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A monthly newsletter from the Rochester Professional Consultants Network - March 2023

A monthly newsletter from the Rochester Professional Consultants Network.

Was Columbus a Failure?

Columbus’ 1492 Strategy

Admiral Columbus was chartered by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain to find a new route to the Orient by sailing west (not east). Their quest was gold, silks, and spices. Columbus encountered storms, the Seaweed Sargasso Sea, a shipwreck, and mutiny (Sound anything like your organization?). But, when he landed, things didn't turn out quite as expected. He needed a new strategic plan.

New 1493 Strategy

Here’s Columbus on his return voyage to Spain: ... "Now, how will I explain this to the King & Queen? I've claimed land for Spain, but I don't know what it is or where. For now, I'll call it India (yeah, that's it... India) and we’ll exploit what's really there. I need a new strategic plan so the King & Queen will keep paying me."

Here’s the situation:

  • Need more military power. The local people help us with food and exploring, but they won't follow orders unless we use force. They fight and kill our men.
  • Found gold, but need more of it. (Didn’t find silks or spices).
  • Need to grow Hispaniola Island into a colony.

Was Columbus a Failure?

He didn't find the Orient, so was he a failure? Should he have stuck to his strategy and pushed on, searching endlessly for the passage? No, he changed his Strategy from "Find a New Route to the Orient" to "Exploit these New Lands." (Okay, the rest is history).

How does this relate to us?

Strategy gives us direction, purpose, and measurement. It focuses and aligns our efforts. It helps us avoid quick, small gains at the expense of longer-term growth and financial health. We must give strategy enough time to achieve success. But our strategy is based on assumptions about the future. If reality veers from our assumptions, we must change to a new heading.

Five Years or One Year?

Some organizations plan strategy five years into the future. But Customers, Conditions, and Competition can change significantly within five years (and sometimes after one year). To survive changes, Strategic Planning must be nimble enough to keep on top of the wave. Some organizations update their strategy along with their yearly operating plans.

Ask Strategic Questions Often

So, how can we follow a strategy that productively propels our organization, but also be responsive to changing conditions? The answer lies somewhere between changing course with every slight breeze or rigidly staying on course until we run aground. When we develop a strategy, we ask ourselves strategic questions. We should ask the same questions when confronted with change, then take action on the answers. Every Strategic Plan should include: “Re-strategize when reality changes significantly from our assumptions.”

Stay Alert for Changes

In today’s rapidly changing business environment, stick to your plan, but stay alert for necessary changes. Continue to check your Strategic Plan and revisit your Uniqueness, Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Challenges as changes take place. Like Columbus, maybe you’ll discover a new strategic route to success.

Bob Lurz

Membership Committee News

Hello everyone,

All of your RPCN officers and committee members have been working hard, experimenting, challenging one another, reconnecting at live events, and just plain fighting the good fight to return RPCN back to where we can serve you as your needs require and to be inviting to new people who come and see what we’re about (almost always thanks to your influence). So here’s a quick update in the Membership area.

Some tough news

Year to date we have had 5 members choose not to renew. That puts us on track for the fewest number of non-renewals in many years, however.

Some good news

After the web team made it easy to see events and easy to sign up, there are 9 new people over the past 4 weeks that want to know about our upcoming events. So get ready to greet a few new faces in the upcoming weeks.

More good news

Since 2023 started, new folks have been receiving recommendations about RPCN as well as your encouraging conversations bringing guests to us. This has resulted in 4 new members! Please reach out to our newest members and welcome them personally to our RPCN family. They are:

Don’t forget to check out their RPCN Member Profiles for additional information about their businesses. Just click RPCN Members Only Directory. Also, don’t presume that the next solopreneur you meet wouldn’t be interested in RPCN. Invite them and help them get curious.

We continue collaborating and working on more ideas to increase our value to you and those that are just learning about RPCN. Keep watch for what happens next.

Be well.

P.S. You can contact me directly at or 315-447-0425.

Tom Fecteau

Did You Know? 
Opportunities for Consultants

Are you making a presentation or leading a workshop? Are you aware of a presentation that would be valuable to other consultants? Have you written an article to be used in a local publication? Are you aware of a consulting job looking for an expert?

If you can relate to any of these questions or know of some other event or publication of interest to consultants AND if you are a member of RPCN, you can publicize it on the RPCN website.

  1. Start by logging in, and then let your cursor hover over Members Only from the main menu.
  2. Choose Opportunities for Consultants.  A screen will come up that will let you create your own opportunity topic.
  3. Click on Create Topic. Your name appears at the top.
  4. Below it, enter the subject of your opportunity.
  5. Then click on the box below the shaded area. Type your text within the box. This is much like writing an email or a Word document. The options for bold, font, italic, left, center, and right, etc. are all there. Under More, copying and pasting works as well.
  6. There is also an icon for link. It looks a bit like a backwards S. If you want to link some text to a website, highlight the text you want. Next, click on the link icon. Then Insert Link. A box will appear where, in the upper left corner, there is a place to enter the URL for the link.
  7. When you have completed the text and links, go to the bottom of the box, where there is an option to Create. Click on it and your opportunity is published. All members (who have subscribed to this option) will receive a notification the following day that your opportunity is available for viewing.

There is one other option. You can bypass this whole process and simply send the information you want to place on the Opportunities page to Steve Royal at and he will post it for you.

Not taking advantage of this members-only feature would be a missed opportunity!

Steve Royal

RPCN Video

Watch the introductory video here.

Upcoming RPCN Events

Visit the RPCN website for a list of all upcoming events.

Technical Forum
In-Person or Virtually
Friday, March 3, 2023
8:00 - 9:30 a.m. 

Five (5) Critical Strategies to Becoming an Entrepreneur
Presented by Michael Chabalik
In-Person or Virtually
Friday, March 10, 2023
8:00 - 9:30 a.m.

Enhancing Human Capital Lunch N' Learn
Thursday, March 16, 2023
11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Business Forum
In-Person or Virtually
Friday, March 17, 2023
8:00 - 9:30 a.m. 

RPCN Board Meeting
Everyone is welcome to attend.
In-Person or Virtually
Friday, March 17, 2023
10:00 - 11:30 a.m. 

Thriving in Complexity
Presented by Jennifer Sertl
In-Person or Virtually
Friday, March 24, 2023
8:00 - 9:30 a.m.

Volunteer Opportunities

Member Outreach Volunteers

The RPCN Membership Committee is looking for members who enjoy expanding their connections and learning about other industries. We are looking for two Member Outreach Volunteers. The Membership Committee has been increasing our interactions with members in several new ways, and the first area where we could benefit from additional hands (and ears) is to learn about the current business goals of your fellow members. If you’re a curious type, you will easily discover the keys that the member believes will be critical to their success, any potential challenges the member can foresee, and how RPCN may be able to help. Your minimum time investment would be just 30 minutes a week and should never exceed three hours a month.

Interested, curious? Reach out to the RPCN Membership Chair, Tom Fecteau, or 315.447.0425 for more details.

RPCN Board Secretary

We have an opening for someone (or a couple people) that would like to get more involved with RPCN. It’s not a huge commitment, just one meeting each month and a bit of typing.

Are you interested? GREAT!

We need someone willing to attend the Board meetings on the 3rd Friday of each month from 10am until noon to take notes and create the Minutes for the meeting. It’s not hard work, and you get to be directly involved in the Board discussions.

If you’re interested and are willing to help out, please contact David Finger, current RPCN President, at for more details.

Book Recommendations

These books were suggested during the Business Forum for being influential in shaping a member’s business or life outside of work. The following titles are just a taste. There will be more to follow in upcoming newsletters.

  • The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan
  • The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
  • Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
  • How to Think Like Leonardo DaVinci: Seven Steps to Genius Every Day by Michael J. Gelb

Edison Workshop Series -
Call for Volunteers

Would you like to help city kids learn about entrepreneurship ?  Bob Manard is assembling a team to teach the basics of business to students at Edison Tech High School as they prepare for careers in a wide variety of industries, including Automotive Technology, Advanced Manufacturing, Culinary Arts, and Digital Marketing.

Let’s join together and give these kids a head start as they begin their journey of entrepreneurship, whether it’s helping their family business, joining a startup, or starting their own.

If you’re interested in this opportunity to give back to the community and help some kids in need, contact Bob Manard at

We want your news!

The RPCN newsletter welcomes news, success stories, tips, resources, events and other items that would be of broad interest to consultants. Submit a newsletter item to for inclusion. 

Melanie Watson, Publisher 
Sandra Glanton, Copyeditor

The deadline for submitting material for our next newsletter is the 21st of this month.

Request from the Editors

When submitting material to be included in the RPCN newsletter, please:
1. Send the submission TO and not to individuals.
2. Include the words “For RPCN Newsletter” in the subject line. (Some people send articles to ALL RPCN members themselves, and it is often difficult to distinguish those that are being circulated independently from those intended for inclusion in the newsletter.)

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