Lt. Col. Steve Russell (Ret.) is best known for leading the battalion that was a central player in the hunt and capture of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. He spoke at the Oklahoma State Home Builders Association Summer Convention at Lake of the Ozarks Friday.
Russell’s motivational talk was the highlight of the conference, participants said. The “Don’t give up” tone provided new energy folks will take back to their builder communities.
He retired in 2006, after serving 21 years in the Army’s Airborne, Light and Mechanized units. His decorations include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal with Valor Device and Oak Leaf Cluster and his unit was awarded was the Valorous Unit Award for its role in the hunt and capture of Saddam, among many other awards.
He was born in Del City, and is the state senator representing south Oklahoma City and Moore.
He told the story of the capture over the lunch hour, and then led a Q&A session with builders. His points on leadership during that session:
1. You have good people to do the good tasks. Don’t quit.
2. You leverage the technology, but you solve the challenges by old-fashioned tactics.
3. If you don’t win, you’re not going bankrupt. You move forward and keep the organization fresh with ideas.
4. Sometimes as a leader, you are the guy. You just have to move forward and take the risk.
5. Lead by example. In battle, nine in 10 will know what to do in battle, but only one in 10 will move. When one person moves – you — it’s amazing what it does for the rest – they move as well.
6. If you stay where you are, you are going to get static. You’ll get hurt.
7. Ignore the naysayers. Stick to the fundamentals. Don’t get in a situation where you are a gambler. Stay in there, with your instincts, stick to the basics and fall back on your core. Oklahoma banks are some of the strongest because of the experience of Penn Square. Oklahoma didn’t suffer as much due to the more recent debacle in the banking industry. Oklahoma bankers stuck with the basics and are weathering the recent storms.
8. Don’t let the ‘what-ifs’ gnaw at you.
Thanks to CFR Insurance for sponsoring the Sen. Russell with their $5,000 donation to bring him in.