Integrating Office Politics into Your Success Strategy

Written By: Deborah Gross

Christine Spray, nationally recognized business development keynote speaker and two time best-selling author, spoke to WFE about integrating office politics into any successful strategy.

The presentation covered wide ranging issues and strategies including: understanding the purpose and benefits of strategic office politics, setting boundaries and ground rules for new employees, learning to influence and interact effectively among colleagues, managing various personality types in office, gaining support and effectively networking and recognizing your role in your group.

After working in public accounting and industry in senior leadership roles with start-up, restructuring and growth responsibilities, Christine founded Strategic Catalyst, Inc. As Founder and President of Strategic Catalyst, Christine serves as a CEO and business advisor with a passion for helping people and companies grow. In addition to her role at Strategic Catalyst, Spray launched the National Business Development Association (NBDA) to fill the need for a national trade association to provide best practices to individuals whose primary responsibility is generating business for their organization. Spray also serves as Chair and National Speaker for Vistage International, the world’s leading chief executive organization.

What’s Your Game Plan for Selling in Today’s Connection Culture?

Written By: Deborah Gross

Warren Barhorst, President and CEO of Iscential, joined the WFE on May 19, 2016 to share his thoughts and strategies on enhancing personal and business relationships.

“Growth and popularity are about connecting in a world where people feel less and less connected,” says Barhorst. Growth at highly successful companies like Facebook were based on building a connecting culture. Today everyone is sold to and is selling. In order to stand out from the crowd and noise, Barhorst recommends developing a connecting culture that is an integral part of your business game plan going forward. This is true whether your goal is to conquer the world, grow your business, raise your kids or just hold on to what you have. He says that “We must learn to make meaningful connections. The need to be needed is one of our most fundamental needs. All of this starts with the right mindset.” The question to ask yourself, he says, is “How are you visualizing and communicating to build a connecting culture in your life?” Barhorst suggested that a connecting culture is one that that not only knows the “what” and the “how” but can communicate and believes in the “why” of your business.

Warren Barhorst is the President and CEO of Iscential, which is a private risk management, insurance and financial services firm he founded in 1993. In addition, he is a Principal and Managing Partner of Renovo Partners, LLC a business management-consulting company. Over the past twenty-five years, Warren has established himself as a thought leader in the field of entrepreneurship, risk management as well as teaching business owners how to get the wealth out of their company. He wrote and published his first book, Game Plan, The Definitive Playbook to Starting and Growing Your Business in 2008 and his second book, Game Plan, The Definitive Playbook for Selling in the Connection Culture was released in February 2016.

Should You Trust Your Gut?

Written By: Deborah Gross
Patrick Leach, CEO of Decision Strategies joined the WFE on April 21, 2016 to discuss the decision-making process we undertake when faced with uncertainty.

In some very insightful scenarios, Patrick was able to demonstrate that looking for validation is one of the worst biases we have. People will search for facts that support their pre-ordained position but rarely look for facts that contradict this position. The result is that people develop strategies that are not robust and don’t provide for contingency plans. If any of the predictions fail to come true, the strategies will fail.

One of the key takeaways according to Patrick is that “in complex business situations, great insight can be gained through a probabilistic modeling and analysis, it is important to approach these analyses with as little bias as possible.” A balance needs to be struck between logic and emotion.

Patrick Leach has over thirty years of experience in industry and consulting, ranging from New Orleans to Indonesia, Scotland, and now Houston. He joined Decision Strategies Inc. in 2004 as a Senior Consultant, and became CEO of the company in August of 2011.

Economic Forecast 2016

Written By: Deborah Barron
Nathaniel Karp, Chief Economist with BBVA Compass, joined the WFE on January 21st to provide an overview of US economic outlook for 2016.

Nathaniel indicated a modest world GDP growth due to slowdown of emerging economies and a more tepid recovery in developed economies. He expects a global rebalancing as a result of a weakening China spilling into world markets. With a strong dollar, there is downside pressure on exports and foreign profits. While rig counts and oil prices are on the decline, the upside is a sharp increase in real income and in energy intensive industries like transportation and utilities.

Houston has experienced remarkable performance in recent years but the net job creation has stalled and unemployment is starting to increase. Houston’s residential market will slow down as a result. However, Texas, and specifically Houston, are a top destination for foreign direct investment and are counted among some of the fastest growing developed economies.
BBVA Compass is a leading U.S. banking franchise with operations throughout the Sunbelt region and it ranks among the top 25 largest U.S. commercial banks based on deposit market share. BBVA Compass operates 688 branches in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, New Mexico and Texas. It ranks among the largest banks in Alabama (2nd), Texas (4th) and Arizona (5th). In addition, BBVA Compass has been recognized as one of the nation’s leading Small Business Administration (SBA) lenders.

WFE members and guests were provided with useful insights on both the global markets as well state and city forecasts. While there is great uncertainty in the view ahead there were also some bright spots. Thanks to Nathaniel and BBVA Compass for the comprehensive presentation.

Power of Deep Water: Port of Houston

Written By: Colleen Nichols
Phyllis Saathoff, Chief People Officer of the Port of Houston Authority, joined the WFE on October 15 to provide an overview of the Port of Houston and global trade. The Port Authority committed $275 million for various capital projects over the course of the 2015 calendar year and is undertaking significant infrastructure improvements to ensure that the Port of Houston can accommodate the advent of larger vessels and increased cargo resulting from the pending Panama Canal expansion in 2016. The Port of Houston is ranked #1 U.S. Port by Foreign Waterborne Tonnage and #1 U.S. Port in Petroleum. If Texas were a nation, it would have the 13th largest economy in the world right behind Canada and Australia. The Port of Houston’s leading trade partners by tonnage (combined import/export) are Brazil, China and Mexico and by dollar value are China, Brazil and Germany.

The Port of Houston Authority is a Governmental subdivision chartered by the State and governed by a seven-member Commission. The Commission is appointed by Harris County, the City of Houston and other neighboring cities. It owns/operates eight public terminals.

WFE members and guests were provided with a great update on the Port of Houston Authority that they will be able to use when educating their own clients and referral networks. This was our highest attendance after the Economic Update!

Philanthropy from an Insiders´ Perspective

Written By: Colleen Nichols

Anne Taylor, former Co-Chair of the Alexis de Tocqueville Society – United Way Houston Chapter, spoke to the WFE group about philanthropy from an insiders’ perspective. Anne serves as managing partner of Deloitte Houston and joined the firm in 1987. Last year, 917 Alexis de Tocqueville Society members contributed a record $17.6 million to United Way of Greater Houston. Houston’s Alexis de Tocqueville Society is the largest and most generous in the nation. Anne shared her story on how she first connected with the United Way through Deloitte while working in New York and became further involved when she moved to Houston. The head of the Women’s Initiative at the time was the first person outside of her work colleagues to welcome her to Houston – and that group of women became her sounding board when it came to finding the best resources in Houston – both professionally and personally. Anne highlighted that there has been a shift in the demographics of who makes the household financial decisions, including philanthropic commitments. Her story shows that each person needs to find the organization or issues that motivate them to contribute to transformation in their community.