Kindness: Sharp minds, soft hearts and sweet souls

Kindness: Sharp minds, soft hearts and sweet souls

Posted by Steve Turnbo, Chairman Emeritus Kindness is the key to success. Artist, poet and writer Kahlil Gibran said, “It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.” All of us lead very busy lives and all of us come into contact with many people each and every day. How we interact with people, particularly strangers on the street, speaks to our innermost ethos. When we walk down the street and encounter a homeless person, do we look the other way, or do we speak by wishing the individual a good day? When we pass one of our city’s street people, many of us sense a little discomfort and wish to bypass our fellow citizen with neither a glance nor a word. The discomfort we feel may be from the times we’ve been burned or “the way we were raised,” but opening a door for an elderly person, dropping a buck in the hat of a downtown musician, or pledging to our local United Way not only helps others, it does amazing things to our souls. Several years ago University of Tulsa commencement speaker, James P. Ronda, challenged the graduates (and others in the audience) to leave the University and enter the world with the following three traits: Sharp minds Soft hearts Sweet souls We should all heed those sage words. Sharp minds are formed through education. Be it high school, college or everyday life training, education has sharpened our minds and taught us to never stop learning. Soft hearts are a mark of humanity and integrity, not a sign of weakness. Ronda told the grads about an...
Ready, Fire, Aim and My Failure to Achieve the Objective

Ready, Fire, Aim and My Failure to Achieve the Objective

Posted by Bill Handy, Senior Vice President of Account Services I use the term “Ready, Fire, Aim” oftentimes when working with project teams. It means we’ve gotten out of the natural order of strategic planning. Sometimes teams jump from goals to tactics without conducting any research or thinking through objectives and strategy, etc. This also includes knowing and following instruction. For some my comment seems overbearing??? I have my reasons though. A strategic effort that to this day still haunts me. When I was a student at Mason Ridge Elementary my first grade teacher, Mrs. Gold, handed out a complex assignment. It was called connect the dots but this was no normal connect the dots. Rather than the standard, “connect dot 1 to dot 2″, this had instructions which stated which alpha numeric dots to connect. To this day I am still emotionally scarred by this assignment. I don’t blame anyone, it was a learning opportunity. She told us to read the directions and begin work. As an added bonus the first person to finish correctly got a gold star to their leader board. I’d been down this path before and knew how connect the dots worked. Glancing around the room I had a jump on my competition. Step one, connect dot number 17 to dot letter R Step two, connect dot letter R to dot letter B Step three, connect dot number 4 to dot letter A And so it went. I neared the finish and still couldn’t determine what the portrait was to be. Looking around the room again I noticed some had an amazing image and others,...
Three ways to improve relationships with co-workers

Three ways to improve relationships with co-workers

Posted by Russ Florence, President and Chief Operating Officer  To some, the thought of developing relationships with co-workers is a daunting idea. But it can lead to valuable partnerships which are mutually beneficial in business. And if that’s not enough, these relationships are sure to come in handy the next time you’re on a tight deadline or need some support. Here are three quick tips for improving your relationship with co-workers.  1. Remember the rule of reciprocity. In simple terms, the more you help people, the more they help you. But there are a couple of caveats: First, it must be authentic. If your only motive is one of “you owe me one,” your co-workers will see right through it. Be sincere. Secondly, it must be an ongoing, everyday occurrence. Those who give, receive. Develop a true partnership of reciprocity and you’ll find that others are eager to help when they realize its value. For a deep dive on the subject, I recommend the bookInfluence by Robert Cialdini. 2. Get together, away. Go for a run with your co-worker. Play golf together. Go to a game, catch some live music, go to lunch. Get away from the work environment – and then, don’t talk about work. You might be surprised at the common ground you’ll find and you’ll discover a whole new way to connect. 3. Don’t shy away from conflict or disagreements. Wait. Conflict can IMPROVE your relationships with co-workers? Yes, IF they are handled properly. Healthy, productive conflicts can be good for a relationship. It demonstrates that you can civilly work through work issues together. This in turn builds...
Succession planning – Follow through with development

Succession planning – Follow through with development

Posted by Aaron Fulkerson, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer  Every week I read another article in Forbes, Harvard Business Review or Inc. about the importance of succession planning. Most discuss how vital succession planning is for organizations. Although I couldn’t agree more, we often see clients struggle in one particular area, following through with development. It is fairly easy to outline the ideal structure of an organization—who the top leaders should be, what their profile and competencies will look like, and then identifying potential successors. The hard part, however, is the development plan for those high-potential leaders. Development can be broken down into three areas and following through on each of these is where we usually see organizations fall short. 1. Technical Skills If a particular person is being considered for an executive level position, it is important to know they possess the necessary technical skills. Does the potential CFO really have the strategic, financial and decision-making knowledge needed for that role? What about the successor of the CEO—do they fully understand all of the operations and business models in the organization? These are all very important questions to consider. 2. Soft Skills If your organization is looking to put someone in an externally-facing role, such as the CEO mentioned above, and they’ve always been in an internally-facing role, do they have the soft skills they need to influence, inspire and motivate people? Can they work well and form relationships with the board? When a person is in an executive position, they need to not only have the technical skills, but be likeable and a good cultural fit....
Executive Search – Three qualities to look for

Executive Search – Three qualities to look for

Posted by Aaron Fulkerson, Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer  An executive search may be one of the most rewarding processes an organization can go through. Although the process can be tedious, when the search is done right the return on investment is immensely valuable. When conducting executive searches for clients, we generally see them looking to fill an externally facing role. The organization is looking for a new face and image, and someone who can represent their organization well. A person with an externally facing role will make impressions on people in 15 seconds or less—when it comes to the success of your organization, first impressions absolutely matter. With that in mind, here are three things to keep in mind for when looking for the right candidate, all stemming from first impressions: 1. Overall Courtesy When filling an executive role, having someone who is courteous is a must. We consider how the candidate treated our administrative assistants and people waiting in the lobby. Were they outgoing and friendly or did they burrow down and look at their phone? Did they say thank you and engage in a conversation?  This is something we look for as it gives a glimpse into how they will treat others when representing an organization. 2. Follow Up Follow up is an important factor to consider. Not only does it show us they are serious about the position, but it also keeps them on our radar due to the high volume of applicants during an executive search.  We look for follow-up emails and hand written notes thanking us for our time. These things constantly remind us...
Lorton family, thank you for your commitment to Tulsa

Lorton family, thank you for your commitment to Tulsa

Posted by Steve Turnbo, chairman emeritus  Change never comes easy, but we couldn’t be more thankful for having such a good friend. This week, as many of us are welcoming the new owners of the Tulsa world we would be remiss to not take the time to truly thank our good friends, the Lorton family, for their commitment to the Tulsa community over the last 100 years. It is difficult to measure in any quantifiable way the positive impact the Lorton family has made in the past century on this great city. Their generosity is immeasurable, whether it be in monetary contributions to hundreds of worthwhile causes, or in supporting numerous nonprofit organizations ranging from the arts to education, mental health, to racial reconciliation. I congratulate the Lorton family on the sale of the newspaper and  welcome the Berkshire Hathaway group to our community; the BH organization has a wonderful reputation and I have no doubt they will become good Tulsans, just as the Lorton’s have been, and will continue to be. To read the Tulsa World article on the purchase of the paper, click...