RSVP’ing and make it if you can. (0 points)

5. When you receive an email from someone that requires a response, do you:
a. With few exceptions, reply same day. (5 points)
b. Reply within 1-2 days. (3 points)
c. Reply within 3 days or later. (0 points)

6. If someone refers you business or refers you to someone who can help you personally or professionally, do you: 
a. Thank them and follow up to let them know how the referral panned out. (5 points)
b. Thank them for the referral. (3 points)
c. Follow up on the referral but never thank them or let them know how the referral panned out. (0 points)

7. When you’re driving on a road or highway and see another person in a lane that’s ending, do you: 
a. Always slow down and wave them over so they can get into your lane. (5 points)
b. Sometimes slow down and wave them over. (3 points)
c. Speed up so they have to slow down and get behind you. (0 points)

8. If you’re driving and trying to change lanes and someone makes room for you, do you: 
a. Always wave and let them know you appreciated it. (5 points)
b. Sometimes wave. (3 points)
c. Get into the lane just keep driving. (0 points)

9. If you’re late for a meeting or event, do you: 
a. Always give the other person a heads up with a call, text, etc. (5 points)
b. Show up late and just get on with the meeting. (0 points)

10. When you receive a gift from someone, do you: 
a. Always thank them (in person, via email, text, etc.) (5 points)
b. Sometimes thank people but forget other times. (3 points)
c. Typically take the gift and assume they know you appreciate it. (0 points)

Common Courtesy Scorecard
40-50 points – You’re pretty much rocking your common courtesy.
30-40 points – You’re courteous, but have some room for improvement.
< 30 points – Time for a common courtesy refresher.

How’d you do? If you’re up for it (and brave enough!), share your results by leaving a comment in the comments section of this post or drop me an email, text, etc. Additionally, share any other common courtesy basics you routinely practice.

Thanks for playing along…and no matter your score, let’s all agree to be more aware of practicing the common courtesy basics!

P.S. – I’ll tell you my score if you tell me yours. Email me at

Happy Bizirthday to Blue Gurus. We’re eight years old!

Author: Jason Terry

Jason HugOn April 26th, 2017 Blue Gurus celebrated eight years of doing business. It’s hard to believe we’ve been around that long!

Happy Bizirthday!

I was wishing my friends at Umbrella Managed Systems a Happy Business Birthday recently and came up with “Happy Bizirthday”. (It’s now trademarked.) As part of my business birthday wishes to Umbrella, I did some research on the odds of a small business keeping their doors open. Did you know that only 50% of small businesses survive to be 5 years old? And only one-third live to be 10 years old?

Mic celebrating 8 years (Photoshopped)I am so thankful that we continue to be able to make a living doing work that we love. And it’s all because of you. If you are reading this, you are part of our world. Whether you’re a client, family member, or old high school buddy, you are part of the support structure that makes this whole thing work.

Thank you for your trust and your friendship.

I was on vacation…

I was on vacation on April 26th, so Mic and I weren’t able to celebrate our milestone together. My parents took our family on a Disney cruise for their 50th anniversary. We had so much fun and it was a much needed time for me to rest and recharge. I didn’t feel too bad about missing the chance to celebrate with Mic… he was just getting back from a big trip with his wife to Hawaii!

Pirate NightHere’s a picture of Trista and I during “Pirate Night.” This is the night that everyone dresses up in pirate garb and the finale is a fireworks show off the side of the ship. Disney is the only cruise line that can shoot fireworks from their ship and it was really cool!

So thank you for these past eight years. It’s been an amazing ride. I’ve learned so much. Laughed so much. Stressed a bit. And was usually on time for meetings.

We will continue to do all we can to help the people around us… which I think is the primary reason we are still in business. Hugs.


How Do You Bust The Funk?

Post written by Mic Johnson, Blog Coach | LinkedIn Trainer | WordPress Builder | Rational Optimist | Sushi Fan | Jayhawk | #micnuggets | @MJMeetings

As I was thinking about blog topics to write about, several things started running through my head. Here they are in no particular order:

  1. What am I going to write about this week?
  2. I’ve got two clients I’ve talked to recently who have been struggling coming up with blog topics of their own. How can I help them get out of their own way and pay attention to what’s going on around them every day? This blogging stuff is hard sometimes.
  3. To that point, I had a conversation recently with two friends, one who is a business owner, about how blogging is hard and how they thought it was easier for me because “you like to write”. In fact, I don’t always like to write. I tend to write when I’m inspired to write…and that doesn’t always happen when I sit down to write.
  4. mic and missy Haleakalā Summit

    Me and Missy, pre-funk, at the Haleakalā Summit, site of a dormant volcano in Maui

    I’ve been in a funk for the last several days. To be fair, my wife Missy and I just got back from an early 20-year-anniversary trip to Maui so this could just be a “back-to-reality” hangover. We were there for 10 days. It was incredible. But the flight back was long. There’s a 5-hour time difference. And we were “welcomed” back to Kansas City with cold, rainy, rainy, rainy (Did I mention rainy?) weather…and allergies. It’s been several days since we got back, but the funk endures. I’m sleeping well, but not feeling rested. I can tell my brain isn’t “on point”.

I’ve done all kinds of things to try to bust the funk. #bustthefunk

I worked out.

I threw down a 5-hour energy drink (I don’t drink coffee and times like this I wish I did.)

I’ve taken naps.

I’ve meditated.

I watched some Netflix.

I played golf (if you’ve seen my golf game, this probably wasn’t the ideal way for me to try to #bustthefunk)

I took some allergy medication.

But I’m still not 100%.

So I thought I’d ask for a little help because I know we all go through times like this. When you do, how do you #bustthefunk? Leave a comment below or drop me an email at

Here’s A Little Story About Reputation

Post written by Mic Johnson, Blog Coach | LinkedIn Trainer | Website Builder | Rational Optimist | @MJMeetings Cheerleader | #micnuggets | Jayhawk

I was recently invited by my friend Christy Rogers, owner of Training Umbrella, to attend the monthly meeting for the Kansas City Chapter of the Association for Talent Development.

Christy thought it would be beneficial to meet some Learning and Development professionals who may be interested in learning about the LinkedIn Training we do for organizations. Additionally, Christy is in one of my peer advisory groups and is a past-President of this chapter, so I also wanted to learn more about her and her involvement in this organization.

degreedDuring the presentation by Lori Eshelman of Degreed, Inc., there were several stats about how people learn, and how learning/training is changing in the business world, that were really interesting. I’ve included some of them at the bottom of this post for your reference.

While I was at the event, a very cool thing happened that I wanted to share. Before the event started, a woman named Mona Raglow came up to me and said:

“I’ve seen you at several events over the last few months and I’ve always wanted to talk to you, but the timing never worked out. I was just talking to someone else here and your name came up and then you walked in, so I figured it was a sign!”

I went on to thank her for saying hello and then asked why she was interested in meeting me. The next thing she said was unexpected, but a welcome surprise.

“Because of your reputation.”

Mona told me how she originally heard about me through my friend, the talented Shawn Kinkade of Aspire Business Development, and how she’d heard nothing but good things about me and Blue Gurus. I can’t tell you how good it felt to hear that because Jason and I have worked VERY hard over the last eight years to build a solid reputation in the city.

With that in mind, I thought I’d share a few of the things we do as part of our culture/brand to create a reputation that people can trust and believe in.

  1. We lead with helping people.
    In fact, when I met Mona, in a few short minutes I gave her some tips and advice on how she could get her blog going (which is one of her goals for 2017). She isn’t a client. She didn’t pay me. But I wanted to help her. Jason and I routinely do small…and not-so-small…gestures like that. Not only is it core to our DNA as individuals, but we believe that if we lead by helping other people, the rest will take care of itself.
  2. The best follow up in Kansas City.
    If we tell you we’re going to do something, we do it. Every time. And if something unexpected comes up, we let you know. Ask anyone who knows us and anyone who has ever worked with us if they’ve ever had to wait days for an email response, or a return phone call, or for us to make a change on their website, etc. It rarely, if ever, happens. We’re not going to be the ones getting in the way of progress. We always keep the ball moving downfield.
  3. We blog every single week and have for the last 8 years.
    If you’ve read this blog for years or are reading it for the first time, first of all…THANK YOU. Secondly, our blog is a way for us to share stories that happen in our lives and in our business. We share LinkedIn tips, we share technical tips, we share favorite restaurants, we give shout outs to awesome people in our lives, we write posts that sometimes inspire and sometimes make you laugh…and why do we do it? It goes back to #1 above…it’s just another way we lead by helping people.
  4. We CARE.
    It’s really hard to put into words how much Jason and I care about the people in our lives…from our families, to our friends, to our peer advisory groups, to our clients. All I can tell you is that it all starts and ends with…you guessed it…#1 above. We love helping people and we derive a lot of personal satisfaction of knowing we made someone’s day, week, month or LIFE better becasue of something we did to help them.
  5. We show up. 
    Not just to networking events, peer advisory groups, and events in the city…but we show up ready to go with our clients every day. We give them everything we’ve got and make sure we’re one of the business (and often personal) relationships they can count on.
  6. We’re honest. 
    This one should go without saying, but a lot of people pay lip service to it. We don’t. We’ll tell you what we think, even if it isn’t the easiest thing to hear sometimes. We do it because…remember #4…we care. All we want is for the people in our lives to be happy, healthy and productive. So if there’s something we can do to help them get there, we do it.

What about you? What do you do to build your reputation? What other experiences have you had with Blue Gurus that you’d be willing to share? Make a note in the Comments section below or send us an email to and/or

As promised, here are those interesting stats from the event (based on a survey of 512 people):

*Only 38% of learning and development professionals think they’re ready to meet the needs of tomorrow’s learners.
*85% of people said they learn things for work by searching online at least once a week. Nearly 70% learn from peers or by reading articles and blogs every week. 53% learn from videos in any given week.
*Workers spend about 1% of the average work week (37 minutes) on their employers’ training, but invest 3.3 hours a week on their own.
*61% would put in even more time on their own if they got some kind of professional credit.
*3 of 4 people invested their own money (an average of $339 each) in career-related learning last year.
*People spend 70% of their time learning on electronic devices and that still happens on the PC. But smartphones (17%) and tablets (13%) account for 30% of their digital development. 77% of workers say they do at least some of thir learning on a smartphone or tablet.
*Reasons people list for not doing more workplace learning: 1. Not enough time 2. Not enough guidance or direction 3. Not enough recognition or reward 4. Not engaging enough 5. Too hard to find