(Note: Bird Forestry President and CEO J. Mike Bird penned some thoughts recently as a follow up to a company meeting in mid-March. We thought his notes not only expressed a prudent business philosophy but also offered some excellent insight into the company culture. Along those lines, we are sharing Mike’s thoughts as the Bird Forestry “Latest News” for this week.)
Our foresters’ conference that focused on client services a couple of weeks ago was underscored later that same day by a chance meeting that provided me with a fresh perspective on client relationships.
Our forestry team spent two days at a lodge just outside Yantis, Texas. Monday evening, we had dinner together and socialized after that around a firepit where a couple of our folks brought out guitars and sang. Mostly country songs, some newer, some older. I was impressed with the talent these folks displayed. The next morning after breakfast we had a meeting where we covered an agenda discussing how we interact with our forest landowners. We discussed professional service, timely responses and providing the best experience our landowners could hope for. We also discussed how we could attract or meet new landowners. The meeting was high energy and all of our foresters and other team members attending participated willingly. Needless to say, I was thrilled about the meeting and more so about the group of professionals we have: bright, energetic and just fun to be around.
The ride home following the meeting was pleasant. I was alone and it gave me time to reflect on the day and the people I work with. What a great work family I have.
During a stop for gas in Carthage, I ran into a friend and his wife, John and Janice Smith. We stood and talked for over 30 minutes during which time their son happened to call his Mom. Janice handed me the phone and I visited with him briefly. John, Janice and I caught up on family, work (John is retired but still loves to talk shop) and a number of other subjects that friends just naturally catch up on.
John reminded me that we met in 1987—more than 30 years ago. Admittedly, that surprised me, it didn’t seem that long ago. I remember sitting in their house in Shelby County talking about plans, long term goals, and objectives. There were phone calls about important decisions I was able to help with, other conversations about hobbies, home repairs, discussing our parents and our children. John and Janice are long-time friends.
Oh, did I also mention they are clients? Landowners that we have helped with their forest management plans and activities since 1987?
That chance meeting with the Smiths afforded me a couple of epiphanies. The most salient was the realization that many of my friends started as clients that became my friends and remained clients. The level of trust the Smiths have in me and in our team is humbling.
The other thought that struck me is that I do not say, “Thank You,” often enough.
So, to those of you who are our friends and our clients, “Thank You.”
And, to those of you who are our clients, “Thank You.” We hope to continue to be an important part of your forest management future, to be trusted and relied on to help you reach your goals, and hopefully one day, to be thought of as friends.