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Paragon IT Leadership Forum

The Most Powerful Employee Attraction and Retention Strategy for Minnesota Companies

minnesota companies, leadership forum, employee retention, employee attraction

By Joel Jackman

The topics were on point. The presenter kept the group interactive. It is a positive experience to understand what other leaders outside of your own company are facing.

– VP of IT

After eight years, 30 companies, and 300 leaders have flowed through our forums, I felt it was an important step to back up and dissect what has made them so successful and desirable. The Paragon IT Leadership Forum journey has been amazingly powerful for me. I’ve seen how great leadership has become the talent attraction and retention strategy that trumps all others.


The ability to connect with a group of peers on a monthly basis is just the beginning of what a Forum means to its members. Whether a new or seasoned leader, making time out of the office to have deeply personal interaction with peers is incredibly helpful in sharing ideas, strategies, and challenges in a safe environment. Just knowing that the people in the room are facing the same budgeting, staffing, strategic, and execution challenges means that when members walk into the room, there’s often a visible “sigh” as they let go of stress and gear-up for problem-solving mode.


Society today doesn’t have a challenge with information (there’s more than enough to do the job). We have a challenge with Formation, and the Paragon IT Leadership Forum tackles this head-on by providing an amazing course of content called Connected Leader  by Mike Wagner. Connected Leader  is a step-by-step formation process driving you and your leaders to become your best. Because the Forum is not just a one-day conference or series of speakers, members get the reinforcement and practice they need to hone their skills. The Forum compliments Connected Leader  with other amazing topics, content, and speakers, from around the country and the local business community.

The Paragon IT Leadership Forum is a fantastic way to network with colleagues from other organizations on a deeper level. It was a great monthly oasis from the grind of everyday work, and was an useful way to focus on developing as a leader. As a group, we dug into some key topics for leaders and provided resources for each other to use for the long-term.



Clarity of thought and of purpose is not always possible in our busy world where we manage myriad shifting priorities and corporate strategies. Paragon IT Leadership Forum members explain that their meetings recapture the mental space where clarity happens. With such deep talent in the room focused on improvement, suddenly the clutter disappears, and the white space needed to tackle tough issues becomes available.


Processing issues is a cornerstone of the Connected Leader system in our Forum. Each member is asked to share a key issue challenging their leadership abilities. All members also share thoughts, solutions, concepts, and ideas to process through the challenge. During this process, I’ve seen amazing transformations. As the weight of “I’m going through his alone” disappears we move into a shared experienced with trusted group members.

The leadership forum offered on-target topics assisting me in a better understanding of larger focus management concepts and skills. Adding the information with the interaction of leaders from other companies helped in understanding what was effective and not effective.

– VP Dev Ops


In the early stages of a peer group, there are individuals who are working hard and methodically to improve themselves. As they move through the Connected Leader  program, they’re working to build the next generation of leaders. That shift is amazing to see. Leaders integrate the practices of Connect, Correct, Equip, and Amplify. They use these in their teams and find their team members are transforming right along with them. Forum members are known as replicators who are constantly adding more branches to their own lineage of leadership. They're also more successful than leaders who try to keep power and influence in tight control.


The loyalty rates of Forum members and teams lead by Forum members is also staggering. In today’s economy, we have almost negligible unemployment numbers and even tighter markets in technology. Your company also needs a powerful and meaningful differentiator. Fun work environments are nice to have but are also starting to look out of date.  You’ve examined and known all too well the costs of turnover. This doesn't even mention the mental cost of losing those lynchpin team members you’ve worked hard to land.

If you’d like to learn more about our IT Leadership forums in Des Moines and Minneapolis, please reach out to Joel Jackman via email or at 515.288.2128 ext. 202 or simply text ITFORUM to 22828 and you’re added to our Forum mailing list.

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