On December 9 and 10, OAR had its annual Leadership Retreat at The Artesian Hotel in Sulphur, Oklahoma. In attendance were the 2014 leadership team, district vice presidents, and OAR senior staff. The goal of these annual retreats is to review what has been accomplished, what still needs to be done, and the goals our incoming presidents want to see us move forward with. This was my last official meeting of the year, and I want to share with you why I believe that our leadership team works so well and why 2014 will be our finest year ever.
A Positive culture
For good things to happen, a group that moves together for a common purpose functions best when it is surrounded by a positive atmosphere. This is harder than you might think because in leadership you have strong personalities that can often clash. A positive culture is knowing when to bend to common good and always to know what is most important for the best interest of membership and the public we serve.
We are a membership that is diversified and exists in different environments. Recently the leadership team was trying to decide on the best course of action, and I had very strong opinions. As it turned out my ideas were a bit biased by my Oklahoma City real estate experience which colored my thinking a bit. But in leadership, small communities that have different needs were represented. The good news is we were able to incorporate the needs of both types of communities and made the right call.
I can be right but not completely right
Being right is not always something you should get too invested in or ego-oriented about. At the retreat, we were on a very important part of the agenda. We all had strong opinions and everyone’s voice was heard. In this discussion, no one was wrong. But in this spirited discussion, a common thread arrived and what was decided on was better than anything one person brought to the table. It takes a village to make leadership work. And when it works, it is because of what you have already read.
Decision making always starts with a small group. It can be the leadership team, committees, or at staff meetings. All of us in the leadership team know that if an idea we have costs money, it goes to Audit and Finance Committee, and then it moves forward to Executive Committee and then the full Board of Directors. We understand that it may be modified or even denied at some stage, but the will of the members is always our first concern, so we invest our passion and hope that membership will know that the largest circle creates rules.
All leaders are expendable
That may sound harsh, but it is the essence of any fully functioning organization. No one person should be so important we have to depend on him or her. It has been my experience with OAR the object is to move forward, and it is never about one person. I had a great president in front of me with David Momper, and next year, Mary Terry will move us further along.
It’s the staff, stupid!
I couldn’t resist paraphrasing the old Clinton War Room statement. It is about the staff, and there is an obvious reason why. As leadership, we are the volunteer army. And despite the time we spend for OAR, we have a real estate career and families, so we do not do the day-to-day work. I can never resist praising our staff, because every day they live the positive culture, and they execute what we want to do for our members. This organization would be stuck in neutral without them.
It’s a two-way conversation
The final piece to successful leadership is you. Even if you don’t serve as a director or on a committee, your voice is heard. It is motivating to us that we hear from you. Many decisions get made either because you suggested it or because we got your feedback. You can always contact a member of the leadership team, a member of the OAR staff, your elected state director or your district vice president to discuss an issue important to you. Don’t ever think that it is just a small group of people making the choices. Speaking for the leadership team, I want you to know that you matter and you can effect change. It has been our privilege to have these conversations with you. Thanks for caring and don’t stop.