In 1727, a young man in colonial Philadelphia formed a group of 12 artisans and tradesmen for the purpose of mutual improvement and philosophical debate. They were the entrepreneurs of the day: cobblers, lithographers, blacksmiths, etc.
In the early 2000s, I was meeting regularly with a friend, David Gamperl, about the idea of starting an incubator. We never got past the early planning stages, and it went dormant for the rest of the decade. In late 2010, we resuscitated the idea based on several trends and developments in the startup ecosystem that emerged post-recession.
One of the first classes in the initial cohort of The Junto Institute's Apprenticeship program changed the way I will forever think about managing performance and leading people.
One of the pillars of the Junto program is emotional intelligence. It is a focal point of the JuntoForum, the subject of four JuntoClasses, and a topic of conversation at happy hours, in one-on-one meetings, and among the companies' employees.
One question we often get is how and why emotional intelligence (EI) training is part of the Junto program. Before getting to the answer, let's cover a couple definitions.
I started working on the idea that became The Junto Institute in 2011. Later that year, my friend Jeff Carter, a co-founder of Hyde Park Angels in Chicago, became involved in an advisory capacity. He brought an interesting and unique perspective, having deep experience as an angel investor.
We recently had Rob McLennan, CFO of ParkWhiz, lead our class on Cash Flow Management for the JuntoIV cohort. ParkWhiz is a fast-growing Chicago startup where Rob has closely managed tens of millions in dollars in funding and revenues.
Our first cohort of five companies in 2013 was an experiment.
Like most new ventures, we had a bunch of hypotheses, tested them, and learned what worked and what didn't. We believed we knew what we were doing but didn't know what to expect. Fortunately, we built feedback loops into the program so that we could adapt and refine our "product" for the next batch of five companies that made up JuntoII in 2014.
Based on footage from JuntoNight 2015, the graduation event for our third cohort, our latest video captures the essence of Junto: economic growth and personal transformation.
Last Thursday we held JuntoDay, a day-long learning event for growth-stage companies, featuring four sessions on marketing attended by JuntoAlumni and other Chicago startups. The presenters shared dozens of insights, experiences, strategies, and best practices. Here's a collection of one core lesson from each session.