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Wyoming People

Duo with ag roots offers leadership training, publishes first book

Ron Rabou and Steve Bahmer have been speaking for a combined total of 35 years. This year, they have continued their professional speaking endeavors and have also leapt into the realm of writing, releasing their first book, Keep It Simple.

“We have a new approach that is something we hadn’t ever seen before,” comments Rabou of their speaking approach. “We asked ourselves, ‘If we were sitting in the audience, what is it that we would really want?’”

A different approach

Rabou emphasizes that many suit-clad speakers stand on a stage, give a presentation and walk off.

“We want some interaction, a laid back approach, and a message that is more common sense and applies to where we are in our lives,” he says.

Bahmer also comments, “We found ourselves complaining about a lot of the same things about the nation – we’ve lost basic skills, we’ve lost our way. We finally said, ‘We’re done complaining. We can try to make it better, or we can shut up.’”

The result was a company called ReThink, which brings the basics of leadership back to simple ideas and values.

“We believe that is it ultra important to remind people of the basic values and principles that make us great as people and Americans,” Rabou continues. “We need to reintroduce those ideas to folks and talk about how to apply them in a way that is practical.”

Unique philosophy

With old ideas of leadership behind them, Bahmer says, “The idea of trickle down leadership just doesn’t seem to be working, so we are focused on getting involved in student groups to try to build solid, productive leaders from the ground up.”

“We think we can make the most difference there, and that is what really drives us,” Bahmer adds.

Rabou mentions that even the t-shirts they wear provide reinforcement behind their message. Their shirts are emblazoned with messages such as, “matter,” “accept responsibility” and “make it better.”

“When you are wearing a shirt that says accept responsibility, you are actually going to accept responsibility,” Rabou explains. “It portrays a positive message not only to the people who wear it, but to those who read it, too.” 

Bahmer and Rabou travel across the U.S. speaking to a wide variety of groups that range from students to corporations and business people.

Teaching Wyoming FFA

Rabou and Bahmer presented on Nov. 11 at the Wyoming FFA Chapter President’s Conference in Douglas. Students at the Chapter President’s Conference had the chance to continue developing their leadership skills in the unique style of Rabou and Bahmer.

“There is a lot of research out there about effective leadership,” Bahmer says. “We take a little different approach.”

“We think the most effective leaders are the people who know themselves the best, are the most well-grounded, understand their own values and principles and really understand where other people are coming from,” he continues. “We spent a lot of time with the students helping them learn about themselves to position them to be more effective leaders.”

Bahmer also added that by understanding these core concepts, students would be better poised to be effective leaders in their chapters, schools and communities.

Keep it simple

In addition to speaking engagements, Rabou and Bahmer have also completed their first book, titled Keep It Simple: The 12 Core Values that Lead to Personal and Professional Success.

The book, says Rabou, reinforces the tenants they present.

“The book is true to us as people and what our values are,” Rabou comments. “It is really based on our own experiences and how we have applied these values.”

He also notes that it provides guidance to others to apply 12 core values to their lives.

“Fundamentally, our view is that we are busy people – everyone is busy, and the world is fast paced. Because of that, we tend to forget some of those core values,” Bahmer adds. “This is a reminder of those basic things that we know, but we forget.”

Bahmer mentions topics such as patience, perseverance and simplifying life as important concepts their book presents.

“We have overcomplicated our lives, our work and our families so much that our stress level is high, but our results aren’t,” he continues. “This is all about taking a step back to get some perspective.”

The book also features a forward by Miss America 2011 Teresa Scanlan, who believes in the project and the ideas that Rabou and Bahmer present. 

Visit ReThink on the Internet at rethinkthebasics.com to learn more about Rabou and Bahmer, speaking opportunities or to purchase “Keep It Simple.” The book is also available at Amazon.com. Saige Albert is Managing Editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..