In the late 90’s I left my role as HR/Training professional in the manufacturing world, and began working as a consultant for a firm with Fortune 500 clients across North America. About 6 months into that new role my dad asked me if I was enjoying the new job. At that time the majority of my time and effort was invested in miners working the open-pit copper mines of the Southwest. Mining is known for its top-down paternalistic culture—where strict adherence to proven techniques is rewarded, and innovation and forward-thinking may only be given lip-service and head nods, but not really trusted until proven beyond a shadow of all doubt.
I had the good fortune of working on projects with a vision-driven client that was beginning to turn that top-down culture upside down. Our team was deeply enmeshed with their team and were bringing new ideas to life, but we were daily challenged to continue gaining traction with leaders who easily could slip back into old ways.
My dad’s simple question “How do you like your new job?” surfaced emotions I hadn’t realized were there.
“Dad, it’s rewarding, but challenging. My greatest challenge? We offer creative and effective solutions to everyday problems to the leaders I work with, but getting them to implement those ideas is hard! And when they do, often they’re shot down by someone above them. You know the saying, ‘You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.’”
“Salt their oats,” he replied — so subtly that I almost failed to capture the wisdom in his words.
Don’t force them to swallow what you’re offering! Make them thirsty for it. If you do your job of creating thirst, they will want to drink!
As we were preparing to open our office here in West Texas, we realized that the concept of Salted Oats would be a natural fit for our community. We’re rooted in a place where the idea of provoking thirst rather than forcing people to partake is sensible – leading directly to our single-minded focus of helping business leaders create an atmosphere where change isn’t something you shove down people’s throats punctuated with threats and induced fear. Rather, by engaging your team and listening to learn you can tap into the desire your team has to quench their thirst to work in a highly motivated and fulfilling workplace.
What do we do? We focus on Strategy, Culture, Leadership, Change, and Communication. We could be called tenders of people, or gardeners of organizations. We are captivated by the health and productivity of people, whether we find ourselves in the middle of a harshly sunburned field, or a greenhouse where conditions are optimal, we nurture and help men and women thrive and flourish in the dirt their organization is planted in. We live to see healthy, highly fulfilled people working together to create a culture talented people want to join. We work strategically with those who desire to create an atmosphere where processes, projects, and programs are the outcome of great trust and great teams.
We have answered the call to encourage, equip, and empower employees to become known not only for prodigious production, but for caring for one another. And as they grow in their passion, we step back from the foreground so they can shine as they tell their stories. At the end of the matter, it won’t be Salted Oats that did prodigious things with them, it will be their teams who were forged as contributors with excellence. We have no higher calling than to see men and women fulfilling ALL that they are designed to be in every area of life.