Randy is the Managing Director + EIR for the 2020 OCEAN Accelerator.
OCEAN was founded to increase the awareness of God by building into entrepreneurs. OCEAN is a non-profit that serves entrepreneurs by providing access to training, community, and a foundation of faith on which to launch new organizations. OCEAN desires to help build healthy founders, teams, and companies. We do this through a variety of programs designed to serve entrepreneurs and business leaders of all types and at all stages.
After helping over two hundred founders launch businesses, OCEAN staff and volunteers repeatedly noticed that as entrepreneurs poured themselves into their business, they inadvertently allowed the business to define and drive their identity. If the business was riding high, so were they. If the business took a downturn, so did they. While that may seem to make a committed, driven entrepreneur, they were not performing at their highest, most optimized potential. The result is burn-out, depression, frustration, bitterness, anger, and often a strong desire to quit. OCEAN came to recognize that an entrepreneur can only have sustained success at a level no higher how a founder views herself. Yes, her identity.
As Christians, we know that our identity does not come from our business enterprise, what our mom and dad told us were, how others think of us, or even what we may think of ourselves. Our Identity is imprinted into our soul at birth as a child of God. 2 Corinthians 5:7 says “For we talk by faith, not by sight, living our lives in a manner consistent with our confident belief in God’s promises.” God loves each of us whether or not we are doing well with our work. His love for us is unconditional. Period.
To combat and correct this “stinkin’ thinkin’”, OCEAN has always intentionally inserted the thread of spiritual support and guidance into all programs. Once a founder comes to know the truth about herself and her relationship with the Father, she will be more effective and valuable at building the business that is before her, as a whole and complete person. This has been a major differentiator between OCEAN and almost any other accelerator or entrepreneur building program nationwide.
For the most recent cohort of the OCEAN Accelerator (the sixth), the staff decided to rebuild the entire curriculum in a way that honors the past and embraces the future. The legacy of the previous OCEAN cohort programs was the guide as staff and volunteers logged countless hours changing the Accelerator curriculum to add relevance and rigor. Over fifty new classes were added and scoped into the sequence of content delivery. Much thought went into altering the cadence in which the content was delivered to provide the founders more time to work on their business and include travel from Cincinnati to visit with funders and customers. Additionally, OCEAN asked each subject matter expert speaker to deliver their talk in a workshop format to allow for immediate engagement with the cohort. And lastly, the Accelerator enhanced the faith string of the curriculum, birthing the OCEAN Kingdom Factor.
OCEAN’s Kingdom Factor, short-named the K-Factor, was developed specifically to teach and support entrepreneurs as they infuse elements of faith into their leadership approach and related work environment. The K-Factor is the foundation for a business that is decidedly built on the Christian principles of Identity, Intimacy, and Impact. The lens for how OCEAN views the important impact of the K-factor can be expressed in the following equation:
(B+O+I) x F (to the K power)
(Business + OCEAN + Investor) x Founder (to the Kingdom power)
The founder can exist without the Kingdom elements, but the power of the Kingdom, if infused well in the enterprise, provides an exponential increase to the founder. Mathematically, if K=0, then the founder acts in her own strength. With the K-Factor, the impact is multiplied exponentially across the entire equation. Identity is who you are, Intimacy is who you are connected and committed to, and Impact is the value you and your business adds to the Kingdom of God, your family, and your community. The K-Factor does not guarantee your business success, yet it will ensure you don’t lose yourself in the quest for success.
To further strengthen the K-Factor element of the content, OCEAN implemented for the first time a Chaplain Corp for the Accelerator. Five pastors in the community offered to each spend a day a week in the OCEAN office to be with the founders. To pray with them, support them in a time of need, and to provide insight and often comfort as they worked on their businesses. The temptation is always there for a founder to align their identity to the start-up, but with the teaching and the reminders of the pastors in the Chaplain Corps, the risk was mitigated.
The fully re-crafted content was piloted from January through April with the sixth cohort of the Accelerator and received solid, positive feedback. The COVID-19 pandemic shifted the location of the learning from the OCEAN office to online, yet the teaching continued, even in the workshop form.
So following the Accelerator pilot, it is expected that the K-Factor will be stitched into the curricular fabric of each OCEAN program offering. Measuring the success of the K-Factor is tricky, and likewise, a very personal thing for the entrepreneur. Each program participant will have their unique view on how the teaching applies to them, and their response is largely dependent on where they are in their own spiritual journey. OCEAN uses a spiritual health survey that helps the entrepreneur view and measure their spiritual maturity in a personal, yet informative way.
The K-Factor, present in all OCEAN programs will serve entrepreneurs for years to come, providing valuable insight into the truth of how God sees them and the enterprise they are building. And a founder rooted in the truth will bring redemptive organizations to the market that are well-positioned for investment, serve a dramatic need in the marketplace, provide the founders joy, and honor the Father.