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Leadership Lessons from the Cherokee Nation: Learn from All I Observe

© 2013
by Chad "corntassel" Smith

1st Edition Active, In-Print 304 Pages Hardback
9780071808835 0071808833

  • Description
  • Table of Contents

"If you want to be successful, it is this simple.
Know what you are doing, love what you are doing. And believe in what you are doing."
-- Will Rogers

When Chad Smith became Principal Chief, the Cherokee Nation was a chaotic and dysfunctional entity. By the end of his tenure, 12 years later, the Nation had grown its assets from $150 million to $1.2 billion, increased business profits 2,000 percent, created 6,000 jobs, and dramatically advanced its education, language, and cultural
preservation programs.

How could one team influence such vast positive change?

The Cherokee Nation's dramatic transformation was the result of Smith's principle-based leadership approach and his unique "Point A to Point B model"--the simple but
profound idea that the more you focus on the final goal, the more you will accomplish . . . and the more you will learn along the way. In other words, "look at the end rather than getting caught up in tanglefoot."

In Leadership Lessons from the Cherokee Nation, Smith combines Cherokee wisdom handed down from generation to generation with a smart leadership approach that takes
today's very real issues into consideration. He explains why this leadership approach works and how you can apply it to your own organization, whether business, government,
or nonprofit. Learn all the lessons that drive powerful leadership, including how to:

  • Be a lifelong learner
  • Solve problems with creativity and innovation
  • Recruit and develop strong leaders
  • Delegate wisely
  • Act with integrity and dignity
  • Don't be distracted from your objective
  • Lead by example

More than a simple how-to leadership guide, Leadership Lessons from the Cherokee Nation offers a holistic approach to the subject--how to become a powerful leader inside and direct your energy outward to
accomplish any goal you set your mind to.

Praise for Leadership Lessons from the Cherokee Nation:

"These are lessons that can be applied to every organization. Principal Chief Smith's book on leadership is sound and provides steps for every business and organization to improve." -- Frank Keating, President and CEO, American banker's Association, and former Governor of Oklahoma

"An indelible chronicling of time-proven elements for tribal and organizational success; just as applicable today as they were a thousand years ago." -- Jay Hannah, Cherokee Citizen, Executive Vice President of Financial Service, BancFirst, and former Chairman of the 1999 Cherokee Constitution Convention

"A remarkable account of how the Cherokee Nation reached a pinnacle of success by incorporating common elements of planning, group action, and sharing credit for
that success."
-- Ross Swimmer, former Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation 1975-1985 and former Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, US Department of the Interior

"Chief Smith shares stories with lessons that work in business; it is not where we are, but where we aspire to go that counts." -- Harold Hamm, Chairman and CEO, Continental Resources, Inc.

"Chief Smith shares from a Cherokee perspective how to get from where you are to where you want to go." -- Archie Dunham, Independent Non-Executive Chairman,
Chesapeake Energy, and former Chairman, ConocoPhillips

"Outlines the reasons for the Nation's amazing growth and stability during [Chief Smith's] term. His principles of organization, leadership, and caring make sense; they work in all organizations." -- David Tippeconnic, CEO, Arrow-Magnolia International, Inc.,
and former President and CEO, CITGO Petroleum Corp.


I. ?"?" ?"?"

Introduction - Where do you start?

Opening Statement?

Cherokee Nation Sovereignty and history

Green Roof - Who should take care of my mama?

II. ?"? ?"?"?" ?"?"?"

Learn from All I Observe-

Lesson - What is the first lesson

Going to Water - Learn from All I Observe

Solar Envelope - Forced to Look

Dufus -What I don?t know that I need to know

Drawing Outside the lines - They are not my Lines

Learn from All I Observe- One democratic universal right

III. ?"?"?"?
Leadership - The Ability to go from Point A to Point B

If you don?t know where you are going any road will take you there

Cherokee government and need for simple concept - Go back to fundamentals

Leadership - Get you some Horses and Fishes

Attributes - What does your leadership look like?

Leadership by example-?I admire any man that can rise above his surroundings?

Touching lives - In six decades

Goodwill Trailer - Work done well

Redbird Smith - Protect his people

The Cherokee gift - Jimmy McCoy- Our turn to step up

Fern Holland-Honor the wisdom of our women

Konrad Holmes - Pursuing a worthy goal

Sequoyah Basket Ball teams - Very little excuse

Special Olympics - Indomitable spirit

Message- Everyone is a leader

IV. ?"?"

Point B - Where you Want to Go.

Where and What is Point B

History Course - Why did we believe we could not do that?

100 year plan - We won?t even be here then

Sequoyah High School Graduation - Want something

Public Defender - Glimpse of Life

First lawyer I met - If he can do it

Brain storming - What if

Articulate the Vision-?If you want to be successful, it is this simple. Know what you are doing, love what you are doing. And believe in what you are doing?

Cultural Tourism - Tell our Story

Declaration of Designed Purpose- What was Point B for the Cherokee Nation?

Right to Succeed Letter - Define ourselves

Christmas all year long- It is the small things

Point B is reachable- "Actual knowledge of the future was never lower, but hope was never higher. Confidence will beat prediction anytime?
Who would have thought?

Youth Choir - Positive unintended consequences

Hard Rock - On the back of a napkin

Sequoyah High School - Become the School of Choice

V. ?"?"?"

Point A- Where you are-? Never in our history was we willing to blame someone else for our troubles."

Road Map - - Journeys start with a GPS

History Course - Why did we believe we could not do that

Crossroads Letter - What are the epidemics we face

Responsibility Letter - Accept responsibility with pride

VI. ?"? ?"?" ?"?"?" ?" ?"?"

Between Point A and B - Challenges and Opportunities, "We all want to get to town and stir up a rooster tail of dust behind us but we have to slow down for the turns, detours, potholes and bumps in the road."

Road Map and GPS - How does a map work

Principles- "Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip."

Four Directions - Emulate the Messengers

Patriot vs. Looter - Be a patriot

Politicians or Statesmen - Ag?iners have one track minds

Job Growth - A kindly man cannot help his neighbor

Guiding Principles - What directs your decision making

Plan-?When planning for a year, plant corn. When planning for a decade, plant trees. When planning for life, train and educate people."

Graduate Assistant - Treat me a like a child

Desired Outcomes - What do you want at the end of the day

The Pod - Nothing over 32 inches high

Structure " Take the Court Clerks Flowers

Principal Based Leadership Organizational Structure - Lack of Control

Process-?Individual responsibility could be masked in corporate personality, which?had no body to kick nor soul to damn."

Whose Decision Is It - One of two piles

VII. ?"? ?"?" ?"?"?" ?" ?"?"

Preparation-? What do you call someone who speaks three languages? Trilingual. What do you call someone who speaks two languages? Bilingual. What do you call someone who speaks one language? American

Think in Other Languages - Five fingers

Say No to English Only Letter - Promote intelligence

Don?t Let Oklahoma be Bullied by English Only - Language is intelligence

Cherokee Messenger - Exercise leadership

Interest Analysis - What drives people?

Tippeconic's Doctrines - Don?t fall in love with an asset

Branding - Do you see what you get?

Progress-?Even if you are on the right track, you?ll get run over if you just sit there."

Metrics - Are we there yet

Balanced Score Cards

Plant- ?" the world is more malleable than you think and it's waiting for you to hammer it into shape."

Plant and Grow the Seeds of Inspiration

Tradition of the Seed Corn - Think about the future
Planting the Seed Corn - We do this for so our children can help themselves

Julian's Essay - Starts with identity

Proceed Undaunted -?An invincible determination can accomplish almost anything, and in this lies the great distinction between great men and little men."

Proceed Undaunted " Don?t Throw a rock at every dog that barks at you

Five Minutes That Can Change a Life - Ten things at bed time

Raising the Bar - Leave a legacy


VIII. ?"?"?"?"

Closing Message

PART TWO " Appendices

Appendix A: Commitment Message at the Inauguration of Chad "Corntassel? Smith as Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, August 14, 1999

Appendix B: Cherokee Nation State of the Nation, "Sga du gi?- the Community Focus, September 2, 2000

Appendix C: Cherokee Nation State of the Nation, "Embrace and carry forward the great Cherokee legacy,? September 1, 2001

Appendix D: Cherokee Nation State of the Nation, "Building one Fire?, August 31, 2002

Appendix E: Cherokee Nation State of the Nation, "Critical Crossroads?, August 30, 2003

Appendix F: Cherokee Nation State of the Nation, "Where there is no vision, the people perish?, September 4, 2004
Appendix G: Cherokee Nation State of the Nation, "Full force and effect?, September 3, 2006

Appendix H: Cherokee Nation State of the Nation, "Planting the Seed Corn?, August 30, 2008

Appendix I: Cherokee Nation State of the Cherokee Nation, "Going from Point A to Point B?, August 31, 2009

Appendix J: Cherokee Nation State of the Cherokee Nation, "Happiness and Healthiness is found in Maturity?, September 4, 2010

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