I ran across an old parable the other day. It had been years since I had heard this story but it struck me as being as relevant and instructive as ever for those of us in business—or for anyone, in fact.
An elderly carpenter was ready to retire. He told the contractor who had employed him for years of his plans to leave the home-building business and live a more leisurely life. He and his wife planned to take it easy and enjoy their extended family. Sure, he would miss the paycheck, but he wanted to retire. They could get by.
The contractor was sorry to see his excellent, longtime worker go and asked him if he would be willing to build just one more house as a personal favor. The carpenter initially said yes, but it soon became clear that his heart was not in the project. He resorted to shoddy workmanship, took shortcuts, and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end a career.
When the carpenter finished his work the employer came to inspect the house. Instead of looking it over, the owner simply handed the front-door key to the carpenter. “This is your house,” he said, “my gift to you for your years of excellent work.”
The carpenter was shocked! What a shame! If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently.
So it is with us. Some build lives, a day at a time, often putting less than their best into the building. Then with a shock they realize they have to live in the house they have built. If they could do it over, they’d do it much differently.
It’s a sobering thought, but each of us is a carpenter. With today’s character, attitudes, and choices we build the “houses” we’ll be living in tomorrow.
Standley Systems was the presenting sponsor of the 2012 Oklahoma’s Top Executive Assistant contest and its January 12th awards ceremony held at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel in downtown Oklahoma City. The contest, hosted and promoted by The Journal Record, honored executive assistants from businesses and organizations across the state.
Honorees were selected from over a hundred nominations by a panel of businessmen and women. Pamela Jones, executive assistant with Oklahoma City-based Integris Mental Health, was chosen to receive the top honor from a group of 27 other executive assistants from businesses and organizations across the state.
Honorees were selected by an industry panel from dozens of nominations. Jayna Anderson, Senior V.P. of Marketing at Standley Systems presented the award to the winner.
This award recognizes the tremendous commitment and dedication of these important members who are essential to building a great team. It’s a pleasure to say ‘thank you’ to those who raise the quality of their respective organizations by their hard work each day. In that spirit, congratulations to all the finalists and especially to Pamela Jones for being named the 2012 recipient of this special award.
Eighty years ago, in the midst of a deep economic crisis, tens of thousands of Oklahomans headed west for California in hopes of improving their quality of life.
Today, something quite the opposite is taking place. Each month since the beginning of the Great Recession in the fall of 2008, thousands of Californians have relocated to Oklahoma or Texas seeking better opportunities and a lower cost for better living.
A recent article in the Daily Oklahoman carrying the headline, “Migration stats indicate reverse ‘Grapes of Wrath’” pointed to this trend:
According to the Internal Revenue Service, Californians relocating to Oklahoma is a growing phenomenon in a sort of reverse “Grapes of Wrath,” John Steinbeck’s Depression-era account of Okies moving from the Dust Bowl to work in the California orchards.
Based roughly on tax return exemptions, the number of Californians moving here outnumbered Sooners moving there by 21,376 from 1999 to 2008, the latest data available.
I’m not surprised. Our pro business climate, affordable housing and lower cost of living make for an appealing quality-of-life proposition.
Here is a map, generated using a special utility built by Forbes.com that graphically shows household moves to and from Oklahoma in 2008.
The graph shows significant movement to Oklahoma from the Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle areas. This trend has only accelerated over the last two years. In fact, an Economic Development Group in which I am a member was recently told by a recruiter that one half of all new private sector jobs last year were created in Texas.
I’m convinced that Oklahoma has many of the same strengths as our neighbor to the south. And that means more and more Californians are going to discover what a lot of us have known for a long time. That is, Oklahoma is a wonderful place to live, work, do business, and raise a family.
Over the last few months, we worked with The Journal Record to help recognize the state’s leading executive assistants through this first-of-its-kind statewide contest. See my earlier post on the subject here.
On Thursday, January 13th, Jayna Anderson, Standley Systems’ Senior V.P. of Sales, presented the top honor to Alison Scott, executive assistant with Oklahoma-City based Asset Group Inc., in a special ceremony held at the Skirvin Hilton hotel. The other finalists were Janny Cooper, Office of Gov. Brad Henry; Darlene Drew, Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency; Judie Harris, Francis Tuttle Technology Center; DesJean Jones, Jordan Associates; and Kelly McConnell, Chesapeake Energy Corp.
Congratulations, Alison! And a heartfelt “thank you” to all the outstanding men and women serving in this critical role, and helping Oklahoma’s businesses flourish.
Back in the 1920s an eccentric South Dakota historian named Doane Robinson looked up at the mountains of his native Black Hills region and saw something no one else had. Faces. Huge, granite faces.
They were only there in his imagination and when he shared his idea of carving the faces of great American presidents into the side of a mountain, most people thought he was out of his mind.
Last summer I took my family on a long, wonderful driving vacation through the Badlands of Dakota and to Yellowstone in Wyoming. On the day we visited Mount Rushmore, I couldn’t help but think about the that crazy visionary, and how, more than 80 years later, over two million people come each year to be awed and inspired by his “crazy” idea come to fruition.
Sometime the crazy people are the ones who come up with the winning ideas. Our entire, amazing National Park System was the product of bold, visionary leadership. Courageous, crazy innovators with conviction ultimately persuaded the highest levels of government to set aside short term thinking and create something for future generations.
We could use a little more of that brand of “crazy” in these difficult times.
Many decades of helping keep Oklahoma businesses efficient and productive has given us a deep appreciation for the role executive assistants play in keeping busy offices running smoothly. We know that it’s often true that behind a successful manager or business owner you’ll find a tireless assistant who “makes the trains run on time” and keeps the boss at optimum efficiency.
The Journal Record, Oklahoma’s leading business newspaper, came up with a plan to recognize the state’s leading executive assistants with an award, and Standley Systems jumped onboard as the top sponsor.
Check out the newspaper’s announcement of the event. Over 100 Executive Assistants were nominated, of whom a committee selected 30 finalists. A breakfast will be held at the Skirvin hotel in downtown Oklahoma City on January 13th to honor these finalists and select the winner of the 2010 award.
Here at Standley Systems, we’re excited to see some of these unsung heroines and heroes of the workplace get some well-deserved recognition.
There is a great faith-based, student-led nationwide event that I think deserves more attention.
It’s called “Fields of Faith” and it’s a project of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. As the FCA describes it:
Fields of Faith is a peer-to-peer ministry event. Students invite their own classmates and teammates to hear fellow students share their testimonies, be challenged to read the Word of God and follow Jesus Christ. An athletic field provides a neutral, interdenominational rally point where a community can come together.
Currently there are more than 800 iterations of the event taking place in cities across the nation. Our company, Standley Systems, is pleased to have sponsored one last month in our home base of Chickasha, Oklahoma.