Highlighting Our Members – George Connelly

Silver Fox Advisors is proud of our members and would like for you to get to know them better.

George Connelly has been a valued member of Silver Fox Advisors since 2000.

As a member of the Tax Controversy and Litigation section of Chamberlain Hrdlicka, George is recognized as one of the leading federal tax litigators in the United States.

In addition to his legal work, George is on the Executive Committee of the Better Business Bureau’s Board of Directors, and served on the Board of Houston Public Media for 13 years, including President and a year as Chairman of the Board, Advisor to CEOs through Silver Fox Advisor’s Roundtable program, and much more.

If you would like to learn more about Mr. Connelly, or Silver Fox Advisors, visit our website below.

Lunch & Learn June 23 Featuring the BBB

At our next Lunch & Learn series event, the BBB will be featured. This year marks the Centennial Celebration for the BBB. To join in the celebration, we will host a panel of three prior Pinnacle Award winners from the BBB.

The Silver fox Advisors are proud of our working relationship with the BBB, serving as the judges for the Circle of Excellence awards each year. BBB member companies submit their stories for inclusion in the annual contest. Winners are then selected in various product and service classes.

At the June 23 Lunch & Learn, you will hear from three of the prior winners. Listen as they describe their journey as small business owners, growing and shaping their brands.

Tickets are on sale now. Visit SilverFox.org/reservations to buy your tickets.

When – June 23, 11:00-1:00

Where – Houston Racquet Club, 10709 Memorial Drive | Houston, TX 77024

Featuring Mary L. Kole

Silver Fox Advisors is proud of our members and would like for you to get to know them better.

Mary Kole is the founder of ML Kole, LLC, a consulting practice focused on assisting leaders of public and private companies with the development and implementation of strategies to achieve company or organization objectives. Mary is a professional Business Leadership Mentor, former Chairman, President, and Vice President of Silver Fox Advisors.

According to Silver Fox Advisors founder, Monte Pendleton, “Mary is the most capable person I have mentored in 30 years. She can do anything and do it well”.

If you would like to learn more about Ms. Kole or joining Silver Fox Advisors, visit our website.

Dr. Ken Wells

Featuring Dr. Ken Wells

Silver Fox Advisors is proud of our members and would like for you to get to know them better.

Dr. Ken Wells is one of our newest members. He is a seasoned executive with extensive corporate health experience spanning clinical medicine, health benefits, public health, and pharmacy. He is an Army reservist, flight surgeon, and pilot.

Ken serves as Vice-Chair of our CEO Roundtable Committee and an active participant in several of our programs including our recent Lunch & Learn on April 7th when we returned to an in-person gathering at the Houston Racquet Club. Ken joined a panel of other Silver Fox Advisors and updated those in attendance with information about “Hot Topics Facing Business Today.”

If you would like to learn more about Ken or join Silver Fox Advisors, visit our website.

Featuring Member Ibrahim Saleh

Silver Fox Advisors is proud of our members and would like for you to get to know them better.

Ibrahim Saleh is the owner of TaQtics Consulting Group. He works with small to mid-sized businesses with revenues from $1MM to $50MM. Ibrahim has a strong background as a consultant, entrepreneur, and CFO from a 25-year career of leading finance and operational teams.

Ibrahim is Vice-Chair of our Membership Committee and an active participant in the evaluation and onboarding of new members.

If you would like to learn more about Ibrahim or join Silver Fox Advisors, visit our website.

Ibrahim Saleh, Business Advisor

H-E-B’s Scott McClelland sits down for an exclusive interview with ABC13

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — When it comes to what we eat and drink, Texans are pretty particular, and a Texas-based grocery store has made it their mission to find out just what we like, depending on where we live and shop.

Now the man who has overseen H-E-B stores for more than 30 years is stepping down.

More importantly, this interview demonstrates some amazing leadership tools, tips, and ideas.

small business owners

Leaders: Setting a New Standard

Welcome to 2022. Yes, we have entered a new year. Like many of you, I have reviewed my accomplishments and plotted a course for this new trip around the sun.

As for me, I have chosen a noble task.

I want to help 10,000 business leaders and company owners become Better Bosses. Let’s start with WHY.

For a long time, there has been a saying among HR professionals. “People join companies but quit bosses.”

Have you ever felt that way? I know I have.

The individuals who get promoted into management jobs and/or start businesses rely on chance and circumstance for ways to figure out how to lead a team. Experience tells me that most fail in some way or another.

I think it’s time we seriously focus on making our bosses be accountable for better behavior.

It’s Tradition

First, let’s be real. In western commerce and so-called ‘big business’, we have this strange tradition of promoting the brightest bulb on the string to be a supervisor when a spot comes open. The logic goes something like this.

“Sally is our best producer. She would be the best one to lead this team.”

WRONG! Instead, we usually end up ruining the best producer and frustrating the team because Sally doesn’t do well leading people. (No knock on Sally. It could be a Bill or a George here too.)

In the case of the entrepreneur, this person has an idea for a product or service. So they start a company. The idea takes off. Pretty soon the owner knows they need a bigger team to keep things going. Hiring begins and the fun starts.

Like the promoted high-performer, most small business founders seldom know how to manage people.

In both cases, you can hope for a collection of positive experiences with prior bosses to model good habits, but guess what? Those folks had their own journey arriving where they were. So did you really get a good lesson?

Nature or Nurture?

Then there is another thought. In the halls of most business schools, you can find a raging debate among academicians about whether leadership is born or bred, nature vs nurture.

I’m not going to rehash the whole debate here. Instead, I will say this. I have met and worked with clients who clearly have more natural talent to be a leader. They have a sixth sense of reading people and making decisions. They are comfortable at the podium speaking to a team or a whole organization.

These individuals do shine in positions of leadership, running companies. And, like professional athletes, they get better with coaching to help them refine the natural-born skills they seem to have.

I wanted to play sports in school. But growing quickly to six feet tall before any notion of hand-eye coordination kicked in limited my future in athletics. Obviously, I was NOT a natural-born athlete. The few things I’ve tried since then, like golf or tennis, have required hard work.

On the other hand, I have worked with clients who did not start with “natural” leadership ability. Instead, they embraced the need to be a leader. They worked hard to learn concepts, principles, and values they could use to become better leaders and, hence, better bosses.

Therefore, my observation is simply this. Some people may be born to be leaders and get better with training. Others can learn to be better leaders with the right coaching, hard work, and commitment.

Back to Human Resources

I knew a global HR professional who boldly led a charge to redesign his company’s entire HR role. His premiss said, “If we trained better managers, our people problems would go away.”

While the company didn’t accept the theory outright, they did permit him to test it with a large global project he was assigned to support. The results were never empirically proven, but the overall success was positive based on exit reviews and employee feedback.

The idea is solid. Better bosses can make a difference in the way work teams view the company. More importantly, it impacts the quality and quantity of work contributed by employees.

Today’s Situation

Add to the above factors the rapidly changing world of work today in the face of COVID lockdowns, remote working, and workforce change.

Studies are beginning to emerge wherein labor pools are voicing one common theme. People are tired of toxic cultures created by bad bosses. Here are a few of these studies:

Management teams who have historically ignored employee feedback are being systemically voted out of office. No, I don’t mean literally, because there is no such vote. But symbolically, they are receiving a “no confidence” vote from people walking off the job. The “Great Resignation” it is being called.

In essence, the modern workforce is saying “Enough!”

Should You Be Surprised?

If you are in a management position, now is the time to take action. There is always time to review what you do with your team. You can make a change.

Want to be a better boss? Here are a few tips to help get the journey started.

First, disconnect from the tradition and legacy of your company’s “less than” culture. Take a serious inventory of the standards enforced by tradition. Does the culture rely on command and control leadership styles?

More specifically, does the culture rely on any aspect of interaction that serves to diminish an employee’s status? Is it customary to always talk down to the people below you by job grade?

When an employee brings bad news, are they subjected to ridicule and admonishment?

Break that chain. Treat people with respect. No one deserves to be subjected to harsh emotional lashings for trying to do their job.

Next, decide on an intentional change in the way you look at your responsibilities.

Shift your thinking. Can you do more to represent your team? Are there better ways to show your support for them?

Then, upgrade your communication ability. Are you the best communicator you can be?

Step outside your own box for a moment and get a read on the way your messaging lands. Ask for some 360 feedback about your communication style and effectiveness.

Just because you say it, doesn’t mean people get it.

Make your communication a true two-way exchange. State your issues, then ask for feedback on the spot. You can start with a simple ask from your people, “Please tell me what I said, in your own words.”

Communication is King

Also, don’t rehearse tragedies.

This is a line I picked up from the hit TV show “Blue Bloods.” It means don’t dwell on the bad stuff going on. If something fails, make a one-time review of why, learn from it, then move on. Don’t keep dredging up the negativity.

With this also, never use a team or individual fail to justify a ‘public execution.’ Good people fundamentally know if they made an error. You as the boss, don’t have to keep reminding them of it.

Finally, learn how to read the room.

Pay attention to what is going on around you. If people seem on edge about a problem that is in front of them, you have to handle the problem first. Then you can announce a new piece of guidance or instruction. You can’t teach a sailor to tie a knot when the ship is sinking.

The New Year

Turning the page on the calendar is a great way to reset your own focus. Please take a moment to think about how you manage and lead your team.

Can you be a Better Boss? We all can do something to up our leadership game. Why not join me in making 2022 the year of the Better Boss?

Silver Fox Advisors Elect New Officers

For immediate release – Houston, TX – December 2. 2021

The Silver Fox Advisors held its annual Business and Board meeting to elect new officers and announce its slate of committee chairs for 2022.

The new Board Chairman is Donnie Roberts of the Woodlands. Previously, Mr. Roberts served as President. Joining him is Doug Thorpe, elected as the new President. Mr. Thorpe of Richmond, Tx formerly served as the organization’s Vice President and Chairman of the Marketing Committee. He will retain that committee seat.

Joseph Tung, an attorney with Grable Martin Fulton PLLC is the Vice President. Mr. Tung served as the Chairman of the Education Committee and will retain that role too. The Education Committee organizes and hosts special events, workshops, panel presentations, and the Lunch & Learn programs, bringing keynote speakers.

David Neuberger will remain as Treasurer while Jim Griffing serves as Secretary.

Other committee chairs appointed at this meeting are:

Rich Hall of Spring. Mr. Hall chairs the Membership Committee. His Vice-Chair will be Ibrahim Saleh. This committee manages the selection and on-boarding of new members wishing to join the Silver Fox Advisors.

Herb Kalman will Chair the Outreach Committee. This committee is responsible for the organization’s efforts to coordinate with other area business entities like the BBB, United Way, and Rice University Business Competition.

Lane Sloan is the new Chair for the Business Engagement Committee, the team that oversees the CEO Roundtable programming as well as other program and service offerings. His Vice-Chair will be Dr. Ken Wells.

Don Baird will be the Vice-Chair of Marketing with Mr. Thorpe. The Education Committee Vice-Chair is Henry Florsheim.

Mr. Jim Iden of Houston will fill the member-at-large seat on the Board.

The Silver Fox Advisors is Houston’s premier organization of proven business leaders serving the needs of small business owners, CEOs, and entrepreneurs in the Greater Houston area. We help leaders establish, grow, and prosper their businesses by sharing our collective wisdom through robust service offerings. Visit us on the web at SilverFox.org.

Houston BBB Presents Awards of Excellence

On Tuesday, October 12, the Houston Better Business Bureau hosted its awards gala, honoring recipients of the 2021 Awards of Excellence.

Annually the BBB sponsors the contest to highlight the great work being done by the small business community in the Greater Houston area.

Judging for this contest is done by members of Silver Fox Advisors. Our advisors spend hundreds of man-hours reviewing the packages submitted by business owners, selecting winners in each of the various categories.

In the cover photo, are Silver Fox Advisor members (from L to R), Donnie Roberts, President, George Connally, Herb Kalman, Mark Miller (judging chairman), and Rich Hall. Not picked is Joseph Tung who co-chaired the judging team with Mark.

Congratualtions to all the winners. You can see more details on BBB’s website.

Building Trust at Work – Improving Team Results

Trust is a critical element in our everyday lives. The relationships we enter are centered on trust. Whether we are going to work, shopping online, or meeting a stranger, trust becomes the yardstick for how far that relationship may go.

For those of you in a significant relationship with a life partner, trust means everything to that relationship. Break the trust and the relationship bond shrivels and dies.

Bob Burg is famous for coining the phrase “know, like and trust (KLT).” His teaching says we only do business with people we know, like and trust. It’s a progression of experience that gets us over the goal line. You visit each of the three stages before you are ready to make the bigger commitments.

The same is true at work. We spend most of our waking hours dedicated to work. Trust in the workplace should be a vital part of success and reward. Yet managers seldom focus on building trust to build a great team. Instead, they focus on the tasks at hand. They agonize over process and procedure to get things done.

Yet employees struggle to perform at the higher levels of success.

If I can’t trust my boss, why should I give much effort to the task? A low or no trust situation is like meeting the clerk at the convenience store. I don’t have much vested in that transaction. I give the clerk my money to buy my gas or pack of gum. If I watch them put the money in the cash register…end of relationship. It doesn’t require a high level of trust.

However, when I take a job, I expect a lot more in the way of trust from the boss. He/she needs to drive that train. They need to be the ones demonstrating how trust is going to work in that situation. Once I can determine the level of trust I am going to get (remember know, like, and trust), then I begin opening up my trust bank to give back.

By the way. The whole notion of trust is just like a bank account. Deposits must be made for funds to be available from which you can spend. I must get trust to give trust.

But as a leader, that model shifts in a big way. YOU must be the one making the deposits in your people. Show them trust and confidence, then they will begin to pay it back.

join our team graphic

The Trust Gap

Trust is never mentioned by my coaching clients as a ‘top of the list’ goal. Often, they have been introduced to leadership frameworks that are intended to build a certain leadership culture or change an old one. They engage me for helping direct those leadership development efforts.

With the focus on conceptual principles, leaders forget the value of simply building trust. When we start doing the coaching work, we inevitably run head-long into the issue of low trust.

They acknowledge a sense of no trust, yet they are stuck when challenged to think about ways to build better trust.

Talking about trust gives way to more frustration about how to get there. After all, think about how you chose your spouse (if you have one). Was there a specific, tangible set of criteria or did you just ‘know.’?

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

That is why I like the Team Trust Model as the answer for practical and tactical ways to build trust. Since the model is really a process of logical thought about the dynamics of how trust can be built, a leader can craft a methodical and measurable system for gaining better trust within the team.

team trust model

Building trust is a process to answer a list of key questions. The questions might be obvious or subtle, but they are questions, nonetheless.

When the leader effectively and systematically answers all of the questions his/her team may have, then trust begins to evolve. The process naturally fits the KLT method. As employees, the more we know about the work team, the better we are equipped to like what we’re about. If we like it, then we can begin trusting it.

At the Core

The Team Trust Model is here to promote trust at work. It does so by inspiring people to invest their discretionary effort. Every employee comes to work with a certain capacity to deliver. However, this overall capacity is divided into segments. The first, and most basic level, is the bare minimum. We agree to deliver our bare minimum effort to keep from getting fired.

It’s the lowest of effort expended. It keeps things moving at an acceptable pace. But it won’t set records.

Discretionary effort, on the other hand, is that extra effort; the 110%. Employees all have the ability to spend this extra. The question is whether they want to.

For leaders, the challenge is to inspire folks to do that on a regular basis. Come to work and give the extra all the time.

When the team setting is right, people never question the willingness to give it all.

A New Series

The preceding message is the start of a series of articles presenting the dynamics and power of the Team Trust Model. Over the next few weeks, I will be diving deeper into this approach for practical and tactical ways to improve your team’s performance while building a more rewarding work experience.

This article first appeared at DougThorpe.com. If you found the content helpful, please share it with your social media contacts.

UPCOMING EVENTS
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