Founder and Chair – LMFC
Vice Chair – LMFC
President and CEO – The Bank of Northern Michigan
SVP of Shared Services - LMFC
Senior Vice President, Traverse City Market Manager

Hear from the founder of Lake Michigan Financial Corporation, Rich Lievense, and his insight on what this blog encompasses.

We have seen the impact of creativity as businesses adapt to a changing economic world.  Can we take steps to improve the level of creativity in our companies?  Perhaps there are ways to improve your personal creativity in business and personal situations.

Click here to read the Tactics to Spark Creativity article.
There have been a number of recent posts to the blog dealing with the reemergence of manufacturing in the United States.  The attached article is probably going to be most interesting and helpful to our manufacturing readers but has applications to other industries as well.  It reminds us that we need to focus on our cost basis while finding ways to grow in a rapidly changing operating environment.  We are considering a number of these factors as we look at the future of our business. 

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Demographics play a critical part in a country’s ability to make their GNP grow and standard of living improve.  At a very basic level, more people represent a larger market for the goods we make, houses and apartments we live in, and services we require.  In the past, a growing American population has supported economic growth and has differentiated us from many other countries.  Europe, Russia, Japan, and now China are experiencing flat or falling population levels and their economies will be negatively affected.  The challenges of funding employee retirement and health care plans around the world are severely affected by changing demographic patterns. 
Take a moment and review the attached report.  Think about how it might affect you, your business, our country, and our standing in the world. 
I have been thinking a lot about persistently high unemployment, the status of the American middle class, and the life our children and grandchildren can expect in this country.  The great recession was a shock to our country and most other countries in the developed world.  What started as a financial shock turned into a wholesale evaluation of debt around the world.  Most came to the conclusion that aggregate debt needed to be reduced in order for economic growth to reappear.  Corporate America led the charge and has the lowest level of debt in a generation.  The American consumer is slowing reducing their overall debt for the first time in decades.  Government around the world is still rising but politicians are struggling with decisions to balance spending, taxes, and long term benefit costs.  There is still a long way to go before we have sustainable government policies in place.  
There are long term employment, education, demographic, and cultural changes occurring in our country.  The Friedman piece puts these changes in perspective and provides a thought provoking way to think about our future.  I hope you find it interesting and useful. 

Click here to read The Crisis of the Middle Class and American Power by George Friedman.
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