All posts by TimMcFarland

Embracing Diversity is A Beautiful Thing

Martin Luther King, Jr. was a great American.  On his day, let’s stop and reflect on the value of embracing diversity in people.

So what comes to mind as we consider this topic?

In particular, it causes one to reflect on the young African American boy that our grandfather brought home because his family couldn’t afford to feed and take care of the young boy.  As our father grew up, he and this young man played one-on-one basketball and Dad said, this young African American, who ate every meal with the family and lived in the detached garage, beat Dad in those one-on-one match-ups most days.  Our father was fortunate to get to play basketball on a scholarship at Ouachita.  As I recall, I was about a third grader when one of us asked our father where this young African American played in college.  He said, “Well he didn’t, African American’s weren’t allowed to attend these colleges.”  That never made sense then and it certainly doesn’t today.  The good news is this young man went on to have a distinguished career in the railroad and was one of the first African Americans to secure a brick home in Banks, Ar.

Fast forward to three African American friendships we developed over the years, beginning on the basketball court, and each of whom attended or graduated from the University of Arkansas, Sidney Moncrief, Ron Brewer and Almer Lee.


  • We think of the 2011 book Sidney Moncrief wrote titled Your Passport to Re-inventing You, a very helpful and thought provoking book.  And we think of the fortunate players of the Milwaukee Bucks that he now coaches.  We think of how he always treated us equal even when he was and remains a star in many of our eyes.  Sidney has always been willing to be helpful for good causes and willing to reach out to people, when asked, when they needed help or inspiration.  We can remember a recent event when Sidney was kind enough to call and inspire Jim Hanna, when Jim’s health had deteriorated and he lay in the hospital with a broken hip.
  • We think of how in 2011 Ron Brewer, the father of some wonderful children, took on the coaching responsibilities of a 4th grade girls basketball team and serving as his assistant, learning firsthand how fortunate the Mighty Blue Devils were to receive Coach Brewer’s incredible basketball knowledge and way to play the game and kind regards for his players.  And we forecast that Devon, and maybe others, who had never played on a team before, will become a great junior high and high school girls basketball player.  And isn’t Ronnie Brewer an amazing young man in the way he handles, effectively, his current fame?!
  • We think of Almer Lee, who joined my brother and me Saturday night after the Arkansas Razorback game when we stopped to toast to Integration and Martin Luther King.  Again, when Almer was a star he treated this slow Caucasian basketball player equally and respectfully.  Today, Almer is a productive co-worker of one of Arkansas’ state agencies and he continues to brighten people’s lives with his sharp and entertaining personality and yes, sometimes by breaking out into song that we all love to hear and enjoy.  One more thing about Almer, he led the way as an African American at both Fort Smith Northside and the University of Arkansas by being the first African American to play basketball at each.  We tend to forget what an awesome responsibility this was!  Almer was graceful and respectful and a class act during this “no less than heavy time!”  In 2011, Almer joined Sidney and Ron by being inducted in to the Arkansas Hall of Honor.

Beyond these three African Americans and representing gender diversity:


  • We think of Sarah Fennel, an inspiring 30 year old, who has dedicated her life to her nonprofit, Restore Humanity as she today is with the 15 children in the orphanage in Kenya that Restore Humanity operates as we strive to give these children the  love, dignity and respect that they deserve.  And we hope someday, that one or more of these children can receive college scholarships from an Arkansas college so that the best and brightest in that region can become better equipped to tackle the large challenges that exist in this region of Kenya and throughout the continent.


  • We think of Jeannette Balleza, another inspiring 30 something year old, who is so brilliant and helps so many female entrepreneurs as they strive to get their organizations from start up to stability.  We think of the helpful input Jeannette provides our CEO Forum II, among other things, on matters of diversity and technology.


  • We think of Kelly Johnson, who is one of the valued leaders of Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport and the fact that this year, Kelly serves as the Chairperson of an international organization, an international airport association.  So Kelly will be travelling the globe this year as she demonstrates to the world how level headed and talented Northwest Arkansas leaders can be representing our region exceptionally.
We are all people, of equal, with hopes and fears and dreams and flaws.  And embracing diversity is clearly a beautiful thing!

That being said, we are not satisfied with the role we have played in helping give minorities the best opportunity to achieve success.  We are not disappointed in efforts to date but we are not satisfied and we hope to do more to help minorities grow and prosper and help organizations benefit from having productive and insightful members of their team.

Meanwhile, we celebrate the successes and contributions of these six people as they took a road less traveled and for their brave efforts and rich contributions, we each benefit from having them as a part of our lives or organizations.

“On some positions, Cowardice asks the question, “Is it safe?” Expediency asks the question, “Is it politic?” And Vanity comes along and asks the question, “Is it popular?” But Conscience asks the question “Is it right?” And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Emotional Intelligence is Catalytic For What Ever Other Abilities We Have” – Daniel Goleman speaking at Google

In this presentation found at the AtGoogleTalks You Tube channel recorded at Google’s headquarters, Daniel Goleman, considered by most as the expert relating to EQ, emotional intelligence, makes the case that “emotional intelligence is catalytic for what ever other abilities we might have!”  A powerful statement and making it worthy of your consideration to invest in yourself and go to the below link and learn more about the value of emotional and social intelligence.


Evolving Our Business Model – from the CEO of

Old business models are becoming obsolete and great new ones are being created!  Our CEO Forum Surveys indicate that one of a leader’s highest priorities is how he or she evolves an organization’s business model so that it can continue to deliver or improve on the degree to which it delivers a high value proposition.  While it is true that this will take some time, there is a growing belief that it also must be sped up.  So how do we go about this?

In August, Forbes named the most innovative company of the year.  What can we learn from  Might it be a source to inspire CEO’s who are seeking to evolve your business model?

Sometimes we can go to school on the winners, consider what they are doing and use common sense to figure out how to apply what they are doing to what we might be done to improve our own business.

One can listen to Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO of in another insightful interview by Charles Rose.  We highly recommend it!

As an example, the difference in how Steve Jobs looked at the world vs. Bill Gates:

>Steve Jobs looked at projects with a beginners mind.

>Bill Gates looked at the world as how he could advance windows into it.

Marc reminds us that:

>consider that the i-pad was only launched 18 months ago

>things are going faster than ever before

>there is a thurst for more transparency; organizations that don’t become more transparent can become obsoletedly

>Marc developed a 1/1/1 philanthropic platform for his organization.

> agreed to place 1% of their stock, 1% of their profits and 1% of their time into a 501c3 to do philanthropy

We hope and trust that you find this information of value.

Should you or someone you know want to learn more about joining a CEO Forum, please e-mail us at  Thank you.







Steve McBee Forwarded This Valuable Perspective from Napoleon Hill

“Unlimited power may be available when two or more people coordinate their thoughts and actions in a spirit of perfect harmony for the attainment of a definite purpose.”

Steve McBee sent this perspective considered valuable to us last week from Napoleon Hill.

Thanks Steve!

The full post:



Meeting the Needs of Those We Lead

Jim Myers, founder of the CEO Forum, defines leadership as “bringing the best out in others.”  We know that leading people is the most difficult part of leading an organization and the one with which humans struggle the most.  So how do we bring the best out in others?

It certainly helps that we first assure that we have created an open, trusting, non-defensive and non-political environment.

It is also by “meeting the needs of our people.”

Well, how do we meet the needs of our people?  Jim Myers offers the following set of questions that we as CEO’s and as supervisors of people will want to have answered in order to meet the needs of those with whom we have been given the wonderful opportunity to lead.

What is going on?

As an organization, where are we going?

How are we going to get there?

What do you want me to do?

Am I important here?

Does anyone really care about me?

On this Thanksgiving weekend, we give thanks to Jim Myers, for your valuable templates of leadership and for all that you have done to help so many CEO’s!

The Five Competitive Forces That Shape Strategy by Michael Porter, HBR

As you work to complete your strategic plan for 2012 and beyond, we thought we would provide this post from strategy guru – Michael Porter, Harvard Business Review.

Enjoy both the article and a 13 minute video at this link.  Standing the test of time, Michael Porter.  Great post, Michael and HBR!  Thank you!

The Question That Will Change Your Organization from HBR

We are finding some great value in some of Harvard Business Review Blogs.  This one is from Polly LaBarre and the HBR Management Innovation eXchange.


Going To School on the Winners – Culture at Bridgewater

We find these videos about Bridgewater Associates and how it has built it’s culture amazing!

Let’s explore how Bridgewater has developed it’s culture at the below link.  We would encourage you to listen to three or four of the videos found at this link.  Your investment into this subject will take less than 30 minutes.  Invest in yourself and the potential for you and your organization to become its very best.–principles/culture-videos.aspx

What you will find:

“At Bridgewater, our overriding objective is excellence, or more precisely, constant improvement. We believe that producing excellence requires approaching both work and people in a principled way. Above all else, we want to find out what is true and figure out how best to deal with it. We value independent thinking and innovation, recognizing that independent thinking generates disagreement and innovation requires making mistakes.

To foster this thinking and innovation, we maintain an environment of radical openness, even though that honesty can be difficult and uncomfortable. At Bridgewater each individual has the right and the obligation to ensure that what they do and what we do collectively in pursuit of excellence makes sense to them. Everyone is encouraged to be both assertive and open-minded in order to build their understanding and discover their best path. The types of disagreements and mistakes that are typically discouraged elsewhere are expected at Bridgewater because they are the fuel for the learning that helps us maximize the utilization of our potential. It is through this unique culture that we have produced the meaningful work and meaningful relationships that those who work here and our clients have come to expect.

To help communicate what it’s like here, some of the people who work at Bridgewater describe it in the videos below. I am also posting my Principles, which we use, debate and change to agree on how we should be with each other in our pursuit of excellence.”

- Ray Dalio