October 27th Lunch & Learn

Join us as we meet Grace Rodriguez with Impact HUB Houston.

What is Impact HUB Houston?  

  • Impact Hub is growing the world’s largest network dedicated to supporting social entrepreneurs, with over 24,000 members at 104+ locations in over 64 countries spanning five continents.
  • Impact Hub Houston is a 501c3 non-profit organization that catalyzes impact by empowering people working to better their communities — especially those serving vulnerable and marginalized communities- and striving for a more just and sustainable world.

What is their Mission?

  • To inspire, connect, and empower diverse changemakers, entrepreneurs, and innovators with mentorship, meaningful content, thought-provoking talks, hands-on learning opportunities, and vibrant community conversations.
  • To create inclusive and equitable spaces where people can easily plug in, experience belonging, and actively champion each other.  
  • To deepen and strengthen collaborative relationships among stakeholders and build an ecosystem where people work together across industries, cultures, identities, geographies, and generations.

This is going to be a program you do not want to miss!

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

Energy Security

As the Russia/Ukraine war escalates, oil and gas are really back in the spotlight. The rise in our gasoline prices largely driven by national policy to reduce the use of fossil fuels is now being exacerbated by the ramifications of this Russia/Ukraine conflict on worldwide oil prices. I had mentioned this in my recent blog …

Read more

CEO Education Workshop – Starting Soon

You still have time to register for our next workshop in the CEO Education Series. On Wednesday, May 19, this week, we are hosting a panel for “Increasing Profits/Understanding Costs.”

Silver Fox Advisors Herb Kalman and David Neuberger will be the guest speakers.

This is offered as a service to the business community. There is no charge to attend, but you must pre-register and seats are filling fast.

Lead by Example-Where Passion Finds Purpose – May 27 Lunch & Learn

The Silver Fox Advisors announce their guest speaker for the May 27th Lunch and Learn Webinar. This month we are honored to have Mr. Tyson Voelkel, President and CEO of the Texas A&M Foundation.

A 1996 graduate of Texas A&M University, Tyson Voelkel has served as president and CEO of the Texas A&M Foundation since 2016. In his role, he provides direction for the management of the Foundation’s $2 billion in net assets, serves as principal liaison with the university, and leads university-wide fundraising activities. He also successfully oversaw the Lead by Example campaign, the largest higher education fundraising effort in Texas history, which exceeded its goal to raise $4 billion for Texas A&M students, faculty, colleges and programs within a nine-year period.

Born and raised in Brenham, Texas, Tyson holds an undergraduate degree in industrial distribution from Texas A&M, a master’s degree in international relations and national security from the Bush School of Government and Public Service, and an MBA from Rice University.

Prior to working at the Foundation, Tyson led a Houston-based consultancy focused on building, managing and advising ultra-high net worth family offices. A U.S. Army Infantry Officer for more than 12 years, he twice served as a Company Commander in the 82nd Airborne Division in combat operations in Iraq, earning two Bronze Stars. He also taught leadership and ethics at the United States Military Academy at West Point. Today, Tyson still serves as Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve.

How Rebel Athletic Challenged the Industry Giant

Silver Fox Advisors Lunch & Learn

Thursday, April 22 12:00 Noon to 1:00 PM

Every entrepreneur hopes that one day, their business will take off, get the exposure they want, and create an industry impacting success. The word for this is ‘disruptive.’

Disruptive means that the giants who command big market share are caused to rethink their approach.

This month at our regular Lunch & Learn program, we are honored to have such an entrepreneur speak to us.

Karen Noseff Aldridge is the Founder and President of Rebel Athletic, which she started in 2013. Rebel is focused on designing and selling custom couture Cheerleading Uniforms in the Allstar Competitive Cheer industry.

The company has grown to include a School Cheer Division, a Dance Costume Division, a Retail division selling athletic wear, uniforms, warm-ups, practice wear, shoes, bags, cosmetics, and accessories to girls and women who love to sparkle.

Rebel also manages and operates its own vertically integrated production facility by controlling all aspects of its production and distribution channels.

Rebel Athletic apparel was featured in the Netflix mega-hit documentary Cheer. The show chronicles Corsicana’s Navarro College Bulldogs squad as they prepare for the National Cheerleading Championships.

More than 70 percent of Rebel’s employees and executive team are women. Clients include some of the world’s biggest squads, such as Canada’s 1,200-member Cheer Sport Sharks, as well as professional teams like the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.

This will be a live, virtual event. There is no charge to attend, but you must register in advance.

Why Every Business Should Have a Multiyear Business Plan

The Silver Fox Advisors are presenting a webinar to answer that question, review the elements that a good plan addresses,  and how to construct and use a multiyear Business Plan.   

The webinar will be presented by a panel consisting of two bankers with over 50 years of commercial and SBA lending experience, a CPA who specializes in appraises businesses, and a former CFO and Business Operating Executive.  All have helped their clients raise capital, as well as, assisted business owners grow their businesses. 

The webinar reminds us how our businesses are rudderless without a business plan.  It is like taking a road trip without a roadmap or GPS.  We may or may not reach the destination we intended in the most effective way.  Has your leadership team bought into the desired destination and more importantly, agreed on how to get there?  The webinar will discuss how to use the planning session as a team-building process, the only way to allocate capital, and truly define what success means for your team. 

By embracing the elements presented throughout the webinar, you will gain confidence that you can reach your business goals. 

When: Wednesday, April 28, 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM

Where: Via Zoom Webinar

Cost: FREE

Registration: Click Here

March 25th Lunch & Learn

On March 25th, the Silver Fox Advisors will be holding our monthly Lunch & Learn program. This month we are honored to have Mr. Brian Greene, President & CEO of the Houston Food Bank. Mr. Greene will be speaking about “Understanding How Nonprofit Organizations Are Different So You Can Be More Helpful to Them.”

Thursday, March 25th, 12:00PM CST – Seats will be limited.

The 4 “Inner” Ps of Leadership

In my recent blogs, I have been advocating a leadership framework based on the 3 Ps of People, Planning, and Performance. 

Everything around leadership begins with People.  There is no leader without followers.  Followers need to know what direction to go.  That takes orchestrating facilitated by Planning.  Carrying out the plan requires integrating and executing to achieve the desired results.  People follow positive results, which broadly is all about Performance.

From a leadership perspective, these 3 Ps are what I would call “outer” things: the actions, interactions, and results from the leader dealing with his/her “outer” world.

What about the “inner” world of the leader?  What makes the leader behave, act, and respond to this “outer” world?

Let me advocate another simple framework based on The 4 Inner Ps: Purpose, Persuasions, Personality, and Proficiencies.  This is a little long for a typical blog, but I want to get the whole picture in your mind to help you with your leadership journey.

Personal Purpose

In my book Develop a Leadership Plan: Become a Great Leader, Purpose is a fundamental driver for the individual in journeying through life.  Many people have approaches to help develop personal purpose or missions such as Stephen Covey, John DeMartini, and our own Silver Fox Advisor Monte Pendleton. 

We explored What is your personal purpose?  in my blog posting of October 13, 2020.  Your Purpose is the centerpiece of your “inner” self.  It becomes a guidepost in building your leadership capabilities.

Persuasions

Persuasions are deep rooted beliefs, feelings, needs, perceptions, values, and morals that influence how you behave and act in the “outer” world. They persuade you in acting a certain way and create a filter or bias in dealing with the “outer” world bringing judgment in how to behave. 

Values, a key Persuasion, are quite important in setting priorities for behavior.  It is often surprising to find that people have not really thought through their values and what is important to them.  Recognize that needs can rearrange these value priorities.  You may well have a value of not to steal.  But if you are starving to death, you may override that value. 

Thus, needs are a big driver of Persuasions.  Your needs certainly change over time.  When basic needs such as safety and security are satisfied, then a new driver emerges such as a desire to belong and be loved, having a family, achieving some form of status and personal accomplishment, etc. It is worthwhile to understand what needs are driving your current behavior and actions.

Beliefs likewise have a real impact on behavior.  Do you think people like to work or need to be coerced? Are looks important for a leader and if so to what degree? Do you have religious beliefs or are you an atheist? And so forth. You may be keeping these beliefs from others.  Likewise, you may not know how certain beliefs are unbeknownst to you but playing out for others to see.

Perspectives are how we see the world and represent your reality.   It is valuable to understand your own perspective and reality. As a leader, understanding other’s perspectives can be invaluable in working with them. How can you do that?

As Eric S Burdonhighlighted in a short article in Medium in May 2018, there are two ways to open-up your perspective.   Perspective-taking is viewing the world from other viewpoints.  Perspective-seeking is using an objective point of view rather than taking sides.  The key with perspectives, is trying to find where the other person is coming from.  What is their view of the world or situation and why? Very rigid personal perspectives can handicap your leadership.

Morals along with the other Persuasions form your character, things like trustworthiness, respect, and fairness. In many respects, character becomes your license to operate as a leader.

Below is the concept of a Johari Window.

johari-window

It gets at how you display your “inner” self to others in the “outside” world. My suggestion is to open your arena to include more of the Façade and to collaborate with others to ascertain Blind Spots. Really knowing your blind spots can be extremely helpful in effectively dealing with other People. This generally means talking about your Persuasions with your People.  In doing this, you will become more authentic which is an important attribute of a good leader.

Personality

Personality has a strong impact on behavior. It is much easier to read in a person than Persuasions, and typically falls in the Arena block of the Johari window.  Personality has many different aspects to it.  Things like being introverted or extroverted, funny or serious, generally positive or negative, energetic or lethargic, and so forth. 

Of course, there are various theories on personality and tests to measure different characteristics such as Myers Briggs or Birkman which are useful in understanding an individual. 

Having an extroverted personality or being dominant does not always predict leadership success.  Introverted individuals with a strong resolve and character can be successful leaders.

Personality does not really change that much. However, sometimes we have personality quirks that can be a fatal leadership flaw. For example, always having a negative scowl on your face in directing people. One should try to address any such flaws. They can derail your interpersonal relations with others.  Generally, these can be corrected with coaching.

I would put leadership styles under Personality. Are you a participative type leader, authoritarian, or consultative?  Do you have more concern for people or production? Are you flexible depending on the situation or is your approach highly rigid?  Are you team based or more of a boss?  

Leadership styles certainly impact Performance. You can change your style but be sure it is real and authentic.  Saying you are a participative boss and acting authoritarian is a worse outcome than simply being authoritarian.

Proficiencies

Proficiencies are an individual’s capabilities and skills. Traits like basic intelligence and personal attributes have an underlying impact, but these must turn into Proficiencies such as the ability to solve problems, to vision, to influence, and so forth.

Thus, one foundation of Proficiencies is your traits. Many different authors have researched traits over the years.  I find Peter Northouse’s analysis in his latest text on Leadership Northouse Theory and Practice to be insightful. The five main traits suggested are Intelligence, self-confidence, determination, integrity, and sociability. 

The trait approach to leadership is often critiqued as not being a stand-alone theory to leadership.  I agree traits are simply one dimension of understanding leadership capability, and there is no generally agreed upon list. Traits are much more like Personality in that they are less teachable such as intelligence.  However, a trait like self-confidence can be built upon by developing the other Proficiencies below.

Another foundation of Proficiencies that drives competencies comes from knowledge.  First is your knowledge and capability about running a business.  Often entrepreneurs have a lack of understanding in general areas such as financial management, operational execution, marketing, and so forth.  Having a business degree can help here.  Over time this knowledge can be learned by working in the business but needs to be done consciously.

Second is your knowledge of the specific industry under which the business falls.  What makes for success and failures in the industry?  Who are the main competitors? How does the industry react to new players? And so forth. Experience and tenure in the industry is generally very worthwhile. It also helps to talk with those who have this industry experience as you well know.

A third form of knowledge can be considered technical capabilities often relating to specific professions.  Are you an engineer and what type?  Are you an accountant? If the business has a product of a highly technical nature, do you understand all the logic in how it works?  This type knowledge generally requires schooling or some form of training, in other words practice. Traits such as IQ, math competencies, etc. play a role in developing this knowledge base.

The third foundation of Proficiencies for me comes under the area of leadership skills.  There are many different theories that could be referenced.  My preference is for Tom Rath and Barry Conchie’s leadership strengths from their book StrengthsFinder 2.0 Strengths based Leadership. Their research through Gallup polling found 34 different themes. For me, the value comes from their grouping these themes under four major domains: Executing, Influencing, Relationship Building, and Strategic Thinking.

They contend and I agree that leaders will not have all these competencies.  The idea is to build on your strengths and find others to form your team that bring strengths that balance yours.  I recommend to my clients that their leadership team take the strength finder’s test from the book and then talk about the results in a team meeting.  This has proven very enlightening in every case.

I do think leaders need to be aware of their interpersonal skills.  Daniel Goleman’s groundbreaking book on Emotional Intelligence provides a complementary set of personal skills critical for leadership success.  EQ has become generally widespread and as you probably know has five components: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills. Most clients do well on an EQ test, but if not, it is a clear coaching area.  Fortunately, EQ can be learned, unlike IQ.

Just like the other three inner P elements, Proficiencies have a strong impact on actions and behaviors in the “outer” world.  Generally, many Proficiencies can be developed and often the focus of leadership training and workshops.  Most Proficiencies improve with experience and practice.  Having a coach bringing the wisdom of such experiences can certainly speed up the learning process.

Tying it together

We are complex because it is the interaction of Purpose, Persuasions, Personality, and Proficiencies that drive our leadership behavior and actions in the “outer” world.  Understanding one element is only looking at part of the “inner” self that impacts behavior. But, by focusing on each element in working to make improvements and enhancements, we can improve our overall leadership performance.

If we do this in concert with our understanding of the 3 Ps of Leadership from the “outer” world perspective, we can become a great leader.

In summary, the 3 Ps of Leadership focus on your actual behavior, actions, and results in leading your business. For example, how do you treat your People? What overall vision and direction for the company exists? Have you built a high-Performance team?  And so forth.

The 4 Inner Ps of Leadership focus on your capability to lead.

Developing these “inner” 4 Ps of Leadership can benefit by having a coach. It is helpful when you delve into these fundamentals to have someone to reflect and confidentially discuss them with you. Having someone with experience and wisdom enhances that reflection.  Think of a Silver Fox Advisor.

Contributed by Lane Sloan, former Shell CFO and Silver Fox Advisor.

Lunch & Learn on October 22

The Silver Fox Advisors monthly program Lunch & Learn will feature Dr. Peter Pisters, President of MD Anderson. This month’s event is the last of the 2020 series.​

Dr. Peter Pisters

If you have ever wanted to know more about the world-renown cancer research and treatment organization, this is your chance. Dr. Pisters will be speaking about organizational resiliency, an especially significant topic in the face of today’s challenging world.​

Thursday, October 22

12:00 Noon to 1:30 PM​

If you registered already, you’re all set. You should be getting a countdown reminder.

If you have not yet registered, there are still a few seats available. The webinar is FREE, but you must register.

UPCOMING EVENTS
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