Arete Network

Be Exceptional - "Invest" in your people...

Gary Baker

Nearly two years ago, we set out to discover what it means to “be exceptional” in life and in business. We wanted to identify what it takes to have an exceptional life and/or lead an exceptional company. We met with 100’s of people and companies that we believed were truly exceptional because they stood out among the crowd, people were drawn to them, they wanted to be a part of their mission, organization or company.

Through 1,000’s of conversations, we discovered, at least from our perspective, what it means to be exceptional. The formula is quite simple, it can be summarized into two key elements, the first is a commitment and aspiration to become the best version of yourself by having a mindset for continuous improvement in life and/or in business. The second element, is a desire and focus on helping others become the best they can be in life, personally and professionally.

Simply put, exceptional people and companies strive to be the best they can be. They choose to be a catalyst to others, empowering them to become the best they can be in life and in business.

 As the leadership team at Barry Wehmiller puts it, “Build Great People and Watch Them Do Extraordinary Things.”

Exceptional people and companies are “people centric” and/or “client centric”, they put the needs of others, their employees and their customers at the core of what they do.

As a leader, you have a choice, you can lead by inspiring your team to dream or you can lead by leveraging their fears against them. Great leaders invest in their people early in their careers. Holding off on investing in your people is like saying, “I will start saving closer to retirement.” You and your company will never realize the compounding effects of your investment.

Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing and “investing” in others.

Are you interested in learning how being “People Centric” can change the trajectory of your life and your business?

Join us on April 12th to discover the “purpose” behind designing an exceptional life, family and company. We will provide the framework to take you from “Being Good” to “Being Exceptional” in all aspects of life and business.  We have some exceptional people joining us this day, join to us to connect and become a part of our “Exceptional Company” launch in St. Louis. Register by clicking here or going to and search for “Be Exceptional Project”. 


Do You Have a Mission Statement or a World Changing Purpose?

Gary Baker

Do you have a mission statement or world changing purpose? 

Do you think there is a difference between the two statements? 

Does having a world changing purpose make a difference to your employees?

Would your company operate differently if you had a world changing purpose?

What would you say the societal good your company produces or supports?

Every business plan typically starts with the “mission statement,” it is a core element in early developmental stages of every entrepreneur’s business.  The initial mission statement probably meant something to the founder; it is typically how they wanted to serve their customer. 

The "Be Exceptional" Project

Gary Baker

Help Us Inspire Our Community One Company At A Time

What if our companies inspired individuals to live lives of purpose?

What if those individuals lead their families with purpose?

What if those families became the fabric of our community?

What if those individuals brought the impact to their families?

What if those families became the fabric of our communities?

The why, who, how and what of an "exceptional" company or service provider...

Gary Baker

Nearly two years ago, we set out to discover what it means to “be exceptional” in life and in business. We wanted to identify what it takes to have an exceptional life and/or lead an exceptional company. We met with 100’s of people and companies that we believed were truly exceptional because they stood out among the crowd, people were drawn to them, people wanted to be a part of their mission, organization or company. They were being sought after, not seeking – truly exceptional.

Design Your Exceptional Network - The Vent Model

Gary Baker

There are 3 types of capital that enables us to grow in our businesses, financial captial, intellectual capital and relational capital.  Assuming you understand the first two, we are going to focus Relational Capital:

Relational Capital – Case Study - “The Vent Model”

In the early stages of client / financial advisor relationship, the financial advisor continued to ask the new client about his ambitions, goals and vision for his life and business. As the client unfolded his dreams and ideas, the advisor provided him with an array of connections and insight to aid in the development of his business and his personal life.

The client finally said, “I have never been in new relationship where it was all about me, especially with a financial advisor. Usually I get the feeling that once they have me as a client, they immediately think, who can I introduce them too. However with your approach, all I hear is how you are surrounding me with people in your network that can help me. This is how an advisor should approach his clients. This is amazing.

Summary: think of an air vent, you want the client to feel the air flowing towards him/her, not away from them. They want to feel comforted and supported not drained or as a target.

Be sure to aim the “vent” at your client when you are meeting, not towards you. 

Go to to learn more. 

Design Your Exceptional Network - 3 Forms of Value

Gary Baker

A Thought to Consider.....

Brands/Companies/Processes must place the customer at the heart of business models. This is likely to involve creating new business models and organizational structures that allow for deeper customer engagement and that cuts across traditional silos. This will help focus our businesses on the contextual needs and value exchange opportunities for different audiences at divergent stages of a customer. A generation ago, we could compete on price because we held the information. Today we can compete on our intellectual processes/experience/know how. However the future will be for those who help the customers get what they want by collaborating....WITH THEM!

The three ways we all provide value in our products or services are Financial Value, Intellectual Value and Relational Value.  The importance of the knowing the three forms of value you  provide is critical to your company's story and to vital to your success in demonstrating the value you offer. 

1) "Financial" Value - Your Core Business - "What" you do: The monetary benefit your service provides, through an increase in top line revenue or decrease in bottom line expenses. Some way there is a savings in monetary means or in time.  They gain something by working with you (time, money or resources).

2) Intellectual Value - How you differentiate - How you do what you do differently: The benefit of working with your level of experience or your company’s expertise. Your knowledge and and process separates you and your service.  Essentially, you can demonstrate how you and your team or company can do it better. 

3) Relational Value - Your Outlier - Why you do it / Who you are: The insight you provide for all aspects of their life and business. Your value, your ability to standout among your peers, your uniqueness. Something that demonstrates you are truly unique. This goes beyond your business or service; it defines who you are. 

Design Your Exception Network - Your Outlier

Gary Baker

Is your networking, not-working?

A great connector networks for insight, information, solution providers with the goal of becoming an influencer or a resource center for his or her clients or customers. 

The success of a network, whether we are talking about people or technology, lies in the strength of the connection and the connectivity of sending information from one area (or person) to another to provide a service or data or insight.   

"Not"working is a network based on little to no connection.  Information transfer comes to a halt,  it stops when the relationship becomes a transaction and only flows one way. Designing an Exceptional Network is more than just passing out your business card, its about real, authentic connecting. 

What is Your Outlier?

This concept can be explained in a very simplistic way, think about the last time you told someone’s story and why you told it. It stuck out in your mind, it “wowed” you, this is a differentiator for that person. That’s essentially what an outlier is, it is a story, person, result, action, something that stood out. Every one of us has an outlier if not, many outliers.However many times, we choose not to talk about it because we want to be humble or we ignore it because we think that no one would really see it as unique, special or different. Think about what makes you unique, experiences you have had that no one else has, this thought process will start you thinking about how truly unique you really are.In addition, start taking advantage of opportunities to really experience life. This is what makes people interesting and what will make you become an outlier. Now we are not saying to go sky dive so you have something to talk about, just nurture and pass on what you are passionate about to others. We are not suggesting you “brag”, however we are saying to celebrate your uniqueness. 

Take time this week to think about your outlier, your unique gift or experience that others would benefit from hearing about or would find engaging. 

Step 2 is completed --- keep going only 6 more to go!

Go to and click on the Design Your Exceptional Network Tool