By Drew Hiss on November 12, 2021

Farm Boy

I have been an entrepreneur and business owner nearly my entire professional career. It has been a journey of incredible high’s and low’s; victories and defeats; life lessons and stories of impact. Fun fact - the company I founded in the early 90’s, Checkdate Solutions and ultimately married up with Paycor, went public this past July (PYCR on NASDAQ). Many astonishing story lines associated with that for sure!

After departing day-to-day work at the aforementioned enterprise, I began a journey to help other CEOs and owners engage in a very unique community that would help them avoid some of the stupid (and expensive) mistakes I made and minefields I stepped in as a CEO. Part advisory board. Part mastermind. Part band-of-brothers. Part leadership development. Part iron-sharpening-iron. A gritty-rat-pack of experienced, seasoned, fellow entrepreneurs who had each other’s back and best interest in mind and shared a handful of key, core life-values (most of our nine teams have collectively over 300-400 years of experience around the table at any one time).

As an owner, I was isolated and frankly uninformed about running a company and the many complexities and challenges that come with that privilege. Not that I was a buffoon…just inexperienced, unaware, uninformed…and in many cases I just didn’t know. There were also those situations where I knew what to do but didn’t do it. Now I know none of our readers have ever done this (where’s the BS button?), but sometimes I was a big wimp and just “hoped” the difficult situation went away (esp. people-oriented problems). Hope is not the cure and usually those problems just got worse and more expensive.

I also had a heart to help owners improve their overall journey of life. So many who strike out on their own end up with “messes” on their hands. Could be failed business, people & culture issues, broken relationships/marriage, lack of focus as parent, imbalance of priorities, health matters, stress …you name it …even cracks in the ‘ol faith foundation of life. Some of my biggest challenges were trying to be a good husband, a good father of four young children, an effective Christ-follower and all the other stuff that IS LIFE and was important to me. Oh yeah, I wanted to kick ass in the marketplace and build a thriving business too!!!

Fun Fact:I grew up on a small family farm in southwest Kansas. I drove John Deere tractors and combines before I could legally drive a car on the highway. We grew crops to make a living (wheat, corn, milo, soybeans, etc). I learned much about hard work, patience, perseverance, and multiplication principles associated with maximizing yield of crops. One of the essentials to optimizing yield is soil condition and the presence of weeds (and a lack thereof). There’s a point here I promise!

When I started the advisory community with owners, I carefully sought wisdom on what the legal entity should be called. Ultimately, I felt a nudge to name it 13TwentyThree, LLC (our dba is Acumen). Who cares right? So, 1323 is a reference to a verse from Matthew Chapter 13. It’s a parable about soil and yield. Metaphorically it was a perfect match for the aspirations of the work at hand. Verse 13 refers to one of four types of soil. Specifically, the rich, tilled soil that is ready receive, germinate, and multiply the seed that is placed in its grasp and remain relatively free and absent from weeds and competing plants. In that soil environment, a harvest of 100X, 60X or 30X is promised. I loved the ideal of that level of exponential impact, not only for the here-and-now, but moreover the greater-beyond. And in a cool way I was reconnected to my farm-kid upbringing.

Fun Fact: That was 10 years ago. A full decade has passed since those seeds were planted. Approximately six years ago, version 2.0 of this was launched…that being ACUMEN as we know it today. Cause for celebration (oh yeah!). So many great humans have been and become a part of what continues to grow and expand (not without little soil tilling and weed control of our own) and we certainly are grateful for the immense privilege we are granted by those we serve to help sharpen, inspire, and challenge them to grow and have an exponential impact!

Cheers to 10 years of soil yield optimization!

Lastly…THANK YOU! I realize this time of year it’s cliché to express gratitude…but truly…I am full of immense gratitude for the opportunity to engage with so many great people like you! My favorite quote regarding this topic is by Brother David Steindl-Rast… “The root of joy is gratefulness…For it is not joy that makes us grateful; ift’ GRATITUDE that makes us joyful.”

So, cheers to deep and authentic gratitude this season and the promised joy that ensues!






Published by Drew Hiss November 12, 2021