Category Archives: Updates

HBR Blogpost by a Gen Y’er – Solving Gen Y’s Passion Problem

We all know that our co-workers / our people are our most valuable asset.  So learning more about how we lead them helps us better lead all of our co-workers.  At the link provided below, you will find an HBR Blogpost by a Gen Y’er, Cal Newport, that will hopefully help us understand more about Gen Y and, over time, help us better know how to lead and motivate this generation along with all others.

We would more than welcome your thoughts in comments as the collective wisdom of group input is almost always more valuable.

Leadership – The Area With Which Humans Struggle the Most

Leadership is the area with which humans struggle the most.

Much has been written about it, yet it remains hard to execute for most of us.  It is a lifelong journey that is never finished.

Please c0nsider the following framework.

This framework & these perspectives were developed over many years by Jim Myers.   Founder of the CEO Forum, Jim is the former CEO of two publicly traded companies and since starting the CEO Forum in 1989 has mentored, coached, counseled and helped hundreds of CEO’s in and around the Phoenix marketplace.


 Leadership is the ability to bring the best out in others.

Leadership’s practice is applicable to anyone who has responsibility for impacting other people.

As we rise in organizations, the most universal struggle  people face is around Leadership.

The Challenge

As individuals perform well, we are rewarded with greater and greater responsibility. Yet….

  • The habits that get us to leadership roles may have nothing to do with the role of a CEO or a leader of any expanded responsibility.
  • We get rewarded because we performed so well ourselves.  Endless hours knock over any obstacle to get the results.  If someone isn’t getting it done, we will do it ourselves.
  • Where impatience may have gotten us here, patience may now be the virtue required as we rely and depend on others to meet increased responsibility
  • Leadership isn’t about how good we can do, we have already demonstrated this.  It is about how good we can help others be better than they have ever been.

The Opportunity

  • Leadership is about creating an environment for others that will allow them to be their best; environments that are as open, trusting, and as non-political and non-defensive as possible.
  • True leadership is about serving those being led – not about being served.
  • The most enduring attributes of a leader are positive attitude; humility and genuine delight in seeing others succeed.

Six questions that most of us have about our organization whose answers require leadership:

-        What is going on?

-        Where are we going?

-        How are we going to get there?

-        What do you want me to do?

-        Am I important here?

-        Does anyone care about me?

Leadership must provide:

-        Communication

-        Vision

-        Values

-        Clarity of people’s roles and responsibilities

-        A sense of feeling important in the process and being appreciated for what we do

Communication / Relationship

  • If leaders fail to communicate what is going on, it is subject to   gossip and rumors.
  • If I know something you don’t know I have an edge.  We want no edges.  We want our people to know the most possible information
  • Meetings for communication about what is going on do not waste time, rather they save time eliminate hesitancy, confusion and allow everyone to be on the same page for the same purpose.
  • Leadership is a responsibility, but more than that it is a privilege.
  • Leadership is a relationship between people not necessarily the property of any individual.

Thank you Jim Myers for all that you have done as you strive to bring the best out of each one of us.

We hope you find this information helpful.  Please feel free to offer your comments or input that might increase the value to the original post.

Learning from Tommy Van Zandt

Tommy Van Zandt is becoming a hero to many of us.

Please take a minute to watch this video clip of Tommy & a recent benefit to help Tommy & his family with medical expenses & so that he can live the best life possible.

Here is the 2 minute video clip that gives you an inside look at this cool dude.

While we thought we were all helping Tommy, & we are, it is Tommy that is also helping us – teaching us!  Through his courage, his kindness, his ability to deal with tremendous adversity, his grace & with his tremendously handicapped situation, his ability to show his love for all of us, he is teaching us.

He has inspired so many to show how big there hearts are when inspired by a great cause.

So we all rally around the fact that for his health & safety, his dignity & respect, & as we continue to increasingly learn, his ability to teach us, we all want Tommy to have the best living conditions & life possible.

As CEO’s or leaders of organizations, there is likely no amount of adversity with which we will be dealing in our own business / enterprise to compare when we consider with what Tommy has dealt.  May Tommy be an inspiration to each of us as we all deal with the adversity that will come our way.

Thank you Tommy for your example.  We hope to continue to learn from you.

While the fundraiser has passed, the expenses will not pass.  Please consider going to the below website & make your investment in Tommy & all that he represents.

Donate here:

Tommy V, you are an inspiration to us all!

Northwest Arkansas – Great for Business.Great for Life.

It’s how we start every Elevate Speaker Series, watching this two minute video, reminding each of us how fortunate we are to be in Northwest Arkansas.  Great for business.  Great for Life.

Thank you Northwest Arkansas Council for all you do to help Northwest Arkansas be a better place to work, live, raise family and play.  Thank you Sam Walton, Don Tyson, JB Hunt, John Lewis for starting the Northwest Arkansas Council.   Thank you Alice Walton, Uvalde Lindsey and John Paul Hammerschmidt for your awesome leadership in the first 15 years of the council’s great work, helping bring XNA and I540 to fruition.

Thank you Mark Simmons, Archie Shaffer and Scott Van Laningham for your ongoing and consistent leadership for the council.

Thank you Mike Malone and the rolling chairpersons of the council that include David Gearhart, Mike Duke, Jim Walton, John Roberts and John Tyson.  Thank you Buddy Philpot for your past and ongoing steady leadership always being there for the council.  Thank you past and current members of the Northwest Arkansas Council.  Thank you current and highly talented staff serving Mike Malone’s and the membership’s administration!  And thank you Walton Family Foundation….where would we be without this wonderful institution?!!!

Thank you for this inspiring video:

Northwest Arkansas – Great for Business. Great for Life.




On Becoming a High Performing CEO

“Understanding ourselves is such an important part of being a good leader; having self awareness.”

“Leadership is meeting the needs of our people; ask them what they think.”

Jim Myers, Founder of the CEO Forum

“We have to make a decision to be more positive!”

“You can’t get angry; when you do, you give your power away.”

“When we believe we have arrived, we begin to fall back.”

Marsha Petrie Sue. Author of Toxic People and the reactor factor

“Humility is not low self esteem; it is lack of self preoccupation,” David Brooks, columnist at the New York Times

“Emotional intelligence is catalytic for whatever other abilities we might have,”  Daniel Goleman speaking atGoogleTalks

“How can you tell which ones have enough fire in their belly?” Sheridan Garrison, founder of American Freightways (now FedEx Freight)

“Stay in the game, it will all come to you,”  Jim Myers, Founder of the CEO Forum

As taken from Page Four of the best of what we have learned while leading CEO Forums, Elevate 2012 piece.

We hope you might find some of this information helpful.

What are your thoughts on how to become a high performing CEO?

CEO Forums are a place for competitive leaders who want continuous learning to come and process issues, opportunities and topics important to your success.  Please contact Tim at to learn more and see if a CEO Forum is suitable for your growth development.


Top 25 Websites for CEO’s (Larger Companies)

As encouraged by our members and clients, we subscribe to a variety of resources considered experts around topics key to our success.  Our members encourage us to review these materials and bring forth information that we believe is the best and potentially most valuable.  One such resource is a newsletter prepared by  .  This is where we found the below topic and article.  We recommend that competitive leaders desiring continuous growth subscribe to this newsletter.

Please find below a link to the article written by Mike Myatt.  Mike is thought to be one of the leading Executive Coaches in the U.S. with clients in the Fortune 100.  The topic of this article is what Mike believes should be on a CEO’s list for your Top 25 Websites.

While the article is written focused on CEO’s of larger companies, we think you will find value and some surprise as to what made Mike’s list.

I personally look forward to spending more time on so that I can learn from and further understand the many bright and talented young people in our workforce today (Mike says it is where all of the cool kids hang out) and  on, which does seem crisp, not too long & on target for leaders. is obviously worthy of your consideration.   Dan Sanker, CEO of CaseStack (, shared with Jeannette Balleza’s Ark Challenge Business Accelerator entrepreneur teams, while serving on a panel of CEO’s where we also participated, that he begins every morning at to see what is trending.

After your review of the list , please offer feedback and let us know what website is not listed in Mike’s Top 25 that would be in your Top 10.  We look forward to your input.

Here is the link:

About Elevate and the CEO Forums

Elevate creates learning environments and resources with a vision to become best-in-class for leaders of small to midsize organizations attractive to the competitive leader who desires continuous learning and improvements that will better prepare you to lead and contribute to your organization.  We do so through CEO Forums, Key Person Forums, one-on-one coaching, tailored advisory services focused around growth strategies, strategic thinking & planning and corporate finance, content, toolboxes and the Elevate Speaker Series which can be found on the CEO Forums channel at

We are a member-driven organization valuing the rich and diverse knowledge of all of our members and work diligently to harvest this exceptional resource informing us as to how we select topics, adopt best practices and work to optimize delivery mechanisms that are as efficient and impactful to our members as possible.   Obviously, we have much more development to do on the delivery mechanisms.

We value your input.  What are your thoughts and views on this post or on any matter relating to our areas of focus and the content of this website.


Aren’t We All Emerging Leaders? Isn’t It a Lifelong Journey?

Last week, we launched Key Forum I where Key Persons from larger organizations joined with Leaders of organizations with less than 10 co-workers.  And in our first session, we processed what makes a great leader. Who is represented in Key Forum I?

Brent – modthink

Brian – Multi-Craft Contractors Inc.

Carlee – Illumination Station

Gabriel – Rocklline Industries

Patty – Harrison Regional Chamber of Commerce

Sarah – Restore Humanity

Sharmila – Arkansas Power Electronics International

And while we categorize this group as emerging leaders, isn’t it true that we are all emerging leaders?  I know that I personally have so far to go to get to where I believe I am a completed leader.  And Jim Myers, at age 79, is always quick to inform us that he is always learning how to be a better leader and how better to manage an organization.

If you were to identify the five best leaders you have ever known and were to contact them and ask them about how they became a complete leader, we can almost guarantee that each would state with humility that they have a ways to go before they become a complete leader.

It is a life long journey and it is important that we refresh ourselves on what it takes to be a great leader.

In Key Forums I, we are using the below score card.  We recommend you consider performing the same self scoring exercise.  If you are a perfect leader, your score would be 50.  So the exercise is to measure yourself from zero to 10 in each of five categories.  Let’s see how you self score:


As defined by Jim Myers, founder of the CEO Forum

Self Scoring Exercise



____    The ability to bring the best out of others

____    The ability to create an environment that is open, trusting, non-political and as non-defensive as possible

____    Can attract, motivate and organize people to achieve goals

____    Delegates and holds people accountable

____    Delights in the success of others.

____    My Total Score

Please take a minute and self grade yourself on where you are today in each of the five items listed above on a 1 to 10 scale and total them.  50 is a perfect score.

Well, I scored in the upper 30′s.  For example, within our CEO Forums, I under perform in motivating people to attend every CEO Forum and to come on time and stay to the end.  I don’t delegate as well as I should within the CEO Forums nor do I hold people accountable to the extent that I should.  While I am so much better at creating an open, trusting, non-defensive and non-political environment, I am not perfect here and want to strive to do better here.  I am pleased that since the beginning of 2012, I have adopted the discipline, as encouraged by Ray Dalio, to never engage in the criticism of others unless they are present and that gives me new freedom from which to better lead.

One more interesting fact on leadership and servant leadership, we know that one of America’s most successful organizations, home to some of the brightest people working in the free market anywhere in the world, performs a great number of 360 degree assessments.  For you to become a managing director at this organization, you have to have as high of a percentage of favorably reviews from those that report to you as those for whom you work or report to.  This assures servant leadership at the top, wouldn’t you say?

It is a lifelong journey.  Enjoy the journey and remember that by raising the bar for what you believe represents great leadership keeps us humble, an important quality of every admired leader.

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to share this with you.

What are your thoughts?

Former Alltel Exec McElhanon Opens Elevate Speaker Series; Simmons of Simmons Foods and Simon of Nature Conservancy to Speak in February

Steve McElhanon, former Area President of Alltel, responsible for over $1.5 billion in revenues and thought to be one of Alltel’s best leaders, opened the Elevate Speaker Series in January, a monthly series of speakers held on “Invest in Yourself” Fourth Friday’s where we strive to access people of experience, wisdom and brillaint minds around topics of business, strategy, macro-important topics and leading people.

Steve’s presentation will soon come out in video format on the CEOForums YouTube Channel.   The complete presentation will be available to members and clips of the presentation will be made available to the public.  Steve’s presentation on Leadership Matters has received outstanding reviews and we look forward to reviewing the video to pick up even more nuggets of wisdom about how Steve executed leading people at a very level and with outstanding proven results.

Steve, an avid reader, recommended to our audience six books relating to leadership.  They are:

1. Gung Ho! by Ken Blanchard

2. The Leadership Pill by Ken Blanchard

3. The Servant by James Hunter

4. Obstacles Welcome by Ralph De La Vega

5.  Quiet Strength by Tony Dungy

6. Onward by Howard Shultz

Thank you Steve for your willingness and efforts to make an awesome presentation for the benefit of our CEO Forum members and guests!

February Speakers

Mark Simmons, Chairman and CEO of Simmons Foods along with Scott Simon, CEO of The Nature Conservancy will be our speakers in February.

March Speaker

We have an invite out to a special speaker that, should he accept, you wont want to miss.

April Speaker

Dr. John James, CEO of Acumen Brands, a venture backed high growth enterprise in NWA that recently recieved a $5 million round of growth capital that included a $4 million investment from Dillards, will be our speaker in April.

Seating of the series is limited to members and their guests yet should additional seating be available, we welcome additional guests and ask that you e-mail Melissa Freeman at to see what can be worked out and if seating is available.

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.