Where the Best STRIVE for Better

Coaching Leaders Toward Clarity

Robert (Bob) Carlson
Lake City, MN

Bob has held leadership positions in large agribusiness cooperatives and related companies for more than 20 years.


Gray Matters is an executive coaching firm specializing in agribusiness ─ energy, animal nutrition, agronomy, logistics, grain merchandising, retail and financing for farm supply and grain merchandising cooperatives, serving both national and world markets. Founder Robert (Bob) Carlson, Jr. coaches leaders who want to be the best, for both your team and the organizations you lead. He works with leaders who value lifelong learning and a well-developed, cognitive approach to making decisions ─ and who recognize that positioning a business to evolve requires commitment to developing a strong team.

It takes confidence to delegate decisions to your team, whether they are easy decisions or the complex challenges we define as “gray” matters. As a leader, only the most complex of gray matters should reach your desk as you take on day-to-day critical decisions, define and plan how to execute your vision of what tomorrow can ─ and must be ─ to bring value to your customers and team.  Identifying and evaluating the gray influences on your business and your team requires an awareness of not only the variables involved, but also the potential consequences of executing one course of action versus another ─ and what that can mean for the business.

Managing the Gray is streamlined when you can partner with a professional who has faced this fluid process and lived with its consequences. Through Gray Matters, Bob Carlson leverages his diverse background in both investment-based and cooperative-backed business models to inform his coaching methods and complement your professional development.

Bob brings a lifetime of experience to coaching. After serving in the United States Army, he earned an undergraduate degree in business and public administration and later earned his Masters in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance. His introduction to the marketplace involved facilitating legal resolutions through Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) practices throughout the Midwest and East Coast.

Following leadership roles as a member of Resolute Systems, an ADR provider, Bob assumed leadership roles within the cooperative business model as a commercial/producer lender. He then served as the chief executive officer for agribusinesses with gross sales in excess of $500M and teams of more than 300 dedicated professionals serving from multiple locations.  Customer facing offerings included products and services in energy, animal nutrition, agronomy, logistics, grain merchandising, retail and financing.  Bob reported to a diverse board of directors throughout his tenure and lead discussions ensuring the board’s vision led to relevant and improving futures for the business and its valued members.

Bob is currently pursuing certification as a Series 7 Coach by the Institute of Leadership and Management. Since 1947, the Institute of Leadership and Management has been recognized as “the” leader in leadership development. It is the premier resource for research into the knowledge, skills, attitudes, behaviors and values of great leadership, and the Series 7 designation is their master coaching level.

A good coach prepares you to set the horizon you want to strive toward.

“As more and more companies realize the benefits of hiring a coach, they also realize the benefits of incorporating a coaching methodology into the management style of their leaders. After all, there’s a difference between simply telling employees what to do and working with them on professional development.” – Forbes Coaches Council

Mission, Vision & Strengths


Partnering with elite leaders to examine where life-balance, humility and a sense of service lead to improving clarity when faced with the every evolving gray in both business and personal development.


Achieving a purposeful legacy by ensuring leadership lessons learned from the past are refined and shared with those to be charged to execute in the exciting and yet ever so challenging future.


Starting with a foundational sense of integrity and a drive to achieve through service, Bob’s  Gallop Strength Finder Top Five® :

  • Learner
  • Self Assurance
  • Activator
  • Responsibility
  • Strategy

Need more details?

Contact Bob today to fill in the Gray Matters in your business.