When you invest time and money into something you expect a return. Me too.

The $12 I spend at the car wash is worth the reduction in time and increase in quality of doing it myself at home. Especially the car wash vacuums. My home shop vac sucks in comparison (#dadjoke).

Have you taken a vacation recently? Did you get the return you were looking for?  The return on the time, money, and energy of making the plans, packing up the family, driving across the country. What was the return? Did it help you all unplug, recharge, make memories, and be a healthier family? I hope so, but sometimes it hard to measure. I just know our family “feels better” even if I can’t exactly measure it. We’re happier, fight less, more patient and loving. There’s value in that.

The same can be said about the Acumen and our peer advisory teams and community. There is a hard dollar, easy to measure ROI and there are “feel better” areas that create islands of health that give you the will, energy, inspiration and ability to lead your company into what’s next.

What’s the ROI?

The first challenge I hear from EVERY leader I talk to is about time. “How will I have the time to participate? I’m already stretched with no spare time! Is it really worth my time?”

How much time do you spend working ON the business? What would you like it to be?

I find most CEOs and owners would like to spend at least 25-50% of their time ON the business. Yet, when honest, spend 5-10%. So there is a 5-10x gap to reach the minimum. How does this affect your business and ability to grow? You work on the urgent and not important. Acumen provides an automatic important time during your month where you get out of the office (catalytic in itself), slow down, get into a helicopter and look at your businesses as well as others.

If you are saying “I don’t have the time,” then that’s exactly the reason why you need to do it.

You get your fire lit, versus another day in the firefight.


How do you measure a hard-dollar impact when it comes to a catalytic community?

At some point, you will hire someone, fire someone, meet the perfect partner, vendor, or friend, make a big strategic leap, take the right fork in the road, or avoid a disaster all because you were part of a community.

If you spend 12 months on a team, you’ll get a 5-10x hard dollar return. When, where, how? I don’t know. I can’t define it for you. That’s up to you and how invested you are in the team to get the return you expect.

The gym doesn’t come to you. You have to go to the gym. Going to the gym produces results.


Everybody is faking it. Trust me.

As the leader, you are tasked with vision, creation, ideation, strategy, and outcomes. All of which are new and frequently changing. If you are doing it right, then you’ll be leaning into strategies and tactics you and the organization have not done before. Yes, experience counts. Situations ten years ago can inform you about today, but they are not today.

Did you have a playbook for COVID?

Most companies didn’t. What we did have were seven teams of motivated owners each who came together and pooled perspectives, new ideas, resources, connections, best practices, and shared experiences to plan and react to the weirdest time in our professional life. We went from meeting monthly to weekly and even daily at some points to go back to their war rooms with new information, confidence, competence and energy. We were more effective, reducing risk, gaining perspective and ideas in an efficient process. Special forces for a special time.

It works the same during peacetime as well. You just don’t have to move as fast. Your leadership and business will grow by being around others that share the same challenges, perspectives, and opportunities.


This is one reason why Acumen exists. Right now, you have a platform with an economic engine to change people’s world. It could be 10 people or 10,000. THIS right here is the most impactful time you have in your life to create and live by values that will change how others think, feel, and act.

Your company is a platform to change your world. Your influence, as a shepherd of your flock, can create a bold impact. You can foster relationships that last a lifetime, help families buy homes, support children, do good works, change neighborhoods and cities all by how you set your culture, foster community, generosity, and family. As goes the shepherd, so goes the flock!

Being around other shepherds who view their flock with a similar perspective will challenge you and generate ideas, opportunities, and paths to impact and influence those in you touch and are touched by the business you do every day.


Here’s the “feel good” part that is like the results of vacation.

How many times in your career have you spent sleepless nights staring at the ceiling worried and anxious about payroll, people, performance, plans (I’m sure there are other P words I just can’t think of any more)? How do you react to the stress and burden of carrying the load of business ownership?

It’s hard. It’s heavy.

When you go into battle with others, have others to call and draw upon who know you, really know you, you can experience peace, harmony in work and life, clarity about your path forward, confidence in your plan, and focus for the future.

Peace in the storm. It’s a fuzzy ROI. Yes. It’s also high value.


There are many ways to make decisions in and about your business and your life. Whether you think so or not, you have a framework that outlines how you make decisions: a latticework of values, experiences, ideas, and models that create the base of how and where you look, feel, and then act.

Every Acumen team is composed of CEOs and owners who believe that HOW we live, lead, and serve others has meaning for today — and on the great beyond.

Far from perfect, we are men and women who claim Jesus Christ as our Savior. We aspire to lead a life of purpose in our businesses, our communities, and our families. We share values, virtues & beliefs. We are NOT prideful, judgmental, or denominationally rigid. We also leave all the icky self-righteous religious BS at the door. No do-gooders allowed, just top tier leaders willing to be real and seek the truth.

Community is a powerful thing. You deserve a return on your time, investment, improvement, insight, and integration. Come and see.

Dan Cooper
Post by Dan Cooper
July 23, 2020
Dan Cooper co-founded ej4, a video-based online training company, in 2003, and was its CEO until selling in 2012. During his time with ej4, he grew the company from a startup to a nationally-recognized firm, serving clients including Pepsi-Cola, Dr. Pepper Snapple, Honeywell, Monsanto and Syngenta. Channel partners included SAP and Oracle. As of the 2012, ej4 was serving 1,000+ customers, delivering millions of program views, was highly profitable and debt-free. Today, he is the CEO of Acumen, a mastermind community platform built for CEOs and Owners of strong and growing companies. He and his wife, Ali, have three children and attend Cure of Ars church in Leawood, KS. Dan enjoys running, all things soccer — coaching, playing and watching —and burning all types of meat on the backyard barbecue grill.