The former principal chief of the Cherokee Nation said Pryor is thriving.
When Chad “Corntassle” Smith spoke at Wednesday's Chamber of Commerce luncheon, he said his career has been spent answering two important questions: ‘What is a Cherokee Nation?’ and ‘Where do we want to go?’
In his book, “Leadership Lessons from the Cherokee Nation; Learn from All I Observe,” he explores leadership and its relation to journeying from point A to point B.
“I learned early how crucial it is to articulate your goals, where you want to go. That is your point B. If you can't say it in 10 words or less, you're missing the point,” said Smith.
The purpose of great societies and nations, he said, is to see that its people become happy and healthy.
“Seeing our people become happy and healthy became our 100-year plan. People asked us ‘why? In 100 years we won't be here.’ To which I said — exactly,” said Smith.
He said there are two options, building a nation or building a political machine. To build a nation people are brought to the table who each have a unique skill set to offer.
Smith said he is particularly fond of Pryor, as it is a great example of leadership.
“Communities either thrive or die. Pryor is thriving. It is vibrant and healthy. It is invested in its kids and it has young leaders emerging. It has arts and culture. It has a strong sense of community,” said Smith. “This means a great quality of life, and the way I see it- happy healthy people.”
“I forget good lessons sometimes, and have to relearn them,” said Smith.
He told the story of a school swim team who had just won a national award. The school had only had a swim program for four years and the coach had never coached a swim team before. When asked how he did it, he said, “If you want strong football players, you find horses. If you want good swimmers, you find fishes. It's all about finding the right talent.
“Recruiting and developing horses and fishes is my job,” said Smith. “It's all about recruiting people with the passion and skills needed and taking the time to develop them.”
Remember that point A is the current status and point B is your designed purpose, he said.
He went on to explain that these lessons were vital to his success within the Cherokee Nation.
“We observed, we learned, we grew and we began to take our community where we wanted to go,” he said.
“To get to point B you have to be fearless,” said Smith. “I really admire this community. I encourage you to continue to be fearless so that your people can continue to be happy and healthy.”