Ex-chief shares his experience
BY JARREL WADE World Staff Writer
Monday, March 04, 2013
3/04/13 at 7:49 AM
A former Cherokee Nation Principal Chief is releasing a book Monday on his leadership philosophy he developed during 12 years of leading the nation's now-largest Indian tribe.
The book, "Leadership Lessons from the Cherokee Nation: Learn from All I Observe," by Chad Smith, gives insight into his three terms.
He describes taking over after a national crisis and being a part of building Cherokee Nation Businesses from a $150 million "mom and pop" organization to the $1 billion enterprise that exists today.
"It's just really simple," Smith said. "It's just things I learned and things I wanted to share."
Smith wanted to pen the book four years ago but was "just too busy" as chief, he said.
Despite being written after a contentious 2011 election for Cherokee chief, the book does not mention the election or the current Cherokee Principal Chief Bill John Baker.
"It's not a book about politics," Smith said.
"It's a book about organization and leadership."
The book focuses on Smith's "Point A to Point B" model of identifying where an organization stands and how a group can identify and get to where it wants to go, he said.
"I think a lot of people ... they find themselves not knowing where to start and really not knowing where to go," Smith said.
Smith, who often waxes philosophical in person and in the book, said he sees himself as a student who tries to step back and observe situations in order to gain perspective.
"I would look, listen and try to learn," Smith said about his time leading the Cherokee people.
"Once you grasped where you wanted to go, everything else has a way of working out if you are diligent."
The book uses numerous columns Smith submitted to the nation's newspaper, the Cherokee Phoenix, and bimonthly newsletter to citizens during his 12 years as chief.
Also included are stories Smith recalls of seeing the nation grow around him - from the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa in Catoosa to the first class of Cherokee-language-immersion students.
"This book is directed toward organizations, tribes and individuals to share with them the lessons we learned in growing," he said.
Leadership Lessons from the Cherokee Nation
Author: former Cherokee Principal Chief Chad Smith
In Office: 1999-2011
Accomplishments: Oversaw growth of the nation's assets from about $150 million to $1.2 billion in 12 years, creating about 6,000 jobs.
Where to buy: Amazon.com; $11
Source: McGraw-Hill news release
Jarrel Wade 918-581-8367
Chad Smith: His book is about leadership, not politics. There's no mention of the 2011 election that ended his term.