Platinum Group
June 2011
The Platinum Group Newsletter
Platinum Group members on hand to receive the reward were: (Front, from left) Donna Gray, Tom Ahonen, Glaydon Iverson. (Back, from left) Dean Bachelor, Roger Elias, Bruce Mallory, Bob Stewart, Bob Cass, and Darin Lynch.
Platinum in the News
2011 Minnesota Business Ethics Award Honors Platinum Group

Platinum Group was honored as a recipient of the 12th annual Minnesota Business Ethics Award (MBEA) on May 18. The MBEA recognizes Minnesota businesses that have exemplified and promoted ethical conduct for the benefit of the workplace, marketplace, environment and community. Platinum received the award for the small business category; Klein Bank for the mid-sized company and Mosaic for the large-company category.

During the presentation at a special luncheon, Platinum Group's mission of "Meaningful Capitalism" and the firm's core values were cited as the key selection factors. One of the firm's core values, "Do the Right Thing," exemplifies Platinum Group's commitment to ethics.

The MBEA was founded in 1999 by the Center for Ethical Business Cultures at the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business and the Minnesota Chapter of the Society of Financial Services Professionals. In 2009, the Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants joined as an award sponsor. The MBEA has a vigorous selection process that selected this year's recipients from more than 100 companies that were nominated.

"It was a proud day for all of us at Platinum Group," said Founder and Chairman Dean Bachelor. "This particular award is special, as it cuts to the core of who we are and what we stand for. We are honored and humbled."

Case Study
Phase II: Turnaround and Sale of Elvin Safety

Elvin Safety Supply, Inc. was a 73-year-old, family owned safety supplies distributor that fell victim to the 9/11-business downturn and the bankruptcy of a major customer, losing money for three straight years. Through its private equity fund, Platinum Group gained controlling interest in May 2006 and three Platinum partners brought their turnaround management expertise to the C-level roles. The Elvin family continued to participate in the company as minority shareholders.

The uniqueness of the new value proposition in the market gained notoriety and awards for Elvin Safety. Never the lowest price, the company offered the lowest overall cost to its customers. It continued to improve in cash flow, revenue growth and market share. All of this led to interest from a buyer that desired Elvin Safety's strength in "high touch" large-account management as a great strategic fit. Elvin Safety was sold in January 2010. The outcome was financially rewarding to both majority and minority shareholders. Click here to read how Platinum's turnaround management expertise grew the company's value.

Platinum in the Community
"Golf for Hope" Helps Hurting
Youth and Families

Partner Steve Coleman encourages Platinum clients and friends to participate in the annual "Golf for Hope" event to raise money to reach hurting youth and families through TreeHouse, a ministry of Plymouth-based Family Hope Services. Mark your calendars for Wednesday, July 27th for a day that combines golf, dinner, silent auction, and a chance to hear and support stories of transformed lives. The tournament is a scramble format at Rush Creek Golf Club in Maple Grove. Cost is $300 for an individual golfer and $1,200 for foursomes. Click here for more information or email Steve at

Lesson Learned
Building Trust and Capability in
Decision Making

By Tom Ahonen, Managing Partner

With our acquisition of Nordquist Sign Company, I'm on my third new leadership role in about four years. With each new team the pattern is familiar; team members aren't quite sure what decisions they should bring to the leader and what decisions they should make themselves. Over the years, I've used this five-level model to help team members think through how decisions should be made:

LevelTeam MemberTeam Leader
OneBring a problemDecides
TwoBring a problem and a recommendationDecides
ThreeBring a plan of actionEncouragement and/ or veto
FourBring information regarding an action taken"Atta boy" or "Atta girl" with coaching opportunity
FiveJust do itMay never know

Decisions in any enterprise can fall into one of the five levels. Level one or two may make sense early in a relationship between a leader and a team member or for "big" issues. Over time, though, the leader coaches team members to become more autonomous in their decision making - getting them to the next level. As trust and comfort increase within the leader-team member relationship, decisions tend to flow toward more empowerment and autonomy. There are, of course, situations where only the leader can make a decision. The key is to help team members build experience and judgment to determine how to best approach making a particular decision - including knowing when they should "delegate up."

Tom may be reached at

Platinum Group
9855 W 78th Street
Eden Prairie, MN 55344

If you do not wish to continue to receive our monthly newsletter please click on this unsubscribe link to be removed from our distribution list.